You are here: Home > HELP > Skate Buying Guide > Skating 101
We hope to help you with your questions.

Dear Skater,

Thanks for joining our web community of serious and casual skaters. This guide is intended to be a basic introduction to the world of roller and inline skating.

We've been in the skate business for more than 30 years - And we know it's a fun and great way to stay in shape.

We hope to be able to share our extensive experience and product knowledge in skating with you through our website.

Team Skates Dot Com

Wear The Right Protective Gear

Note: If you start out wearing protective gear you will learn more quickly because you will be confident and relaxed.

Here's a list of what you need to wear:

Skate Without Falling

Bend your knees so that when you look down at your toes your knees hide your view of them. This will lower your center of gravity so that you will be more balanced.

If you do lose your balance, stretch your palms forward touching the pavement first with your wrist guards, then your knee pads, and finally your elbow pads. These guards have plastic caps so that you will slide over the skating surface thus minimizing the impact of the fall.

When you start skating, find a place that is level and smooth like a roller rink, and has little or no traffic - like a parking lot on Sunday.

Skate Posture

Skating is squatting, meaning that when you skate your body should be as low as possible to the ground for maximum balance: knees bent and shoulders slightly forward. Hands are best kept low and in front.

Let's Go!

The easiest method to start skating is to walk like a duck, toes pointed out, heels together so that your skates are in a v-shaped position. Take a few steps, right, then left, then right. Gradually you will feel confident enough in your balance to let each step become a glide. Having the heels of your skates directly beneath your body allows you to put more pressure on the heel wheels, which propels you forward with each glide. Push from your heels to go forward with no pressure on the toes. (This means that when you push on your toes you will go backward.)

Stopping

Skate brakes are added to the back of the right skate. The California Skate Brake is designed for the roller skate while most recreational inline skates come equipped with a brake assembly attached to the right heel. The right leg is the power leg and power is what is needed to use the brake to the best advantage. For more about why the right leg is the power leg see PostureFLEX.com a website dedicated to the biomechanics of posture: Read inventor Lee Cole's Postureflex story, medical reviews, endorsements from skaters, other professional athletes and military personnel.

The success of braking depends on the skater's ability to put full pressure on the right heel brake. Just as in an automobile the brake pedal does not stop the car unless the driver PUSHES on it, so the skate brake won't stop the skate unless the skater puts full pressure on that heel. To practice braking, the skater should be gliding, shoulders slightly forward and knees bent. Glide with both skates parallel and close together as possible. Roll the right skate forward but not in front of, the left skate so the right heel brake is a little ahead of the left skate's toe wheel. Quickly lift the front wheels of the right skate and push downward on the heel brake - HARD. The more pressure applied to the brake, the quicker the stop. The beginner skater can use both hands to push down on the right knee to increase pressure on the right heel brake.

The California Skate Brake, an add-on to suregrip roller skate brakes, works exactly the same as an inline skate brake.

The 'T-Stop'

The T-STOP is an intermediate method of braking. In order to t-stop the skater must have the ability to glide for at least 20 to 40 feet on one leg. As you are gliding on the front leg, you lightly drag the other skate's wheels behind. Because the back skate is perpendicular (90 degrees) to the front, this method is called the T-STOP.

T-stopping can only be accomplished if the skater does not lean back on the rear skate, or use it to balance. The rear skate is like a parachute on the back of a jet landing on the deck of a ship - dragging to a stop. If you practice gliding on one leg with your body leaning forward parallel to the ground, then dragging the other foot perpendicular, this will stop you and not turn you around which happens when skaters put pressure on the wheels of the back skate.

The 'V-Stop' (Inline Skating)

Use the V-stop for braking if you are skating slowly. In the 'V' stop, you use both skates. Form a 'V' shape with both skates facing either forward or backward. You want to bring your skates converging onto each other, or diverging from each other, thus bringing about a slowing down and eventual stopping. This method works because the skater is pushing against the inside edges of the toe wheels when moving forward or the inside edges of the heel wheels when moving backward.

Skating Backwards

If you want to learn to skate backwards quickly and easily, then buy Richard Humphrey's "Backwards Skating" DVD on this site. No one can show you a method to skate backwards on roller or inline skates better than this DVD.

Practice

Skate lessons are only 2 percent of learning to skate. The rest is just doing it!

Choosing Skates (Inline Vs Quad Skates)

The type of skate you choose depends on what kind of skating you wish to do. For all-around fun and enjoyment in a roller rink quad skates (roller skates) are your best bet. This skate may also be used for outdoor skating especially if equipped with softer, stickier wheels. (As per pics below)

Roller Skates

Also know as: quad skates, 4-wheelers, sneaker style skates, traditional skates, rink roller skates

The wide wheel base of the quad roller skate makes it a more fun, stable and comfortable skate for general all-around session skating. Roller skates and quad skates are certainly once again gaining popularity in the roller rinks and in parks as opposed to the inline skate, which is built for speed and for going in a straight line.

