Best Men's Rollerblades

Updated June 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

23 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
291 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best men’s rollerblades

Last Updated June 2019

Rollerblades, also known as inline skates, offer a fun form of cardio that can be done in your neighborhood, at parks, at indoor rinks, or at skate parks. Rollerblading is gentle on your knees as compared to running and is a great activity to enjoy with friends or family.

Inline skates come in two main varieties: soft-boot and hard-boot designs. Soft boots are more comfortable and better suited to beginners, while hard boots offer more control and are more durable. There are also inline skates designed for recreation, fitness, racing, and urban skating. Other factors, such as frame material and wheel size, can affect the feel and control of the skate. You should choose your Rollerblades based on the activities and sports in which you intend to participate.

If well cared for, a good pair of Rollerblades can last for years. Continue reading to learn more about the different components in Rollerblades and the primary factors to consider when purchasing a pair of skates.

Before you purchase a pair of inline skates, you should consider where you intend to skate. Large, flat paved areas are a great option for beginners.

Key considerations

The main factors that determine what activity a pair of inline skates is designed for are wheel size, boot material, and wheel hardness.

Wheel size

Rollerblade wheels range from 2.2 inches to 5 inches. Larger wheels tend to be faster and smoother, while small wheels allow you to quickly accelerate, decelerate, and change direction. As a result, different wheel sizes correspond to different types of skates.

  • Aggressive skates use wheels from 2.2 inches to 2.3 inches and are used for tricks and jumps.

  • Recreational skates use wheels from 2.7 inches to 3.5 inches, which allow for easy stopping, making these smaller wheels a good choice for beginners. Hockey skates usually fall into this range.

  • Fitness skates use wheels from 3.1 inches to 3.9 inches and are primarily used for cardio and traveling short to long distances.

  • Speed skates use wheels around 4.3 inches to 4.9 inches for covering long distances smoothly and quickly. Speed skates typically have five wheels rather than the standard four.

Soft boot versus hard boot

  • A soft-boot skate is better ventilated and more flexible, making them the more comfortable option. They are lighter and therefore better for covering longer distances.

  • A hard-boot skate uses mostly plastic or carbon fiber to create a rigid boot that is more responsive than a soft boot. The increased weight lowers your center of gravity and increases overall stability. These boots are also the more durable choice.

Wheel hardness

The hardness of a wheel can affect its grip, shock absorption, and durability. A durometer rating scale ranges from 0 to 100, but 68A is usually the softest option you will come across. Harder wheels are better suited to smooth surfaces like indoor tracks, while softer wheels are usually necessary for rough surfaces to absorb shock.

  • Aggressive skates use wheels from 88A and above.

  • Recreational and fitness skates use wheels from 78A and above. Wheels on the lower end are softer and will allow for more shock absorption, making them a good option for new skaters.

  • Speed skates use wheels of around 85A and above, as they are usually used on smooth indoor surfaces.

Wheel shape

The profile of inline skate wheels ranges from flat to round and narrow.

  • Flat wheels offer more stability and are preferred by aggressive skaters for their ability to stick landings.

  • Moderately flat wheels are more ovular in shape and are common in recreational skates for their wider surface.

  • Round wheels offer a more even amount of contact independent of the angle. While these create less resistance and thus more speed, they lack the grip of flatter wheels.

Three wheels versus four

Most inline skates have four wheels, which offers stability and smaller wheels.

Some skates have three-wheel designs, allowing for larger wheels, which tend to be faster. This setup is common in speed skates. Three-wheel skates are less stable and thus can be challenging for beginner skaters.

EXPERT TIP

Only wheels with a high durometer rating can be used outside without wearing rapidly, so make sure the skate you choose has wheels that suit your needs.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Skating in the rain is not recommended. Even soft wheels can lose their grip on wet pavement. Always wipe down your wheels and frame after skating in wet conditions.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Once you know what activities you will use your inline skates for and which type of skate is right for you, consider additional aspects such as the comfort of your boots and what liner style suits you.

Liners

Most Rollerblades come with built-in liners for added comfort and support. In some cases, you may want to purchase an additional liner to make the overall fit softer. A good liner can be crucial for covering longer distances.

Cuffs

The cuff is the uppermost part of the boot that supports your ankles. Cuffs are made of either plastic or carbon. Carbon cuffs are stiffer and more responsive and are typically found in more expensive boots.

  • Low cuffs allow for more range of motion, making them popular among speed skaters.

