Buying Guide for Roller Skates
By Steve Kopitz
For those of us who find the timeless act of roller skating to be a passion, we know why, where and what we need to enjoy ourselves. But, if you are just getting into skating, this is where some helpful education will mean the world. Here you are going to see a breakdown of the roller skates out there and hopefully get you on the right track in choosing a great pair of skates.
What Type of Skater are you?
• Indoor (Roller Rink)
The skates included in this category are typically Artistic or recreational skates. This type of skater is looking for an experience like ice skating with good control with narrow wheels and high boots for stability in spins and jumps.
The name really says a lot about this type of skater. Low cut boots that fit like a tennis shoe for going around a course and keeping speed for longer spurts of time and free movement bearings for getting your groove on.
• Roller Derby
No brainer here, you want a boot that will take a beating with wheels that can give you speed on tight turns. These are also cut with a low boot.
In all reality, any skate can be an outdoor skate with a low or high boot. You just need different wheels that are made for those conditions. Outdoor wheels are going to be slightly softer to give you a smooth ride, but not soft enough to have chunks taken out while going over rough concrete.
Roller Skate Sizing
A skate should be fit like a pair of tennis shoes in that you want ¼” to ½”. You will find that in most cases skates are cut in a Men’s size, so ladies, you will want to go down a size in those cases. Some skates only come in a Black or White, but don’t assume that the white is a Women’s skate. Pay attention to datapoints in listings to ensure you are getting the skate you want. We have all purchased that one item online and missed an important note on a color or size. More sizing information available in the roller skate sizing guide.
Anatomy of a Skate
• Boot: High or low, this is going to be the easiest part of your shopping experience. The boot is what attaches to the plates and wheels.
• Plate: This is the typically Aluminum or nylon and holds the wheels to the boot.
• Trucks: These hold the wheels to the plate of your skate.
• Wheels: Depending on your style, different wheels are used for different purposes.
• Bearings: These help your wheels move. Typically the higher the grade or rating, the smoother your wheel will spin.
• Toe Stop/Plug: This can either be used as a brake.