Roller Skates in Ladies Sizing for outdoor skating Outdoor Roller Skates in Mens Sizing Indoor Quad Speed Roller Skates
Riedell 121 W Fitness Deluxe Oudoor Roller Skates Riedell 121 Fitness Deluxe Outdoor Recreational Roller Skates for Men - Custom Made Right Here! Riedell 711 Trac Quad Speed Skates for Indoor Race
Roller Skates in Ladies Sizing for Indoor Skating Roller Skates in Mens Sizing for Skating Indoors Roller Skates in Boys and Girls sizing for outdoor recreational and indoor rink skating
Riedell 117 W Mustang Indoor Roller Rink Skates Riedell 121 Century Powell Bones Super Elite Chicago 100 & 105 Kids Roller Skates

Roller skates may be also divided into the following categories:

Recreational Roller Skates

Recreational skates may start as low as $50 and go up in price to several hundred dollars.

Recreational skates are almost always high-top boots with a narrow wheel which is 57mm to 60mm in diameter. All of the skates will have double-action (dual cushions) which will allow the skater to make edges and turns easier. The plate (chassis) on this type of roller skate will be made of aluminum or a high impact urethane composition material.

Most commonly, an outdoor wheel is wider and softer than an indoor wheel in order to absorb the unevenness of the outdoor surface. The recreational roller skating boot also provides more ankle support.

Soft wheels are for skating outdoors while hard wheels are for indoor skating. The durometer (hardness or softness) of the roller skating wheel is measured by numbers. The higher the number, the harder the wheel. For example, an 78A durometer would definitely be an outdoor wheel. A 95A durometer would be an indoor/outdoor wheel. A 98A to 103A would be for indoor skating only.

*Please note: an indoor roller skate wheel cannot go outdoors but an outdoor wheel can go indoor!

Find some good value recreational roller skates here. (Choose from the sub categories.) The best way to find a bargain on a recreational roller skate is to buy a close-out or discontinued model—click here for our close-outs and discontinued models.

Outdoor Roller Skates

Outdoor skates can be either high-top or low-top leather shoes or tennis shoe (canvas) type skates. The best prices and values are in tennis shoe (sneaker) skates. Many women prefer these skates for aesthetic reasons

An outdoor wheel can be added to any indoor skate, whether speed skate or recreational skate, to make it into an outdoor skate. Wheels used outdoors should be made from high-impact and high-rebound urethane and should be from 62mm to 65mm in size.

Be aware that an outdoor wheel when used indoors requires more effort to maintain momentum—the outdoor wheels wheels will slow down your speed. And, make sure you get completely sealed precision bearings if you plan to skate outside

Many people like suede boots when skating outside because dirt can be brushed off from suede more easily than from normal leather. Consider outdoor quad skates if you want to skate on jogging trails and smooth roads.

Speed Skates - Jam Skating

Speed skates can be either quad skates or inline skates.

Kids like to go fast; speed skates are popular with teens and young adults for regular rink and social skating. Some skaters remove their toe stops and replace them with jam plugs. Jam skating and tricks are the fastest growing element of roller skating.

Most speed skates come with a low-cut shoe and a strap across the instep for extra ankle support. Also, the complete flap over the front of the skate and laces is most popular with jam skaters.

Speed skates use a wide 62mm, 95 - 98A wheel with an ABEC-3 to an ABEC-7 bearing. The plate is usually made of high-impact urethane material with double action cushions with an adjustable toe stop, which may be removed to install jam plugs. For normal speed skates, an ABEC-3 bearing is adequate.

Children's Skates

Children can learn to skate with toy or plastic type skates and vinyl boots; you can buy these at most sporting goods stores or online. They allow young children to learn to move slowly with wheels on their feet. It has been called 'walking on skates'.

Consider graduating your child to a serious quad skate as they become comfortable with slower skates. Children will have more fun when they move up to roller skates with real bearings that will allow them to skate faster than just 'walking on wheels'. Some popular models of children's skates

Children's roller skates cost between $25 to $100 and come with decent quality bearings, wheels and chassis (plate).

When ordering children's skates, we suggest you buy one size larger than their shoe size at the time of purchase to allow for future growth.

Artistic Skates and Figure skates (Ice and Roller)

You need specialized skates if you want to do freestyle skating, dance skating, or figure skating. They are as light as possible with smaller wheels that have a good grip and at least an ABEC-3 rated bearing.

They should have a soft, rubber toe stop that can be adjusted to different heights to allow the skater to maneuver off their toe stop to get maximum height on their jumps.

The freestyle boot should be somewhat rigid and firm to give the skater adequate ankle support for their spins and jumps. A leather boot is preferred due to it's support. The plate should be made of an aircraft type of aluminum or light weight titanium with a double action and adjustable pivot pin. Figure skates should be adjusted as tightly as possible to avoid any movement of the skate which is not willed by the skater. The freestyle artistic roller skater will use the same type of boots and models as a freestyle ice skater.

The highest durometer wheel is needed to get maximum roll from the effort. It is of up most importance that the skater be able to roll as far as possible with as little effort. In this type of skating the highest rated bearing is desired and has to be lubricated to roll as freely as possible.

Custom hand colored roller skates, large sized roller skates and custom roller skate sneakers

For those who like to a touch of uniqueness to their skates, we provide custom hand colored roller skates using a Riedell 121 full leather boot tailored the funky colors of your choice.

For men with larger sized feet [15 & 16] we have also have big and tall roller skates just for you.

If your feet is bigger than size 16 and you wanna have some skating fun send us your shoe and we will transform them into a pair of special roller skates for you. We can accommodate shoes up to size 24!



For live phone help between 9am to 5:30pm Pacific Time Monday - Friday
Domestic Sales 1.800.554.1235 Global Sales + 1.415.447.1800