On 31 December 2016 at 15:00 | updated on 27 January 2017 at 19:41

What type of roller-skates will suits you ?

What type of roller-skates will suits you ?

Beginner or expert rider the choice of rollerskates that suit you must be a deliberate action. If the "look" may seem important, you must first focus on technical features – which are practice specific : slalom, street, hockey, fitness, speed...

By  Alexandre CHARTIER

What rollerskates may I choose ?

Many criterias must be taken in consideration, for example frequency of practices and price of your brand new roller skates.
If you're a complete beginner and you just need a first try the best solution for you would be to rent roller-skates on a week end or lend it to friends. Then you will be able to make your own idea, if you feel comfortable or not on eight wheels. It would be an opportunity to try several kinds of roller-skating? Sometimes shops may pay you back the rent if you buy them new skates.

Sure I'll enjoy riding but ... how much will it cost ?

Once again to begin doesn't involve buying low price / low quality roller-skates. It would be the best way to get totaly disgusted because of lack of comfort and poor technical performance. The mid price models are more comfortable and performant and will be more flexible when improving your skating skills. Good skates cost 100 to 150 Euros.

What will be my main riding practice?

The choice is yours. The numerous skate practices will allow you to change whenever you want - the more you'll try the better you'll get. You can choose any of them but never forget rollerskates technological features are very specific.
The chart that follows will help you choosing the best skates for your kind of practice.

Technological features corresponding to riding practices

For better understanding of technological terms shown below you can get a closer look to the chapters describing roller-skates "anatomy" - especially details about : boots, wheels, bearings, frames...


You need a confortable skate that you can wear for a long time:
- Semi-soft boot
- Big diameter wheels (76 to 90 mm)
- Smooth rubber wheels (78 to 82A)
- Aluminium or composite frame
- ABEC 3 to 7


You need a strong and solid skate with specific features such as large soulplates and generous groove/h-block:
- Hard or flexible boot + spoiler
- Small diameter wheels (52 to 60 mm)
- Hard rubber wheels (88 to 100 A)
- Grind and soul plates
- large groove or h-block (depending on the type of frame : flat or freestyle)
- ABEC 3 to 5


You need a light, rigid and reactive pair of speed-skates with large wheels to cover the miles!
- Low-cut or mid-cut boot
- Carbon or composite with fiberglass shell
- Heat moldable boot (or not)
- Standard or custom boot
- 4 or 5 wheel long frames
- Big diameter wheels (84 to 110 mm)
- Hard rubber wheels (82 to 85A)
- Micro bearings or classical 608 (ABEC 7 to 9)

Raid / Long distance ride

You need an "hybrid" skate which combines the performance of speed-skate with the confort of a fitness skate.
- Flexible boot + spoiler
- Carbon or composite boot base
- 4 o 5 wheel frames
- Big diameter wheels (80 to 100 mm)
- Hard rubber wheels (82 to 85A)
- Micro bearings or classical 608 (ABEC 7 to 9)


As a hockey player, you need a rigid and reactive skate. - High cuff boot
- Carbon or composite boot
- Short & rigid blade (aluminium)
- Easy to handle roller-skate
- Wheel diameter 72 to 80 mm
- Hard or smooth wheels (76 to 85A)


You need a rigid and reactive skate with a long 5 wheels frames to reach top speeds and brake faster!
- High rigid boot (sometimes ski boots)
- Long blade
- Big diameter wheels (80mm - 90mm)
- Hard rubber wheels (82 - 85A)


  You need a traditional quad skate which is dedicated to figure skating
- classical skates or inline
- High cut leather boot
- Shoes with heelpieces
- Front brake


The best "high-jumpers" such as Hakim Naït Chalal, the world champion still use classical "quad" skates but some skaters use inlines.
- Classical quad skates with aluminium trucks
- Soft shoes
- Smooth wheels
- freeride inline skates with small wheels, rigid aluminium frame...


