For full details on frame material, please see our Inline Skate Buying Guide
Skate frames are typically constructed from plastic, aluminum, or carbon. When it comes to what constitutes a better frame, you will be looking for three things: weight, stiffness, and durability. Each of these characteristics is largely attributed to the type of material the frame is made of.
Plastic Frames - Plastic frames are usually found on beginner level inline skates because they are less expensive to make, resulting in a lower priced skate. When compared to aluminum or carbon frames, plastic frames are the least durable and least stiff of the three materials. They also tend to be heavier, which increases the overall weight of the skate.
Aluminum Frames - Aluminum, when compared to plastic frames, are lighter in weight and greater in stiffness. They do not torque under stress as plastic frames do, making them more efficient and also more durable. Aluminum frames are most commonly found on intermediate level inline skates, priced at levels slightly higher than those at the entry level.
Carbon Frames - Carbon was introduced to inline skate frames as a way to further reinforce aluminum frames, reduce weight, and increase durability for advanced level skaters.
A skate’s frame is where the power is generated when skating. Frame stiffness is an important aspect of your skate frame because it creates a more direct transfer of energy. When skating, you thrust your legs outward, creating energy to make your skates go. The energy from your legs travels through the boot of your skate, down to the frame, and ultimately to your wheels and the ground.