12 Best Inline Skates (July 2020): Most Durable & Stylish Models for Men, Women & Kids Reviewed After Week-Long Field-Testing (Sizing Chart & Buyer’s Guide Included)
I would watch the inline skating on TV with my jaw nudging my knees, it was an absolute art form. Mathilde Pedronna, Sandrine Tas; they just dropped on Earth to tell us, little people, that achieving something takes a lot of gumption. Skip, jump to a game, I was watching a patchy broadcast on my ship of the European Championship playoff 2019, the athletes were from France vs Belgium. The speed, the precision of it all was mesmerizing. Human endurance here is a given; the kind of skates they have on is the key.
So, today, yes you've guessed it right! We'll be reviewing some of the best inline skates that money can buy. As independent reviewers, there is little benefit from waxing about the products when our goal is to guide potential buyers of the product. For us, you come first. You are not bothered about reading about the features of a product, that is available on the manufacturers’ website or all the cool stuff it can do.
What You Will Get Here
- Best Inline Skates Comparison Chart (Updated 2020)
- Why Trust Us
- Our Selection Process
- Our Top 12 Best Inline Skates
- Best for Women
- Best for Men
- Best for Kids
- Best Adult Unisex Models
- Other Notable Brands & Tested Models
- How to Choose the Correct Size for You?
- Inline Skates – A Comprehensive Buying Guide
- Care & Maintenance Tips
- Safety Tips
- Final Words
Best Inline Skates Comparison Chart (Updated 2020)
Roller Derby Women's V-Tech 500Read Full Review
Bladerunner Pro XTRead Full Review
Roller Derby AERIO Q-60 Women's InlineRead Full Review
Rollerblade Zetrablade Fitness Inline SkateRead Full Review
Rollerblade Zetrablade Men's Adult Fitness SkateRead Full Review
Roller Derby AERIO Q-60 Men's Inline SkatesRead Full Review
Bladerunner Advantage Pro XT Men'sRead Full Review
XinoSports Adjustable Kids Inline SkatesRead Full Review
Roller Derby Girl's Stinger 5.2Read Full Review
K2 Skate Boy's RaiderRead Full Review
LIKU Black Professional Inline SkatesRead Full Review
5th Element ST-80 Urban Inline SkatesRead Full Review
Why Trust Us
Scooterlay has been recognized as one of the most reliable online reviewers of skates, scooters, and related gear. That's because we dig in pretty deep into the products we present. Consider us as independent ombudsmen whose overriding cause is that you get the best deal when you step out in the quest of the best models of skates and scooters, we can definitely aid you to zero in on.
Needless to say, we don't promote any particular product or brand, instead, objectivity defines our approach. We bring facts to our readers, so they can decide which product they should get.
Our Selection Process
We went down deep to dig out the final gems. Our sorting process underwent several stages-- online market research, feature analysis, comparison, field-test, and re-evaluation.
Initially, we spent more than 30 hours online doing extensive market research and listed down 25 top-rated inline skates preferred by professional skaters.
Once we had the initial list at hand, we went out to test-ride each of them. Over the next couple of weeks, we rigorously tested each of the listed items with the help of a group of community-based volunteers. We want to take this occasion to express our gratitude for their help.
Based on the build quality, stability, rigidity, design, ergonomics, smoothness of performance, speed, and reliability of the skates, we narrowed down our list by championing 12 from the rest.
Next, we reached out to other industry experts and professional roller skaters for having their insights into our final list. That deepened our level of understanding of the listed models. Later we proceeded to write down full-fledged reviews on them that you'll find in the following section.
Our Top 12 Best Inline Skates
So, who makes the best inline skates and which brand of inline skates is best? Or, what are the best inline skates for street? Here is the moment of truth. There's no single model that meets everyone's desire. That's exactly why we've come up with 12 different models for covering a wide range of features. Hopefully, you'll find your match from this list.
Best for Women
The Roller Derby brand would appear caters to almost any human- young, old, children, teenagers, women of sizes 7-10, beginners and intermediates. Their philosophy is to keep it simple. No confusing features, comfortable and affordable. Classy looking too, they are no wonder high on the popularity stakes.
The fit is adjustable with the push of a button and can give you four different sizes so the blade is for almost perpetuity and you or your child need not think of replacements in a long time.
The V-Tech 500 is designed for beginners and intermediate levels hence it has on purpose been kept simple. Here are some of the features you will be getting:
- Wheels of 76mm urethane suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
- Closure consisting of a triple buckle arrangement for security and easy removal.
- Bearings rated Bevo Gold-7 Race
- Lightweight around 7.5 pounds.
- Choice of three bright colors, black, pink and blue designs.
We liked the approach of Roller Derby in that their approach was pretty much clean and clear. Get rolling first before you go for the big boys. Very pragmatic we feel.
