How to Take Care of Your Roller Skates
Like any piece of gear, cleaning your roller skates is essential to making sure they work well. Think of it like self-care for your skates — the more you pamper them, the better they’ll perform under pressure. Whether you're a derby girl or a rookie skater who's still learning the ropes, there are a few routine check-ups you should do to make sure your skates are in working order.
Boots often get overlooked when it comes to gear care, and it’s a shame because they make up most of your roller skate. The most important aspect of keeping your boots in good shape is keeping them dry and conditioned. Outside puddles, humidity and even sweat can make the material moist. To dry them, loosen up the laces and pull the tongues out so they are as open as possible. Leave them to dry naturally, without putting them next to a heater or other air source. If your skates are genuine leather, make sure you regularly condition them to keep them from cracking.
Wiping down your trucks every once in a while is a great habit to get into, but the more important task is keeping them tightened. It’s fairly standard to keep your trucks tight and fitted to the boot, but some skaters prefer to leave them loose for more maneuverability. If you’re someone who likes your trucks a little looser, this step is especially important. Make sure your trucks are the proper tightness and that they are the same on each skate.
Your bearings are possibly the most integral piece of gear on your skates in regards to performance. These are what keep you moving, so it’s important to make sure they stay clean and lubricated. Most quality bearings come enclosed, and these can be cared for by wiping them down and keeping them dry. Bearings that are not enclosed do need to be lubricated on a regular basis.
Your wheels should be pretty maintenance free, save the occasional debris buildup, but these likely will be one of the most frequent parts you’ll have to replace. How frequently you need to replace your wheels will depend on the softness of the wheels you prefer. Naturally, the softer a wheel’s durometer, the faster it will wear down. If your wheels are worn down to the point that it slows you down, it probably needs to be swapped out for a fresh set.
Toe-stops require very minimal maintenance since they don't take as much of a beating as other parts of the skate. When you do your routine skate check-ups, take a moment to survey the toe-stops and make sure they're tightened to your preferred height and that the position is the same on both skates.
By making a habit of replacing parts and cleaning up grimy hardware as needed, you’ll extend the life of your skates tremendously. Regular upkeep may seem tedious at first, but the more you do it the more routine it becomes. Plus, it gives you a reason to get new skate gear — who can say no that?
- Outdoors Staff