Low balance structure improves balance, control, and lateral support. Wheel and bearing combination blend speed and control effectively. Convenient closure system and comfortable padding. Ideal for novice and casual skaters.
May not be a comfortable fit for those with wider feet.
Inexpensive yet reasonably durable. Adjust to about a four-size variation with a simple button mechanism. Can also be worn by children and teens.
Some wearers found them uncomfortable. Liners are prone to slipping and bunching.
These rollerblades can adjust to fit. Smooth gel wheels and a soft comfort shoe. Decent quality for the price. Nice wheels and a good look on this skate make for an excellent value.
Users seem to have some problems with the shoe inserts; they don't adjust like the rest of the skate.
Good support on the ankles. Hard exterior for more protection of your foot. Wheels are replaceable and can be removed. Big wheels go fast.
There is no brake on these skates and no way to add one.
Built for performance, as these skates feature large hydrogen wheels that are fast and durable. Fit is both supportive and flexible. Unisex style can be worn by women and men.
Not a good pick for beginners, as the speed can be overwhelming. No brakes. Uncomfortable during the break-in period. Expensive.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Though they had their heyday in the late 1980s and early ’90s, inline skates or rollerblades (as most call them) are still a terrific way to have a blast while getting in shape. Easier to master than roller skates thanks to their sturdy, supportive design, rollerblades give you a low-impact workout that does wonders for strengthening your core and upper legs while improving your balance and coordination.
According to the National Museum of Roller Skating, inline skates were first invented in the 1760s and, later, became a way for Olympic skaters to keep up their skills when not on the ice. In the 1980s, the Rollerblade company perfected the heel brake and brought inline skating to the masses with skates in radical neon colors, which is why most of us still call any pair of skates with three to five wheels in a single line rollerblade.
Whether you want them for exercise, roller sports, or to reduce your carbon footprint, check out this shopping guide and our top recommendations to find the women’s rollerblades that best fit your needs.
Recreational skates vs. high-performance skates
Before purchasing rollerblades, customers should identify the kinds of skating activities they wish to do. Leisurely family outings, beachside cruising, or running errands around town are best to do with recreational skates, which have a higher cuff for support and are generally cheaper in price. Those needing rollerblades for competitive sports, workout routines, or simply a high-quality skating experience should consider investing in a set of high-performance skates. When checking out performance skates, look for a shorter cuff for mobility and bigger wheels for increased speed.
The rollerblade frame is one of the more important considerations when buying inline skates as it works to secure the wheels in their proper formation while attaching them to the boot. Recreational skates with an inexpensive price tag are generally constructed with a plastic frame, and this build will work fine for novice and leisurely skaters. As more speed and power is applied to the skate, however, the plastic frame will begin to twist underneath the pressure. For maximum stability, control, and durability in your skates, purchase a pair with an aluminum frame.
The most common measuring systems for rollerblade bearings is based on the ABEC system, a numerical ranking that grades the skates’ bearings on a scale of one to nine. Cheaper, recreational blades will typically have lower ABEC ratings from one to six, while high-performance skates will offer exceptional bearings at ABEC seven to nine. Be aware that not all bearings are measured with the ABEC system — some are ranked under the ILQ and SG models. However, all the rankings will share numbers similar to the ABEC system; lower numbers mean lower quality bearings, and higher numbers provide a higher-performance glide.
The construction of the boot is key to customer comfort. This includes the interior fabric layering, the shock absorption of the footbed, the thickness of the tongue, and the exterior lacing system. As with most things, the fit and overall comfort of the boot is largely determined by how much money a buyer is willing to spend. For serious performance, a form-fitting boot is best.
Rollerblade speed depends almost entirely upon one thing: wheel size. Generally, the larger the wheel, the faster the skates can go, as the longer circumference takes the skate farther in a single wheel rotation. The larger surface area does require more initial effort to accelerate the wheels up to maximum speed, but the extra push is worth the high-flying ease once you’ve gained momentum. Smaller wheels are easier to get rolling, but the wheels require constant push to maintain their speed. The fast pace of the larger wheels are must-haves for advanced skaters or roller sporting, and smaller wheels are typically ideal for recreational users.
Almost every part of a rollerblade is customizable, allowing for infinite self-expression in your skates’ design. Light-up wheels can be bought online and added to your favorite rollerblades, neon-colored frames can be acquired, and boots come in a variety of hues. If piecing together odds and ends of rollerblade parts isn’t your thing, try finding a pre-assembled rollerblade you connect with — ideally, the skates’ design should be something you’re proud to show off to your friends. Rollerblades come in all kinds of different patterns and colors, so finding a skate look you enjoy shouldn’t be too difficult.
Finding the correct fit is essential to comfortable rollerblading, and lacing mechanisms are imperative in determining the fit of the boot. A proper lacing system should keep your foot securely in the boot and should also mold the boot to the shape of your leg to prevent unnecessary wiggle room. There are different kinds of lacing systems, and the one you choose is strictly up to you. Some of the lacing systems available to skaters include shoelaces, buckles, and tightening knobs, though there are other forms of closure for different user needs.
Rollerblades can meet almost any budget with prices ranging from $15 to $600.
Inexpensive: Cheaper rollerblades can cost anywhere from $15 to $200. These models are best for beginners and leisurely skating. Rollerblades in this price range will usually come with a plastic frame, smaller wheels, a longer cuff, and a simple lacing system. Though these features will not be as fast or as durable as more expensive skates, the rollerblades in this budget should fit the needs of most recreational skaters.
Mid-range: Customers wanting a high-quality skate should go for a pair within the $200 to $400 range. These rollerblades are a fine purchase for most roller sports and are guaranteed to last for years. Mid-range skates will feature larger wheels, a shorter cuff, an aluminum frame, and a lacing system that fits snugly to the foot — an excellent option for those wanting a decent skate.
Expensive: Rollerblades of the highest caliber can be found for around $400 to $600, though there are many pairs that exceed $600. These top-of-the-line skates are a must-have for competitive skaters and professional roller sports. Remarkable mobility, fit, comfort, and speed will accompany skates at these prices, and they are sure to provide one of the smoothest glides available to skaters.
Rollerblades can be used for a number of activities, such as recreation, roller sports, or even your commute to work. In our initial selection we focused on high-quality recreational skates based on general consumer needs. However, we would be remiss to ignore a fantastic and wildly popular beginner’s skate, the Zetrablade Women's Adult Fitness Inline Skate by the renowned Rollerblade brand. The Zetrablade is loved for its sturdy frame and firm support, making the boot well suited for those learning to rollerblade for the first time. For rollerblades built to handle recreational sports, check out Roller Derby’s Women's V-Tech 500 Button Adjustable Inline Skate. This lightweight build offers an adjustable boot that works well for still-growing teenagers as well as a unique and stunning design to show off at your next derby event.
Q. Which is a better lacing system: shoelaces or buckles?
A. Depends on your needs. Laces are often cheaper and provide evenly distributed pressure for nearly universal comfort. Buckles are typically more durable, adjustable, and quick to secure, but some users find their stiff pressure uncomfortable.
Q. Am I allowed to skate anywhere?
A. Most outdoor public spaces allow for rollerblading, but be sure to check with your city before taking to the road — some districts, streets, and sidewalks have skating bans, and most indoor venues prohibit skating of any kind.
Q: Are inline skates and rollerblades different?
A: Essentially, no. Rollerblades and inline skates are basically the same product. However, Rollerblade is a famous brand whose name is commonly used in lieu of the term inline skates — much like how customers use the term Chapstick to refer to all kinds of lip balm. The official names for rollerblades and rollerblading in the skating world are inline skates and inline skating.