But we wish to get a word in here. On running through closely with the Bladerunner Pro XT and comparing the V-Tech 500, spend that little extra even if you are just taking off. For adults where the weight factor needs addressing, we feel the Pro XT with its larger wheel diameter and superior bearings is a sure bet.
We were endeared with the V-Tech 500. Here are a pair of skates that confidently and boldly speak out, what you see is what you get. It's one of the best-rated models for sale. They have thoroughly covered the core areas of a balanced, comfortable pair of inline skates and as entry-level skates are without peer. They would make a newcomer very happy with the secure and supported fit; the ideal vehicle to launch yourself into the world of skating.
The Bladerunner Pro XT is a recreational inline skate targeted for ladies. If you have just unearthed the joys of zipping around on a pair of skates, the Bladerunner Pro XT is going to be your good friend. Skating can’t get smoother with these. Comfort and support are perfect. This is the Cadillac of skates. Padding and closures can’t get better. These are also entry-level adult skates and there is only one way you can go from here- up into the realm of intermediate. These skates are natural confidence busters.
The Bladerunner is no upstart. Yes, these blades are a bit pricey but the workmanship is jaw-dropping. These women skates are adaptable from sizes US 5-10. The design is such that, your foot if bigger or smaller can be fine-tuned for that perfect fit. Comfort and support remain intact.
Our team had Styris, an accomplished skater who was itching to test it out. He was absolutely enjoying his stint. When he was done he with a lot of fanfare belted out his sizing up.
Great foot support shell, great for newbies, liner and tongue padding super-dupe.
The Pro XT has 80mm wheels and ABEC -7 rated bearings, which work admirably for rolling at moderate speeds. They weigh 7.6 pounds which are a retardent to higher speeds. These are ideal for women skaters.
We wish to highlight some features of these delectable pair:
- Black and blue modernistic design
- Wheels of 80mm and ABEC-7 bearings
- Tongue and liner padding superb
- Lace and power strap triple closure
- Women’s US sizes 5-10
The Bladerunner Pro XT is the Red Wing counterpart of skates. These pairs will make your transition upwards a great deal faster. But do enjoy every moment you roll. Master the basics while you’re about it. We found these skates honestly promising. Everybody’s goal is to get better, for the money, the Pro XT offers good value and it can be your stairway to greater heights of achievement. Get rolling then.
The Aerio Q-60 is another thoroughbred from Roller Derby. The sizes on offer are a vast multitude ranging from Women US 5-10. Every size comes armed with buckles for adjustment and laces to hold the skates comfortable and tight.
The wheels of 80mm help you accelerate in a flash and maximal for exercise and transportation. The high-quality bearings provided are Bevo Gold-7 which retard the wearing out of the wheels. These bearings are pre-oiled and hence offer insurance against premature wear down.
The frames are composite and safeguard against slips, falls, and cracks down your path. The material is partly aluminum alloy and so you’ll be racing with a song on your lip and safety all around. In fact, all stuff which is a part of the Roller Derby Women skates are light in weight and speed is the goal. The provided shoelaces can be fastened in a jiffy.
Yes, we were impressed but the team after a quick toolbox decided that the fit and balance needed verification. As the leader, I did agree and Sam was off. She returned a good 8 minutes later with both thumbs held high. Awesome acceleration and great balance she pronounced.
We put the two models by Roller Derby, the V-Tech 500 and the Aerio Q-60 side by side and compared them together. The wheel size of the Q-60 is 80 and the V-Tech 500, 76mm. No surprises in the acceleration and superior speed of the Q-60. Both have the same Bevo Gold-7 bearings. The Q-60 scores over the V-Tech 500 are that it features a Hybrid soft shoe as compared to the lined Hard Shell of the V-Tech and is also suitable for beginners and Intermediate levels. The price range is almost identical.
The first thing we noted was the inclusion of both shoelaces and adjustable buckles whereas the norm is to provide one of them. This dual closure system ensures both enhanced comfort and an increased control level. The tag is placed affordably and we were suitably impressed with the Aerio Q-60 to propel your choice towards going for it. It is a real solid buy.
The Zetrablade W has long stood as the benchmark of matchless comfort and support in its price class. It clearly shears the intimidation and confusion that a person is confronted with when buying their first pair of inline skates. This is an entry-level online skate but we honestly have our reservations on that after going through it with a fine comb.
Featuring a wheel and bearing combination that tutors the user into how to control their speed and response. The Zetrablade W has wheels that can be easily upgraded.
The closure system is very secure and produces a very good snug fit that locks the ankles. The frame and shell are integrated by lowering the whole ensemble and thereby a lower center of gravity which benefits users to a high degree. Comfort blended with support renders this a fine skate. If you are on a budget, look no further, it’s a waste of time.
