Inline Skate FAQ
The following is a list of many of the frequently asked questions about inline skates or inline skating. To obtain the answer to any question listed below, please click on the respective question in the list to jump to its answer.
A: The wheel size you will need to order will depend largely on the type of skates you have. The following wheel sizes are recommended:
- Recreation: 72-80mm
- Fitness: 90-100mm
- Speed/Performance: 100+mm
- Aggressive: 47-59mm
- Roller Hockey: 72-80mm (Adult Hi-Lo Chassis) | 68-72mm (Kids Hi-Lo Chassis)
Keep in mind that the maximum wheel size your skate frame will allow also plays a significant role. To find the maximum wheel size for your skates, check your skate frame. You should find it printed there.
A: Durometer is the technical term for wheel hardness. A Durometer rating measures the hardness of a wheel and helps you determine what type of use a wheel is intended for. Durometer ratings for inline skate wheels will typically fall between 72 and 92 and are followed by a capital letter A (e.g. 72A or 92A). The higher the number, the harder the wheel.
A: The higher the Durometer rating, the harder the wheel is going to be. If you plan on skating on an indoor surface all the time, you will desire a softer wheel (72-76A). If you are going to be skating exclusively outdoors, you will need a harder wheel (82-84A). If you will be splitting your skating time between both indoors and outdoors, you will want a Durometer rating that falls somewhere in the middle (78-82A). For aggressive skaters and roller hockey players, your Durometer ratings will be different. For clarification, review the following breakdown:
- Recreation/Performance: 78-82A
- Fitness: 80-82A
- Aggressive: 88-92A
- Indoor Hockey: 72-76A
- Outdoor Hockey: 82-84A
A: Most Standard inline skate bearings (608 Bearings) are rated on something known as an ABEC scale. The higher the rating of a bearing, the smoother and more efficient it will be. ABEC ratings are as follows:
- ABEC 1
- ABEC 3
- ABEC 5
- ABEC 7
- ABEC 9
Knowing what ABEC rated bearing that is right for you comes down to an honest assessment of your skating ability. If you’re an adult who is just beginning, you’ll probably want an ABEC 5 to start out. For more experienced adult skaters, an ABEC 9 or Swiss bearing will be suitable.
For kids, an ABEC 3 rated bearing is probably best, moving up to an ABEC 5 or 7 as the skill level progresses.
A: If you’re looking to buy Rollerblade brand skates, you should choose a skate size that matches your shoe size. Rollerblade brand skates run true to shoe size so if you wear a size 9.0 shoe, you should buy a size 9.0 Rollerblade skate. When compared to other inline skate brands, the standard D width of a Rollerblade brand inline skate runs on the wide side, so be advised of this when shopping Rollerblade brand skates.
A: If you’re looking to buy K2 brand skates, you should choose a skate size that matches your shoe size. K2 brand skates run true to shoe size so if you wear a size 9.0 shoe, you should buy a size 9.0 K2 skate. When compared to other inline skate brands, the standard D width of a K2 brand inline skate runs on the narrow side, so be advised of this when shopping K2 brand skates.
A: Roces brand skates run on the large side, but not so large that you will need to choose a size smaller than your shoe to compensate. If you wear a size 9.0 shoe, you should buy a size 9.0 Roces skate. If your shoe size is a half-size (e.g 8.5), it is recommended that you choose the smaller size (e.g. 8.0) if a half-size is not available for purchase.
A: With the exception of Mission brand roller hockey skates, which run true to shoe size, all other roller hockey skates will run smaller than you normal shoe size. Like an ice hockey skate, you will want a skate that fits tighter and feel stiffer. When shopping roller hockey skates, it is recommended that you order 1 to 1 1/2 sizes smaller than your shoe size. For example, if your shoe size is 10.0, you will want to order an 8.5 or 9.0 skate. If you are purchasing a Mission skate, you can order size 10.0. From a width standpoint, unless it is noted otherwise, a roller hockey skate will be standard D width.
A: The width you will need will depend solely on the width of your foot. If you have a wide foot, you will want skates with a EE width. If your foot is not considered wide, then a standard D width skate will work just fine.
A: Inline skates for children will be sized in one of two ways, traditional single sizing or in a range, known as adjustable sizing. If you’re looking at skates with a traditional single sizing for your child, it is recommended that you order the shoe size your child is presently wearing.
Skates with adjustable sizing will be noted similar to this, 4-7. This means that the skate would fit a child’s foot in a size 4, 5, 6, or 7 shoe. The great benefit to this sizing type is that the skate will grow as the child’s foot grows. It is recommended that you order the adjustable size skate for which your child’s present shoe size falls into.
A: Yes, absolutely. Wearing inline skating protective equipment will eliminate most injuries and improve the overall safety and enjoyment of inline skating. Skating helmets are designed to both protect and provide ventilation so they are more comfortable to wear. A complete set of inline skating pads consists of 2 elbow pads, 2 knee pads, and 2 wrist guards. Pads are designed to be lightweight and flexible so they are comfortable and practicably unnoticeable while skating.
A: A wrist guard is an essential piece of protective equipment designed to protect your hand and wrist from the impact of a fall. The majority of inline skating injuries that occur happen because a skater is not wearing the proper protection on their hands and wrists. When falling, it is natural instinct to brace your fall with your hands. Without proper protection you risk fracturing one, or both of your wrists/hands.
Wrist guards are available in several different styles, including wrist pads with a plastic top and bottom and soft pads with plastic inserts in the palm of each hand. Either design is suitable and should offer the proper protection from serious injury.
A: All of the general parts (boots, wheels, bearings, frame, and closure system) are provided on every inline skate. However, the materials of each of these parts is constructed of will vary from one skate to the next. The higher quality and lighter the material, the better the skate and subsequently the higher the price.
More expensive skates will offer:
- Boots: Added comfort, stiffness, and ventilation
- Wheels: Larger size for increased speeds
- Bearings: Higher rating, smoother and faster
- Frame: Stiffer for better transfer of energy and more control
- Closure System: A combination of closure systems, possibly a one-pull quick-lace system
A: An inline skate brake will typically last about one season. Depending on the terrain conditions that you skate on and the rider weight it may last shorter or longer than a season. It is recommended that you have a replacement brake handy so that you can replace when the time comes. Always check your skate brake after skating to inspect the wear. Many brakes will have a wear line indicator to help you determine if it is worn or not.
A: No, not all skates will have brakes on them. Recreational, fitness, and kid’s skates will have brakes, but others will not due to the purpose of the skate. The following skate types do not come with brakes:
- Aggressive Skates: Brakes on aggressive skates are unnecessary because they would hinder the users ability to hit jumps and grind rails.
- Speed Skates: Speed skates do not have brakes because they add unwanted weight to the skate.
- Inline Hockey Skates: Inline hockey players rely on sharp turns and light skates. Brakes are unwanted on inline hockey skates because they hinder turning and add unneeded weight.