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Buying Your First Inline Skates
The best skates for you to buy will depend on the kind of skating
you expect to do, and the amount of money you're willing to spend.
Inline skates can be generally organized into the following categories:
Fitness and Recreational Skates
Note that buying a particular type of skate doesn't mean you CAN'T do
any other type of skating. You'll see plenty of people playing hockey
in recreational skates, doing aggressive maneuvers in fitness skates
and dancing in hockey skates. If you aren't sure what type of skating
you'll be doing, you should probably select a comfortable, medium-priced
What to Spend
Plan to Spend at Least $200
If you spend less,
your feet will probably be so uncomfortable you won't enjoy skating at all.
If you can afford to spend more than $200, your feet will definitely notice
the difference. It's almost always true, that fitness and recreational skates
rated highest for comfort cost between $300 and $400.
What If You Can't Afford $200?
If you can't afford to buy a high-end skate, you should be quite comfortable
in a mid-range skate, but there are two other options: Buy a high quality used
skate, or find a discontinued high-end skate on sale. Finding good used skates
may not be easy (try eBay), but finding a discontinued skate on sale is very possible,
especially during the winter season. I've seen top-of-the line $350 skates on
sale for under $100 after they've been replaced by a new model.
Types of Skates
Aggressive skates are tough, durable skates made of thick plastic. They
have small wheels for maneuverability and grind plates to protect the boots
when you perform aggressive stunts.
The skates most commonly used for figure skating and dancing have boots similar
to ice skating boots and small wheels for maneuverability. The newest artistic
skates have only three wheels, and the front and back wheels are a different
hardness than the middle wheel. This allows smoother turns and spinning, and
gives the skates the feel of a rockered skate or an ice skate.
Fitness and Recreational Skates
Basic recreational skates have four wheels and plenty of ankle support.
They are usually made of hard plastic. If you decide to purchase one of
the new soft-boot skates, make sure the one you select has a plastic cuff
or some other device to provide good ankle support.
Recreational skates used for fitness and long-distance skating have
larger wheels (80 mm), a slightly lower cuff, and extra comfort features.
Recreational skates used for down-hill skating have a high cuff made of
hard plastic, to provide the extra ankle support needed for skating down
long, steep hills.
Hockey skates are made of leather and they have small wheels for maneuverability.
They close with laces for a tight fit, and they are manufactured to support the
agility requirements of roller hockey.
True speedskates are very light weight and they have a low-cut leather boot with
no ankle support. They have a long wheel base and 5 large wheels for extra speed.
They are not suitable for beginners because they have no brake, and the long wheel
base makes it difficult to turn and do other basic maneuvers.
Skate Buying Tips from the Experts
This is the first article in a four-part series for
beginning inline skaters called "How to Get Started on Inline Skates":
Go to Part 3:
Skating Safety and Etiquette
More of This Article
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