If you’re new to ice skating, you may not be familiar with every piece of gear you may or may not need. You definitely need ice skate guards and soakers in my opinion. Well, some skaters don’t need them. A pair of cheap ice skate guards cost $10-$20, and they’re definitely useful, so why not use them?
Also Read: Best Ice Skates for New Skaters
In this brief ice skate guards and soakers guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about these pieces of skating equipment. You’ll learn how to do proper blade care, what kind of blade protectors you need, how best to use them, where to place your skate guards during skating, how to prevent people of questionable character from walking off with them, and what to do after each skate session.
What Are Ice Skate Guards?
Ice skate guards are small pieces of skating gear used to cover the edges of skates when a skater is walking to and from the ice arena. The best ice skate guards are made from smooth, rubbery plastic and do a great job of protecting blades from nicks, dents, scratches, and other kinds of physical damage during travel, or when you’re walking on them. It’s recommended that skaters get a proper pair of guards and soakers and NOT use the temporary ones that arrive with the skates for walking. Once you get proper walking skate guards and moisture-wicking soakers, don’t cover the blades during storage because you’ll end up with rusty edges.
Also Read: Do You Need a Trainer for Ice Skating?
Do Ice Skates Come With Guards?
Yes, many ice skates these days come with skate guards. But these are typically temporary guards designed to keep blades protected from damage while being shipped over to you. These stock guards look cheap and are usually made from hard, rough plastic. You don’t want to walk on them, because you’ll fall an awful lot. Instead, get proper ice skate guards for walking.
3 Ways Ice Skate Guards Are Useful
You use ice skate guards mostly for walking from the dressing room to the skating surface, and from the skating surface to the benches to take the skates off. The sole purpose is to keep the edges protected when walking on hard surfaces such as metal, rock, concrete, etc. Your cage, helmet, or the steel of an extra pair of skates can collide with the blades, badly nicking and denting them.
When this happens, you start experiencing difficulty while performing stops, turns, and other precision-dependent maneuvers...you start losing your edges. Losing an edge is when the blades slide right from under your feet instead of retaining the bite on the ice, keeping you nice and secure.
Also, the blades on ice skates are sharp. And if not covered, these edges could rip your lovely skate bag. Not a nice result, that.
Sellers also use skate guards to protect the edges while in transit.
Note: It’s a bad idea to leave the guards on the steel after a training or practice session. That’s the quickest path to rust, and rust-covered edges suck at gliding on the ice.
By the way, can you walk on concrete with skate guards? Yes, it’s safe to walk on concrete, rocky surfaces, cement, and other hard surfaces on ice skates as long as the edges aren’t exposed and are instead covered with protective guards. But not all guards are great for walking on.
Are All Skate Guards the Same Size?
Yes, ice skate guards are normally a one-size-fits-most kind of gear. And for the most part, you need to trim the guards to make them properly fit the blades.
How to Fit Ice Skate Guards
If you’re using a basic ice skate guard (the simple kind that doesn’t require assembly), place the inner side of the guard over the blade and pop the toe pick (figure skates) or the toe (hockey skate) into the front end of the cover.
Then, move the upper part of the plastic piece on the rear of the guard over the protruding portion of the blade and then slide the lower part of the plastic piece over the notches, popping this piece into the notch that gives you a decent amount of tension. Watch this video to learn how it’s done. It’s super easy and takes no more than 3 seconds.
With adjustable spring-loaded ice skate guards, some low-level assembly is needed, but it’s not too difficult to do. Watch this video to see how to set up a springloaded ice skate guard. Once you put the two parts of the guard together and bolt down the springs into place, simply fit the front of the guard over the front of the blade and do likewise for the tail of the blade.
While this guard type requires some work to get working, it tends to work better on since you can adjust the size by pulling the ends out to fit longer blades. I also find that it tends to work reasonably well for both figure skates and hockey skates.
Can Skate Guards Be Trimmed to Fit Better?
Yes, skate guards can easily be trimmed to size to make them fit better. If you have a few extra inches of guard sticking out the back, that can get in the way of walking, but cutting it off is easier than you think. Use a pair of scissors, a razor, a hacksaw, or a knife to cut out the excess part and make them fit nicely over the blades.
Where to Put Your Skate Guards While Skating
Edea Figure Skate E-Guards, Rockerz, and other “luxury” figure skate guards tend to get stolen from rinks. But no one cares about the most basic of guards. Simply use guards that aren’t strong thief magnets. I put my cheap ice skate guards new my water bottles and other small stuff, and I’ve always found them at my local rink’s lost-and-found desk.
Here’s a way to deter disgusting skaters from walking off with your expensive guards from the players box when you’re busy skating on the rink: Use a bold black sharpie marker to write your last name on the guards.
I guarantee that this will dissuade everyone from pretending they own the gear. And if someone happens to ignore the mark and take the guards home anyway, you’ll soon identify the social miscreant and simply ask the person to return them or whatever.
What Are Soakers in Ice Skating?
Soakers are simply ice skate covers made from highly absorbent terry cloth-like material. They’re used to absorb any excess moisture that might form on ice skate blades even after you’ve wiped them off with a dry towel.
When you store away your skates, the still-cold blades warm up a little at room temperature, releasing water vapor. This water vapor soon saturates the air around the blades, causing little drops of water (condensate) that inevitably lead to rust and ultimately lost edges.
Best ice skate soakers? You don’t need to spend gobs of money on soakers. Here’s a user-top-rated package that consists of CRS guards, soakers, and a towel to keep things nice and dry after each skate.
Are Soakers the Same Size?
No. Ice skate soakers typically come in two sizes: Small and Large. Adult skaters generally need large-size soakers whole kids need small-size soakers. Make sure to read other skaters’ reviews on Amazon or wherever you shop to get an idea of how the particular soakers fit.
Ice Skate Soakers vs Skate Guards: Do I Need Both?
Yes, you need both guards and soakers for proper maintenance of your blades after each skate. Use the guards for walking off the ice and then soakers for soaking up any moisture that may still remain after you wipe off the blades with a dry towel.
What to Do After Ice Skating
Once you’re done gliding on the ice and having fun, put the skate guards on the edges and start walking toward the benches and take off the skates. Next, take off the guards and use a dry towel to completely dry off the wet blades.
Also Read: How to Clean Ice Skates and Hard Guards
Once done, grab the soakers and put them on the blades before finally putting the skates in your skate bag, hopefully in a bag that vents well. And once you get back home, be sure to remove the soakers, otherwise, rust will start creeping in.
Don’t succumb to the temptation of leaving the hard guards on your skates, even if they have a high number of holes in them. Why? It’s because hard guards by nature aren’t super breathy, which means there’ll always be moisture in there to wreak havoc on the edges.
The Trouble With Rust on Ice Skates
If there’s rust on your skates, they look awful. But it gets worse: your overall skating success starts going downhill, and you might notice that you start falling more often. In other words, using rusted skates sucks. The problem with the so-called rust bubbles on blades is that it’s pretty tough to remove them. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to get rusty edges cute and shiny again no matter what you do. Preventing rust from happening in the first place is the smart thing to do.
Now that you know what skate guards and soakers are and the difference between them, get them soonest you can. Let’s show some tender loving care to those ice skates. And they’ll love you back in equal measure.