  • High cuffs offer more support and give you more precise control. These are common in aggressive skates and recreational or fitness skates.

Closure

There are a handful of closure systems to choose from, and most work in conjunction with another.

  • Lacing is the classic choice, allowing for easy adjustment to suit your preference.

  • Ratchet buckles are quick and convenient, and are typically paired with laces.

  • Hook-and-loop straps, commonly referred to by the brand name Velcro, are straightforward and easy to adjust. They also work well when wet. These are usually paired with ratchet buckles or lacing.

  • Quick lace or dial-and-loop systems both have cable that runs through the boot and can be easily tightened. Dial-and-loop closures work by turning a dial to tighten the cable. Quick lace systems work by pulling the cable, quickly tightening the whole boot.

Brake

Not all Rollerblades include brakes. When they do, they are typically located on the back of the right skate and can be easily switched to the left skate if need be.

Brake pads tend to wear out fairly quickly, so it’s a good idea to keep a replacement handy.

Frame

The frame is the part of the skate that houses the wheels. Frames play a key role in generating power and forward momentum, as they are the median between your boot and the wheels.

  • Plastic frames are inexpensive, but they are also heavy and not very durable. They can flex somewhat, which reduces the efficiency of energy transfer. As a result, these are common in beginner skates.

  • Aluminum frames are far stronger and lighter, and are usually found in mid-range skates. Aluminum is fairly durable and won’t flex as much as plastic.

  • Carbon frames are the lightest and most durable option, making them the best and most expensive type of frame available.
CAUTION

Wearing protective gear such as a helmet and wrist guards not only prevents injury but can also give you more confidence as you skate. Protecting yourself is particularly important when you are learning, as falls will happen.

Men’s Rollerblade prices

Inexpensive: Beginner skates usually range from $40 to $100 and typically have plastic frames and soft-boot designs. While they can be fairly comfortable, they do not match the durability and responsiveness of more expensive skates.

Mid-level: Rollerblades ranging from $100 to $250 may offer a variety of closure systems and come in soft- or hard-boot designs. The frames may be made of aluminum or carbon, and the construction of skates in this range tends to lend to a longer lifespan. This is a good range for those getting into the hobby who want skates to last.

Expensive: High end skates for $250 to $500 usually have carbon frames and quick lace or dial-loop systems for a convenient and secure fit. They may have low carbon cuffs as well and are often designed for speed skating or aggressive skating.

Tips

  • The bearings are the most important part of the skate when it comes to function. When they are starting to become loud or feel sluggish, you should disassemble the bearings, clean out dirt with a cleaning solvent, and lubricate the bearings before putting them back on your skates.

  • Most skates have a brake on the right foot. You should figure out what is most comfortable for you and possibly switch the brake to the other foot, if necessary.

  • Wheels will wear over time, even expensive models. To combat this, you should rotate your wheels as they start to wear down. There are a few common rotation patterns, but the most important thing is that the worn edge is faced outward as the most abrasion is done to the inside of wheels.

Other products we considered

While most of our top recommendations are Rollerblade brand inline skates, there are a handful of runner-up options that we love. For a soft-boot entry-level skate, the Roller Derby AERIO Q-60 Men’s Inline Skates are a great place to start and are quite affordable. The soft wheels provide good cushion, though they won’t work well outside and will wear down quickly. Customers love the accurate sizing of these skates, which makes them a good option for purchasing skates online. If you’re in the market for speed skates, the Epic Skates 125mm Engage 3-Wheel Inline Speed Skates have indoor-outdoor wheels that reach high speeds, and the single-piece composite boot is sturdy and highly supportive. These skates stand out for the added height the wheels add and just how comfortable they are with the padded liner.

Your inline skates should match your activities. Hockey skates will have very different wheels from racing skates.

FAQ

Q. Can you install larger or smaller wheels in your Rollerblades?
A.
Installing larger wheels is rarely possible, but with new spacers, smaller wheels can usually be installed. Usually, you should stick with the intended wheel size, however.

Q. What are the differences between men’s and women’s Rollerblades?
A.
While many Rollerblades are designed to be unisex, skates with the best fit and support are designed for men or women specifically. Men’s feet are wider on average, and the calf begins higher up the ankle.

Q. Are inline skates easier to learn than quad skates/roller skates?
A.
Because inline skates have a longer surface from heel to toe, they are generally more stable. However, some people are more comfortable with the smaller, wide footprint of roller skates.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Karen
    Karen
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer

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