How to buy a pair of inline skates?

Inline skating is a lot of fun as long as your skates are comfortable and they fit well. I know a lot of people who have complained of numb arches and toes because of a pair of ill-fitting inline skates, but I can honestly say the new inline skate technology has made any numb parts a thing of the past with Soft Boots, foam fit liners, and ultra-light carbon frames.

With inline skates, it’s all about the fit, and each person is going to fit their skates in a different way. If you’re new to inline skating or just looking for a new pair of inline skates, here’s a quick buying guide so you know which one is right for you.

How to buy a pair of inline skates?

Try 5 before you buy

Inline skates have to be comfortable if you’re going to wear them. It’s a little like buying a pair of formal shoes (if you’re a man) or high heels (if you’re a woman). If the shoe doesn’t fit, it pinches, or it’s clunky on your foot, you’re not going to want to wear it for any length of time.

The latest inline skates are sleek, soft, and light as a feather, so you’re going to want to try quite a few pairs on before you settle on one pair. Aim to try on at least 5 pairs of inline skates before you buy, and that way you can make an informed decision.

Don’t buy based on price

My first pair of inline skates were purchased at a Toys R Us, and I had no idea about bearings, wheel size, or comfort. I strapped them on and excitedly headed out the door for a quick roll, only to realize that it was slow going. Each stride felt like I was pushing boulders, and I couldn’t get any speed or momentum up. Plus, my entire foot went numb on one side, and it took ½ hour after I took them off to regain feeling!

My lesson is your gain, because the cheapest pair in the store can turn out to be the most uncomfortable. Your best bet is to buy based on fit.

A bearing is a bearing is a bearing

Bearings are a big deal. They’re the reason why you can skate smoother and faster, and bearings were the reason why my first pair of skates were so slow! Bearings have an ABEC or American Bearing Engineering Committee rating, and they run from ABEC 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9, and the higher the ABEC rating, the faster your skates will be. Do beginners need the fastest bearing? Probably not, but it can’t hurt to choose a middle-of-the-road instead of the lowest. That way you can gain skills on your skates.

Don’t forget the brake

If you’re a beginner, you’re going to want to ensure your new skates have a break. Even if you’re a seasoned pro at skating, you still might want to have that brake on there. More than one person has wished for brakes as they careened down a hill, and unless you’re a pro at stopping without one, you should make sure they’re an option on your new skates.

Consider an insole

Insoles can make your inline skates feel like the comfiest pair of shoes you own, and that goes a long way when you’re burning the calories. Ask at a skate shop for a good pair of insoles, and they can help you fit them into your skates.
Happy skating!


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Written by Raven Inline Skates