If you are currently shopping around for a pair of roller blades, either because you are looking for an addition to your exercise routine, or you think it looks fun, the following article will provide you with all the information you need to know about these products to get a great pair for yourself.
You first need to make sure you are getting skates made from good-quality materials. There are no “best skates” because much of it is personal taste, but you should always get ones that match your skill level. In the following section, we will give you some recommendations based on your experience and comfort level.
- 1 Key facts
- 2 Ranking: The best roller blades on the U.S. market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about roller blades
- 3.1 What are roller blades exactly?
- 3.2 What components does a roller blade have?
- 3.3 What protective gear should you wear when roller blading?
- 3.4 What types of roller blades are there?
- 3.5 How should you look after roller blades?
- 3.6 What is my size for roller blades?
- 3.7 How do you choose roller blades for kids?
- 3.8 Are there different roller blades for men and women?
- 4 Shopping criteria
- 5 Summary
- Rollerblades are much more than simply a handful of wheels under your feet. They also need to be supportive of your ankles and fit comfortably while allowing you to move forward with ease.
- When getting your rollerblades the official size on the tag is not as important as how they feel on your feet.
- It is always important to wear the proper protective gear when you roller blade: helmet, knee and elbow pads. Your safety comes first.
Ranking: The best roller blades on the U.S. market
Below we have put together a list of the five best roller blades on the U.S. market. Whether you are looking for roller blades as a way to improve your cardio, or you need something to help you get from point A to point B faster, there is bound to be something on this list that appeals to you.
No. 1: Bladerunner – Advantage Pro XT
Bladerunner’s Advantage Pro XT is a men’s inline skate that comes in a sleek black and green design. This is an entry-level skate that is made to introduce newcomers to the sport and provides good value for your money. Many skates designed for intermediate and advanced rollerbladers are not designed to provide much support to the feet, but these make sure beginners’ feet have all the support they need to learn properly. There is also an adequate amount of padding inside so these skates are not hard on your feet.
The composite frame has a shell on it to provide a low centre of gravity so that learning is easier. The 80mm front wheels sport ABEC 7 bearings which let you roll effortlessly, and make cruising and bursts of speed easy, while not being excessive. The composite frame is also great for shock absorption. As you learn the ropes with these skates, you can be confident that a little wear and tear, including some bumps and scrapes, are not going to do much.
No. 2: Rollberblade – Zetrablade Men’s Adult Fitness Inline Skate
Zetrablade Men’s Adult Inline Skate by Rollerblade is roller blade is another great entry-level skate made to help newcomers feel more comfortable and confident. It is also a great skate for budget-conscious casual skaters too. The inner performance liner is a nice touch because it makes your foot feel more secure, especially while taking turns. The 80mm 82A wheels are a great option for learning because they are a nice compromise between comfort and speed.
The robust monocoque frame has an integrated shell for a lower center of gravity and better handling. It comes in sizes 7 through 13 and the majority of purchasers indicate that this blade fits exactly as they expected. If you are looking for an easy, affordable way to get into the sport, and a great addition to your exercise routine, the Zetrablade Men’s Adult Fitness Inline Skate is well-made using good components, offers great protection, while not babysitting you too much.
No. 3: Otw-Cool – Adjustable Inline Skate for Kids and Adults
Otw-Cool’s Adjustable Inline Skate for Kids and Adults is exactly what it sounds like: a skate that can be worn by people of all ages. The adjustable sizes make this a great roller blade to have in homes with many people because it can be worn by different family members. These are especially entertaining roller blades for kids because the wheels light up with 8 different lights, making them fun for evening roller blading. Comfortable and sturdy, these are the perfect affordable roller blade to have lying around.
The comfortable, durable design features 82A PU smooth wheels and ABEC-7 bearing for smooth movement that still provides an ample amount of control. Since these are a family-friendly blade, they are made with safety front and center. Standard laces, Velcro straps, aluminum frame and a high strength buckle help keep your feet and ankles secured, minimizing the chance of spills. They come with a nice carrying bag so you can take them to the park, to school etc.
No. 4: Roller Derby – AERIO Q-60 Women’s Inline Skate
Roller Derby’s AERIO Q-60 Women’s Inline Skate comes in grey/purple, white/blue and purple and women’s size 6-10. They feature a nice soft boot design with memory foam padding for an extra comfortable skate every time. The locking cam-lever buckle provides great added security on top of the Velcro strap. The aluminum tri-coil frame and torque retention system evenly distributes the force and pressure on your foot so that you don’t finish your session with aches and pains.
The 80 mm elite speed wheels feature Bevo Gold-7 race bearings, so you get efficient, fast movement. Remember that it is ok to have a bit of room at the front of the blades. Like an ice skate, you want to be able to move your toes around a bit. Also, remember to make sure your heel is all the way back in the boot before lacing them up to ensure you get the most comfortable fit. All in all a great affordable woman’s roller blade that is well-made and looks nice.