Slalom skaters need very precise skates with small wheels and frame. The need to have more handy skates.
Hard or flexible boot with cuff
- Metal short frame (219 to 250 mm)
- Easy to handle rollerskate
- 70 to 80 mm diameter wheels
- 78 to 85A wheels 


Freeride is an hybrid practice which takes to aggressive skating and to fitness skating. Skaters need bigger wheels with a light and strong boot.
- renforced flexible boot with spoiler, it can be an aggressive boot with a freeride frame
- Short and rigid frame (aluminium)
- Average diameter wheels (70 to 84 mm)
- Hard rubber wheels (82 to 85A)

Off road skates / Traction skates

  - Very few models, you may find secondhand Rollerblade "Coyote" (the reference) or Roces "Big Cat SAS", or Powerslide offroad skates or Trailskates...
- Very big tubeless wheels (with tires)
- Aluminium frames
- Waterproof bearings
- rigid shell

The often you skate...

It's crucial to determine how often you want to skate to choose the right rollerskates.
If you practice fitness skating or short ride for example you can imagine buying good quality rollerskates

Intensity of practice

It is important to determine at which intensity and frequency you will practice. Thus, you will choose the best compromise skate.
We will choose the example of "fitness" skating. Nothing prevents you from buying a more technical and expensive pair of skates if you want to get more fun and pleasure!

Non frequent ridersRegular ridersIntensive riders
Once or twice a month, low speed and short distance rides.

Beginner skills

Once a week, 6 to 12 miles ride. Rollerskates is one of your sports. Regular popular mass rides

Confirmed level

Several times a week, long rides (sometimes more than 40 km), you enjow endurance & speed

Expert level

45 to 90 Euros90 to 200 Euros200 to 400 Euros and more
Hard plastic boots
Composite or plastic frame
Average size wheels
(76 mm)
Smooth wheels
(78 to 82A)

ABEC 5 bearings
 Semi-soft boots
Composite or aluminium frames
76 to 90 mm wheels
Smoothe wheels
(78 to 82A)

ABEC 5 to 7 bearings
Semi-soft boots
Long aluminium frames (4 to 5 wheels)
80 to 100 mm wheels
Hard wheels
(82 to 85A)

ABEC 7 bearings or more

Soft or hard boots ?

The all plastic boots – which are most of first price skates - are the cheapest in terms of production costs. Those are really less comfortable than flexible foam boots (+spoiler) that allow long rides without footaches. Moreover plastic boots are heavier and may block your movements. It may only fit to complete beginners that need to feel foot support, so as soon as you get more confident try soft boots.
Some skating practices require hard plastic boots, for example for downhill & slalom – high cut boots are recommended. Think how often you'll practice and forget if you're beginner or experienced : if as a beginner you'll skate 5 times a week you'd better choose more comfortable and flexible skates than somebody of higher level that rides once a month.

What kind of boots & sizing?

You mut pay attention to sizing of the boots : your feet size may change during your ride, and boots foam may squeeze very quickly. The best is to have some few space left inside of the boot. If you use hard plastic boots you may choose a higher sizing if you don't feel at ease. If you need soft boot skates choose your normal sizing – the same as your trainers – as foam will adapt to your foot. The most important is that no pressure spot appears while testing your future rollerskates : try practicing in the shop for 15 to 20 minutes.
Be careful : from one trademark to another the same theoritical sizing could show totaly different in the end – once again try practicing in the shop. If you want to practice long distance or fitness rides (more than 30-35 miles) you could choose a bigger sizing, but don't forget foam will squeeze when frequently used.
For more technical practices such as slalom, speed skating or hockey you shall choose a very adjusted boot for maximum control and very explosive reactivity. In that case your usual sizing is the right one.

What about children?

For children skates take one or two sizes bigger skates – as soon as those have hard boots and good tightening system. Hard boots offers good support and will allow child to grow using the same skates for a while. It's possible for you to add internal sole in the boot, but pay attention that with several socks skating sensations may be very diminished.
Otherwise adjustable size skates are available for children, with higher prices but better quality. It's all about money.

Have a nice ride !

Useful links

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

Text: Alfathor
Translation: Greg77
Photos: all rights reserved
Released  on 31 December 2016 - Read 295277 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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