By Steve Kopitz
Buying girls inline skates for your little one can feel like an intimidating process. In all actuality though, it’s not that bad. Finding the appropriate size can be a little difficult because a child’s foot is still growing and even when you find the best size you might be afraid that she will grow out of it within a year and you’ll have to plop down more money for another pair. That’s not necessarily the case.
This guide will provide you with some general information so you can buy the right girls inline skate.
There are three different categories of skates: Recreational, Roller Hockey and Aggressive. However, models of Roller Hockey Skates and Aggressive Skates aren’t typically specifically for girls.
• Recreational skates are used for indoor or outdoor skating. These are the most versatile skate and girls can use them to skate with parents, to school, or just average daily use.
• Roller Hockey skates are used specifically for playing roller hockey. The type of wheel on a Roller Hockey skate will determine whether it’s intended for indoor or outdoor use.
• Aggressive skates are designed for kids who hang out at parks practicing tricks, jumping off ramps and grinding. They are big and bulky and are not good for regular skating.
Comfort begins with the boot part of the skate. Skate boots are made with a soft boot for the best comfort while skating. There are still some varieties of plastic boots like the original inline skates however your child’s feet are more likely to be sore and they won’t enjoy their time skating. The soft boot ensures a soft, comfy feel so your little girl can enjoy inline skating more.
A girl’s foot is apt to grow very quickly which makes purchasing a skate a tricky endeavor. She may wear a size 2 but from one season to the next they could jump to a size 4, thus making that brand new skate un-usable. If your girl is still growing consistently then it is best to buy an adjustable skate. Adjustable skates offers the ability to adjust the size of the skate easily. There are some inline skates on the market that will even adjust up to four sizes.
Find an inline skate that starts with a size near where your child’s foot is at now. For example if she wears a size 11, then select an adjustable skate that is sized 11-1. If she is a size 1, select a 1-4 or 2-5 inline skate size in order to get the most out of the inline skate.
The lacing systems on inline skates vary but for a child it is recommended to get a a skate with a system they can use without any assistance from a parent.
• Laces: Laces are tied like the laces on a regular pair of shoes. These inline skates will also have a buckle or strap for a secure and stable fit.
• BOA: This system utilizes a dial on the front of the skate that she will turn until they get a secure and comfortable fit. Best of all, if at any point she feels she wants to loosed or tighten, it can be done with ease.
• Speedlace: A speedlace system features a pull tab so that he can simply grab the lace and pull. This easily provides a tight, secure and comfortable fit.
The majority of wheels on inline skates are manufactured from polyurethane. Back in the 80s and 90s, inline skate manufacturers distributed wheels that were plastic. The plastic wheels tended to crack or become ineffective quickly. Polyurethane Wheels are the standard for inline skates these days.
Since there will probably have Polyurethane Wheels on your girl’s inline skates there are some things you should consider when you’re considering and comparing inline skates. Wheel size, durometer rating (hardness), and the type of skating your she will be doing should all be factored in when deciding on the right wheels.
• Wheel Size - Inline skate wheels for kids typically run in size between 70-79mm which are used on recreational skates. Young ones are just learning how to skate so diverting from the standard size is not advised, that is unless they have been skating for a while and you know their skill level.
• Aggressive Skates wheels are between 50-59mm. This smaller size is to help your child reach a higher speed in order to perform their tricks or jumps more effectively.
Inline skate bearings are an essential part of inline skates. Bearings determine the smoothness of the ride when skating and also the ability to reach higher speeds.
Different companies rate their bearings systems differently. Rollerblade, for instance, utilizes the ABEC scale with 1 being the lowest (slowest) and 9 the highest (fastest, smoother) bearing. K2 Inline Skates are rated with ILQ as opposed to the ABEC of Rollerblade.
Now you’re ready to find the right pair of inline skates for your girl. Factoring in her age, current shoe size as well as growth potential you’ll be able to purchase the best inline skates that she will enjoy using.