Whether you are trying out your hand in roller derby for the first time or are keen on introducing your kids to it, your choice of skates is vital.
Skating is not only fun and exciting but is also a convenient way to workout. The constant bending and shifting is a great way to develop endurance, strength, and flexibility. Like any activity, expertise is developed with time and practice.
As a beginner, though, you want a skate that will make you comfortable while providing plenty of control. The following is a look at the 5 best skates for beginners.
If you’re an experienced skater check out these related posts:
Top 5 Best Skates for Beginners
- Roller Derby Trac Star Adjustable Roller Skate
Ideal for growing children who are just starting to get their rhythm, Roller Derby Trac Star offers comfort and performance. The adjustable size conveniently accommodates the growing feet of the kids. The molded shelf comes with a washable liner, buckle closure, and hinged cuff.
- Easily adjusted for size
- A good front brake
- No padding inside so you may have to buy inner soles separately
- Being lightweight is not always an advantage as it makes the skates harder to control
- Straps do not always function as they ought to
- Inside of the skate sometimes pops out when you take it off
- Does not hold out too well in speed skating
Chicago Girl’s Sidewalk Skate
The Chicago Girl’s Sidewalk Skate has semi-precision bearings, a built-in toe stop, and an athletic style boot. Designed for both outdoor and indoor use, the skate features a comfortable boot with wide urethane wheels for extra stability.
The plates have an adjustable truck for versatility and precision as one turns and leans. The toe brake ensures reliable and safe deceleration.
- Padded ankle support
- Oversized wheel for greater stability
- Adjustable truck and chassis
- Lightweight with a velcro strap and lace-up front
- 30-day warranty
- Wheels are hard plastic and do not roll smoothly. You may need to replace the existing bearings with higher quality (and perhaps more expensive) ones
- The wheel assembly is not high quality and they tend to break off after a while
- The shoe sizes run a little too big
- The velcro at the shoe top is not easily tightened
- Works much better outdoors than they do at an indoor skating rink
- The laces are too long
- The tongue has no padding
- Stopper comes loose or breaks off easily
Roller Derby Girl’s Laser Speed Quad Skate
This man made speed skate has a boot that consists of a padded collar, velcro strap, laces and a reinforced comfortable fit. It has a Tru-Tac chassis and urethane wheels. It’s sleek design is ideal for those looking to hone their speed skating skills.
- Visually appealing
- Fairly easy to clean
- Bearings aren’t that great and you’ll eventually need to replace them if you want the skates to give you a longer service
- Not ideal for indoor use
- Toe stop is hard
- Axle trucks are plastic so they are unlikely to last
Cal 7 Roller Skate
The Cal 7 Roller Skate is an enduring classic that is specifically built for skating beginners. It features a strong, hard and high plastic plate. The pliable and soft boot has a solid heel support, simple lacing system, and overall cool styling.
The urethane wheels have high rebound that easily rolls over bumps and cracks with less interference or uncomfortable vibration from the ground. The Cal 7 Roller Skate has a wide suspension truck that ensures stability, balance and a smooth rolling experience.
- Boot with ankle support
- Easy to control
- It can be used both indoors and outdoors
- Wheels could do with more rubber. You may actually need to replace them and the bearings with something of better quality.
Pacer XT70 Adjustable Roller Skates
The XT70 Adjustable skates work well for growing kids and come with an adjustable boot and removable liners. It has adjustable plates and urethane wheels.
- Adjustable chassis
- Adjustable plastic wheels
- Comfortable wear
- A crack may develop on the skate tongue
Product Buying Guide
How do you buy the right skates? Which ones should you choose? What skates best meet your requirements? What is the difference between quad skates and inline skates?
These are just some of the questions you are bound to grapple with especially if these are the first skates you are buying. Shopping for roller skates is pretty much like shopping for anything else. The more information you have, the better your decision is likely to be.
Quad Skates vs. Inline Skates
One of the key decisions you must make is on whether to go for inline skates or quad skates. Quad skates have 2 wheels below the front of the boot and 2 wheels below the back. Quad rollers are recommended for beginner or young skaters.
They give a sense of stability that is not much different from that of wearing ordinary tennis shoes. Inline skates, on the other hand, are best left to the more experienced skaters. They require that one heavily relies on leg muscle and ankle strength.
This is especially important when buying roller skates for kids. Unlike adults whose feet have already matured, kids feet are still growing. The last thing you want to do is buy something that they can only wear for a few months before they outgrow it.
