Another helpful Sporting Goods guide by "The Coach"
Brought to you by Bargain Sports USA
Before you buy your new skates, there are a few things that you should be aware of. First, you may have heard that beginner skaters should learn on dull blades, and sharpen them more as they advance. This is not only false, but dangerous. No one should ever skate on dull or unsharpened blades. Your skating edge will help you turn and maneuver as well as keep your balance.
The second myth you may have heard is that people with "weak ankles" will never be able to skate. These skaters may find that their feet flop from side to side and in worst cases find themselves skating on their insteps. Most often this disability can be remedied by properly fitted skates bought from a specialized retailer, like us. Department store skates will not offer the support or comfort of a quality skate, and will usually sacrifice performance and delay improvement of skill.
- Figure skates generally run true to shoe size. For example, if you wear a size ten (10.0) standard, you would order a size ten (10.0) figure skate.
- Boots should be comfortable (there will be initial discomfort at ankles and "pressure" points). The skater's heel should fit snugly back into the heel "cup" and the toes should not be cramped and should have room to raise slightly (In a standing position the skater's big toe should just lightly touch the toe cap).
-Remove your shoes and put on a pair of thin sport socks. It is not suggested to wear skates bare foot as this promotes bacteria and corrosion of the materials.
- Put the skate on your foot and kick back in order to lock the heel into the back of the skate. Lace the skate firmly with the most lace pressure at the top 4 eyelets. Always try on both skates laced to the top as you would when playing.
- Walk around to feel if there is any painful pressure point or heel slippage. Adjust the size accordingly with the ultimate fit coming with the toes feathering the toe box in an upright position and a consistent pressure surrounding the foot.
- Skate laces should never be wrapped around the ankle, as the skate will loosen.
- Do not wear thick socks (wool or other) as a longer, wider skate will be needed and the proper fit will not be achieved. A white cotton sock is ideal.
Breaking In Your New Skates
- DO NOT walk on boots that are not bladed. Once bladed and with skate guards on, lace up them somewhat loose at the top.
- Do knee bends and/or walk up stairs slowly and carefully. Stop this process periodically and unlace and relace skates.
- Do not ignore chafing or irritation - blisters could result.
- Wear thin socks
- Lace and unlace boots several times before each skating session
- Lacing at top of boot should be loose
- Keep initial skating sessions short
- Do not allow pressure points to blister and become infected. Cover pressure points with moleskin, medical tape or form
pads. Periodically apply vaseline to pressure points.
- If necessary, have pressure points, especially around the ankle area, 'punched out'. Your skate dealer or local orthopedic shop could help you with this.
- The absolute best way to break in skates is to skate in them. I don't recommend using any other method (such as heating) to speed up the process.
Care and Maintenance
-Dry the sole and heel area of boot after skating
-DO NOT leave boots in skate bag when not in use. Leave boots in open to air and completely dry; loosen laces and open boot 'throat' to better allow air flow [ NOTE: blades should also be dried and left with skate guards off - condensation will keep blades wet for some time - Absorbent 'terry cloth' blade covers may be left on blades and may help absorb condensation]
- Check sole and heel screws periodically. Water will follow thread and eventually soften the leather. Loose screws can be tightened by 'plugging' holes with small piece of leather or hard wood peg and reapplying screws
- Leather soles and heels should be waterproofed prior to installation of blade for best results. Also this maintenance should be continued periodically to stop water penetration into the leather and possible leather rot.
- All skate blades will rust if not properly cared for. Runner should be wiped dry after each use. The skate should then be removed from the hockey bag to air out.
- Remove footbeds after every game as rivets and insoles will corrode if exposed to constant moisture.
Some waterproofing materials are:
Sole enamel (black or white - it will build up over time and should be periodically sanded down)
Bees wax or similar wax-like substance (heat with hair dryer after application. Easy to apply and no build up like enamel; however more frequent applications are required)
Regular shoe polish (very effective, frequent applications needed and leaves marks)
For great deals on Figure Skates check out our selection at Bargain Sports USA!