Different from regular roller rink skates, inline skates have wheels that form a straight line instead of the standard two wheels in the front and two wheels in the back. Inline skates have remained popular for many years, even more than typical rollers skates have, because of their performance and durability on streets and sidewalks. They are also great to use for street hockey, as part of an exercise routine, and as a means of transportation if you don’t have to go very far. Here are a few tips on what to look for in the best inline skates and a few reviews to help you start shopping.
Best Inline Skates of 2018
|Product||Type||Wheel Size, mm||Wheel Hardness||Bearings|
|Rollerblade Twister 80 (Editor's Choice)||Urban||80||85A|
|Rollerblade Zetrablade||Adult Fitness||80||82A|
|K2 Skate Raider||Kids Fitness||70||80A|
1. Rollerblade Twister 80 – Best Urban Skates For Streets
Constructed to be fast and maneuverable, the Rollerblade Twister 80 Urban Inline Skates allow you to move easily in between obstacles in a park or on the street. These are ideal skates for those living in a concrete jungle with their comfortable fit and Vented Shell design that helps keep your feet cool, plus they have a removable lateral slider for additional comfort. The Specialized 5 Star Fit Liner conforms to your feet and acts like a shock absorber with a specialized footbed that gives you the performance capability to slide in between pedestrians on the sidewalk.
The Twister 80 is the reason why an urban skate category was created. The Hot Rod Alu Frame perfectly transfers energy into each of your strides allowing you to maximize your mobility and speed. This is a tough, fast, and comfortable pair of inline skates that features cuff locking buckles and also comes with extra laces.
2. Bauer X500R – Best Inline Hockey Skates For Men
With high-end features, the Bauer X500R Skate is an affordable choice that is constructed with the typical TechNylon material. Featuring updated X-Ribs, the X500R uses a one piece Hi-Lo frame made of aluminum and Abec 7 bearings. This setup is a popular option for hockey player due to its agility and quickness while also providing the user with an aggressive stance.
The X500R’s updated X-Ribs are inspired by Bauer’s previous OD1N project. Players are given more power with each stride from the Vapor specific technology that gives you better stability and support. It also features a white felt tongue that comes in two 40 ounces pieces that shows off its high-density metatarsal guard to better protect a player from an impact on top of their foot and lace bites.
3. Rollerblade Zetrablade – Best Women’s Inline Skates For Fitness
Long the market benchmark for beginner skates, the Zetrablade W features unparalleled comfort and support in its price range. The Zetrablade W takes out the confusion and intimidation when buying your first pair of inline skates by helping to make learning to use them comfortable and easy. Featuring a wheel and bearing combination that is perfect for those learning how to control their speeds and response, the Zetrablade W allows you to easily upgrade the wheels to make your skates faster.
The Zetrablade W also features a secure closure system that locks the ankles and heels for a snug fit and a frame that has been integrated into the shell making it as low as possible lowering the center of gravity benefiting beginner users. Supportive and comfortable, this is a great skate choice for those on a budget, plus the supportive and stiff shell gives you durability and quality and makes it easier to learn to skate.
You will also find a comfortable liner that will give you great performance with the Zetrrablade W’s training liner that guarantees comfort for any level skater. The strong monocoque frame is one of the best to use for learning giving you great control and balance which are crucial for beginners learning to skate. The 80mm/82A wheels mix control and speed perfectly for those that prefer not to go too fast and keep just a moderate skate pace, plus the SG5 bearings give you an easy and smooth ride.
4. K2 Skate Raider – Best Inline Skates For Kids
Perfect for any young rider, the K2 Raider Kids Inline Skates will help them shine at the sport of skating for more than just one year. With an adjustable feature, you can move these skates up 5 sizes with your child as they grow. These are skates that your child can use for several years and they can then be handed to down to their siblings.
The K2 Original Soft Boot is combined with the K2’s Speed Lacing System to produce the best fit, and their versatile adjustability guarantees that they will be worn more than one season. Plus, with the Stability Plus Cuff, your child will have a lot of support and the Traditional Lacing system will keep them securely locked in and ready to roll.
Constructed with the F.B.I. Frame, the K2 Skate Raider will absorb vibrations from the road and make it easy for kids to get accustomed to skating. With their adjustability, performance, and comfort, the K2 Raider is a good choice for any parent looking for a safe pair on inline skates for their child.
