Ice Skating Skate Guards and Soakers
Sharp, clean steel blades are essential for smooth and precise skating. Without proper protection, skates can deteriorate quickly. Luckily, soakers and hard skating guards are widely available for skaters looking to keep their skates free of rust, chips, dulling, and bends.
What are skate guards and soakers used for?
Soakers and hard skate guards are protective coverings that skaters use to keep their blades free of rust, chips, and dulling when they're not in use. They're used in both hockey and figure skating, with different hard guards catered to each.
Soakers are soft, elastic cloth coverings that are used as light protection for ice skate blades. They're used after the blade is wiped dry with a towel and kept on until the blade returns to room temperature. They also soak up water from the ice and condensation over the cold blades in order to keep rust at bay. Soakers can be left on in open air but should be removed if the skates are kept in a closed container over a long period of time.
Hard guards are hard, plastic guards that cover the blades and allow skaters to walk on their blades off the ice. The covering protects the blades from bending, dulling, or chipping off the ice.
Things To Consider
When looking for skate guards or soakers, you'll want to consider the following:
- What type of skate guards are you looking for?
- Is there a certain color or brand of skate guard you are looking for?
- How much are you looking to spend on skate guards?
What are you looking for in skate guards and soakers?
- Ease of use
Soakers and hard skating guards are the main types of protection for skating blades.
Hard Skate Guards
Hard skate guards are plastic bars that fit over the blade for protection against bending, chipping, or dulling of the edge. They're commonly used to walk on skates off the ice. These skate guards can attach to the blade through different mechanisms, such as the popular latch fit that features a strap that locks into notches to hold the guards in place.
- Allow you to walk in skates off ice
- More durable protection for the blade
- Easily stacked and portable
- Does not absorb water to prevent rust
- May not fit easily to different types of skates
Skate soakers are absorbent pouches that slip over the blades after skating to absorb residual water that could otherwise cause rust. After blades fresh off the rink are wiped dry, the metal's lingering coldness from the ice attracts condensation if left uncovered. Soakers keep water off the blades until they return to room temperature.
- Absorb water to prevent rust
- Great for transporting skates to and from rink
- Moderate protection of blades when not wearing
- Easily portable
- Fits almost any type of skates
- Cannot be walked on like guards can
- Not as sturdy protection as hard guards
- May cause rust if left on for a long period of time in a closed container
Soakers and hard skate guards are staples in skating, available across many sporting brands. Some of the most popular options regarding brands are Guardog, Rockerz, and ChloeNoel.
Guardog has reliable, good value options for soakers and hard guards alike. As one of the older and more trusted brands, it's widely popular with skaters looking for reliable blade protection. Guardog's easily adjustable hard guards are especially popular, as are their color-changing designs indicating when the guards are cold.
The Rockerz brand offers fun, comfortable figure skating hard guards with a wide variety of colors that can be mixed and matched to your liking. Its rainbow-array selection is made of fully recycled materials, making them a great choice for environmentally-conscious skaters. Its specially designed e-guards splash is popular for its drainage, convenience, and aerodynamic design.
ChloeNoel is a fun and affordable option for youth figure skaters. They offer a full range of children's skating apparel and accessories, which include bright, plushie soakers. In fact, some of these soakers even come in fun, animal-themed shapes. Young skaters are sure to love the creative designs.
How much do skate guards cost?
Skate guards and soakers are both inexpensive staples of skating gear. A standard plastic hard guard costs between $10 and $20, while the average soaker costs roughly $10 or less. Some skaters like to customize their guards or soakers for an extra cost, which can be between $30 and $50.
Do skate guards come in different sizes?
Both soakers and hard guards come in general sizes of small, medium, and large for both youth and adult skaters. Soakers fit both hockey skates and figure skates. Specialized hard guards are available for both hockey and figure skates, as figure skates have a heavier blade and fit better with a wider 4mm channel as opposed to a 3 mm channel for hockey skates. Most hard guards, however, will fit on both figure and hockey skates.
How do you put on ice skate guards?
Skate soakers simply slip over the blade with an elastic band to keep it in place, while hard guards have a narrow channel between the plastic mold pieces to hold the blade in. They can be attached through either a latch fit or a spring fit. Popular for its convenience, the latch fit holds the blade on the guard with a strap that latches to a notch on the underside. Spring hard guards are broken into two pieces that are assembled over the blade with a spring in the middle.