How to Choose Inline Skates?
Inline skating is IN! This popular sport suitable for both outdoors and urban areas will help you maintain your physical fitness, lose weight and keep fit, regardless of your age.
Inline skating is relaxing and fun. It is also supported by various inline tracks, skate parks and learning facilities all over Europe.
We will help you choose the right inline skates for both children and adults, so you can enjoy this sport with all your friends or family.
What Type of Inline Skates Do You Need?
Consider your skating abilities and the way you intend to use your new skates and select a type accordingly:
- Recreational (fitness) – for regular skating (cheaper)
- Professional – speed-oriented, freestyle, slalom (more expensive)
For your children, you can buy the practical size-adjustable skates (adjustable tip, sometimes heel) that will keep up with your child’s growth. Some children’s skates even come in 2in1 models, where you can exchange the wheels for blades.
When Picking Out Inline Skates, Consider:
- user's age amd personal preferences
- wheel and shoe size (EU)
- price and design
Inline skate wheels
The skates’ effectiveness depends on the type of wheels used and their regular replacement. Inline skates have usually 4 wheels (freestyle skates have 5). The wheel size is determined by their diameter and hardness, stated in mm (i.e. 80/20). Generally speaking, big wheels are faster, while the smaller are slower. That’s why small wheels are suitable for beginners.
- Small wheels are the most suitable for skating on U-ramps and in skate parks (55 – 62 mm).
- Children’s inline skates have smaller wheels (under 70 mm).
- Average-sized wheels are versatile, suitable for almost all skaters (81 – 84 mm).
- Speed-focused inline skates for experienced users have big wheels (over 85 mm).
Wheel hardness is marked with “A” at the end.
- Soft wheels are slower, but are more stable when making a turn (over 80A).
- Average hard wheels are suitable for fitness skating on regular surfaces, on roads and inline tracks (80A – 90A).
- Hard wheels are suitable for freestyle enthusiasts, because they are more durable and allow you to skate faster (over 90A).
Material, frame length and bearings
The shoe of the inline skate must keep your foot and ankle fixed. There are usually two parts – the shell and the ankle support. It is most often made of hardened plastic with ventilation for more comfortable skating. Buy inline skates approximately half a size or a size larger.
The skating style is determined by the skate frame as well. An aluminium frame is more rigid and durable. Plastic frames are also used. A longer frame is more suitable for endurance skating, skates with a shorter frame are easier to manoeuvre with.
The speed and quality of skating is also determined by bearings. Most bearings on the market are marked by an odd number on the ABEC scale (ABEC-1, ABEC-3, ABEC-5, ABEC-7, ABEC-9). The higher the number, the more precise the bearings are (lower dimensional tolerance).
Inline skates should also be chosen according to the way the frame is affixed to the boot. The more expensive models are affixed with screws, which will make cleaning them easier. Cheaper skates have frames affixed with rivets and the cheapest models are glued, or directly shaped as a part of the skate.
Choose Inline Skates According to Their Intended Use:
- Inline skates for beginners – slower, comfortable, with smaller wheels (72 – 80 mm), softer shoe material and low frame, suitable for both fitness skating and family outings
- Fitness inline skates – most widely used, for fitness and recreational skating, with 80 – 90 mm wheels (sports models with 100 or 110 mm wheels)
- Aggressive inline skates – most durable, for performing tricks, jumping and other acrobatics in skate parks, with small stable wheels (50 – 60 mm)
- Speed (race) inline skates – fast, with long frame and low-positioned hard shoe, with 100 or 110 mm wheels, the style can be usually adjusted according to the skater’s requirements
- Slalom inline skates (freeskate, urban, freestyle) – great manoeuvrability, suitable for slalom, urban rides and even fitness, with short frame, rigid shoe and harder wheels (76 – 80 mm)
- Hockey inline skates – fast, with rigid durable shoe and 72 – 80 mm wheels, designed for sudden direction changes and heavier load
- Nordic (outdoor) inline skates – for outdoors, uneven terrain and even grass, with big, usually inflatable wheels and long frame; if you use them along with Nordic poles, you can simulate cross-country skiing in summer
- Children’s inline skates – slower, with smaller wheels, fitness or skates for beginners but with adjustable size (by 3 – 4 sizes)
The higher-quality skates are naturally more expensive. It is not recommended to try and save money when buying inline skates. If you plan to skate more often than two times a week, you should look for skates around 90 € and higher. The money you invest into the skates will be reflected in the comfort and attributes of your new inline skates.
Don’t forget to also buy helmets (mandatory in the Czech Republic if you are under 18) and other safety features – elbow, knee and palm protectors.
When to Start With Inline Skating?
Capable children can master inline skates at 3 – 5 years of age, However, according to skating coaches, the ideal age to start with skating is somewhere between 6 and 10 years. Learning how to skate is not a problem at any age, though. All you need is will, courage and absence of limiting health issues. Public lessons take place in parks, recreational centres and inline clubs. All you need to do is search on the internet, purchase appropriate equipment and start skating.
Inline skates will give you wings! We hope they will serve you well and for a long time.