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That Smell (Skate Odor & Care)

posted Jan 31, 2015, 2:40 PM by Skate Doctor   [ updated Jan 31, 2015, 2:40 PM ]
“Ooooh that smell
Can't you smell that smell”


I don’t think Lynyrd Skynyrd was singing about hockey skates, but for the purposes of this blog, let’s assume he was.

Let’s face it. Feet can be fairly gross. Due to their proximity to your feet and because they’re at the bottom end of a sweaty athlete, skates can also be downright nasty. Trust us, we know! This moist, warm, dirty area is a natural breeding ground for bacteria and other undesirables.

Here are some tips for keeping your skates fresh (and your feet happy)…

Use a pair of skate socks. There are many different types on the market. Some are thinner or thicker than others; some have added protection through Kelvar or similar materials. My favorite is the Bauer Vapor Performance Sock. If you like a thinner pair of socks for that “natural” feeling, try a pair of Thinnies. At the end of the day, they all create a barrier between your foot and the skate boot, and they definitely absorb some of that moisture and sweat.

Take out your insoles after every skate. A layer of moisture becomes trapped between the insoles and the bottom of your skate. Coincidentally, this is also where steel rivets attach the blade holders to your skate boot.
Steel rivets + moisture = rust. Rusted rivets lead to weakened or broken rivets and loose blade holders. Not good! Also, remember to keep those insoles near your skates so that you don’t forget them when you’re packing up your bag again.

Air out your skates after every use. Yes, every single use. Take those skates out of your hockey bag, unlace them a bit, pull the tongues outward and hang them upside down (with the insoles out), preferably with the toes at the highest point. This not only allows the skates to air dry, but it also allows any excess moisture deep in the toe box area to drain down and out.

If things are still getting funky despite your best efforts, try a bit of baking soda, or invest in a sports deodorizing spray that contains silver. Silver inhibits the growth of bacteria, therefore stopping the problem at the root cause.

Lastly, pay attention to your feet. Treat and bandage any blisters or cuts and chat with your Skate Technician about any skate issues that may be leading to these problems. Staph or MRSA infections aren’t fun and will undoubtedly keep you off the ice; and nobody wants that.