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5 Step guide to basic skate maintenance

So you’ve decided to take up skating, you’ve shopped around for the perfect pair of skates, you’ve found somewhere to skate and signed up to lessons to really get going properly, but how do you ensure that your skates are going to do what they are designed to do and are going to last the test of time?

As with anything, if your equipment isn't up to scratch then it’s unlikely that your performance will be either and this includes skates.

All skates require some basic maintenance to keep them running at their optimum, regardless of what level of skater you are, to safeguard a safe and smooth ride for yourself and to ensure a long and healthy life for your skates.

1. Skate Boot

A very basic but super important tip about your skate boots, is to always keep them dry! Of course there will be times when that isn’t possible, so if your skates do get wet from rain, sweat etc;

Wipe the entire boot (inside and out), with a dry cloth

Loosen the laces, to allow air to circulate inside the skate

Let them DRY NATURALLY – do not try and speed up the process with heat, as this could lead to the boot leather shrinking, expanding or even cracking.

Of course, it is inevitable that your skate boots will get dirty at some point and it’s important that you keep your skate boots clean in order to keep the boots in their best condition. It is perfectly ok to wash your boots with a mild soap and water on a clean cloth. Simply leave your skates to air dry (as above) once finished.

If you wanted to go a step further in preserving your skate boots you could also apply leather conditioner to the outside of the boot with a soft cloth and use a silicone shoe saver to waterproof the inside, but it isn’t a necessity by any means.

2. Skate Truck/Plate

This part is basically the large, flat piece of metal (or sometimes plastic depending on what skates you own) that the skate boot attaches to. In general, the truck/plate should fit tightly to the boot.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Check to make sure that it is tight and secure usually every few months – however, if you skate outdoors or on rough surfaces you should check more frequently.

Check that all the screws are still in place and tighten any that have become loose.

3. Toe-Stops

On the front of your skates you will have a round toe-stop. There are two kinds of toe-stops depending on what kind of skates you have.

Non-adjustable – If you have non-adjustable toe stops simply check that the toe-stop is screwed in tightly and that the toe stop has not worn past the screw in order avoid damage to flooring or causing an injury by tripping yourself up on it.

Adjustable – if you have adjustable toe stops you’ll need to ensure that they are securely attached to the plate and again not worn down too much.

Both types of toe stop will wear over time and usually you will find that one will wear more than the other depending on how you skate, if this happens you can swap them over but it is important that you don’t let them wear too much and ensure that you change them when required.

4. Wheels

Wheels are a fundamental part of your skates so it makes sense to pay particular attention to them during your maintenance routine.

Check them regularly for debris – a common problem is hair or string etc. wrapping itself around the axle against the wheel meaning that it will slow the wheel down so that it will not spin and turn as well as it should.

If you find that the wheels and axles are dirty, remove the wheels from the axel and remove any stray hair, string fluff etc. Brush the wheels with a dry toothbrush to remove any dust from around the inner wheel and bearings.

If the surface of the wheel (the part that is in contact with the ground when you're skating) is particularly dirty then wash with warm, soapy water ensuring that you don't get the bearings wet and allow to air dry.

Check them for wear and tear – check they are still round! You may think that this is a strange thing to check but the wheels can wear causing flat edges, particularly if you participate in a roller sport. As you can imagine a flat edge on a wheel is a potential safety issue so make sure that you replace the wheel before skating again.

It's also worth swapping your wheels around to ensure even wear and tear.

5. Bearings

The bearings of your skates are found inside the wheel. They are the part of your skate that allows the wheels to turn and rotate on the axle. These are probably the most important part of your skate.

Check that your wheels spin freely – hold your skate on your hand and spin the wheels one by one to check that they spin as they are supposed to. If they get stuck, make a noise or do not spin freely (and you have checked the wheels as above) it could be time to clean your bearings.

Typically, recreational indoor skaters use skates that have enclosed/ maintenance free bearings. However, if you are an outdoor skater or play a roller sport you may need to remove, clean and lubricate your bearings.

Whilst this can be a tedious process it is a necessary one.

If you love your skates your skates will love you. A smooth roll doesn’t come without a little bit of TLC but there’s nothing better that lacing up your skates and enjoying a well-functioning and a smooth running pair of skates.

This is why we include a basic skate maintenance tutorial as part of our lesson programme to ensure that everyone can enjoy their skates and skate as safely as possible.

For more information or advice please contact us via the website and don't forget to like our facebook page

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