If you are a rank learner, the supportive and rigid shell packs in durability and quality that will make your task a breeze.
The enormously comfortable liner along with Zetrablade W’s training liner spews comfort and performance for a skater of any level. The tough monocoque frame is the finest to learn as it conveys balance and great control which are pivotal for beginners learning to skate.
The wheels are a balanced 80mm with a durometer of 82A in tandem do a remarkable job to have total command over speed and control to pace yourself as you deem best.
The bearings are SG5 which simply warrant an ultra-easy and smooth ride.
We did a comparative study of the Zetrablade vs the Bladerunner Pro-XT both entry-level. The Bladerunner is a good deal flashier, has ABEC-7 bearings but with a smaller wheel diameter which is understandable as a beginner is hardly looking for zipping about. The closure also is more fool-proof. Comfort-wise, the Zetrablade comes on top, only the wheel size of 80mm we feel is a bit excessive. No verdicts here, both have their pluses and minuses and we reckon they are evenly poised.
We were amazed, impressed and captivated by these inline skates that are thoroughbreds. Every aspect has been fashioned with a great deal of thought and skill to turn out a product os such brilliance. But then, we are talking of Rollerblade who doesn’t skimp. A lady on these skates matched with the right moves will cause traffic pileups. It's a great value for money. We wholeheartedly espouse the Zetrablade Fitness Inline Skate.
Best for Men
Zetrablade is the perfect choice for beginners. The target group here are adult men. What grabs you from the start is the exceptional grip and the ease of rolling; all you have to do is command roll, simple enough, what? To ensure you are upright on your feet at all times, it has a supportive low balance shell. To cap this, an enclosure that is convenient and secure will snugly stay where they are meant to; on your feet.
We wish to enumerate some key features here:
- Crafted for beginners and casual skaters
- Easy to use for a smooth ride, comfortable, supportive and instinctively easy to use.
- Added support with a high cuff. Here we would like to chip in that we find this an extremely helpful consideration for people who are new to skating.
- The Training liner has padding aplenty
- Rollerblade 80mm wheels with durometer 82A that blend speed and control superbly. At 80mm these wheels are made for taking turns with poise and elan and further accelerate on the straight.
- Features SG 5 bearings for that perfect glide.
- The braking system is a dead stop deal just by clicking the durable rubber stopper at the rear to the ground.
We did some severe digging into this product that has so much on the platter and does not break the bank. Social media platforms, review websites and various videos we went through seemed to bear us out. All echo what we feel; these are the best inline skates that Rollerblade has fielded.
Though designed for those learning the ropes, the Zetrablade provides for all riders. Not a single detail has been skipped and all users have only positives to give back. The rubber stopper which is normally missing in other products which we wonder about is a fantastic 5-star safety feature.
Holy Moly. This is one impressive number. The Aerio Q-60 Men’s Inline skates are for big boys. They are for advanced users. Being low ankled, beginners would find it tough to control. Having said that, most skaters once they get the hang, will find these directionally easy for controlling and take sharp turns owing 6the combination of 80mm Elite wheels with Bevo Gold-7 Race rated bearings.
A superior feature is that it has interior padding of memory foam. Nothing can match the comfort of padding that is contoured to your foot. This shoe is a soft boot design and affords the luxury of being breathable which in turn avoids sweat buildup and moisture. The shoe can be adjusted for tightness using the laces provided.
Twin mechanisms are provided for the foot and ankle- a strap of Velcro and a strap that is lockable for the size of your shoe. An exterior sell that is composite is part of the arsenal and will prevent injury in case you take a toss. The classic rubber stop at the rear can be deployed when you wish to pull over.
The frame is a lightweight Aluminum Tri-coil that is super strong.
We wish to throw in a few tips for correct sizing up for feet which may be between sizes or wide- wear thicker or thinner socks and use a shoe insert if required. These are sold separately.
What we find endearing about these inline skates is that for such an advanced pair they are surprisingly user-friendly and make turning and accelerating. Stopping is absolutely uncomplicated. They may be designed for advanced users but that’s no reason why anyone cannot use them.
The Bladerunner Advantage Pro XT is an entry-level offering. Beginners starting off on this have already gained a little ground. These are the supreme skates for beginners.
The one thing Rollerblade, the makers did not scrimp on is throwing in features left, right and center. Your good luck- you’ll have a ball riding these. Comfort is their second name.
The closure system is in three parts- for firm ankle support and fit a buckle system is provided. The Velcro strap ensures firm heel retention and to cap it all the laces can be manipulated for a custom fit.
These rollerblades heap on you a terrific advantage.- the best speed, traction, and support.
