Ice skates are the most important tool for the sports that require them. Whether you play hockey or figure skate, it is critical to keep your skates in top condition to perform your sport well. Skates are also often expensive, and taking good care of them will protect your investment while enhancing your time on the ice.
Keeping moisture off the blades when you are not skating will prevent your blades from rusting. When you leave the ice, wipe the blades with a towel to remove any moisture. Remember that anytime you go from a cool area to a warm area you will need to wipe any condensed moisture from you blades again. This could be when you go from the rink to the lobby, or from outdoors inside.
Whenever you are not on the ice but have your skates on, make sure you have blade guards covering and protecting your blades. Walking on hard surfaces like cement, asphalt, and rocks can dull and ruin your blades. By having a protector over the blade, you will not be exposing the blade to such dulling surfaces. Be sure to take off the blade guards before you store your skates. Leaving the guards on during storage allows moisture to get trapped by the guards, leading to rusting of the blades.
To protect the appearance and condition of the leather boot of the skates, you can purchase a boot guard. The boot guard will keep the blades from damaging the boot area when you are moving your skates around. The sharp points on figure skates can lead to unsightly nicks and tears in the leather boot area of figure skates. While boot guards may look awkward, they will keep your skates looking nice for time on the ice.
Keeping your blades sharp is part of keeping your skates in top performance condition. There is a little bit of a difference in how hockey and figure skates are sharpened. Hockey skates have a pretty straight bevel to them, while figure sates have a curve on the underside to give a nice edge. Be sure that you have your skates sharpened by someone who understands this difference and will sharpen accordingly. It is best to get your skates sharpened when you notice a slide when you land. Sharpening too often wears the blade down prematurely, and not sharpening enough affects your skating.
Be sure to replace laces when they are worn. Although not really a part of the skate, it could be dangerous to have your laces break while skating, and just inconvenient to have the break as you are lacing at the rink. Carrying an extra set of laces will help ensure you don't lose any time on the ice.