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Roller Skates 101

How to Maintain Your Skates

How to Maintain Your Skates

How to Maintain and Care for Your Roller Skates

A pair of skates should be a long-term investment, and with proper roller skate maintenance, they will bring you years of happy memories.

Here are the 3 most important things you need to do to ensure your skates are a gift that keeps on giving!

1. Store your skates properly

Wondering how to store your roller skates? When you are finished with a skate session, take your skates out of your carrying case as soon as possible. Your boots need to breathe in between sessions. Moisture is terrible for leather and suede and will also soften the glues that bind the boot to the outsole.

Store them indoors away from heat, cold, and sun. Never leave your skates sitting in the trunk of your car where they will be exposed to extreme temperatures and not able to air out properly.

If your boots get wet, leave them to air-dry naturally. You can loosen the laces and pull the tongues out to speed up the process and help them dry out more evenly

2. Treat your bearings to a spa day

In order to keep your bearings spinning freely and lasting longer, they must be maintained on a regular basis. Cleaning and lubricating are not the same thing. There are bearing cleaners and bearing lubricators, and it is important to be aware of the difference.

Bearings must be cleaned first and lubricated second. Why? If you lubricate your bearings before cleaning them, it will trap dirt and particles. Those particles are what destroy bearings.

So how do you clean roller skate bearings and wheels? Use Bearing Cleaner specifically formulated for bearings to get them sufficiently clean. If you do not have bearing cleaner, we recommend Mineral Spirits which are available at any home improvement, paint, or hardware store.

If the bearings are extremely dirty, the bearings should be washed/agitated in the cleaner several times until the liquid is no longer dirty.

It's very important to make sure the bearings are 100% dry before applying the lubricant and installing the shields. The heavier the lubricant the longer it will last, and you won't have to clean and lube your bearings as often. An example of a heavy lubricant is Bones Speed Cream.

When your bearings no longer spin freely and quietly, it’s time to replace them.

3. Keep your boots looking clean and fresh

No matter the material, the best way to keep your boots looking nice is to keep them dry!

If your boots are leather, give them a wipe down in-between uses, and every few weeks apply a good leather conditioner to keep the leather soft and protected.

If your boots are suede, we recommend applying a suede protectant to prevent the color from fading too quickly. Stains can be treated by dabbing the stain with a white cloth dampened with white vinegar or rubbing alcohol. If this doesn't work, we recommend using fine sandpaper on suede boots that are stained with grease, dirt or glue. If all else fails, many skaters will dye their suede boots with a special dye such as Angelus Suede Dye once the color starts to fade. It’s an excellent way to customize your very own skates and get creative with unique colors. 

For microfiber boots (such as the VNLA Parfait) a Magic Eraser works WONDERS!