ABEC-7 bearings teamed up with 80mm wheels that are large enough, pamper your feet while giving you untarnished smoothness and comfort when rolling on any sort of terrain.
The Pro XT is a Rollerblade product so we readily extoll the virtues of their workmanship, not without reason, that the workmanship is high quality, made to last.
At the outset, we wonder why a beginner’s skates should have free rein on speed. Possibly smaller wheel diameter would have capped the possibility of a runaway. But then again, it’s not a child’s skate but for grown-ups. We hope good sense prevails. Overall Rollerblade has pieced together a mightily designed product which we accord 5-stars.
Best for Kids
Buying a pair of inline skates for your child is a serious issue and one where you need to peruse details carefully. Safety rules here. Other considerations are frame construction materials, comfort, size, and guarantee. Price is another game.
The lit front wheel is what will make you sit up and take notice of this pair. The idea here is to make it safe for the child when skating at nighttime. We don’t quite agree that it’s a good idea to be skating during the hours of darkness.
The specifications on XinoSports inline skates are pretty impressive for children skates. The bearings are ABEC-7 which is startlingly advanced. The frames are of aluminum rather than plastic composite. The skates feature adjustability and have 70mm, 82A wheels. A nice clean package in all.
The average weight is about 5 pounds which are fair enough.
The XinoSports is a sturdy and steady choice for young kids getting their feel on skates. For such a well-balanced and top-rated pair it is positive all the way. Our research threw back an overwhelming 90% of satisfied customers. The 60-day money-back incentive is always there to fall back on if you are disappointed in any way. Trust us, you won’t.
These adjustable for girls skates are pretty affordable and are made to fit in two ranges; small-which is 12 to 2, with medium 2-5.
For parents on the lookout to gift their child a pair, they are the safest choice. The peace motif against the multi-colored backdrop makes them greatly visually appealing.
The Stinger 5.2 has all the badges befitting a skate for a child- high cuffs and plastic composition, relatively soft, small wheels and above all adjustability.
Sufficient safety measures have been incorporated into the features to warrant your child’s well-being. A composite frame encircles the shoe keeping both the skate and foot out of harm’s way. A buckle that is adjustable and tightening lace goes towards keeping them snug for greater control and more safety.
The polyurethane wheels are great for both indoor and outdoor skating. Lightweight and durability clasp hands to chip away wear and tear.
What took us by surprise is the SBEC-5 bearings. While not fast especially, they are still we consider they are, for a child, a bit challenging.
These child skates are absolutely top-rated. Roller Derby has left no stone unturned in providing overriding safety measures all over. Handling them is truly uncomplicated befitting a child. Gift your kid with a pair of these glorious inline skates today. These have our personal badge of approval.
If your child has a strong yen for skating, then if you don’t already, you should support his aspirations to evolve into a top-notch skater in the coming years and start him off on his path with the best inline skates for kids; the K2 Skate Boy’s Raider.
The K2 Raider appears to be a huge favorite with both kids and parents. Let’s take a closer dekko.
For starters, these skates are adjustable up to 5 sizes so that they can be used as your child grows. What’s more, it can also be shared among siblings.
Some of its features are:
- 70mm wheels having a durometer of 80A
- ABEC-3 bearings which deliver decent speed
- The Stability Plus cuff, which is pretty high provides very good ankle support
- The brake system included comes into play for children who find it hard to deploy conventional brakes
- The K2 original soft boot in tandem with the K2 Speed Lacing system induces the best fit and their adaptable adjustability guarantees a long run for these skates.
- The traditional lacing system keeps the foot securely locked in and the skate, ready to roll
The F.B.I. frame construction dampens and absorbs vibrations on the road and your child will rapidly get attuned to road conditions on these skates. So, even if it gets a little rough, you shouldn't worry.
Whenever a child is in the picture our sense of responsibility goes into high gear and we especially focus on the safety aspect and the safety features provided. We came away not only satisfied but with the makers’ great job of it.
It is certainly not practical to keep an eye on your child whenever he is on his skates. This will dampen his confidence too. Taking into account the adjustability, comfort, and performance, we can safely advise parents that the K2 Skate Raider is the safest pair in inline skates that you will get. We have shown good many reasons as to why it should be among our top 10 choices.
Best Adult Unisex Models
These skates are targeted towards those rollerbladers who qualify in the upper echelons of expertise, intermediate included. The wheel lineup is staggered at 76 at the extremes and a pair of 80s at the center for a matchless control and max speed. Interchangeability is a feature of these wheels. The grip entrenches itself amazingly so that the terrain and skater become one.
Having a lining of EVA elastic cotton, they showcase great cushioning, good plasticity and of major importance are very breathable. A triple protection closure system to totally insulate your foot are a buckle, strap, and lace system that makes sure that foot is stable and secure at all times.
