On 16 October 2011 at 16:06 | updated on 29 July 2018 at 21:38

Buying second-hand skates

Buying second-hand skates

You’re starting roller-skating and you want to get a new pair of skates? Yes, but making ends meet at the end of the month is sometimes complicated. Fortunately, there’s still the possibility of buying second-hand equipment, and here are a couple of tips to make pondered choices and avoid problems...

By  Alexandre CHARTIER

Buying second-hand without getting it wrong

When you want to find a real gem at a low cost, you have several options, from private to online buying, and we are going to give you an overall look...

First of all, you should define your needs before buying: What do you want to practice, at which frequency, and what is your budget? Once you have spotted a product you’re interested in, get information about the year of release and initial price.

Examples of price drop (for information only):

  • Most of the skates which were regularly used are generally sold half their initial price
  • If they were not used a lot or if they are almost new they will be two-third of their price
  • If they are new, in general you’ll be asked for 75% of their value.

In general, just like for cars, as soon as the skate is out of the shop, it goes down in value. These data are given for information only and do not necessarily reflect reality. The buyer and the seller have to agree on the price of the product, according to the wear and tear and other factors, such as its rarity.


Most of the roller-skating forums are crammed with small ads of second-hand equipment. You can find anything, so get sure of the good condition of the products before buying, with pictures and descriptions of its current condition.

Tip: As much as possible, try to meet the seller to try the product before buying, as foot shapes and sizes vary considerably according to the brands. You can also have a closer look at the product and eventually negociate the price.

+ attractive prices most of the time- No trying
-No resort in case of contention
- No visibility on the product’s condition

Specialized shops sometimes have a second-hand department

A couple of skating shops have these. Private individuals let their products at the shop, which buys the skates at a low price in exchange of money of vouchers. Sometimes the shop conditions the skate to increase its value before displaying it, just as a car dealer would do.  

Tip: Salespersons can be of good advice. Let them know your needs and your budget: they’ll know how to help.

Specialized shop lovers can turn to big bi-annual meetings such as the ‘Trocathlon’ where you can sometimes get bargains, but you won’t find the help you could get in specialized shops.

+ The possibility of trying
+ The advices of salespersons
+ A reliable product
- A higher price than with private individuals

The Online second-hand shops

While some shops will sell you an unobtainable pair with a much higher price than its initial price, you can get bargains on online shops such as Ebay or Price-Minister, for example.

Very often you’ll find people who want to get rid of their old pairs of skates and put them up for auction. You can find good opportunities, particularly with some rare product,s like all terrain skates. And sometimes they are in perfect condition.


Let’s be careful on some points:

  • Sellers sometimes live in foreign countries, and resorts in case of swindle are limited;
  • Sometimes there can be missing parts in the delivery;
  • Try to get as many pictures and as much information as possible on the product to get an idea of its general condition.
+ Unbeatable prices
+ Some rare products can be found
- It is hard to define the actual condition of the product
- Honesty of the seller

Buying second hand skates



Having a closer look at the product

You’ve got to have a good and trained eye to define the condition of a pair of skates. Ideally, the buyer should be testing the skates for a dozen minutes before making the decision of taking them.

The boot: eliminatory criterion

It is the most important part to check. If it’s too damaged, pass on because replacing it is like buying a new pair. Scratches can be aesthetically annoying but don’t prevent the skate from working efficiently. However, the support of the boot should be checked. Even if the general outside condition is good, its structure will have weakened with years. You must feel comfortable, and supported. Check the fixing between the boot and the frame for possible cracks, especially with carbon boots.

Liners: a consequent budget

They can be expansive to change. Check if it’s not worn out where the fastening system is. Check the tongue and the inner-sole in case they are out of shape. As much as possible, put them on to check that there is no pressure point hurting your feet.

The fastening system: check the buckles

If the laces are worn out, you’ll need 5 to 10€ to change them. On the contrary, if the buckles are damaged, it will probably be necessary to change them and this is quite a budget. To check the fastening, put on the skate and make it work in every direction, do and undo the buckles several times. Fasten them to the max to see if they hold the line.

The frame: another important budget in case of replacement

The frame is one of the main parts of the skate. First of all you must check if it’s not cracked or buckled. Then check its precision in fastening the wheels to the max. Move the wheels laterally to see if the frame has become loose with time. Have a look at the axles too, to see if the heads and the rivets are ok.
With an aluminium frame, and the wheels fastened to the max, you just have to skate a bit to hear whether the frame makes noise or not. If you have the feeling that an axle is unscrewed whereas everything is fastened to the max, then it’s probably because the frame is loose.

The wheels: check the regularity of the profile

That’s the first thing to do. The wear must be even and it is better if they are not bevelled. You can watch and you can touch also. Don’t forget to have a look at the core, in case it is cracked. Make them turn to see if they are buckled.

In general a wheel costs between 4 and 12€ according to the use and diameter. Then be careful on their general condition.

The bearings: Silence is Golden

Here again, the budget for replacing is consequent. Unlike generally held opinions, a wheel doesn’t have to turn forever to guarantee the quality of the bearings. A bearing in good condition is generally greased. It should then be silent or make a steady sound. Sand noises and resistance to rotation are very efficient selection criteria.

The brake

This is a wear and tear part, so don’t panic. The only risk for the buyer is that it might be complicated to find new brakes for old skate models. Sometimes unscrupulous manufacturers stop producing spare parts belonging to not-so-old models. Check that the fixing screw of the brake and its support piece are not too damaged.

Specific recommendations for aggressive skates

Aggressive skates have a couple of specific parts that should be checked: the H-block and the soul-plates. If these parts are worn out and cannot be disassembled, forget the skate you were about to buy.

The H-block shouldn’t be worn too deeply and irregularly or it will stop.

Soul-plates should also be worn evenly. Check that the heads of the screws are not damaged. A pair of soul plates could cost you 50€.


Useful links

Choosing my skates
Choosing your long distance skates (products comparison)
Choosing your long rides roller-skates (general information)
Choosing skates for your kids
What type of roller-skates will suits you ?
Buying second-hand skates

By Alfathor
Translated by Close Yr E’s
Released  on 16 October 2011 - Read 107657 times

By :
Fondateur et webmaster de rollerenligne.com. Alexandre est un passionné de roller en général et sous tous ses aspects : histoire, économie, sociologie, évolution technologique... Ne le branchez pas sur ces sujets sans avoir une aspirine à portée de main !

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