Lets be honest, you can go without skate guards, I did for about 10 years, but that’s because I never realized the true benefit of a skate guard. Now that I use them I can clearly see an advantage to using them, and I do think they are worth purchasing (especially for only about $10-$20). Before I reveal the benefits of skate guards for hockey players, lets take a look at some vital info
- Price Range – $10 – $20
- Popular Brands – Elite, TuffTerry’s
- Different Materials – Hard plastic, Soft cloth
What is the benefit of skate guards for hockey players?
There are two major benefits when it comes to using a skate guard.
The first benefit comes with protecting your skate blades and edges from nicks and flat spots.
Every hockey player has (or will have) the experience of losing an edge (also known as blowing a tire). You go to make a tight turn, or stop, and your skates just slide out from under you. This is usually the result of damage to your edges.
There are a number of ways this happens. If you don’t have skate guards and throw your skates in your hockey bag any number of things could hit your blades and damage the edges. Things like your helmet, your cage, your other skate blade, etc. Your unprotected skate blades could also (but not too common) cause a rip in your hockey bag.
You can also lose an edge by walking around the rink and stepping on sand or pebbles, and especially by walking on cement (NEVER do that!)
The second benefit of skate guards comes with protecting your blades from moisture and rust. This benefit only comes with the cloth skate guards (which I recommend for hockey players) and ONLY if you wipe your blades down first to get most of the snow and moisture off.
If your blades remain wet they can get rust bubbles. This happens when rust penetrates the surface and then starts rusting from inside the metal. They are nearly impossible to get rid of and can wreak havoc on your skating.
What are the best skate guards for hockey players?
There are two major types of skate guards, hard plastic, and cloth. The hard plastic guards are mainly used for figure skaters and protect the blade while the skater walks from the dressing room to the ice surface. Hockey players only need these if they walk a lot in their skates.
The second type of skate guard are the cloth ones, which are used when you put your skates away (make sure you wipe most of the snow and moisture away first). The cloth material helps absorb moisture and protect your edges.
If you walk a lot in your skates – Use hard plastic guards
For storing skates in your bag – Use cloth skate guards or “Soakers”