Maintenance of inline skate boots
Different types of boots and ways to look after them
The natures of skate boots vary according to the practice:
- Rigid and low, made of carbon for speed skating
- Rigid ankle boots for hockey and downhill skating
- Flexible/rigid with removable liner (on irremovable) for street skating and long distance skating
If looking after your boots is quite easy, it is nevertheless essential to check the humidity, friction, wearing out and hygiene in general.
If possible take off your liners!
Numerous street skating skates and some aggressive skates are equipped with removable liners slipped into the boots. Take them off and dry them in the open air in a dry place. Ban humid places like garages. You should count several hours before it’s completely dry.
In order to air the liner efficiently, undo the laces to the max and open the tongue as much as possible.
Tip #1: use an anti-bacterial spray for the inside of your liners from time to time to reduce the smells (the latters are created by bacteria proliferating in your shoes).
Tip #2: In order to gain time for the drying, fill up your liner with newsprint.
Note: Some brands, like K2, have skates equipped with semi-flexible liners called “softboots” but they are not removable. In this case, newsprint are very useful.
Go ahead and take off the inner soles
The inner soles are sometimes inside the liners of your skates. Some are removable, some aren’t. But if you can, take them off for them to dry faster. And you can use an anti-bacterial spray too…
Flexible/rigid boots must be dried too
The boots should be aired frequently, ideally after each use. Avoid letting your skates in closed and humid places: plastic bag, skate bag or trunk...
Humidity favors the development of bacteria and mold, and the equipment deteriorates faster.
The best thing to do is letting your skates on a shelf or in the open air while they dry. Then you can put them in your cupboard.
Rigid boots: not much maintenance needed
Often used in aggressive skating, these boots need a bit of maintenance. You just need to check the wearing out of the buckles and straps which get damaged with shocks. You should also pay attention to the frictions at the front of the boot and on the sides, not to find yourself with your toes in the open air. Some resins are used in hockey skating to harden the extremity of the boot. Otherwise, when a plastic buckle dies and you have to replace it, choose a more resistant model made of metal.
Speed Skating Boots
Speed skating boots and custom-built speed skating shoes unfortunately don’t have removable liners, except a few kid models. You should then dry them in the open air, in a dry place after having opened them as much as you can.
You sweat a lot in them as they are very badly ventilated. You can fill them up with newsprint to absorb humidity.
This maintenance will help improve their life expectancy and reduce the smells.
Here again, using an anti-bacterial spray is highly recommended.
Recently we have discovered a product which accelerates the drying: the stuffitts, socks filled up with cedar wood, keeping the boots smelling fresh.
What to do after an outing in the rain.
Before a wet outing, it is recommended to use waterproof boot guards to protect your boots. But you have to anticipate the bad weather and be equipped! Waterproof boot guards are quite rare in shops. If I remember well, we had found some at Hawaii Surf.
Otherwise, some skaters cut diving liners to make their own boot guard.
After an outing in the rain:
- Separate the different parts of the boot: liners, boots, soles, laces
- Rinse the different parts of the boot with clean water to evacuate the dirty water
- Fill up the boots with newsprint
- Let them dry next to the radiator (not too hot!)
- Avoid as much as possible to put the liners into the washing machine as the seams and the glue don’t tolerate heat and frictions very well.
- Use a bactericide otherwise smells will arrive soon enough!
Check the fastening systems
People often neglect the condition of their laces, their micrometric buckles and their straps. Yet, they condition your safety, your comfort and your performances...
The notches on the micrometric buckles can become eroded with time. Sometimes the buckle can split. Don’t wait too much before changing it as it can break at any time… during a push for example!
The stop-system can also wear out because of shocks. Look after it!
Last but not least, the head of the buckle is more or less fragile according to whether it’s made of plastic or metal. Here again, being vigilant is a good thing. You should check the fixation point of the buckles. If it’s riveted, it won’t move. If it’s screwed, you will have to tighten it regularly.
You can’t do much if the Velcro straps deteriorate. They can be undone. The best thing to do is to regularly take off the wool pilling preventing them from fastening. Limit as much as possible the number of opening and fastening.
And don’t forget to have a look at the condition of the straps which wear out with time.
By dint of fastening them, if they slide badly, they can file and give away. Don’t be surprised if you have to change them regularly. Choose thin laces, round or flat. You can grease them or tighten them for them to slide better and not get damaged too much.
Inverting and looking after your inline skate wheels
How to clean and take care of your bearings?
How to extract bearings from wheels?
Maintenance of inline skate boots
The maintenance of your skate frame
Translated by Close Yr E’s