A feature we found unique and notable was the shock absorbers that could coddle your feet well encased on awry terrain.
Plenty of delectable features have been included, taking into account you are in the process of honing your advanced maneuvers, which we see are unique to the LIKU. These are socks that are ankle supporting, a brake and slalom cones.
A strong word of caution here would be appropriate- don’t use the skates on steep slopes without sufficient space to control stopping and avoid gravel as they are counter-design.
Here we need to compare the RollerBlade Aerio Q-60 with the LIKU. The laters wheel combination is unique. And to boot, they can be changed for full customization. The Q-60 too has 80mm wheels and a Bevo Gold-7 Race rated bearings, plus a memory foam liner. The LIKU Black inches ahead in our opinion as to the more versatile inline skate of advanced skaters.
We are still suffused with the feel-good factor like after you see a good movie or having a great pizza. The LIKU Black is exactly what it claims to be; a professional pair of skates that is almost futuristic in design and features. We doff our hat to the makers. There is little point in hemming and hawing if you are good enough on a pair of inline skates and at least at an intermediate level, rush to your nearest dealer because this is the best inline skate in the market, no two bones about that.
If the city is your stage, then the 5th Element ST-80 Urban Inline Skates is the perfect vehicle to play hardball. These are a serious pair ideal for commuting or traveling in the city. They are superbly maneuverable and some of the fastest models around, so you can dodge around foot traffic and other obstacles as you glide with great ease.
The frame is lightweight aluminum and the fit is superlative; snug around the feet giving ample comfort and support. Let’s investigate some highlights of this astounding skates.
- Durometer and wheels tailored for the street
- Quick and maneuverable
- A frame of lightweight aluminum
- Stability and comfort
- Traditional lacing system
- The wheel size is 82mm
- The closure style is ankle strap and traditional laces.
- The bearings are ABEC 7, tough as nails and spin effortlessly
- Soft boot construction with full foot padding
- The skate is longer and stronger
5th Element has been in the business for 20 years and has a passion for crafting outdoor sports equipment you will find difficult to say no to.
These are urban skates suitable for up to the intermediate level.
5th Element are no new kids on the block. In our entire list, this product is the only dedicated commute style inline skates though one can argue that all recreational skates are amenable too for commuting. The difference here is that the ST-80 is specifically designed with its longer length, higher maneuverability, and braking system to adeptly negotiate the sudden surprises the street throws your way. W doubly endorse this product because you kill three birds with one stone- save money on transportation, keep fit and expand your agility and reflexes.
Other Notable Brands & Tested Models
During our research, we came across hundreds of reputable brands and their popular product lines. Here are some names that you would not want to miss out on:
Schwinn, Seba, Nike, Tecnica, Viva, Flying Eagle, Airwalk, Vanilla, Oxygen, Alkali, Bont, Fila, Cityrun, Kamachi, Reebok, Tempish, Firefly, Goalie, Mission, Smyths, Mongoose, DBX, Crivit, Lynx, HY Skate, Luigino, USD, RSX, Micro, LXT, Jonex, Konex, Roces, Salomon, Cityrun, Avigo, SFR, Nordica, No Fear, Academy, Cougar, and Powerslide.
Here are some brands with their popular models:
KSS (known for their Asphalt wheels), ME-Rollerns (known for their freestyle models), Razor (known for their detachable blade models), MD Sports (known for Bont Jet), Epic Skates (known for their 125mm models), Bauer (known for their senior models), Oxelo (known for Play 3), CCM Tacks (known for their Jetspeed), Scale Sports (known for their adjustable models), Anarchy (known for their Revolution), and Roller Derby (known for their junior and toddler skates).
- 01Roller Derby Men's V-Tech Inline Skate
- 02Rollerblade Boys Spitfire JR XTB Kids Skate
- 03K2 Skate Men's F.I.T. Pro 84 Inline Skates
- 04K2 Skate Women's Kinetic 80 Inline Skates
- 05K2 Skate Youth Raider Inline Skates, Gray/Red
- 06K2 Skate Girls Marlee Inline Skate
- 07Hikole Inline Skates for Adult Youth
- 08VNLA Carbon Speed Roller Blades/Adult Rollerblades Women
- 09Rollerblade 2015 MACROBLADE Fitness/Training Skate
- 10Rollerblade Macroblade 84W Alu 2016 Fitness/Workout Skate
- 11K2 Skate Men's Kinetic 80 Inline Skates
- 12Rollerblade Macroblade 100 3WD Adult Fitness Inline Skate
- 13Original Doop Leisure Roller Skating Shoes
- 14K2 Skate Alexis 84 Pro Inline Skate
- 15Disney Frozen Inline Skates in Color Box
- 16Rollerblade Twister 80 Men's Inline Skates
- 17Rollerblade Maxxum Edge 90 Mens Adult Fitness Inline Skate
How to Choose the Correct Size for You?
