The WEAR Score provides basic information on all of the elements that affect the edge sharpness of an ice skater's blade.
It provides useful information when shopping for ice skates or trying to understand what may dull your blade so you can properly maintain your skates.
So what's your W.E.A.R. Score?
If I were to assume no one has ever asked you that question I would probably be right, correct?
Yet, in every skater's world, there is one consistent everlasting concern that always needs to be addressed and will never go away...
"Skate Blade A-Wear-Ness".
Enjoy Check Your Score Now With The W.E.A.R. Score Generator Tool
In the figure skating world, the most important piece of equipment that is cherished by every skater is undoubtedly... their skates.
And who can blame them?
Unlike hockey players who are "sticklers" (pun intended) about their sticks, gloves, helmets, shin guards, shoulder pads, and, oh yes.....their skates, figure skaters have only their one holy grail.... their ice skate blades.
At PolyGlide Ice we felt the time was overdue to address all the factors that contribute to ice skate blade wear (as we get asked this question quite often)..... so here we go!
What is The W.E.A.R. Score?
To draft an overall WEAR Score we needed to include the main factors that contribute to ice skate blade wear and assign a score to help paint a clearer picture.
There are multiple variants of each of these factors but we wanted to keep it simple for the average skater and parent to understand.
So, here's a quick simple summary:
- W: WEIGHT - The Weight of the skater
- E: EDGE - Edge blade metal (type).
- A: ABRASION - Abrasion Surface (skating surface)
- R: RINK HRS. - Rink Hrs (per week)
We feel these four elements have the most direct impact on the wearing down or dulling of ice skate blades.
There's really only one of the four elements that are controllable outside of the skater's weight which is the composition of the skate blade.
By configuring the skater's WEAR Score any person can decide on the proper skate blade options that may work best for the skater.
How do I figure out my W.E.A.R. Score??
As mentioned above, there are five key elements that directly affect how long your ice skate blade may stay sharp while in use; weight, edge, abrasion, and rink hrs.
Each of the five key elements is given a score of 1 through 5 that directly affects the final W.E.A.R. Score with 5 being the best (blade health) as follows:
- 0-50 lbs = 5
- 50-100 lbs = 4
- 100-150 lbs =3
- 150-200 lbs = 2
- 200 + lbs = 1
- TITANIUM = 5
- STAINLESS STEEL = 4
- ALUMINUM = 3
- TEMPERED = 2
- CARBON = 1
(Note: Add .5 for chrome-plated blades)
- FRESH CUT ICE = 5
- UNCUT OR POND ICE = 4
- INFUSED SYNTHETIC ICE = 3
- NON-INFUSED SYNTHETIC ICE = 2
- INJECTION-MODED SKATING TILES = 1
Rink Hrs. (weekly):
- 1-2 HRS., LEARN TO SKATE = 5
- 2-4 HRS., INTERMEDIATE = 4
- 5-7 HRS., JUNIOR = 3
- 7-10 HRS., COMPETITIVE = 2
- 10+ HRS., ELITE / SENIOR = 1
Take a minute to tabulate your overall W.E.A.R. Score using the 4 elements above to analyze blade exposure, sharpening frequency and what the proper blade requirements may be for any skater from beginner to advanced.
How is the W.E.A.R Score Useful?
We feel anyone looking to purchase ice skates or considering what type of blade makes sense for them may benefit from knowing their blade WEAR Score.
Especially now, given the high cost of skates, it's important for buyers to know what they can expect from their investment when it comes time to shop.
Here are a few simple examples of how the skate blade WEAR Score can be tabulated for active skaters and their families.
We highlighted 3 examples, all using a carbon blade for different skaters at different levels and sports:
Example 1 - Beginner (Recreational Skates):
If a parent of a young toddler (under 50lbs.) that's interested in learning how to ice skate at the local rink, wants to purchase them their first pair of ice skates they wouldn't have to run out and buy skates with a titanium blade.
A common carbon blade skate would serve that skater just fine and would still keep their W.E.A.R. Score above 3:
- WEIGHT (42 lbs) = 5
- EDGE (carbon) = 1
- ABRASION (cut/uncut) = 4.5
- RINK HRS (2) = 5
- OVERALL WEAR SCORE = 3.9
Note: Typical practice ice or "public session" ice can get cut up pretty quickly in which case you would use 4.5 as a more honest Abrasion Score. The same can be applied to any of the elements to attain a final score.
Example 2 - Travel Hockey Player (Hockey Skates):
An 89-pound male, Pee-wee travel hockey player asked Santa for a new pair of skates for Christmas and has his parents scrambling for the right ones.
At this age and skill level, the player already pretty much knows what they want, but a parent can get a good idea of how often they'll be heading to the Pro-Shop to get them sharpened if they go with the same carbon-type blade in Example 1.
Let's take a look:
- WEIGHT (89 lbs)= 4
- EDGE (carbon) = 1
- ABRASION = 4.5
- RINK HRS (6 )= 3
- OVERALL WEAR SCORE = 3.1
A skater at this level may want to consider going with a stainless steel runner (blade) which would bring their WEAR Score up to a 3.9 and would match that of the skater in Example 1.
Example 3 - Basic Novice Figure Skater (Figure Skates):
There's a good reason why figure skaters are very concerned about their skate blades, and if you look at how many hours they spend on the ice you'd know why.
While doing our research for this article we were amazed by how many hours figure skaters train at the higher levels and we totally understand the importance of skate blade wear.
For this example, we highlight a 14-year-old female, 105 lb, Basic Novice figure skater during the training season:
- WEIGHT (105 lbs) = 3
- EDGE (carbon) = 1
- ABRASION = 4.5
- RINK HRS (6 ) = 1
- OVERALL WEAR SCORE = 2.4
As you can, there's a reason why figure skaters have blade concerns given how many hours they practice and train each week on the ice.
A typical carbon blade is perfectly fine for a beginner, but will not hold up well with a more advanced skater throughout the training season and life of the ice skate.
You'll quickly find out that there are many options to consider when you start to search for figure skate blades.
What do I need to consider when buying ice skates?
With the overall high cost of today's hockey and figure skates, it would be helpful to know how many hours they will hold their edge between skate sharpenings.
We can guarantee you won't find that anywhere on the box.
While the original upfront expense may be less for a lower-cost skate with a carbon blade, you may also want to consider how often you will be paying for sharpenings.
If you prefer to spread out the cost throughout the season and have easy access to a skate pro or sharpener then that may be the ideal scenario for you.
Also, keep in mind if the skater has yet to hit their growth spurt, this may make the most sense as you will be shopping more frequently for ice skates, ice skate blades, and runners.
On the other hand, if you prefer to "bite the bullet" and invest in a higher quality skate due to limited access to the rink or a sharpener that may be the best bet for you.
What about the skate boot?
The design and composition of the skate boot weigh heavily on the overall price and strength of the skate.
Many figure skaters shop separately for their boots as there are so many different variations depending on the type of skater it applies to.
Hockey skate boots have also developed over the years, offering more lightweight, heat-molded materials and composites that can provide the lightest skate imaginable.
The truth is that there are ice skates available for any skater at any level but the old adage "you get what you pay for" rings true for hockey and figure skates as well.
Skaters need to be aware of all the elements that contribute to the dulling of their skate blades and what to expect from the gear they own.
We have this conversation frequently with skaters when they voice their concerns about skating on synthetic ice and how it affects their blades.
At this time we felt the moment was right for implementing a blade WEAR Score so our customers understand more about the health of their skate blade and what they can expect throughout the season.
I hope you found this article enlightening and please feel free to reach out to us directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback you may have about your own "blade wear" experience!