As a rule of thumb, you can buy a child’s skates one size bigger, and it will still be comfortable to wear as long as you tie the laces tight enough.
Have them slide on the roller skates and kick their foot forward into the shoe so they can leave some room behind the heel. If you can insert a pencil or finger, that should be sufficient growing room.
As tempting and cost-effective as it might seem, do not go two sizes higher. The rubbing and slipping of the oversize skate can cause blisters.
Another no-no is using socks to fill up the gap as this will create excessive heat and moisture that may lead to not just blistering but something more serious such as athlete’s foot.
Even the richest people do not have an unlimited amount of cash (come to think of it, many wealthy people are careful spenders and are reluctant on paying an exorbitant amount for something they can get at a more affordable price.
Price will certainly be a major factor when buying beginner skates. You want to get a decent quality item at a reasonable price. Cost may range from a couple dozen dollars to more than 500.
The law of diminishing returns applies. A $200 skate may be four times better than a $50 pair. However, a $400 skate is unlikely to be two times better than a $200 pair.
If this is your first pair of skates, be conservative in your spending. It would not be wise to splash a lot of money on an expensive set. Go for something inexpensive that you will not consider a major loss if it wears out quickly as you try to find your balance.
Instead, pay greater attention to safety. When buying roller skates, it is easy to forget that you need to buy protective gear too. When planning your budget, make sure you factor an extra amount to cover the cost of a helmet, wrist guards, knee pads and elbow pads.
Ensure you provide a budget for the replacement of bearings and wheels. Most low-cost skates have notoriously poor quality wheels.
Like all other products, you cannot ignore brand power when it comes to roller skates. Some brands have been around for much longer and managed to build a loyal following over decades.
The popularity of such brands could be down to name recognition or a history of delivering good quality products over the years.
Some manufacturers have identified a particular niche and excelled in it. For instance, some people prefer Chicago skates because of their affordability while there are those who go for Riedell because of their Sure-Grip components.
Be careful not to get too hung up on big brand names. Newer manufacturers usually have a lot to prove and will go out of their way to ensure customer satisfaction.
This is where checking out the reviews of different products can come in handy. Consider trying out less known brands that are spoken well of. You could also get recommendations from friends and family.
Padding vs. No Padding
Speed skates may have padding or no padding. Neither is inherently better than the other. For a long time, roller skate boots were made without padding. They were built using several layers of real leather or synthetic materials.
No padding boots are designed for a tight fit initially and then break in with use. They conform and stretch in accordance with the shape of your feet leading to a smooth contoured fit. Before they break in, non-padding boots can feel hard and uncomfortable to wear.
The rigidity of no padding boots was the primary reason for the emergence of padded boots. These are designed to be comfortable from the get go. They have the same cozy feel as running shoes.
Most roller skates are available in only standard width, and this will not be a problem for the majority of people. Persons whose feet are of above average width may struggle to find a skate that feels comfortable.
Higher end models have a wider variety and usually come in wide, medium or narrow sizes. Bottom line, you may have to spend more to get a wide boot.
Toe stops allow for quick deceleration during skating. Toe stop bolts are either 5/16” (also known as “Bell Stops” and are meant for outdoor skates) or 5/8” (referred to as “Speed or Artistic Stops” and are fitted on indoor skates.They are usually height adjustable).
Stops may be round, half-round or square. Round and half-round stops can be fitted facing any direction while square stops must face forward. Stops wear out so expect to replace them at some point.
Competitive or Leisure
If you’ll be using the skates competitively, you would be better served spending a little more money to get a good quality product. Otherwise, you’ll be heading back to the store every few weeks to get a new pair.
On the other hand, if you are only looking for skates to use once in a while and less intensely, do not buy a high-end product. Your needs could still be met via a lower cost set of skates.
Our Final Thoughts
There are many factors to consider when buying skates. What you take into consideration though differs slightly when your intention is to buy beginner skates. Here, comfort, safety, and size take much greater precedence than they do when shopping for a more seasoned skater.
As a beginner, you do not want to spend on a very expensive skate at the start. What if you are no longer as excited to skate as you thought you would be?
Inline skates are not ideal for children or novices as they are less stable than quad rollers. Kids, In particular, may injure their ankles or strain their knee joints.
As expected, higher quality skates cost more. Some will take you back in excess of $500. Aluminum plates, for instance, are stronger though that means the skate also becomes heavier.
For best results, you can check out skates made from high-quality magnesium or aluminum as this provides better maneuverability without the additional weight burden.