Buying guide for roller skates
Roller skates are made for fitness, normal skating or disco and dancing. This guide helps you choose the best roller skate suitable for your needs.
See this video where we quickly guide you through the most important things you need to know before you buy your first pair of roller skates.
If you want a pair of all-round skates with the classic skate look, you should go for roller skates - also known as quad skates. They are designed with a wide baseplate that provides you with good stability and they are suitable for all ages - kids as well as older people.
Roller skates are by many perceived as the classic skates since they were first on the market. They often bring out childhood memories and give a sense of the good old days which is why a lot of people choose to buy them. They are also very fashionable with their old school retro look.
Some roller skates can be used for longer trips and transportation while others are well-suitable for dancing and disco.
Roller skates come with four wheels in pairs which makes them stable to stand on. If you want to look into wheels as a first time buyer, you only need to decide whether you want hard wheels or soft wheels.
The hardness of a wheel is specified by the durometer scale that goes from 0-100A. The closer you are to 100, the harder the wheels will be.
- Harder wheels provide a longer lifespan, but less grip and shock absorption.
- Softer wheels provide better grip and shock absorption, but a shorter lifespan.
It is important that you treat the bearings well to ensure that your quad skates perform their best. This means:
- Avoid water and moist as much as possible.
- Avoid sand and dirt.
It is usually not important to pay that much attention to bearings when buying roller quad skates since you rarely reach a speed high enough to affect which rating of ABEC bearings you should have.
If you wish to get into more details with bearings, you can read our guide “Buying bearings”.
Hard-boot vs soft-boot
Roller skates are available as hard-boots / hard-shells or as soft-boots / soft-shells.
- Hard-boots are great for fitness use and longer rides, because they provide good stability and support. They also have the advantage that the liner can be replaced if it gets worn out.
- Soft-boots are the right choice if you want a more maneuverable skate for dancing or disco. Soft-boots also have the advantage of being better ventilated and weighing less.
- Always read the size guide presented to you on the product page.
- Rule of thumb: Choose about 1 size bigger than regular shoe size - unless stated otherwise in the size guide.
Choosing the right size can be a bit tricky. What is important is that the skates have a firm fit around your feet without being too tight nor too loose. For some people this means choosing the same size as their regular shoe size while for others going a size up gives the right fit. As a first time buyer we recommend that you go one size up. Also remember to read the size guide first, because if a specific model is very small in size, you might have to go two sizes up.
Either way, it is always a good idea to try your roller skates on at home. It is important that your toes do not touch the nose of the skate since this means that they are too small.
Trucks and plates
Roller skates come with a truck and a plate underneath. Most plates are made of nylon which makes the skate lighter in weight and the trucks are made of aluminum which makes them strong but heavier.
Quad skates are also designed with cushions underneath that can be replaced to your liking. They determine how agile the skates are.
- The softer the cushions are, the more agile the skates become.
- The harder the cushions are, the more directional stable the skates become.
One of the unique characteristics about quad skates, apart from having four wheels in pairs, is the toe stop. The purpose of the toe stop is to set off with, and it can also be used as a brake.
The toe stop can be replaced and remember to do so before it gets completely worn down. If not, it becomes very difficult, if not impossible, to dismount it.
We always recommend that you use certified safety equipment. That is why at SkatePro 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. However, remember that being fully geared up with skate protection (skate helmet, wrist guards, knee pads and elbow pads) can give you just that extra sense of safety that will give you more confidence thus making you learn faster.
Feel free to contact us for further advice should you still have any questions. Our customer support team is always ready to help you :-)