5. Rollerblade Swindler – Best Aggressive Inline Skates For Outdoors
A great inline skate for beginners or experienced skaters, the Rollerblade Swindler Skates is perfect for grinding and features a molded shell support that will keep your ankles and feet in place. Similar to the comfort of wearing normal shoes, the Swindler Skate is fast and easy to lace up so you’ll be hitting the sidewalk in no time. This is the ideal intermediate skate for those that are looking to improve their skills.
With the durable and hardcore shell, the Swindler can take any abuse you can dish out to it giving you the legendary Rollerblade quality at a great value. With a super strong TRS frame, 2 x 60 mm/90A wheels that are anti-rocker, the Swindler also includes the fast SG5 bearings for a smooth ride. You will enjoy a new skating experience with this super plush park and street inline skate at an awesome price.
Inline skates are more than aesthetically different when it comes to men’s, women’s, girl’s, and boy’s skates. They are specifically designed for the shape of the foot of a man, woman, boy, or girl. A woman will have a narrower fit when it comes to an inline skate as well as a lower height on the cuff. Men generally have wider feet and a higher calf muscle so they will need a cuff height that is higher to fit them better. Inline skates also follow the same sizes that go along with standard shoe sizes for each gender.
What a good inline skate should have:
- Comfortable Boots – The boot of the inline skate should fit your ankle and foot snugly, but still allow your ankle to flex forward for balance. If you are a beginner, look for a more supportive ankle cuff that is higher while an advanced skater should look for a flexible and lower ankle cuff allowing them to make aggressive movements.
- Ventilated Boots – Boots that are ventilated will have ventilation channels that allow your feet to stay comfortable and cool on a hot day or a hard workout.
- High-quality Bearings – To check the quality of the bearings on your skates, look at the skate’s ILQ or ABEC number. This number will tell you how fast the skates will run and how the precisely the bearings were engineered. If you are interested in speed skates, look for ABEC numbers that are either 7 or 9 bearings. Otherwise, this number is not that important if you are only interested in fitness or recreation skating.
- Appropriate Wheels – The type of wheels you want depends on the type of skating you do. To go faster, buy skates with larger wheels and for maneuverability, buy skates with small wheels. Aggressive skates will have smaller wheels with fitness skates with mid-sized wheels and speed skates with wheels that are 100 or 110mm.
- Control – When you are using wheels of 100mm or larger, you will be wearing skates that are considered recreational, but they may be too fast for a beginner to control. Skates with longer wheelbases make skates feel more stable and make it easier to go faster while short wheelbases are more maneuverable.
- Secure Closures – Skates with closures that come loose are potentially dangerous. Make sure the skates you purchase feel secure once fastened and use a lace, ratchet buckle, or snap-down buckle as a closure.
There are a couple of forms of inline skating which have created a few different styles of inline skates. Here are the four main types of inline skates:
- Fitness – For a more experienced skater, fitness inline skates are for those users looking to get more from their skates. You will find a wide range in this skate style and they tend to be faster and for a greater distance than recreational skates.
- Recreation – Great for beginners to intermediate skaters, the recreation style skate is one of the more popular inline skate styles. These are generally more comfortable, fit well, and are a good stepping stone up to a fitness skate.
- Race – With a very stiff boot design, race style inline skates will give you great performance. These aren’t the most comfortable skates though and really just for those really interested in racing.
- Urban – The newest inline skate style is the urban style inline skates that feature a boot design similar to that of an aggressive skate. With a short and nimble frame, these skates are great for city street and zipping around crowds.
Inline skates are designed for several skill ranges including advanced, advanced intermediate, and intermediate similar to other types of athletic equipment. Beginner skates with plastic frames start out the inline skate skill range with low-grade bearings and small wheels. As the skill range increases, skates will have better components like bearing, frames, boots, and wheels. It is important to match your skate with your ability level or buy a pair that is just slightly above so you can grow into it.
Another important part of a skate is the liner. Having an ill-fitting liner means you will have an ill-fitting skate. Here are the four most common types of inline skate liners:
- Standard – Made of foam materials, standard liners give you basic padding and comfort for your feet. You won’t have any customizable or special features with this liner, but they are great for beginners to upgrade their skates once more experienced.