No. 5: Liku – Black Professional Roller Inline Skates
The Like Black Professional Roller Inline Skates are made for intermediate to experienced roller bladers and feature a staggered wheel lineup of 76-80-80-76 for maximum speed and control. These blades give you an amazing amount of grip so you feel like you are hugging the terrain more at top speeds. The lining is EVA elastic cotton which give you great cushion, great plasticity, and they breathe exceptionally well. The triple protection strap, lace, and buckle system keep your foot fully secure and stable the whole time.
Another nice feature of this roller blade is the heel shock absorbers which keep your feet insulated on less even terrain. They also come with a few nice extras, especially if you are trying to learn advanced manouvers, including slalom cones, a brake, and ankle support socks. You should take care not to use these roller blades on steep hills without adequate room to come to a rolling stop, and don’t use them on gravel as the wheels were not designed for that.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about roller blades
If you have just gotten into roller blading, you will soon discover that there are some things to know if you want to get the best equipment possible. We will try and provide you with all of the necessary information. In the below section we have answered some of the most commonly asked consumer questions.
What are roller blades exactly?
Generally speaking, roller blades are used for inline skating on concrete and other flat surfaces. A roller blade is an adjustable platform fixed to a boot, mounted on wheels or on a sheet of metal with an edge depending on whether it is intended for use on a hard and smooth surface or on ice. In many cases, the back of the shoe behind the wheels has a rubber stop used to help brake.
What components does a roller blade have?
A roller blade has basically five primary components: the boot, the guide, and the wheels. Each of these has certain specific characteristics depending on the style of skate, though there are some universal features. Below we describe each part of a skate so that you can know everything you need to know about these handy items.
|Boot||Generally high in order to give support to the ankle and usually have a joint to allow the ankle to flex.|
|Booty||The part inside the boot to make it more soft and comfortable as well as being removable for easy washing.|
|Sole||Made from carbon fibre or a range of plastics.|
|Guide or chassis||This is the part of the skate which joins the wheels to the boot, can weigh between 160 and 220 grams and be between 230 and 325mm long.|
|Wheels||The bigger they are they more speed they allow. Hard wheels are faster and more durable.|
|Cuffs||This is the part of the skate which gives the most support.|
What protective gear should you wear when roller blading?
There are various protective items you need to wear while roller blading. These include knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, and a good helmet. The more intense your skating, the more protected you should be. If you are new to skating and are going slow just a helmet and wrist pads should be enough. If you are hitting jumps and reaching high speeds, you will need all of the aforementioned gear.
What types of roller blades are there?
There is a wide range of roller blades out there and they all have different features for different kinds of skating: Fitness, free skate, freestyle slalom, aggressive, artistic, hockey, downhill, speed, off-road. In the following sections we will cover the characteristics of each.
|Fitness||Intended for basic skating|
|Freeskate||Recomended for learning technique and for training in disciplines such as tricks, jumps, slalom and hockey|
|Slalom||Designed specifically for slalom|
|Aggressive||More robust and heavy. Will withstand falls|
|Artistic||Although it is usually done with traditional skates, there is also figure skating with roller blades|
|Hockey||For playing hockey, designed for grip, sharp turns and speed changes|
|Descent||Suited to high speeds. Have 5 wheels and a higher boot|
|All-terrain||Have pneumatic wheels and can be used on any kind of surface (grass, dirt or asphalt)|
How should you look after roller blades?
Roller blades are easy to maintain, but they do have some maintenance and special materials required. To keep the exterior of your skates clean, a cloth with soapy water is sufficient. You can use this on the boots, the wheels and the guides.
Many coverings and shoe liners can be washed in the washing machine but to make sure they’re protected it is advisable to first put them in a pillowcase. The best thing you can do, however, is to wash them by hand in cold water. After they have fully dried disinfect them and apply deodorant if necessary. You should take the wheels off the guide to really get at them thoroughly.
What is my size for roller blades?
It is important to choose the right size. The best thing you can do for your feet is to try your skates on and make sure they fit properly. You can also measure your foot and add between .2 and .4 inches to make sure you get the correct size.
How do you choose roller blades for kids?
If you want your kids to get into roller blading as both a sport and a healthy lifestyle the famous Skating School of Barcelona recommends starting them around four-years-old. Even though you might see younger children (as young as 3) skating, most children this young don’t have the strength or coordination to really do it well.
Most brands of roller blades have adjustable children’s skates that can go up by three or four sizes. This lets to continually adjust the skate as your child grows and you only have to buy them once.
Are there different roller blades for men and women?
Roller blades are made for both men and women and are tailored to fit the different gender foot sizes, so there is always something out there for you.
For example, roller blades for women offer a slightly tighter fit and a shorter sleeve. Skates for men in turn have a wider boot shape to fit the male foot better.
