Good wheels and frame. Comfortable padding that is vented to help keep your feet cool on hot days. Fast. Larger wheels help you go over debris and bumps more smoothly. A good way to start with speed skating. Good for going long distances.
These skates require a skill level that makes them not the best choice for beginners.
Lower boot, but not a speed boot height. Good value. Comfortable wear. Good fit to size. Decent quality for the money. Arrives on time. Younger skaters will be pleased.
The wheels seem to wear quickly on this model, particularly near the brake.
Hard boot offers great support. Liner is comfortable. Boot is well built. Delivers quickly. Has a good ride. Includes a brake. Includes laces and a double buckle.
These blades tend to run about a half-size small.
Wheels designed to hold up to heavy usage. Hard boot protects your feet and provides support. Beginner skaters will feel comfortable. Bigger wheels makes the bumps of regular streets and sidewalks easier to take.
There are no brakes on this model.
Good performance on this less expensive model. Well made. Provides good ankle support. Smooth ride. Locking mechanism works well. Comes with a brake. Designed to provide stability.
The wheels on these skates could be better. You may find yourself changing them out for better wheels.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
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.
The main factors that determine what activity a pair of inline skates is designed for are wheel size, boot material, and wheel hardness.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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