Is there any justification in enduring sore, blistered feet while engaging in your favorite sport? Beats me especially when luxurious foam padding is around. To determine the correct size for you, the age-old adage is to go for your shoe size. We strongly counter that and will go with experts who opine that wear them and then make up your mind.
Toes that jam upfront to the toe box is a sure recipe for sore feet. The proper fit is that the toes should barely touch the front, settled comfortably and not crunched. Little room or the absence of it gives you more control and better performance. If the toes are right, the ankle will by itself be positioned correctly in the padded area
Take imprints of both feet and if different, choose the larger size. Next, refer to the sizing chart. If you have wide feet, add 10mm and if you like a relaxed fit, 5mm.
Try them indoors. Sit and tightly lace up and tighten buckles. Tap your heels so that the foot is pushed right back flush with the end of the shoe. Now stand up, your toes should just about be in contact. Now squat assuming a skating position, the toes should have no contact with the boot.
Inline Skates – A Comprehensive Buying Guide
1. Skate Type
a) Fitness- These are designed for ice-hockey players who have fitness in mind designed for high performance. They are pretty much identical to recreational skates but with larger wheels and swifter bearings for long runs. Also, the weight is kept down.
b) Recreation- As the name suggests, these are the types you strap or buckle in and take off. It could be a neighborhood ride, a boardwalk gambol, whatever. Materials for recreational skates, closures, and other features no doubt will vary from skate to skate but typically are of soft boot construction. The reinforced mesh forms the primary core overlapped with a cloth. For proper support, tough plastic cuffs are at the back. These boots are light and breathable. On top of that, these are artistic in design and color.
c) Race- So you want to zap around. These types of skates are very low, have highly rated ABEC ratings. They are of Ceramic or Titanium, have a 5-wheel chassis and no brake. The boot design is a soft boot fortified with carbon fiber. The cuff is lower to economize on weight, the wheels are larger and the frame is lightweight of either carbon or aluminum. In a nutshell, they are designed purely for speed and nothing else.
d) Urban- These also go by the name street skates and are quite similar to recreational skates with some differences. The wheels are large, and the boot design is for jumps, tricks and whatever beating you throw at it. The one single feature that makes it stand apart is that the skates are shorter so you can take corners without sacrificing on speed. They are usually without any brake attached though one is provided in the box in case you change your mind.
2. Skill Level
Broadly speaking the two limits that define skill; noob and advanced. That is not the end; in between are intermediate, intermediate-advanced and advanced. Just as for any athletic wear, there are grades available ranging from basic for the noobs and ascending in features for advanced and expert levels. Our sincere advice would be to choose a pair that suits your level or better still opt for a pair a stage ahead so you can grow into them.
a) Standard- These are composed of foam which proffers basic comfort and padding for the feet. These are spot-on for a starter with no frills.
b) Auto-Fit- Gel pads are utilized here with automatic contouring for your feet. They provide extra support and are a big improvement in comfort than standard liners.
c) Memory Fit- They are similar to the gel pads with the difference that the pad retains your foot pattern and molds itself more readily.
d) Heat Moldable- These liners after removing are heated (do not do this at home, only a skate shop pro will do). Once heated, the warm liners placed under the foot will shape to the form of your foot on hardening after cooling.
4. High Vs. Low Cuff
Inline skate cuffs are where the support is provided. Without cuff support, you might as well be wearing flip-flops. A quality cuff allows more power generation when pushing off. They are of plastic or carbon. Plastic cuffs are a bit high and are usually provided for recreational skates and don’t get the impression that they are of meager quality. They are mighty durable and provide adequate thrust.
Carbon cuffs, on the other hand, are low, and a definite upgrade on the plastic version and hardcore skaters will find that it allows greater support and response. These are the choice for marathon and racing inline skates.
5. Frames & Colors
What one looks for in a frame are the weight, the rigidity, and longevity. These parameters are founded on the material of construction. Aluminum, carbon, and plastic are the materials of choice.
a) Plastic Frames- No two views on this. These are for those learning the ropes. They are heavy, not very stiff, or durable. In our view, an ideal combo for a noob as it gets a heap easier after this. These are not good for long tours though.
b) Aluminum Frames- These are some of the lightest bodies and obviously lighter than plastic frames and the stiffness is much improved. Torque is eliminated under stress, unlike plastic frames which up the durability quotient. These are more often a feature of the intermediate level rather than a starter level. We see aluminum frames fro 3-wheel models as well.
c) Carbon Frames- You follow the trend, right. These are for advanced skaters and offer reduced weight and tremendous durability. Such strong frames can cop up with all-terrain off-road conditions as well.
