How to Choose the Best Inline Skates
As we rated the skates in each category above, we watched for skates that offered great quality and function in a few key areas.
There are six main elements that make up a pair of inline skates: the wheels, the bearings, the brakes, the frames, the cuffs, and the liners. When choosing your skates, you’ll want to consider what you need in each of these areas. Each element can change how the skate performs in different environments.
For the wheels, consider the size, shape, and the hardness. Large wheels will be faster, harder wheels will be better for rough surfaces, and the shape of the wheel will change based on what kind of skating you do. For example, wheels made for hockey are more elongated than wheels made for cruising. Keep in mind that wheels can be changed on inline skates.
Related: Rollerblades vs Roller Skates
Bearings will be part of what makes your skates faster. The ABEC rating on a bearing tells you the speed of rotation that it will provide. A higher bearing ABEC rating means that your skate will go faster, and provide a smoother ride. However, you may lose some maneuverability with a higher-rated bearing.
You can get traditional and advanced brakes on inline skates. Advanced brakes are more suited for beginners. Traditional brakes, the small rubber stoppers on the heels, are the most commonly seen brakes on inline skates.
The frame of the inline skate is primarily what will determine how durable your skates are. They come in plastic, aluminum, and carbon, as well as hybrid materials like aluminum and nylon. Choose the best quality you can afford to make your skates last.
Finally, the cuff and lining of your skates will be a personal decision based on your own comfort and stability needs. Choose a higher cuff for more ankle support, and memory foam lining for more comfort. Be sure to watch for ventilation in the boot if you like to skate for long periods of time or very fast. However, keep in mind that ventilation makes the boot less supportive, which can make you feel like you have less control as you skate.