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Skate Maintenance & Choosing Skates

March 31, 2015 5 min read

Our good friends at Go 4 Sports Distribution Australia sent us some advice to share with you.

General Skate Maintenance

  1. Toe Stop – Lubricate the threads of the toe stop stem prior to inserting into the plate. Also, remove the Allen screw that locks the toe stops, lubricate completely and re-insert. 
  2. Kingpin and Hanger – The kingpin and the neck of the hanger should be lubricated every six months and prior to re-assembly. 
  3. Bearings – Bearings should be removed every two to three months and cleaned to ensure maximum performance. Cleaning is most effective when soaked overnight in a quality cleaning fluid or when cleaned with compressed air. After cleaning re-lubricate and re-assemble. 
  4. Pivot Pin – The pivot pin ball and the pivot cup insert should be lubricated periodically with a heavy grade of oil. Pivot cups should also be checked for any wear and tear and replaced if they look worn or damaged.
  5. Cushions – Cushions should be checked monthly for wear, such as tears and cracks, also, check cushion tension. When you notice a lack of response, cushions should be changed. 

Toe Stops
In some instances a skater will have a problem with loose toe stops. This occurs when the steel Allen screw begins to bring against the plate. Which is made of aluminum. There is a simple solution to this problem, just follow the procedures listed below.

  1. Remove the Allen screw and take the toe stop completely out. 
  2. Place a drop of oil in the screw hole, replace the Allen screw and tighten it down securely. This draws the plate and screw together and tightens up the hole. 
  3. Leave it just like that overnight. 
  4. Now, loosen the screw, put a small amount of Vaseline on the stem of the toe stop so it does not strip out the treads in the plate. Vaseline is the best lubricant you can use for your plates. 
  5. Finally, replace the toe stop, and re-tighten securely. This simple procedure will give you a tight, secure toe stop once again. 

Ensuring The Right Fit (Adults)
A good fit is essential to comfort and performance. The following guidelines will help you select your correct boot size.

  • Do no buy skates that are too large. New skates should feel snug in the heel, arch and ball areas to provide the best support of the foot. Your toes should be able to wiggle freely, but not slide side to side. While seated, slide the skates on your foot and lightly kick your heel down into the back of the boot.
  • After the skates are completely laced, stand up and allow your body weight to rest evenly over your entire foot. Because the foot has a tendency to expand when pressure is applied, it is important to remember the skates may feel tighter now than when your foot was in a more relaxed position or seated. 
  • Bend your knees: try to lift your heel out of the back cup of the boot. There should be very little movement. Your toes should brush the boots front & front sides with light pressure, but not jammed up. Quality boots are hand made from leather thus will stretch so a snug fit initially is vital or they may become too loose. 
  • It is important that there is very little movement in the boots to have the best fit and ultimately the best control when skating! 

Which Size Do I Order For My Childrens Growing Feet 
Buying a decent pair of skates can be expensive and with how fast children grow it can sometimes not seem like its worth the expense. We have a solution. Measure your child's feet (see our video on how).  Next compare our skates and sizing of the inner measurements in cm. My recommendation is to choose at least 1cm - 1.5cm bigger than your child's current foot, this will allow for growth. The skate will be too big you say, don't worry we have a solution. Check out insoles, these insoles have a ridge at the back that will allow your child's foot to sit in the correct size. Once their foot grows, throw the insole out and you have a perfect fitting skate. 

Breaking In
An entry level synthetic boot does not really have a break in period and thus it should fit comfortably from the beginning as its unlikely they will feel much different later so it is important to ensure they fit and are comfortable. These boots are expected to last 1-2 years only depending on how hard you are on them and how often you skate. So it’s time to make an investment to a quality leather boot which can last as much as 5-6 years, so long term it is good investment and you have a performance product.

Just remember there is a big diffference between U.S. made vs. Chinese-manufactured leather skates. Many are man-made leather or just not high quality leather. The reason skates are made in China in the first place is so that they will be inexpensive, and in order to cut costs, they aren’t made with the same quality of materials and workmanship as their U.S. made counterparts. As they say you get what you pay for.

For the first three or four skating sessions, skate short periods of time. If sore spots or blisters form, stop skating until they heal or insert a blister guard or small sponge pad over the sore spot. If a sore spot persists, the boot may need to be adjusted. Quality leather boots have counters which are perforated and inserted usually in the heel, arch & side/s to not only keeps the boot from losing its shape but prevents your foot rolling out of the boot. They are perforated which means they will mould. You can use your thumb and a little leather conditioner to rub niggly spots or use a shoe stretcher or boot press. A good quality leather boot after the break in period should fit like a glove.

Which Skate Should I Choose?
If you have any questions at all and are completely lost feel free to call skatescool on 0403 223 177, Kerryn will answer and give you the best advise for your budget. With skates you get what you pay for and the lower end around $100 skates are really just for mucking around at home.  If your child intends on lessons and skating regularly, I would have a look at the Riedell or Sure Grip range. These are high quality skates and still affordable. 

If the skates are for you, ask yourself, what you want them for, ie lessons, a discipline, derby, roller dance, recreational. Ask yourself do i want to skate inside our outside or both. If you want both you will either have to get skates with indoor wheels and buy a set of outdoor wheels for when you want to skate outdoors, or you can get skates with Hybrid Wheels (this means you can skate both inside and outside). You can also buy skates for either just indoors or outdoors. 

Safety is a must and all our Skatescool students and even the roller disco participants wear their safety gear. This includes elbow, wrist and knee pads, we also insist on a helmet if they are attending lessons. If your child is just mucking around at home, these pads should be fine, but if attending lessons they will need more expensive quality pads, as they will be jumping, doing knee slides etc. Call 0403 223 177 and speak with Kerryn if you need some advice.