By Steve Kopitz
Choosing the right aggressive skate is a very important task, one that should not be taken lightly. We here at InlineSkates.com are here to help make that decision a lot easier for you by giving you the information you need to select the right pair of aggressive skates.
Selecting the right aggressive skates is important for multiple reasons. First off a good skate will give you the support, comfort and protection you desire. These features will make your skating experience more enjoyable. Secondly, having a good skate will make performing tricks easier while not being held back by your equipment with durability that will allow you to keep your skates for multiple years.
Aggressive Skate Boot Fit
The boot on the aggressive skate is the outer shell that holds the liner of your skate. This is an important part of the skate as it will take the bulk of the abuse while you are grinding and trying other tricks. There are multiple different types of boots and liners that go well with different skating styles and we will provide you with the examples.
Soft Shell Aggressive Skates
The soft shell aggressive skate boot is made with material that offers you support but will still give you a great flex and feel. The soft shell skate works well for grinds together and giving you superb control so you can feel the skate as if it’s an addition to your foot. The softer boots still give you good support, however if you are big on jumping gaps and stair sets you may want to go with a hard shell boot.
Hard Shell Aggressive Skates
The hard shell boot has been around since the beginning though new variations have come around over the years. Typically a hard shell boot is a plastic shell that is wrapped around a removable liner. These boots are highly protective and usually stiffer than a soft boot. Beginner and inexpensive skates use a hard shell but some high end models offer a hard shell as well.
Skeletal Shell Aggressive Skates
These types of shells are new to the aggressive scene and use features of both soft and hard shell boots with additional features. These wraps use sneaker type shoes called foot wraps. This style will lighten the weight and give you more maneuverability while still giving you hard shell support. Some skeletal shell models will actually let you use your own shoes with the shell for additional customization.
Aggressive Skate Liners
Ask any skater and you will find the most important piece of the skate is the liner. The liner will hold the ankle tight in the skate and gives the rest of your foot the support you desire. There are tons of different liners that are offered for the multiple skating styles. Some people like a tight liner, others like it loose. Most aggressive skates can be altered with aftermarket liners to alter the fit or give you additional padding and support.
Aggressive Skate Frames
The frame is the part of the skate that holds the wheels and allows you to grind. Aggressive frames have an area between the two middle wheels that you use to grind. This area houses the "H-Block" which is the hard plastic middle piece where you lock grinds. The H Block is durable to withstand many uses. A good frame is the key to you locking grinds and will aid in your grinding by being smooth and durable.
Styles and Brands of Frames
There are several different types and styles of frames made by the different companies. The frame is usually the first part of the skate that needs to be replaced due to wear and tear or simply to change the look and style of the skate. Most frames can be removed and replaced using the UFS system. UFS means Universal Frame System that means any brand of skate can use just about all types of frames to make customizing the skate very easy. Stock frames are both strong and durable and are typically stronger and faster for grinding.
Aggressive Skate Wheels and Bearings
The wheels and bearings are the most important part of the aggressive skate. The wheels on the skates must be able to take the heat and abuse of hard pavement and still be able to perform on skate park obstacles. The bearings need to be very tough to withstand all the jolts and impacts from your skate maneuvers.
Standard wheels on aggressive skates are the wheels that you actually roll on and have improved over the years. These wheels need to be thick and durable to ensure they won’t crack and typically range in size from 50 to 60mm making them smaller than normal inline skate wheels. Aggressive wheels also need to be very hard so they will last a while and handle the punishment and have a durometer from high 80A to low 90A. Most aggressive wheels are made with urethane which will hold up well. Be on the lookout for glossy plastic looking wheels that are found on cheaper skates as these wheels will slide and cracked when used.
The two center wheels on aggressive skates are called anti-rocker and are very small and will not actually roll when you skate. Anti-rocker wheels are basically used to help you guide your grinds and give you a bigger area to land tricks with. These wheels range in size from 35 to 45mm with a durometer of high 90A to 100A to make them very small and hard. These wheels were designed to touch only over extremely rough terrain and to guide your grinds. The hard durometer of the wheel ensures the wheel will not catch and slide on a rail, curb or ledge. A lot of skates today are sold with anti-rocker wheels already on there.
Aggressive skating is not about speed or going fast so you may be asking why bearings are important. The reason for this is aggressive skates are put under a lot of pressure and need a durable bearing that will not pop their seals and still perform through extensive use. Most aggressive skates come with bearing rated at ABEC 5 which is middle of the road on a scale that goes to 9. If the stock bearings do not perform to your needs we suggest you switch over to a Swiss or titanium bearing that will give you a superb aggressive skating experience.
Video Tutorial: Buying Aggressive Inline Skates