- Auto-Fit – Usually using pads with gels, auto-fit liners will automatically contour to your feet every time you wear them. Auto-fit liners give you more support and are typically more comfortable than standard liners.
- Memory Fit – Similar to an auto-fit, a memory fit uses a liner that can contour to and remember your foot pattern.
- Heat Moldable – Heat moldable liners are removed and heated at a skate shop and contoured to your foot. They are then allowed to cool and harden again.
Support is provided to your ankles with the cuff area on your inline skates. Having a high-quality cuff will allow you to produce more power when you are pushing off, plus it will give you support when you are skating for long periods of time.
- High Cuff – High cuffs are made of plastic and are usually found on recreational inline skates. Plastic cuffs are not necessarily a sign of an inferior inline skate as it makes them responsive and durable, plus it gives skaters a feeling of performance and support.
- Low Cuff – Found on race and marathon inline skates, low cuffs are made out of carbon and give more response and support for hardcore skaters.
These days there are several different lacing systems for inline skates. Skaters usually have a preference and lean towards that type for all of their skates.
- Standard Lacing – This was originally the only type of closure system. It is now often seen with other systems including Velcro strap and ratchet buckles.
- Ratchet Buckles – Lacing systems were replaced by two- or three-buckle closure system and became the only closure system on inline skates. You will often see ratchet buckles along with a lacing system like Boa, quick lace, and standard lace closure systems.
- Velcro Straps – Also known as power straps, Velcro is used along with ratchet buckle and standard lacing systems to help you keep your heel situated precisely in the heel cup of the skate.
- Quick-Lace – The quick lace closure system is very handy as it lets you use a quick pull motion for easy on and off that saves a lot of time. The quick lace system uses a narrow cable that is also durable and works similarly to the way a standard lace does.
- Boa Lacing – Similar to the quick lace system, Boa lacing uses a pull and tighten system by feeding the Boa lace through a dial that is found on the top of the skate. The dial easily loosens or tightens the inline skates with a simple turn of the knob.
Inline skate frames require weight, durability, and stiffness to be considered a good frame.
- Plastic Frames – Usually found on beginner skates, plastic frames are less expensive to construct which results in a lower priced skate. When you compare plastic to carbon or aluminum, they are not as durable or stiff as the other materials. They also tend to be heavy which makes the skates feel heavier.
- Aluminum Frames – In comparison, aluminum frames are lighter and stiffer. You will not see them torque under stress like plastic frames, so they are considered more durable and efficient. They are usually found on intermediate level inline skates which are a little more expensive than beginner skates.
- Carbon Frames – Carbon is used to reduce weight, reinforce aluminum frames, and help to create a more durable inline skate for more advanced skaters.
A skater’s power is produced from the frame and stiffness is an important part of your skate frame since it creates a more direct energy transfer. When you are skating, you force your legs forward to create energy that makes your skates go. The energy created by your legs travel from into your skate, to the frame, and then finally through the wheels to the ground.
Wheels have seen a lot of advancement over the past few years. Modern inline skates often have wheels constructed out of polyurethane. You will rarely find wheels made of plastic materials that were used in the 80’s and 90’s as they had a tendency to crack easily.
An essential component of an inline skate, the bearing will decide how smooth your ride will be and determine if you will be able to reach a higher speed. Bearings are used in inline skates to reduce friction that occurs between a non-moving, fixed frame and a moving wheel on a skate.
Another integral part of an inline skate is the brakes. This is a very important part of a skate, especially for beginners. A brake will generally come with most inline skates although some specific model types will not have them.
- Skates with Brakes – On almost all fitness and recreational skates, brakes are generally attached to the right skate. Sometimes the brake can be interchangeable between the two skates so that left-foot dominant skaters are able to switch the brake over to the left skate.
- No Brake – Skates for aggressive skaters like race and roller hockey skates will not come with a brake system as the brake will get in the way of their performance and these experienced skaters will not need them.
Whether you have been inline skating for a long time or you have just decided to take it up, it’s important to know what to look for in the best inline skates for your needs. Make sure that the skates you are considering match your skill level and are also comfortable and supportive of your ankles and feet. Once you know what features you need, it should be easy to find the best inline skates to make your next inline skating experience a blast.