How to choose your roller hockey skates?
When you first have a try at roller hockey, you quickly realize that skates are not spared in this discipline. Strong weight bearings, frequent and violent changes of direction, backwards skating... Your skates should be solid!
First tip: Right from the beginning, ban fitness skates with soft shells or composite frames. The lack of side support may cause sprained ankles, the frame may break... Also, forget embossed frames (two pieces of aluminum), extruded frames are the norm in roller hockey!
If you really can't afford putting money into a pair of roller hockey skates, opt for a versatile freeskate pair...
The main characteristics of a roller hockey skate
A roller hockey skate has the same main characteristics as a classic inline skate but with a few details that make the difference:
- A high-cut rigid shell for support and protection
- An aluminum frame with a hi-lo set-up to ensure a basic position leaning forwards
- 4 wheels: the back wheels are bigger than the front wheels. The set up is: 80/80/72/72 or 80/80/76/76.
The interest of a high-cut shell
The shell (or boot) is high-cut most of the time, and made of composite materials with a nylon / glass fiber / carbon basis. These three materials are sometimes combined together. The higher end the skate is, the more carbon is used for its lightness and rigidity.
Roller hockey boots are higher cut than speed skating boots, which tend to be lower cut.
- To protect the foot from shocks linked to sticks and pucks
- To render at best all the power stored in the lower muscles during the push
- For maximum ankle support in sudden changes of direction and speed changes
- To improve the general reactivity of the skate
The lacing of the skate goes up to the ankle for a maximum precision. Take your time to lace up your skates properly! Tightly fitting skates are easily forgotten and offer great precision...
What about the size?
Your skate should be close fitting. If your foot is too loose inside, it can lead to friction, heating, even sprains. Hockey boots break in a bit with time, if they feel a bit tight, it may be just for a while... Don't forget your feet swell during effort!
Warning: According to the brand you choose, there may be size differences. Rely on the size of your foot in centimeters to make comparisons.
The frame: What is the use of a hi-lo set-up?
The term 'hi-lo' comes from the contraction of 'high-low'. This concept appeared 15 years ago. The forwards rockering is caused by smaller wheels at the front of the skate and improves the mobility of the player. Short stride starts and more explosive since the player is basically positioned leaning forwards.
All models of roller hockey skates today (or almost) have a hi-lo set-up, except for models of the Tour brand that have a boot leaning forwards.
The frame should be made of extruded aluminum, that is to say made from one piece, for a better rigidity and solidity over time. Nylon / Fiber glass frames are softer and lack reactivity when you have reached a good level. They are not evolutive...
Roller hockey wheels
Their diameter may vary between 72 and 80 mm for adult sizes. They often have a full core or a semi-hollowed core like freeskate wheels. Compact hubs are more resistant. Their profile is rounder and less elliptical than that of speed or freeskate wheels. This shape provides a better grip whatever the situation.
What is the price of a beginner's pair of roller hockey skates?
Tricky question! Even a beginner in roller hockey had better get a good pair if they start practicing regularly. Today you can find very good skates for around 200€.
For kids, there are very good branded skates that are more affordable (see below).
What is the budget for a high end pair of skates?
A pair of Reebok 8k will cost you about 450€ for example. Alexandre Coccallotto, the coach of Nîmes, France, considers that they are the best skates he has ever had... But you should be careful, each foot shape has its own model! They are light, very robust and perfectly support the ankle. The real plus in comfort is the pump system (inflatable ankle reinforcement).
What is the difference between high-end and low entry skates?
High-end skates will remain rigid over time thanks to the quality of their shell. Most of the time they are made of composite materials with a carbon base and a synthetic upper. Intensive use models are sometimes less comfy but perfectly render the push. They are also equipped with top quality bearings and wheels.
Is there a big difference between brands?
It's a matter of taste! Some brands, like Reebok or CCM are quite close, even if it is said that CCM would be more flexible. Ice skaters converted to roller hockey often opt for Bauer skates. Tour also has lost of followers. it's all about morphology.
Mission was very popular in the 2000's, but the rigidity of their boots gave a hard time to many skaters. It is essential that you try your skates!
Some parents only look for the price but are disappointed that their kids don't improve that fast. Some boots are too rigid for kids, choosing the right model is essential for the evolution of a young hockey skater.
The roller hockey section on OLS
How to choose your skates?
Choosing your wrist guards
Choosing your aggressive skates (1/2)
Choosing your aggressive skates (2/2)
Choosing your fitness skates
Choosing your long distance skates
Choosing your slalom skates
Choosing your freeskate skates
Choosing your skates for 45+ sizes
The different skating protective gear
Choosing kids skates
Choosing speed skating skates
Translation: Chloe Seyres
Photos : all rights reserved