Rollerblades, also known as inline skates, are not only fun, but they provide an excellent opportunity for physical fitness. Whether you are just getting started out rollerblading or you have been rollerblading for a while, but you want to get a new pair of skates, you have a lot of options to choose from. With so many different options, though, finding the best pair of rollerblades for your needs can be a bit of a challenge. How do you know what type of you need and which ones will best suit your needs? How do you know which brands are the best?
To help you on your guest for finding the best rollerblades, we have put together this hand buyer’s guide. It is full of valuable information that you can use to help you find the best rollerblades for your specific needs so that you can enjoy them to the fullest.
Types of Rollerblades
There are five main types of rollerblades, including:
- Recreational rollerblades
- Fitness rollerblades
- Hockey rollerblades
- Racing rollerblades
- Urban or street rollerblades
Recreational rollerblades are, by far, the most popular type of rollerblades. They are designed to be used by anyone who is looking to simply get out and enjoy all the benefits that inline skating has to offer. Recreational rollerblades are designed to be easily strapped on so that the user can take off. They are ideal for a quick skate around the park, a roll down a bike trial or for your basic fitness needs. Unless you need rollerblades for a specific activity, recreational rollerblades will likely be the best option for you. Recreational rollerblades come in a variety of models and are made for skaters of all ability levels. They usually have a soft boot construction, which allows for a more comfortable skate, as it makes the food lighter and more breathable.
Fitness rollerblades are specifically designed for people who intend use their rollerblades for getting into shape, or who plan on skating a lot. Essentially, fitness rollerblades are high performance rollerblades. Their design is similar to recreational rollerblades, with the main difference being that they are designed for people who skate longer distances. The bearings, the size of the wheels and the overall weight of fitness rollerblades is different than recreational rollerblades. Typically, fitness rollerblades are outfitted with faster bearings and larger wheels, which help to generate more speed for longer skates. These rollerblades are also lighter, which allows the user to go further distances with greater comfort. The skate boots have a linear construction and help to circulate air, thanks to built in ventilation.
Roller Hockey Rollerblades
As the name suggests, these rollerblades are designed to be worn while playing roller hockey. The design roller hockey rollerblades is very similar to ice hockey skates, except they obviously feature wheels instead of actual sharp blades. The boots are made with reinforced leather and stitching and also include some additional materials, such as carbon fiber or plastic, which helps to strengthen the boot. Roller hockey rollerblades are lightweight and extremely durable.
If you are a serious about rollerblading and you are interested in entering competitions, racking rollerblades are an excellent choice. Racing rollerblades are the fastest type of rollerblades available, thanks to their cutting-edge, streamlined design. Racing rollerblades are extremely lightweight, have fast bearings and made of streamlined, durable materials. These rollerblades also feature a five wheel chassis setup. They boots are designed similarly to shoes with a soft boot that is reinforced with carbon fiber. The cuff is also lower, which helps to keep the weight down. The wheels are also larger in diameter than the wheels on other rollerblades, which gives the racer more speed and an improved rate of acceleration.
Urban or Street Rollerblades
This type of rollerblade is basically a hybrid of recreational and fitness skates. They feature bold, streamlined designs. They wheel and bearing setup is similar to the setup on recreational skates, but the design of the boot provides the security that is needed to successfully complete do different types of jumps and tricks. The wheels are also large, which gives urban rollerblades the ability to go around tighter corners with ease.
Factors to Consider When Shopping for Rollerblades
In order to ensure that you buy the right rollerblades for your specific needs, there are several factors that you are going to want to take into consideration before you start shopping. Below, we will discuss some of the factors that we consider to be the most important when choosing your rollerblades, as they will help you choose the best type for your needs.
What type of skating will you be doing?
The first and most important factor that you are going to want to take into consideration when shopping for rollerblades is the type of skating you will be doing. As you can tell from the descriptions of each type of rollerblade above, different types of rollerblades are designed for different uses. If you are going to be skating for fun or for mild exercise, recreational skates are a good option. If you are going to be doing tricks, however, street or urban rollerblades are a better choice.
