Hockey skates are expensive. A good pair of skates can cost anywhere between $200-$500. Hockey skates are an investment, and they should last you a few years. The question is, how long do hockey skates typically last?
A good pair of hockey skates can last between 3-5 years with regular use and 5-8 years with periodic use before performance becomes an issue. That said, there are several factors which determine how long a pair of skates will last:
- If you are a heavy person who pushes, stops, and turns hard, you’ll wear them out faster
- Leaving them in your hockey bag damp after a game will shorten the life of your skates
- Blocking and kicking pucks with your feet can quickly damage your skate blade holder
- Sharpening your blades too often will result in a shorter life of your steel
A hockey player who is skating for a few hours a day upwards of four times a week will require a new set of skates in a shorter time than someone who skates one to three times a week, naturally.
To squeeze the most life out of them, you can replace your skate’s steel blades and skate blade holders, as these tend to fail sooner than the actual boot of your ice skates.
Keep in mind, if you bake your hockey skates they tend to have a shorter life.
How to tell when you need new skates
There are multiples tell tail signs that you’ve worn out your skates, and it’s time to fork out the money on a new pair, as much as it may hurt your wallet.
1) Worn out steel
Depending on how much you spent on your skates, they may or may not come with the ability to change out your skate blades when they are worn out and can no longer be sharpened.
New skate blades can cost you anywhere between $70 and $250. By the time you need to replace your skate blades, there is a good chance other areas of your skates are also worn out, and it could make more sense to buy a new pair of skates rather than just replacing the steel.
However, I understand us hockey players are creatures of habit, so if you have the money you should be able to get away with changing the blades of your skates a few times before it becomes time to move on to a new pair.
2) Worn down tongue
The tongue of your hockey skate boot tends to become worn out over time due to all the stopping and starting we do during play.
This causes friction against the inside of your ankle, causing discomfort and pain.
If the tongue of your skates is showing obvious signs of wear like being compressed and thin, providing little to no padding, it’s a good sign that you need a new pair of skates.
Worn down tongues in your skates can lead to things like lace bite, something you don’t want to end up dealing with.
3) Skate boot looseness
Skate tightness is a thing of personal preference, some like to tie their skates tight, while others enjoy a looser feel. But, there is a difference between loose skates as the result of how you tie them and loose skates as a result of a worn down boot.
When you first break in your new pair of skates, everything starts to fit snugly together. However, as you start playing, the fit loosens up around your ankles over time due to the materials of your skate boot wearing down.
Loose ankles can have a negative effect on your skating performance, make your hockey skates uncomfortable, and can even lead to injury.
If you notice your skates are becoming a bit loose around the ankles, no matter how tight you tie your skates, it’s a good sign that you will soon need a new pair that offers you better ankle support, so you’re not out there looking like a bender.
How to take care of your hockey skates & make them last longer
Taking care of your hockey skates with proper storage and regular maintenance can drastically extend the life of them. Here are 5 simple steps you should follow to extend the life of your hockey skates.
1) Keep Your Skates Dry
Keeping your skates dry helps prevent rust from forming on the blades and other areas of your skates, which can lead to irreversible damage. Always make sure you wipe your blades down after a game or practice.
2) Avoid plastic skate guards
Plastic skate guards are fine for walking from the locker room to the ice, but are a big no-no for storage. This is because any moisture between your guards and your blades will stay trapped inside, which will lead to the erosion of your skates blades.
Best practice is to have a pair of fabric skate guards for when you are storing your skates.
3) Loosen laces before getting in & out of skates
Forcing your feet in and out of your skates rather than just undoing your laces so your feet can slip out easily will wear down the shape and stiffness of your boot over time.
Take the time to properly undo your laces before putting your skates on.
4) Do your laces up properly
Something you see happen a bunch in minor hockey is parents wrapping laces around the ankles, you should never be doing this.
Wrapping laces around your ankle will not only speed up the deterioration of your boot, but will restrict your motion on the ice and make you a worse skater.
5) Store them properly
If you want your skates to last a long time, you can’t just be leaving them in your damp hockey bag after a session.
When you get home, you should remove your skates from your bag and place them upside down in a dry environment to let them dry overnight.
Moisture can get stuck between the insoles of the skates. Removing them while you dry your skates will prevent deterioration of your rivets.
Hockey skates should last you a few seasons, if you are a heavy user, you should expect to need a new pair every 3-5 years. Whereas people who don’t skate so often can get a longer life out of a pair of skates.
Skates are pretty darn expensive, taking proper care of your current pair can prevent you from having to buy a new pair sooner than you should be.
Take care of your skates, and they will take care of you!