Caring for Ice Skates

Leather Care for Ice Skates

The comfort of real leather will never be matched because of its combination of strength, support, breathability, absorbency, elasticity, warmth, and feel. Proper care will maintain these features and extend the useful life of the skate. The upper or shoe must provide correct support to maximize performance and reduce injuries. Water proofing products like grease, oil, and animal fat soak through and weaken the leather, reducing control and the support needed for maximum performance. As a skating shoe is softened by conventional waterproofing it changes in feel and response. Skating technique must be modified to overcome the weakness of the deteriorating shoe. This slows learning and destroys consistency.

Sno-Seal®, the original beeswax waterproofing, was invented in 1933 to protect ski boots and ice skates without softening or weakening them. It maintains the strength and shape of the boot for consistent edge control and the ability to transfer weight fore and aft. It has just enough solvent to allow easy application but this evaporates as it dries to a solid wax. Sno-Seal® remains in the outer surface of the leather, where it is needed to keep the shoe dry. It preserves the life of the leather and lasts a lot longer than liquid products because it stays put.

Always dry blades, blade supports, soles, and uppers immediately after skating. Interior drying does not begin until the skate reaches room temperature and is greatly delayed if ice and water left on the outside cool the inside to below room temp. Skates should not be stored in a closed container until completely dry. The entire process takes a lot longer if any water penetrates the leather from the outside so waterproofing is very important. Sno-Seal® is all wax so it is compatible with shoe polish. Sno-Seal® should be applied first, and any excess buffed off before applying a polish for appearance.

Sno-Seal®, the original beeswax waterproofing, cannot migrate through the leather. It remains concentrated in the outer surface of the leather and does not wick in. The inside of the leather remains open and porous enabling it to breathe freely, removing excess moisture from the foot. This provides hours of comfort during skating and when the skate is removed any remaining moisture evaporates so the skate will soon be ready for another session.

 Sno-Seal® is also critical on the bottom or sole of the skate. Custom skate builders apply Sno-Seal® in the screw holes and between the blade mounts and sole to prevent water from entering. Water in the screw holes will rust some screws and it will always swell and weaken the leather. A water swelled sole changes the alignment between the blade and the shoe. Sno-Seal® should be reapplied to the sole, especially around the blade mounts, every time you treat the upper, sole edges, or welt stitching.