Having rental skates at your facility is a great way to generate revenue. However when it comes to actually buying the rental skates for your rink many questions come up. When asking, "What do I look for in rental skates to tell if they are good or not?" or "what makes a durable rental skate?" Look no further than our 'Guide to buying rental skates'.
There are many aspects that you need to consider when buying rental ice skates. Before you do anything, I highly suggest ordering a sample before making the bulk purchase so you can personally feel and test out the rental skate.
When analyzing rental skates the first thing you want to consider is your customers, the people renting your skates. Typically, these are people who are new to ice skating or have very little experience ice skating. So, the first thing you want to look out for is how comfortable the rental skate is. A good thing to have is extra padding on the interior of the boot. You do not want people to come skating and have them only stay 20-30 minutes because their feet hurt. If this is the case they will skate once and never come back. The goal of having them rent skates is to enjoy their time on the ice and come back with friends the next time because of their enjoyable experience. If the skates are comfortable then the skater is comfortable and now you have a higher chance of them staying longer and returning to your rink.
The second aspect to consider when buying rental skates is the ice skates’ durability. First we will start analyzing the skate at the blade and work our way up the ice skate. The blade should be 3.5-4.00mm thick, this is the ideal width for balance and sharpening purposes. In addition, there should be a triple weld connecting the blade to the blade plate. You can tell if there is only one weld if there is a little gap or line between the blade and the blade plate.
A triple weld helps secure the blade to the plate for a much longer time and can endure much more pressure.
Next is the outsole. This is where you want to pay attention to the heel of the boot. Many times with traditional outsoles the boot will separate from the outsole in the heel area. This is due to people not untying their skates all the way before taking them off. Over time with continuous pressure the boot will separate. Ideally, you want an outsole that rides up the back of the heel further than a traditional outsole. This will allow the boot to be less affected by kicking ones foot out of the ice skate.
Ankle stabilization is probably the number one most important aspect of the ice skate boot. Due to the fact that most people using rental skates are novice skaters, they typically have a tendency to not tie their skates tight enough or their natural tendency is to bend their ankles inward while skating. This causes the inside of the boot to bend and over a period of time the materials (what is called a chemical sheet) will break down. This will cause your sidewalls to be very soft and will not hold the skater up, making it extremely difficult to skate and eventually you will have to discard of the skate. You want a skate that is very stiff in the ankle area, so this is why it is important to order a sample first to test out which rental skate is the most stiff.
EASY LACE SYSTEM
Lastly, the thing to look for is an easy lace system with hooks. Most rental skates have this system but some of the classic rental skates have eyelets that lace all the way up the boot. I would steer clear of these for a few reasons:
When you have to lace a skate all the way up the ankle, it is extremely hard for novice skaters to lace up correctly and not to mention a pain to take off. Most likely they will not unlace the skate all the way before trying to take the skate off. This pressure will cause the heel of the boot to separate from the outsole. These skates are also extremely difficult to use with children. The easy lace system definitely helps with this.