Buying Roller Skates
A Quick Guide to purchasing Roller Skates for yourself or others. We take you through the vast category to make it all make sense and give you the short cuts to get to special pages that can be just what you are looking for.
You are an individual
We support all kinds of skating needs here at skates.com. We also support you, the skater, with in your individual skate identity. Some people may think that a roller skate is a roller skate but we know all well the variations needed to make your skate experience just right. We start with selling all types of roller skates and arranging them in categories by brand or purpose. Even if you don't know all the technical lingo of skates, you can find what you need by reading this article.
What is in a name?
Sometimes it is a certain brand's look that attracts a group of skaters to sport a certain look. Sometimes it is just the way you tie your skate laces or type of wheels and accessories. For example people love Chicago skates for the name and affordability and people may choose Riedell boots with Sure-Grip components for quality. Both can still have the same look on the outside with a certain color wheel, laces or skate rims.
If you are just starting out, you may not want to make a huge investment in top level skate boots at first. You definitely want to invest the money on your initial order in protective gear, wheels and bearings. At skates.com we upgrade certain models right out of the box to include better wheels and skate bearings. This can greatly improve your experience immediately. Spending $40-$60 now on upgrades will make you so much happier when you get your skates AND also in the long run because you can simply put those wheels onto your next pair of skates.
Of course you probably have a specific budget in mind. Some brands do offer decent skates right out of the box for an affordable price. If you are buying for the whole family, you may just want to get everyone on skates at first but do remember that first impressions are everything. Having skates that glide to one side or do not roll well can be a disappointment for everyone.
Another big plus is that skates.com mechanics do a 10 point inspection process on upgraded skates to make sure your skates are adjusted properly for safety and precision. I recommend Chicago Skates in the $69-$149 price range. In addition we have a starter skates section that meet the recommended specs mentioned here.
Where will you be skating?
I would recommend different skates depending on WHERE* you are going to be skating. The keywords are "indoor" or "outdoor” refer to the difference in the hardness of the wheels. The durometer (hardness or softness) of the roller skating wheel is measured by numbers. The higher the number, the harder the wheel. This number always has the letter "a" after the number. Indoor wheels range from 85a to 103a durometer. Outdoor wheels range from 78a to 85a.
*Please note: an indoor roller skate wheel cannot go outdoors but an outdoor wheel can go indoor!
What if it doesn't say?
Indoor is sometimes reference by the keywords "Jam" "Speed" "Artistic" "Rhythm" "Rink" "Track" "Bones" "Zoom" "Fomac"
For Outdoor, alternate keywords are "Aerobic" "Quadline' "Krypto" "Motion" or "Zen"
Which Skate Brakes and Toe stops are for what?
Roller Skates come with two different size toe-stop bolts 5 /16" or 5/8". The easiest way to differentiate the two is by this: 5/16" mounted stops are mostly for outdoor skates. 5/8" mounted toe stops are often height adjustable and for indoor. The outdoor type are called "Bell stops" because of their shape and mount flush to the skate plate. Indoor stops are called "Artistic" or "Speed stops". Round stops can be aimed in any direction while square or half round shaped stops have to be aimed forwards. Stops are designed so the angle is flat on the floor when you put your toe to the ground but can wear down so it is always great to buy some extras to have on hand.