January 26, 2013

Getting Kitted-Out: What To Buy At The Skate Store

Making sure you have all the essentials you need for a full and brimming skate bag is an important part of skating life, and something you'll encounter when you're starting out. This post is for all you lovely skaters who are just getting started, and hopefully it's come at an ideal time: perhaps you've been gifted things over the festive period, or maybe you plan on making full use of the slashed prices in the post-holiday sales. Either way, read on to get the low down on all the essentials!

So when I say essentials, obviously the only thing you absolutely need to have for skating is, well, your skates. So if you're heading out to a competition, and you've gone and forgotten half your kit, then make do and get out there! This guide in meant to introduce items you can buy and use to make your every-day skating life easier, and more pleasant! As such, you might finds items many wouldn't consider essential, but you can decide for yourself what you feel you need and want as part of your kit.

To the items, then!

Skate Bag
This is kind of obvious, but the choice out there is endless.
You can either go for a skate-shaped bag, a sports bag, or a general piece of luggage. I've had all three throughout my career, and my favourite has been a regular sports bag (this type of thing), but it's a really personal affair. Personally I have a bit of a pet peeve for those small pull-along suitcases, but tons of skaters use them because they're practical and save you having to carry the weight of your affairs on your shoulder, as you have to with my preferred bag.

Zucca bags have exploded onto the skating scene over the past couple of years, but they come with a hefty price tag, so you really need to know that a rolling mode of skate-transport is right for you.

The choice is entirely up to you. If it's not obvious to you what you'd like to go for, buy cheap, and try things out.

♥  Blade Cloth  ♥
You'll need something to wipe the moisture off your blades to keep them from rusting. This can be anything from an old towel from your home, to a fancy banded skate cloth. The choice is up to you. For more on why you should us (and how) a blade cloth, see my post: Soakers, Guards, & Drying: How To Look After Your Blades

♥  Blade Guards  ♥
These hard moulded plastic items will guard your blades from damage while you wear your skates. Whenever you get off the ice but don't intend to take your skates off, you need to slip some of these on to protect your precious (and expensive!) blades. There used to be 2 major kinds, spring guards and an older variety, but spring guards have won and the other kind are now but an artefact. You usually have to cut the guards to the right size for your blade (instructions are inside the pack), and then mount the springs. If you're not confident doing this, get your pro shop to make them up for you. I also mentioned guards in the aforementioned post: Soakers, Guards, & Drying: How To Look After Your Blades

♥  Gloves  ♥
Get yourself some gloves to not only protect from the cold, but also from rough ice if/when you fall. They can get dirty pretty quickly in the rink environment, so most skaters opt for the cheap "magic glove" type. If you go to a thrift store or even your local hypermarket you can pick these up for pittance, so don't go buying branded $10 magic gloves at your pro shop.

Up until now, these items can be considered as the essentials in a skate kit. If you've got these items, you're looking after your skates and have a way of taking your stuff with you wherever you go. If you're curious as to what extras you could add to your bag, then read on.

White Hockey Tape  ♥
That tape hockey players use to wrap around their stick? A roll of that will go a long way in protecting the surface of your boots. I cover the fronts of my skates in this stuff (just layer on strips of it using scissors to cut appropriate lengths) and then whenever filth, scrapes, and even cuts (e.g.: when doing very intricate footwork and slicing the blade of the opposite foot along the boot) will be taken by the tape, not your boot upper. For more information about how to use tape, see this post: 4 Things You Ca Do To Keep Your Boots Shinier For Longer.

Water Bottle  ♥
You're going to need to keep hydrated throughout your whole day when training (this means before, during, and after, not just while on the ice), and it can turn out expensive and less than eco-friendly to constantly be buying plastic bottles of water. If you invest in a water or sports bottle, you can fill it up at home or on the go, and you can get really reasonably priced ones. I bought a Nalgene bottle about a year ago, and it's still going strong and showing no signs of ageing whatsoever.

Extra Laces  ♥
Pick up an extra set of laces for your boot make and model, you never know when they could come in handy. I've had laces break before through excessive wear, and it only needs to be at a critical point in your day to cause you real problems. I would always make sure to have an extra pair in my bag in competition day. You never know, right?

Jellies For Feet  ♥
You can buy jelly (silicone) products for your feet in pro skate shops, or in regular shoe shops or hypermarkets. I used to buy the pads for ladies high heel pain, for about $2 for a pack of two in a high street fashion shop. You can buy the Scholl branded ones in a pharmacy too. These help guard against pressure, friction burns, rubbing, and skin coming off your feet under the pressure of the boot. Especially handy when breaking in new boots!

You can also buy tubes of silicone which are stretchy and fit onto your feet like a sock. They hug your ankle and provide total protection against the aforementioned horrors of skate-wearing, but these will come in at a much higher price tag.

Thin Sweaters / Layer Clothing  ♥
This doesn't necessarily need to come from your pro skating shop, and I'm sure you can pick up some great bargains in regular sports discount stores or during the post-holiday sales going on in the month of January. Having multiple layers in your bags lets you fine-tune your clothing during your session, and means you'll never be caught between wearing a huge bulky sweatshirt, or a flimsy sleeveless top. A short sleeve top, a long sleeve top, a thin fleece jacket or pull-over, and a scarf are all good staple items that will mean you're never without at the rink. It's also great to layer all these things up when you're leaving, and you feel at your most tired, and your muscles at their sorest.

Tissues  ♥
Again, not from your pro shop, but none the less stocking up on tissues is a great addition to any skate bag. Never be caught out with a running nose rink-side again! I buy multi-packs of those pocket-sized tissue packs, and then put the multi-pack in my skate bag. That way you've got ages until you run out.

❆  ❆ 

Hopefully this gave you an insight into the wonderful world of the inside of a skate bag (and you thought women's handbags were bad, guys!) and some ideas on how to go about filling up your own! If I missed something you consider essential, or have a neat idea about something that no skater should leave home without, please let me know via the "Let Me Know" section below!

Until next time, happy skate-shopping!
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  1. Thank you for sharing all your wonderful tips I love reading them all! Do you have any pics you can share of how it looks when you placed the hockey tape on the boot? I appreciate all your comments!

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  2. Hi Gigi, very nice blog and posts, congratulations :-) What are those "tubes of silicone which are stretchy and fit onto your feet like a sock"? They do sound really nice, but what are they called exactly? :-)

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    1. Hi NerdyMom, thanks for your comment!

      That is a really great question. Not very cool of me to not put that in there, I genuinely didn't know the name of them lol! After a little Googling, I've found these made by Bunga, which are more or less what I'm talking about, although I'm not endorsing any specific brand:


      Hope that helps! Happy skating!

    2. Hi Gigi, thank you for answering! No problem, happens with the best of us ;-) I'm not yet into the skating scene (yet), but I'm a true enthusiast :-) Loving your blog, it's full of interesting articles, plus very sleek and elegant. Keep up the good work!


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