Figure skate blades are essential for a smooth figure skating experience because they allow for sliding on the ice.
They also have a hollow to maintain grip with ice and enhance turning and maneuverability.
However, the weight and friction of sliding on ice eventually wear them out, requiring a replacement.
But when should you replace your figure skate blades?
When to Replace Figure Skate Blades?
When to replace figure skate blades? You should replace figure skate blades if they are worn out (typically after 5–8 years), broken, bent, or you have outgrown them.
1. Worn Out Blades
If you look at the bottom of a pair of figure skate blades, you’ll notice an inverted U-shaped channel or groove.
This concave surface on the bottom of a blade is known as the hollow. It helps maintain traction on the ice.
Ice friction wears down on the hollow’s edges when skating, dulling your skates and reducing traction on the ice.
Additionally, if you walk around on hard rough surfaces without your skate guards, your skates will become dull.
Sharpening is done to restore dull skate blades. While how often to sharpen skate blades is a personal preference, a good rule of thumb is to sharpen your skates every 8-20 hours of skating.
Also, If you’re skidding or don’t have sufficient grip when making a turn, it’s a cry to sharpen your skate blades.
Over many sharpenings, the blade wears off and runs out of room for sharpening. The blade will then need to be replaced.
The wear rate is determined by the hardness of the steel used in the blade and how frequently and aggressively you skate.
The blade can last five to eight years for an average recreational skater who sharpens every 8-20 hours of skating.
2. Broken Blades
Walking on a rough and hard surface without guards or blade-on-blade friction can break a figure skating blade.
Blade guards protect your blades from breaking when walking on rough and hard surfaces.
They also cushion blades from damaging each other during transportation.
There are two types of blade guards – hard and soft guards. You should use hard blade guards when walking on hard surfaces.
You can use the soft blade guards to cushion and reduce friction between the blades during transportation.
Using blade guards will help protect and prolong your blades’ life.
However, if your blade is broken, it is necessary to replace it to continue enjoying a smooth figure skating experience.
Also, even if only one blade is broken, replace both.
3. Bent Blades
A significant bend on your figure skate blades can affect your skating experience.
Also, a bend makes sharpening the hollow edges evenly challenging.
Sometimes a skate clamp can straighten the steel out enough for the sharpener to put on a level edge.
However, once the blade is removed from the sharpener’s clamp, it will relax back to its bent condition.
It is, therefore, advisable to replace the blade.
4. Outgrowing Your Skate Blades
When it comes to children, one thing we can always count on is that they will grow and outgrow their figure skates, including the blades.
As a result, parents should budget for skate upgrades for their children to allow them to hone their craft as they grow.
A properly fitting skate will typically last 9-12 months before the child outgrows it, according to Houston Skate and Sports Orthotics Center.
However, this should not dissuade parents from purchasing figure skates for their children.
Who knows, they could be the next Olympic champions.
5. Desire to Upgrade
Your skating style may change as you progress in your figure skating journey.
As a result, you may find that the current blades do not suit your skating style.
For example, you may prefer a blade with a different rocker curve. Or you may want to buy a high-quality blade that will hold edges longer.
Buying new blades that match your current taste will ensure that you continue to enjoy figure skating.
Taking Care of Your Figure Skate Blades
Rust is the leading cause of skate blade degeneration and must be avoided at all costs. Fortunately, by keeping your blades dry, you can eliminate rust.
Dry off your blades before storage. Also, do not store them with hard guards.
The guards trap water, creating a conducive environment for rusting. Instead, dry the blades and store them with a soaker rather than a hard guard.
When to Replace Figure Skate Blades? FAQs
How do I know when it’s time to replace my skate blades?
There is no one definitive answer to this question, as skating conditions and personal preferences will vary.
However, skate blade lifespan can range anywhere from a few months to several years depending on use and care.
In general, it’s recommended that skaters replace their blades every two or three months if they’re skating regularly on concrete surfaces and once a year if they tend to skate outdoors in rougher terrain.
Is there any difference between steel and aluminum blades for figure skating?
Aside from the material used in their construction, there is no real difference between steel and aluminum blades when it comes to figure skating.
Both materials are sharpened to a precise edge and offer good mobility on the ice.
However, steel blades tend to be more durable than their aluminum counterparts, so they may last longer if taken care of.
What types of blade materials are used for skating?
There are a variety of blade materials that can be used for skating, including steel, aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber.
Each material offers its own set of benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to choose the right one based on your individual needs.
Why is it important to take care of my blades?
If taken care of properly, skate blades will last significantly longer than if they’re not treated properly.
Skaters should always keep their blades sharpened by a qualified professional and avoid skidding or riding on them excessively hard.
Which type of blade is better: carbon or alloyed steel?
Generally, steel blades are more durable than their carbon-based counterparts, but some skaters prefer the feel of alloyed steel blades because they’re lighter and offer better maneuverability.
How can I tell which type of skate blade is best for me?
The best way to find out which type of blade is best for you is to try them out and see what feels the most comfortable.
You can also consult with a qualified professional who will be able to sharpen your blades properly and give you advice on how to use them optimally.
Do I need to replace my skates if they’re still in good condition?
It’s always a good idea to keep your skates in good condition by sharpening the blades regularly and avoiding excessive use.
However, if they’re still in good condition and you haven’t experienced any major problems with them, you don’t necessarily need to replace them.
Which brands are considered to be the best in terms of longevity, quality, and price?
Some of the best-known brands that produce high-quality blades include Warrior, True North Skates, and CCM.
They typically offer excellent value for money and are known to last longer than most other brands.