This article is from the Recreational Figure Skating FAQ, by Karen Bryden with numerous contributions by others.
Waterproofing should be applied to the entire sole before the blades
are mounted, and reapplied periodically. If leather gets wet and can't
dry out, it starts to rot and then will not hold the blade's screws. A
variety of types of waterproofing are available at skate shops. Here
are a few ideas.
1. A sole enamel can be used. It comes in black and neutral. Depending
on the amount of skating you do, it may need to be reapplied monthly.
It will build up and occasionally must be sanded or scraped off, then
2. A variety of bees wax or similar wax-like products such as SnowSeal
are popular. They are applied then melted in with a hair dryer. Wax
must be reapplied more frequently than enamel but is very easy to use.
There is no sanding or buildup. After repeated use, the soles may
develop a grayish cast.
3. Another suggestion is polyurethane varnish thinned down so it soaks
into the fresh leather. Applied in many thin coats, it is said to
require very little follow-up maintenance.
4. Shoe polish is a very effective water proofer but must be used very
5. It has been mentioned that Harlick applies a waterproofing to new
skates at the factory which is very durable.
On white uppers, black streaks can be easily removed with a solvent
made for this purpose. Use a buff type liquid polish on white boots.
For black boots, use a black liquid or canned shoe polish.