A rewarding skating experience requires good skates. Skates should provide a snug fit and be made of a firm material (like top grain leather) that supports the ankle. The eyelets and hooks should be firmly anchored and the boot should be fully lined. Skate blades should be stainless steel so they will hold an edge and be mounted to the boot with screws. It is crucial that boots fit properly!
Skates can be rented at Union Arena or purchased new or used from various retail outlets. It is very acceptable and very common to buy used skates. Look for (a) clean, firm, fully lined leather boots; (b) soles that are not rotted, (c) blades that do not have deep nicks or scratches, and (d) enough edge on the blade to allow for further blade sharpening.
New figure skates are not readily available in the Upper Valley. UASC can advise you of the best locations to purchase new or used skates. As skaters reach the Freeskate levels, they will require custom fit boots and blades. UASC can provide a list of competent retailers that carry these higher level skates and blades.
Skates need to be kept in good condition. Skaters should never walk on a hard surface (cement, metal, ceramic tile) in their blades. If this is necessary, plastic blade guards (“hard guards”) should be worn. Blades should be wiped dry after each use and covered with fabric soft guards. For longer term storage, wipe dry blades with petroleum jelly or machine oil, then store in a cool, dry place.
It is important to keep skate blades sharp. Union Arena can sharpen skates. Please plan to leave your skates overnight. The high quality, competition blades used by some of the highest level skaters may require special sharpening at a facility familiar with the fine nuance of competition edges. Locations of these facilities are available on request.
When lacing skates, center the tongue and pull it up. Tighten the laces through the eyelets so they are snug but not too tight. The tightest point of lacing should be at the instep. Laces crisscross over the hooks and tie in a secure bow after the top hook. If laces are too long, wrap them around the top of the boot or the hooks and tie another bow in front. DO NOT let laces drag. A properly laced skate supports the ankle. A finger space in the back of the boot is part of a good fit.