Are you or your child starting ice skating? Wondering what figure skating equipment should be in your bag to be fully ready for your training? Below is a list of gear and accessories to make the best of your practices and to take care of your skates.
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Ice skating equipment - 10 Essentials
#1 - Ice skates with good fit
Of course, the first thing you need are ice skates. No surprise here.
But make sure they are suitable for your level and fit your feet well.
- Length: when standing, is the foot flat in the skate. Are the toes free to wiggle a little?
- Width: when standing, is the curvature of the sole matching the arch of your foot. Do your feet feel supported?
- Heel: is the heel of your foot well seated in the heel area?
- Ankle: does the skate fit well the ankle?
#2 - Appropriate socks
Many people are scared their feet will be cold when ice-skating, so they want to use thick socks.
However, the thinner the socks the better. At high level, some skater even skate barefoot because socks cause friction. With thin socks, you can feel your sole better and control pressure to control your movement.
If you choose to wear socks (like I did), you have to choose some that will minimize rubbing (avoid seams).
So choose socks that are thin and high above the boot but avoid entirely polyester socks. Or you can wear tights.
#3 - Ice skating bag
I know in movies and pictures, cool girls seem to be wearing their skates on their shoulder using laces attached together. This is a really bad idea. Please, do not to this. You will damage your laces, your skates and your clothes as everything bangs together.
You should carry your skates in a bag, if possible, with aeration.
#4 - Skate guards
It is absolutely critical to have a pair of skate guards. As soon as you get off the ice, you should protect your blades with the guards.
The smallest impact on your blade means that you can't skate anymore, and you would have to buy new ones. The blades are only supposed to be on the ice.
However, wear the guards only to walk around. Don't leave them on the skates once removed from your feet!
Check out my article to help you choose the best figure skate guards.
There are 2 main types of guards: the centipede /latch (often preferred by beginners as it is easier to set up) or the Universal / Spring (for more stability and protection when walking with your skates).
#5 - Absorbent cloth or Towel
You should always have something to dry your blades and mounting surfaces after a practice. It is mandatory.
If you don't want rust to appear on your blades, you have to spend some time drying them thoroughly before packing them. I even recommend drying once, then waiting while you change and drying them again as condensation will have formed if you enter a warmer room.
The cloth should be gentle and absorbent - Good options are microfiber towel, chamois cloth, terry cloth.
Below are some original options below that you can personalize
See the complete collection:
#6 - Skate soakers
When packed in a bag, your skates should not be left unprotected (as the blades will get damaged) and should not be protected by the guards as they will keep moisture and rust will appear.
In the bag, your blade should be covered with skate soakers that will keep absorbing humidity. They are also a non-negotiable figure skating equipment.
#7 - Appropriate clothing
What is good clothing for ice skating?
- layers - (top, jackets, gloves...) that you can add or remove as your practice progresses - make sure you wear a jacket after practice. You will have been sweating and the rink is cold, so make sure you keep warm.
- flexible - jeans are not a good option. You need to have a good amplitude of movement.
- water reaction - the other reason jeans are not a good idea is that once wet, they hold the water and freeze. It is not enjoyable. Wear clothes that dry fast
- form fitted - if you are not a leisure skater but being coached, your coach will need to see your lines and how your knees are bending. Therefore, you should not be wearing large clothes. Do not choose snow pants!!!!
#8 - Gloves
When practicing, gloves are a good idea. Some skaters may not enjoy them, but most do appreciate the warmth and the protection when falling.
Do not pick thick gloves as they will prevent you from grabbing your skate in some moves.
You should pick gloves that are thin, warm and dry fast.
You can even find gloves with incorporated pads to protect hand and wrist when falling (however, those cannot be used when pair skating).
#9 - Water bottle
It is essential to keep hydrated during ice skating practice, for your health and your performance. You should always bring a bottle of water to the rink.
See all the water bottle with ice skating theme on Zazzle. Like with those below, most can be personalized by clicking on Edit design and/or Personalize
#10 - Tissues
Ice rinks are cold. But you are moving, and wind is blowing on your face. Therefore, most skaters have runny noses.
Pack facial tissues in your skate bag.
5 extra pieces of figure skating equipment to consider
#11 - Spare laces
Laces get worn down far quicker than you will expect. As you tie and untie, the laces rub against the boot until they break.
And you don't see it coming.
Just one day, you are lacing as usual and half the lace stays in your hand. The worse is when it happens in competition... Trust me, it is not fun.
To avoid any drama, always have an extra pair of laces in your bag!
#12 - Lace tightener
I am not a big fan of lace tightener. I prefer using my fingers, I think I have more strength and can adapt more easily to what I feel.
However I also know a lot of people who love using them. They are useful especially when you have dry hands and the laces are hurting you.
#13 - Boot covers
Boot covers come in and out of fashion.
But one thing is sure, if you want to keep your skates clean and limit cuts and black marks, wearing a boot cover is the best option.
They come in different colors, however I would avoid bright colors as it is a distraction for the coach looking at the form of the movement. I once had a coach make me go out of the rink and remove my neon yellow covers...
#14 - Spare hair band
As you move and practice and sweat... you will have to tighten and re-tighten your hair. Hair bands end up braking and you don't want to finish the session with your hair floating in every direction.
Always carry spare hair bands. Maybe you can gather all the small items in a little bag inside your big bag to find them easily.
#15 - Pads
If you are at a level for which you are practicing a lot of jumps, it could be a good idea to wear protective gear.
Pads with foam or gel cushions reduce or eliminate shocks, pressure and rubbing.
You can protect your wrist, elbow, knee and butt.
Good accessories to have in your figure skating bag
#16 - First aid - Bandages & pain medication
Classic for any sport. It is a good idea to carry the basics such as bandages and pain medication. Gels for bruises and muscle pain are also a good idea.
If you suffer from asthma, make certain you have your medications and that your coach knows where they are.
#17 - Notebook
To take notes about your practice: what you did, your successes, what you learnt...
See all the ice skating notebooks on Zazzle. Like with those below, most can be personalized by clicking on Edit design and/or Personalize
#18 - Healthy snack
And something to eat after practice. I was always starving after skating!
For competition - figure skating accessories to bring with you
Dresses / Costumes / pairs of tights
I don't want to repeat things. Most practice figure skating equipment must also be taken to a competition, especially your skates (don't laugh, I still have a very strong memory of another ice skater crying on the parking lot of a rink because she had forgotten her skates...).
But you also have to bring your special competition clothes: tights and dresses / costumes.
Make sure you bring several pairs or tights as they tend to get damaged.
Small sewing kit with extra safety pins.
Skating costumes incidents happen quite frequently. I remember another friend whose dress attached behind her neck but the button snapped and.. you can imagine.
So, always carry a sewing kit and safety pins to fix any issue.
And I also recommend carrying clear nail polish to stop any runs in your tights (in case there is not enough time to change them).
Hair and make up
And don't forget all you need to do your hair and make-up. I recommend having a vanity bag that is dedicated to competitions. It carries all the items your need so that you never worry about missing something.
One with a mirror is a good idea, as there is little space for many competitors.
Copy of your music
Always have a copy of your music with you to practice off ice but also to give to the competition organizer in case something is wrong with the first recording.
Something to keep busy while waiting
With all the different levels, competition can be quite long, and you are on the ice only for a few minutes. You have to keep busy the rest of the time.
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