Inline Skates & Roller Blades – How Do You Choose?
After 15 plus years in the industry there isn’t a concern I haven’t heard when it comes to first time buyers of inline skates and roller blades.
It’s common to not even know where to start! Do you start with a cheap pair, or go with quality? What if it’s just a phase? I’m not sure if I will enjoy it or even be able to do rollerblading. Hopefully by the end of this blog I will have given you the confidence to make an informed choice.
First, when buying inline skates you need to know your end goal… What is it? Do you want to learn, skate long distances, go fast, or simply enjoy a leisurely skate along the footpaths? Skating has so many elements to the activity. Being clear on what you want to achieve is very important, as it will determine what product will deliver the outcomes you want.
Second, what is your budget or spend limit? I always tell my customers to stay within their budget – So there’s no remorse from impulsive buying! Shopping with industry experts is the most important advice I can give you. Work with shops that have good relationships with their suppliers, can guarantee replacement parts, and deal with faults.
Since parts do brake over time or wear out, make sure spare parts are available. Not being able to find parts can ultimately lead to having a skate that’s redundant or eventually useless! So many parents come to me with ‘cheaper’ skates that have a broken but simple part such as a brake. Unfortunately, most of these are not replaceable, which makes the entire inline or roller blade set useless! Needless to say, skating with broken parts can be very dangerous and is always unadvisable.
Finally, the fitting process should take time. Try on as much as you can so you can get the feeling of what you like on your feet. The skate should fit your whole foot, not just the length or width. Often people will buy a skate that is too big for them in length in order to accommodate the width. This is one of the worst things you can do. A proper fit is when the boot hugs the whole foot snug. There should be no gaps anywhere.
Also, remember that in order to skate safely you must wear protective gear, know your ability (don’t go bombing hills if you haven’t got the experience), and know your environment.