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Skates and Skating Attire

While there's more to being a good skater than sharp blades and stylish accessories, using the proper equipment really does make a difference. The right equipment facilitates a skater's movement (and a coach's ability to see that movement), while keeping the skater warm in chilly rink conditions. Suitable equipment will also provide an important safety benefit - ill-fitting boots or inappropriate clothing can literally affect a skater's control on the ice.

The following equipment is strongly suggested to foster confidence and success:

Skates that fit properly are the most crucial equipment a skater can have. It is important to be personally fitted by someone familiar with skates, even if you purchase from a mail-order catalog. There are several places locally where you can buy quality skates, including two boot manufacturers. Snoopy's Gift Shop at Snoopy's Home Ice carries skates suitable for beginners and beyond. SP-Teri brand skates may be purchased through the Gift Shop, or you can get fitted at the SP-Teri home office location in South San Francisco ( for information). Harlick ( is another manufacturer located in the Bay Area, and several dealers in the Bay Area can fit you for skates made by additional manufacturers. Skaters can make appointments at these dealers to be properly measured and fitted for new skates.

Before buying skates, the skater and parent should talk to their pro for advice on the type of boot and blade appropriate for his or her skill level. Blades are generally sold separately from boots. Different blades/toe picks are required depending upon the type and level of skating. Used skates may sometimes be appropriate; ask your pro for information on how to purchase used skates.

For skaters - and spectators - dressing for the "weather" is key!

Skaters: It is important for every skater to dress correctly in order to be able to practice safely without restricted movement.

For everyone's safety, skaters must be very careful not to drop items from their pockets or from their hair onto the ice. Something as simple as a tissue or hairpin can cause a nasty fall.

Each skater should dress warmly in layers of clothing that can be removed as the skater warms up. Several thin layers are much easier to skate in than one bulky layer. Suggestions for practice attire include:

  • Pants with side zippers (so that they can be taken off over skates)
  • Two sets of tights - one with feet, one with no feet
  • Skating dress or skirt
  • Comfortable slacks or stretch (lycra) pants
  • Fitted T-shirt or turtleneck
  • Fitted sweatshirt, warm-up jacket, or shell
  • Skating sweater
  • Heavier jacket
  • More than one pair of gloves (in case one pair gets wet)
  • Fleece headband to keep ears warm, if desired

Skating attire for competition should relate to the music selected for the skater's program and be appropriate for the type of competition (e.g., costumes for artistic competitions are sometimes more elaborate and/or whimsical than costumes for technical competitions). Skaters should ensure that all beading and other attachments are secure and will not fall off onto the ice. Skaters can be disqualified if beads, hairpins, or other items are left on the ice, because they could cause an accident for subsequent skaters. See Testing for information regarding testing attire.

Parents and Spectators: Parents and siblings or guests should also remember to dress warmly for the ice rink. Gloves, boots, sweaters, or coats may be needed. Many parents bring blankets and hot drinks, especially when they watch competitions or exhibitions from the bleachers. The Warm Puppy Coffee Shop is a nice, cozy place to watch the skaters; but not all rinks have an area like this, so be prepared to bundle up when attending competitions at other ice arenas. Please remember that at Snoopy's Home Ice, all spectators - parents included - are invited to watch from the bleachers. However, standing at the railing and talking to skaters on the ice from the railing or the bleachers is not permitted.

Experience tells us that carrying the items listed below is helpful for skaters of almost all levels. (Some pertain primarily to girls, but most come in handy for everyone at one point or another!)

Practice Sessions, etc.: These items are suggested for inclusion in the skate bag or locker at all times.

  • Skates, both of them!
  • Program tapes or CDs
  • Extra laces
  • Blade guards
  • Towels for cleaning and drying blades
  • Soakers
  • Phillips and regular screwdrivers
  • Extra gloves, tights, socks
  • Jump rope
  • Layers of warm clothing
  • Safety pins, needle, and thread
  • Rubber bands and scrunchies
  • Extra screws
  • Bobbie pins and clips
  • Comb, brush
  • Ankle tape
  • Kleenex
  • Chapstick
  • First aid cream
  • Band-Aids
  • Ace bandage
  • Ziploc bags (for ice)
  • Small change for phone calls or snacks
  • Sweatshirt/change of clothes
  • Water bottle
  • Crash pads/knee pads
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Warm-up music
  • Tylenol or Advil

Competitions and Tests: Skaters should add these items to their bag for performance-type situations, such as competitions, tests, and shows.

  • Competition outfit and a back-up
  • Back-up music
  • Extra (new) tights
  • Warm-up outfit
  • Make-up
    • Foundation
    • Eyeliner
    • Mascara
    • Lipliner/lipstick
    • Powder
    • Eye shadow
  • Mirror
  • Hair spray
  • Curling iron
  • Thread, in color for outfit
  • Fabric glue
  • Healthy snacks and water
  • Polished skates!

Important Note: Although it's good to have everything you need readily available during a competition, it's also important to realize that competitions are often hectic, crowded environments where strangers may go unnoticed. Never leave valuables, such as car keys and credit cards, unattended in a locker room or elsewhere during a competition. If a skater's parent is not available to watch his or her valuables during competition, the skater's coach can usually hold the skater's wallet or purse while he or she is on the ice.

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updated 10/20/2003