Roller Skate Buying Guide
Are you new to roller skating and unsure what to look for when buying roller skates? Then, you've come to the right place. Whether you are a first-time buyer or looking to upgrade your skates, buying skates can be an overwhelming process. Not to worry, in this guide, Skates.com breaks down everything you need to know when you shop for your next pair of skates.
What to Know Before Buying Skates
Roller skates, also known as quad skates, have a wider base, making them easier to stand and balance on. They also feature a front toe stop, which can be daunting if you're accustomed to inline's heel stops, but fear not! With a bit of practice, you'll find that roller skating unlocks an entirely new world of skate possibilities.
Because of this, it's important to know what skate style piques your interest the most when purchasing your first pair. There are several different categories to choose from, including artistic, jam, derby, speed, and rhythmic skating, all of which have different equipment requirements.
What are the Different Roller Skating Styles?
There are several different categories of roller skating to choose from, including artistic skating, jam skating, derby, speed skating, and rhythm skating. For example, one category might call for more support and have a high boot. In contrast, another will call for a low-cut boot for quick acceleration. Of course, having the right kind of roller skates will also help prevent injury.
What Roller Skates are Best for Beginners?
A beginner skater should opt for a high-cut boot that will offer durability and support while learning basic movement and techniques. Beginner boots are usually made out of synthetic material and feature wheels approximately 58mm with a durometer rating between 78A and 82A depending on usage. Plates are frequently made out of aluminum which offers adequate performance without compromising an accessible price point.
It's common for beginner skates to have adjustable toe stops to grow with your skill level. For example, lower toe stops will help you brake more quickly, while a toe stop that's higher to the base of the foot will enable you to brake without obstructing your skate flow. Eventually, as you become more advanced and explore different styles, you may forgo toe stops altogether.
Should You Buy Roller Skates a Size Bigger?
Most brands offer skates in full sizes only. However, unlike inline skates, where a relatively snug fit is preferred, you may need to size up to find the right size quad skates. Skates that are too tight can quickly become painful, which can shorten your time on the rink.
If your skates are too big after sizing up, we recommend inserting insoles or wearing thick socks to create a more firm fit.
What should I look for when buying roller skates?
If you're looking for something more custom than a classic skate profile, you may want to look at the individual skate components. Below, we'll go into greater detail to help you create a more individualized skate experience.
Hard-boot vs. Soft-boot
Skate boots are a crucial component to the skate and offer different benefits depending on usage. For example, hard boots offer excellent ankle support and are more durable.
Soft boots, although widely available, are typically reserved for a casual skater. Although an experienced casual roller skater may be inclined to try soft boots for comfort, they may offer less support for first-timers.
High vs. Low boot
In addition to material, there are also considerations like high- and low-cut boots. Low-cut boots are great for a skater looking to gain fast acceleration for activities like jam, speed, and roller derby. On the other hand, high-cut boots are best for rhythmic, artistic, and outdoor usage.
Roller skates utilize wide wheels to distribute weight across the base of the foot. There are two main categories of skate wheels: soft wheels and hard wheels.
The wheel's durometer rating helps categorize whether it is soft or hard; the higher the rating, the harder the wheel. It's typical for indoor wheels to have a hardness rating of 88A-102A, while outdoor wheels range from 78A-85A.
Softer wheels will have more grip and shock absorption but require more energy to keep up the momentum. Conversely, harder wheels have less grip but maintain higher speeds with less effort.
In addition, larger wheels will also offer less acceleration but go faster for a longer period, whereas smaller wheels will accelerate quickly but lose speed over long distances.
Bearings are what keep wheels spinning properly. Bearings are typically made out of metal and utilize the ABEC rating for manufacturing precision. The higher the rating on the 1-9 ABEC scale, the greater performance you're likely to experience with your bearings.
Trucks and Plates
The roller skate also features components called trucks and plates. The trucks attach to plates that are fixed to the bottom of the skate. Trucks are typically 50mm, but wider trucks are often used to perform tricks because they distribute weight and offer better surface stability.
Quad Skates & Outdoor Skating
Quad skates can be used outdoors, but make sure that you select soft wheels that will manage uneven terrain more easily.
A Word on Safety Gear
Both new and advanced skaters should invest in protective gear. Wearing protective gear like knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, and helmets will help reduce injury during a fall. It's crucial to invest in protective gear for kids to avoid serious injury.
Ready to Shop for Skates?
If you're eager to buy skates, we've got you covered. Whether you're looking for a healthy activity or want to show off your moves dancing on four wheels, roller skating is an activity that's fun for the whole family. At the skates.com shop, you can find brands of new and used skates at a great price.
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