Understanding the components of your skates and the lexicon of skate technology can help you care for your skates and ultimately lead to more efficient use . . . becoming a better skater! In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at understanding the skate blade so you can better care for your equipment.
Your foot slips into the “boot”, which connects to the “blade” via a “holder”. This systems puts the skater on two thin pieces of metal, which when used properly, can lead to incredible on-ice performance. Each skate blade is depicted in cross-section in Figure 1.
Notice that where the skate blade makes contact with the ice, there are two “edges”. Between the edges is a “hollow”. When the skate blade is perfectly vertical, both edges are in contact with the ice and is generally referred to as being on the “flats” or the “flat edge” by skating instructors.
Using Skate Blade Edges to Skate:
The weight of the skater together with the blade edges actually creates a thin layer of water, which fills the inside of the hollow, reducing friction between the two materials. This is why a good skater can glide, maintaining speed on the ice without expending much energy. Figure 2 illustrates how skate blades interact with the ice surface.
Learning to use the skate edges is the most fundamental of hockey skill development. The first step is to understand the skating instructor’s language. Figure 3 illustrates how skating instructors and hockey coaches will refer to the various edges.