Conversely, roller blades designed for male feet tend to have wider shoes and sometimes feature certain additions that are made to be more appropriate for male physicality and physical traits.
The U.S. market for roller blades is incredibly large. This is ultimately good for consumers because it means there is always something for everybody, and finding good value for money is possible. Knowing how to choose the right one, however, can be a challenge, which is why we have put together the below list of shopping criteria you can apply to find a good pair.
- Type of skating
- Level of skater
- Interior lining
Type of skating
Different styles of roller blading need different skates. Fitness, racing, urban, and recreational roller blading are the most common types. Knowing what you are using them for is the first consideration.
Level of skater
The experience and skill level of the roller blader is another important consideration. We all start as beginners and gradually progress and get better as time goes on. Skates made for newbies tend to have smaller wheels and brackets. As your skill level increases, the skates begin to feature different components and designs.
You also want to be aware of the differences in materials when it comes to roller blades. There are a variety of materials and combinations of materials. Plastic, leather, and carbon fiber are three of the most common.
You will need to factor in the interior lining of your blades as well. If the lining fits poorly, it will not be very secure. Below are the primary characteristics of each type:
|Standard||Made from foam with ample cushioning|
|Auto-Fit||Feature gel cushions and fit to your foot.|
|Memory Fit||The gel used in manufacture adjusts to the shape of the foot|
|Heat malleable||Adapts to the foot, changing shape with heat and only available at speciality stores|
The quality of the sleeves is directly correlated with the amount of speed and power you can generate. They also faciliate longer skating sessions. There are generally two kinds of sleeves out there: carbon and plastic ones. Below is a brief breakdown of each one.
|Standard||Made from foam and have a lot of cushioning|
|Auto-Fit||Have gel cushions and auto-adjust to the foot|
|Memory Fit||The gel used in manufacture adjusts to the shape of the foot|
|Heat malleable||Adapts to the foot, changing shape with heat and only available at speciality stores|
|Plastic||Usually found in beginner skates. Durable and resistant|
|Carbon||Used on speed and road roller blading|
There are several kinds of fastenings including cord, buckle, Velcro, lace and boa. Below is a breakdown of each.
|Standard Laces||The original way to secure roller blades||Gives a better ankle fit|
|Buckle||Usually included with laces||Are more comfortable when lacing them up|
|Velcro||Simple to close||Help maintain correct ankle position|
|Quick lacing||Features a small strap which wraps around the boot||Are more comfortable to fasten|
|Boa||A small wheel which fastens or loosens the skate by turning it||Gives a uniform fit across the boot|
The quality and sturdiness of the frame are two of the most fundamentally important features of a roller blade. The frame type is what allows you to create more or less power, and the sturdiness allows for higher speeds. Frames are usually either aluminum, plastic, or carbon.
|Plastic||Are usually heavier which makes the skate heavier||Less expensive|
|Aluminium||Are lighter||Are more expensive|
|Carbon||Light and resistant||Used by professional skaters|
Most of the old school skates used plastic wheels, but now they use polyurethane, a strong, resistant rubber that grips well. Some other mix polyurethane with butadiene to make them more shock absorbent. These are the highest quality wheels, and therefore the most costly. Different styles of roller blading also demand different kinds of wheels.
|Type of skating||Hardness||Diameter|
|Beginner fitness||80-85 A||72-80 mm|
|Advanced fitness||80-90 A||80-90 mm|
|Hockey||74-78 A||72-76 mm|
|Speed||83-110 A||90- 110 mm|
|Aggressive||84-95 A||47-64 mm|
|Freestyle||80-88 A||72-80 mm|
Your fixings influence how fast you cand go and how your technique develops. Fixings are there to cut down on the friction produced by spinning wheels. They tend to be similar in most skates, so base your decision on what you feel most comfortable with.
While most good roller bladers know how to slow down without relying too much on their manual brakes, it is still incredibly important for learners. Most beginner skates have a brake behind the wheels, although there are some that do not.
|Brakes for free skating||Larger surface area and are adjustable height, made out of natural rubber and elastomer.|
|Brakes for beginner skates||Cone-shaped and non-adjustable, they are made from injected polyurethane and have a conical shape. Not well suited for jumps, meant to slow you down as a beginner.|
Whether you are looking for roller blades as a form of transportation, to get into as a sport, or just as additional exercise, there are many reasons to get a pair. If you are new, the best thing to do is start with something uncomplicated and work your way up to things like freestyle and slalom skating.
Once you have mastered the turn, the brake, the slide, skating backwards and changing direction, you can start experimenting more with different styles of roller blades. With that in mind, the roller blades we have presented to you in our above list are made primarily with beginner skaters in mind.
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(Source of the featured image: Kaspars Grinvalds: 46645210/ 123rf.com)