In terms of colors and design, you got to pay extra attention. Often, you can have an idea of the quality just by having a close look at the finishing of the color and design of the skates. Choose your color by preference. The most common colors include: Snow white, black, red, yellow, pink, blue, teal, gray and orange.
6. Wheel Hardness and Shape
The term used in the notation of wheel hardness is ‘ durometer’ which ranges from 0-100 with 0 being the softest. However, in practice, a durometer of less than 68A is never used. It would just melt away regardless of use. Different types of skating would call for different durometer. Recreational and fitness skating would call for around 78A which returns speed and grip.
Aggressive skaters will require no less than 88A. This extra hardness compensates for the rough terrain, the high speeds and the overall abuse they would be subjected to.
Inline hockey use would require 72A to 74A for grip and maneuverability if played indoors. Outdoors, a higher rating would be commensurate because of the surface.
Then comes the question of wheel shape. Most persons tend to disregard this aspect saying “arent all wheels round?” but don’t be fooled. Aggressive skate wheels have a flat profile having the appearance of a rounded rectangle. The aggressive skater would require a larger surface for jumps and tricks.
Recreational skating wheels would have a standard elliptical profile.
Inline hockey wheels have a more rounded profile than recreational skates. This is to execute sharp turns which is part of the sport. Speed skates by virtue of the nature of their use have minimum rolling resistance by their elongated profile whilst sacrificing grip.
The wheels can be as big as 90mm and 110mm, and you can find them in any local or online store.
7. Closure Systems
a) Standard Lacing- This was the original and only provided a form of fastening. But now they are partnered with buckles or velcro fasteners.
b) Ratchet Buckles- The lacing system got the boot with the advent of the two or three-buckle acting as the sole closure on inline skates. But they are still employed in tandem with lacing systems.
c) Velcro Straps- Velcro straps aka power straps are used along with laces and buckles. They restrain the heel to the heel cup on the skate.
d) Quick-Lace- These are Power-assisted, (read quick lace) closure systems which are the large word of closure systems. Their specialty; easily pulled on/ pulled off. This is made possible by a thin, durable cable that threads its way over the boot like a standard lace.
e) Boa Lacing- Not dissimilar to boa lacing systems, the difference being that instead of pulling and tightening, the boa lace is fed through a dial. To tighten or loosen, you manipulate the dial with a twist.
In any situation where momentum plays a role, there is a need for a brake. In inline skating, it is no exception especially for a guy just starting off. Brakes are an integral part of inline skates. Each and every recreational and fitness skates come armed with brakes. The right skate is the one to which the brake is normally attached. But it is interchangeable. Some folks prefer their left foot to the truth being said racing skates, ice-hockey skaters, and aggressive skaters do not wish it be it for reasons of degraded performance or a belief in their superior skills to brake with their own resources.
These are a totally indispensable part of inline skating. The whole performance of your skate hinges on the condition of the bearings. The smoothness of your spin and attaining high speeds is the target. A good bearing eliminates the barrier between a bad surface and the wheel. The ratings are based in ABEC (American Bearing Manufacturers Association), the numbers ascending in performance.
It’s an absolute grand idea that you get your kid an appropriate pair of skates earlier. You get your kids new clothes when they outgrow their new ones. The same is going to cost you a pinch for skates. So when buying inline skates for your kid check out pairs that come with an adjustable sizing feature. A click is all it takes to make the boot fit an expanding foot. You will avoid foot pinching, blisters and a spending whole lot of dollars.
11. Warranty & Accessories
Accessories can be clubbed under two headings. The first would-be replacements for your existing pair.
Secondly and more importantly, are safety gear- safety helmet, knee and shin pads, elbow pads and wrist guards.
Boots that are ventilated have ventilation channels provided that keep the feet from moisture, comfortable and cool on a hot day or after an extended run.
Skates with larger wheels are for greater speed but there is a trade-off; you might not glide around effortlessly. Additional wheels are one trick to go faster. Recreational skates have four wheels whereas speed skates have five. This makes the skates longer and requires fewer pushes. A gradual brake is one of the features.
Even without additional or larger wheels, lowering the center of gravity by crouching is another technique to increase speed. This poses a problem if your cuff is too high. And as you gradually get better, the double-push technique to zoom is your reward. On the other hand, you may also try rocker style wheel setup for playing with your skate's capacity in cornering and speeding.
In the 90s when inline skates took off, the number of manufacturers and brands were a dime a dozen. Not anymore. There is now a handful of them leftover who have remained in the field.
a) Rollerblade- The original innovators who have been in the fray since the beginning. So much so that the term rollerblading became synonymous with inline skating. They still make high-quality skates out there.
b) K2- This outfit mostly dabbles in skiing gear but has recently forayed into inline skating. They compete with Rollerblade and do not compromise in quality.
c) Roller Derby- They started out with roller skates. Eventually, they branched into inline skates and have a lineup of top-class inline skates range second to none.
d) 5th Element- Another old-timer who now excels in producing quality urban inline skates.