Make sure you know what size to shop for. Rollerblades are usually sized the same as shoes; however, just like no two pair of shoes are the same, no two rollerblades are the same. Make sure you have your feet sized by a professional so that you can find out your true size. Also, make sure you try on the rollerblades and give them a good test run before you purchase a pair.
Some rollerblades are designed to be more durable than others. Generally, rollerblades that are intended to be used for longer distances or more intense skating are more durable than those that are designed for recreational use. The more and the harder you plan on using them, the more durable your rollerblades should be.
Generally speaking, the larger the size of the wheels, the faster the rollerblades will go. If you want to race, or if you want to go longer distances at higher speeds, look for larger wheels, as they will allow you to reach higher speeds than smaller wheels. They will also allow you to go around tighter corners with greater ease.
The boot is another factor that you should consider. The size of the boot is important, as previously mentioned, but so is the material and the construction of the boot. If you are going to be going longer distances and doing more extreme skating, you want a boot that provides a more secure fit and will hold your foot steadier.
The brakes are also important; without them, you can’t stop. Rollerblades usually have brakes located in the front or the back of the boot. If you plan on doing tricks and going longer distances, front brakes are a good choice; however, if you are going to be skating at high speeds, or you will be skating on varied terrains, look for rollerblades that feature back brakes.
You should also consider your budget when shopping for rollerblades. Rollerblades can vary significantly when it comes to price. The more specialized the rollerblades are and the more features they offer, the more expensive they tend to be.
Rollerblades can also boast a number of different features. These features are intended to make the rollerblades more comfortable and make them easier for you to use; however, if you don’t need some of the features, you should avoid shopping for skates that offer certain features, as you will end up paying more for something that you don’t need.
All rollerblades feature liners, but there are different types of liners available. Standard liners, which all rollerblades come with, are constructed of foam materials an offer a basic level of comfort and padding for your feet. More advanced liner options include:
- Auto- fit, which tend to feature pads of gel that allow the liner to automatically contour to your feet every time you put your blades on. Auto-fit liners offer extra support and are more comfortable than standard liners.
- Memory fit liners are similar to auto-fit liners, but they have the ability to remember the pattern and contour of your foot.
- Heat moldable liners are warmed and then placed on your feet so that they create the exact contour of your food as they cool and harden.
The cuffs provide support for your ankles and feet. There are two types of cuffs:
- Plastic, high cuffs, which are usually features in recreational rollerblades. The plastic is very durable and responsive, providing you with a great deal of comfort and support.
- Carbon, low cuffs are considered an upgrade from the plastic, high cuffs. They offer more support and greater response, making them a great choice for more serious skaters.
Rollerblades can also feature a variety of closure systems. The most common closure systems include:
- Standard lacing, which, as the name suggests, involves lacing up the boot and tying the lace, just as you would with a pair of shoes or boots.
- Ratchet buckles feature two or three buckles and are a great, easier alternative to the standard lacing closure system.
- Velcro straps, also known as power straps, are used together with standard lacing and ratchet buckle systems. They help to keep the heel properly positioned in the cup of the heel of the skate.
- Quick lace closure systems allow for greater ease when putting on and taking off your skates. The feature a thin, yet durable cable that runs up the skate boot just like a standard lace and are tightened via a pull and tighten system.
- Boa lacing is much like a quick lace system, but instead of pulling the cable through dial, which is used to tighten and loosen the cable.
Best Rollerblade Brands
When it comes to rollerblades, there are countless brands to choose from. Because there are so many options, finding the best brands can be a challenge. To assist you, we did some extensive research and also tested several rollerblades from some of the top manufacturers, and we determined that the following brands are the best of the best.
The Rollerblade brand has been producing high quality rollerblades and rollerblading products for decades. They use innovative designs and cutting edge technologies to craft a wide range of exceptional rollerblades.
Another high quality rollerblade manufacturer is Roller Derby. We liked how many options that this manufacturer had to offer, and how comfortable their rollerblades were. We also liked the high quality and thoughtful construction.
This is another excellent rollerblade brand. Bauer Vapor uses only the highest quality materials to create exceptional, durable rollerblades that provide extreme comfort and safety.