Q: Which skates are right for me?
A: This depends largely on your skating goals. Do you want to skate for pleasure or do you want to take instruction? If you already have skates, how many hours a week do you skate and what is your weight? Are you jumping and spinning? If you’ve tested, what level tests have you passed? What new skills are you working on? With answers to these questions we can help you select the best boot and blade for you!
Q: How can I tell if they fit?
A: Find a pair of skates in which your feet do not move around the inside of the boot. Your heel should be as far back in the boot as possible and feel snug. Overall, the boots should feel snug, but your toes should not be pinched. Make sure that your toes can wiggle but your heel does not slide up and down or around once your foot is properly laced in the skate. The closer the fit, the more control you will have making it easier to master skills. The boot should provide enough support so that it doesn’t take a lot of muscle power just trying to stay upright. Your feet will feel best if you wear one pair of lightweight socks or tights. Bulky or thick socks limit the support provided by your skates and create “bumps” inside your boots, making them uncomfortable. Keep trying on skates until you find a pair that fits. Rental skates are made to fit everyone; therefore, they fit no one precisely. Finally, be aware that your skate size is not the always the same as your shoe size.
Q: What is the proper way to lace and tie skates?
A: To get started with proper lacing, tap your heel back into the boot as far as possible. Pull the tongue completely up, giving it a gentle tug, then tuck it down along side your foot. Starting with the second or third set of laces from the toe, pull the laces tightly, one pair at a time, so the boot closes well over the front of your foot. It is important that laces do not slip. The laces should be snug through the ankle area and the bottom two sets of hooks. The top two can be a little looser to allow for some flexibility. If extra lace remains, try to cross it over the hooks neatly. Do not wind the extra lace around the skates. Beware of loose flying bows as they can cause accidents. When skates are laced properly, there should be enough room with ankles flexed to stick a finger down between the back of the boot and your leg. If your foot hurts or doesn’t feel right spend time re-lacing and adjusting.
Q: What other gear will I need?
A: Skate guards to protect your blades while walking on hard surfaces with your skates on. Soakers (soft blade covers) to protect your blades between skating sessions. A small towel or chamois to dry your blades and boots after skating. A light jacket, sweat pants or warm-up pants and gloves/mittens to keep you comfortably warm and allow freedom of movement. A hockey, skateboard or ski helmet (multi-sport) is recommended for beginner skaters of all ages.
Q: How should I care for my skates?
A: Avoid walking on hard surfaces like bleachers or concrete with uncovered blades, this will ruin them;wear skate guards. Always dry off your blades with a towel and cover them with soakers to protect the blade edges before storing them. Wet blades will rust, and rusted blades will not glide well or hold an edge. Hard guards hold moisture; if left on your blades will rust. Be sure to loosen the laces and store your boots open to the air so that they can dry. This will prevent deterioration of the boot lining. Replace laces when they start to wear or to lose “threads”, or when the little plastic thingies (“aglets”) come off the ends. Always keep spare laces in your bag. Also, keep your blades sharp. Sharp blades grab the ice better than dull ones, especially when stopping.
Q: How often should I sharpen my skates?
A: This depends on how often you skate and where you skate (outside where the ice may contain sand and grit or inside on regularly groomed ice). A general guideline is to have them sharpened every 20-40 hours of skating. Be sure to have a figure skating specialist sharpen them. Figure skate blades are ground with a “hollow” in the bottom (to give them those “edges” you hear so much about). We can help you find a good figure skate sharpener.