Care & Maintenance Tips
Basic maintenance of your inline skates is both desirable, crucial and not time-consuming at all.
- Allen key, all-purpose skate tool or the tool supplied by the manufacturer.
- Tissues, swipes or lint-free cloth
- Light bearing oil
- Cleaning solution for bearings
1. Remove all boot liners and wheels- use the Allen key to strip off the wheels. Strip off all boot liners and insoles. Inspect interiors keenly for irregularities.
2. Wipe off your inline skates- Using a moist cloth wipe down the boots and frames. Use the toothbrush to dislodge stubborn grit. Most importantly clean wheels and spokes as ant leftover dirt will find its way into the bearings.
3. Inline bearings- Wipe the bearings with a lint-free cloth or tissue infused with a little cleaning solution once the surrounding bearing areas are clean. The solution will clear our grime and dust without introducing water or humidity which is a mortal enemy for bearings. Now spin the wheels. You should get a quiet even roll. Now introduce just a drop of bearing oil on either side, not more mind you.
4. Brake pads should be checked thoroughly for wear and tear.
5. Wheel bolts should be adjusted properly- Check for excess play. There should be no wobble. Tighten the bolts carefully till the wheel spins true.
6. Check all closures- buckles and laces.
7. Inline boot linings warrant a thorough inspection.
8. Inspect for damage
9. Wash liners and other fabrics.
1. Wear all safety gear- helmet, shin and elbow guards, wrist pads and knee guards.
2. If you are a beginner, choose a suitable location such as a park to start learning the ropes. A dedicated skate park would be ideal as you can get guidance.
3. Do not skate at night or in darkness. It is not only dangerous but will distract your focus.
4. Always, always be aware of your surroundings.
5. If you are a rank newbie, be receptive to suggestions and actively solicit advice. This is the most rapid method of surmounting teething problems.
6. Select safe skating locations. This means more or less even terrain, pothole-free and even unfriendly neighborhoods.
7. Skating with headphones on is downright stupid. This is courting serious trouble. Never mind what the movies depict. There will come a time when your motor reflexes are well-conditioned for skating and that is only when you can afford the luxury of listening to Led Zep on the go.
8. If you can find a partner to go skating with you it is not only great fun but two eyes are better than one.
9. Do not attempt anything that is beyond your means.
10. Always be civil, friendly and helpful. Road rage is not uncommon even in skating.
The interesting part of reviewing for us is that we enjoyed every moment of the process of product selection and reviews. Even as I write this, I can see a sea of youngsters and persons on their inline skates dashing off to work or taking an easy ride on the boardwalk. Some others aiming loftily for a contest maybe, the sky is the limit. It's never too late to start.
Also, it is highly important to know the right buy for you. All these marathons in different cities around the world are bagged by the Ethiopians or the Kenyans. There is a trend in achievement. And our collection of the best inline skates can only place you ahead of the game.
Inline skating s also one such discipline. We have only endeavored to give it a small shove, Do your country proud, as so many have done in this sport already. Good luck.
1. Are inline skates and rollerblades the same thing?
Ans. Rollerblading and inline skating are one and the same. Rollerblading is a generic term referring to the makers of inline skates. It is something like using the term xerox for a photocopy. Xerox is a Company that makes photostat machines.
2. Which are preferable; buckles or laces?
Ans. This is much debated. Buckles are faster to fix, more durable and can be adjusted on the fly. Laces are cheap and pressure is distributed evenly.
3. What are the possible benefits of Inline Skates?
Ans. It is an anaerobic form of exercise; improves coordination, agility and dynamic ability; increases core strength; weight loss; low impact exercise; builds confidence and fitness.
4. Inline skates should be worn with what kind of socks?
Ans. Wear double socks to avoid feet blisters due to hot spots. When wearing double socks, heat is dissipated between the socks leaving the feet untouched.
5. How to figure out the right size of inline skates for my feet?
Ans. Inline skates should be snug but never tight fitting. Too big will cause blisters and too tight will be painful.
6. What kind of essential protective gear is a must for inline skating?
Ans. A helmet, shin, knee and elbow guards are a must. Light gloves and a mouthguard can be added on too.
7. What is the ABEC rating?
Ans. ABEC ratings are in odd numbers; 1, 3, 5… The tighter the tolerance, the higher the ABEC number meaning more precision
8. Roller Skates vs. Inline Skates
Ans. Inline skates offer more ankle support, speed, and maneuverability than quad skates. They are used for ice hockey, speed skating, and ice skating.