Buying guide for fitness rollerblades
When looking for fitness rollerblades there are 3 things you need to have in mind: You should choose about one European or a half UK size bigger than your normal shoes, consider the wheel size and consider whether you want a soft-boot or hard-boot.
See this video where we quickly guide you through the most important things you need to know before you buy your first pair of recreational or fitness inline skates.
Fitness rollerblades are equally suitable for both workout purposes and recreational use with nice and easy rides. They are well-known for their good fit and high comfort, and furthermore, they are breathable and feel good on the feet so you can skate with ease. Fitness inline skates can be used by people of all ages - kids as well as elderly people.
Fitness rollerblades - for the healthy and social
Fitness rollerblades are a fun way of burning calories while getting fresh air down your lungs. And on top of that it is a great social activity to be doing with family, friends or your partner.
A lot of doctors even recommend inline skating as an alternative to running if you have problems with your knees, because when you skate, you make long, sliding movements that are more gentle on the knees compared to the impacts you experience when running. And you still get the pleasure of a nice time out in nature.
Recreational inline skates exist in many different models and designs, making it possible for you to find a pair that you like.
Wheels for fitness inline skates
Choosing wheel size depends on the distance you would like to run.
- For longer distances (e.g. a marathon or normal workouts) you should use bigger wheels. This will make it easier for you to maintain the speed and you use less energy. We recommend a wheel size of 90-100mm in diameter or even 110mm.
- For shorter distances (e.g. city skating) you should use smaller wheels. This will make your skates more maneuverable, making it easier for you to stop and turn. We recommend a wheel size of 80-84mm.
The wheel durometer is indicated with an A. For fitness inline skates the suitable durometer is 78-85A.
- The higher the A number is, the harder the wheels are.
- The lower the A number is, the softer the wheels are.
The wheel durometer affects the lifespan, grip, speed and shock absorbing effect of the wheels.
- Softer wheels equal better grip and shock absorption, but shorter lifespan and less speed.
- Harder wheels equal longer lifespan and higher speed, but less grip and shock absorption.
Read our guide “Wheel terms explained”, if you wish to learn more about skate wheels.
To ensure that your rollerblades perform their best, it is important that you treat the bearings well. This means:
- Avoid water and moist as much as possible.
- Avoid sand and dirt.
The bearing is a component inside the wheel important for the wheel’s ability to spin. At SkatePro we typically specify the bearings according to the ABEC scale which defines the precision of the bearing.
- The higher the ABEC rating, the higher precision and less roll resistance you get - this makes it easier for you to maintain speed and thus getting a better roll.
We recommend that you buy from a recognized brand instead of solely focusing on the ABEC rating since the quality of a bearing is not determined by ABEC itself, but several parametres combined. This means that an ABEC 5 bearing from one brand can actually have a better roll than an ABEC 7 bearing from another brand. If you wish to get into more details with bearings, you can read our guide “Buying bearings”.
Boots and liners
Soft-boot vs. hard-boot
Whether you choose a soft or hard-boot/shell depends on your taste.
- A soft-boot/shell is typically more comfortable and well-ventilated.
- A hard-boot/shell is typically more stable and provides more control.
For some rollerblades you can buy a separate liner (inner boot) to make the boot more comfortable. However, with fitness inline skates this is typically not necessary since they are already designed with a comfortable liner from the beginning providing high comfort - something they are already well-known for.
Women’s and Men’s rollerblades
Rollerblades are often separated in women’s and men’s models, but usually there is no other difference except that of the visual design. Some brands, however, have designed models that aim specifically at women’s and men’s feet. If you want to buy a pair of fitness inline skates from the opposite sex from our webshop, you are more than welcome to contact us for further advice.
- Always read the size guide offered to you on the specific product pages if available.
- Choose approx. one EU size bigger than your normal shoe size unless indicated otherwise in the size guide.
- Try the skates on for approx. 10-15 minutes. Only test them indoor in case you want to return them.
You should be able to move your toes a bit. They should not touch the nose of the skate. If your roller blades squeeze already from the beginning, they will hurt the moment you go for a longer run. However, remember that boots tend to expand a bit after some time, and if you have a soft-boot it will expand more than a hard-boot.
People with slim feet frequently tend to choose certain models such as the K2 skates since they feel tighter around the foot. On the other hand, brands like Rollerblade and Powerslide are frequently preferred by people with wider feet.
Since the fit of a skate is a personal matter and no feet are alike, you can never be 100% certain that the first inline skates you try on fit perfectly. That is why you have to try your way through - just like with regular shoes. Also remember to use the specified size guides - they will help you a long way.
Closure System - Buckles and Laces
Fitness inline skates are often equipped with a closure system consisting of both buckles and laces. Some models even have a special wire tightening system where the skates are tightened as you turn the knob. Buckles are faster than laces and it is easier to get the same fit again. With laces, however, you can tighten the boot differently along the foot.
Whether you choose one or the other of the closure systems is a question of personal preference. Most importantly you should choose a pair of skates with a closure system that provides you with the right fit in order for you to gain full and optimum control over your roller blades.
Most rollerblades come with a brake pre-mounted. You can switch it to the other skate if you prefer to brake with the other foot. Since brakes are a wearing part and will wear down at one point, we recommend that you buy an extra pair from the beginning.
This way you always have a pair ready to use and you also avoid the risk of a brake being discontinued. Recognized brands, however, usually offer brakes for the same model for a long time.
The frame of fitness inline skates is often made out of aluminum frame which is more stiff and stable thus providing better power transfer compared to a nylon/composite frame. If it is important for you to cut off seconds of your lap time, you should go for an aluminum frame. But if you are only planning to use your rollerblades for workout purposes and cozy rides, it does not matter which you choose.
We always recommend that you use certified safety equipment. That is why you only find equipment that has been certified according to the EN 1078 norms. Moreover, most of our gear has been tested further by skaters.
As a minimum we recommend a skate helmet since it provides extra protection to the back of the head, and wrist guards since you usually use the hands during a fall.
Remember that skate protection does not only protect you but it can also give you a sense of safety giving you more courage to try more things and thus learn faster. And if you were to fall, it would not hurt near as much as if you fell without your safety gear on.
Feel free to contact us for further advice should you still have any questions. Our customer support team is always ready to help you :-)