roller-blade
Last updated: June 19, 2020

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Whether you are looking for a new pair of roller blades because you want to incorporate them into your exercise routine, or are interested in getting into it as a sport or hobby, the below guide will provide you all the information you need to have before buying this product.

First and foremost, you need to make sure your roller blades are made of good materials. There are no “best roller blades” out there, but you need to make sure what you’re buying is right for your comfort level and skill. In the below section we will recommend a list of great products on the market that will help you get out there and get skating.

Key facts

  • A roller blade is much more than a bunch of wheels on a shoe. They have to provide you with proper ankle and foot support and fit well while making it easy to move about.
  • When you get roller blades it is more important to pay attention to how they feel on your feet rather than the size on the label.
  • It is always important to wear the proper protection while rollerblading including a helmet, knee and wrist pads. Safety first and foremost!

The best roller blades on the Canadian market

In the following section, we will provide a breakdown of 5 of the best products on the Canadian market. Regardless of whether you are interested in purchasing a pair because you’re interested in the hobby, or are just looking for some great cardio, there is something on this list for everybody.

Rollerblade – Bladerunner Phoenix

The Bladerunner Phoenix by Rollerblade is a boys adjustable inline skate that is made for junior rollerbladers and comes in a cool black and red pattern boys will love. One of the nicest things about this skate is that it is adjustable, and can be set to four different sizes to accommodate different and growing feet. The padded inner tongue is soft of small feet and makes adjusting to these rollerblades that much easier. The robust, integrated frame combines with the shell to provide a lower centre of gravity for maximum control.

The Bladerunner performance wheels are 72mm with ABEC 3 bearings, making them both safe and efficient. These two components allow kids to rollerblade with ease while not have to over-exert themselves. These are a great product to introduce youngsters to the world of rollerblading and they will grow as your child grows, taking them from the street to the park and beyond.

Roller Derby – Boys Stryde Inline Skate

Roller Derby’s Boys Stryde Inline Skate is an adjustable roller blade that changes size with just the push of a button. The very soft comfort liner and power strap provide both comfort and security. This is a great first roller blade because you maximize value for money and get something that can be used as your child ages. The reinforced polymer frame is durable and provides great stability. Additionally, the orange and black colour combo is sure to be a hit with young boys.

This is a good quality roller blade that is designed to stand up to the rigours of learning; when bumps and scrapes are almost an inevitability. The wheels and bearings are good quality and provide a nice mix of speed and control so your little guy can get used to good quality bearings without feeling out of control. These are definitely a pair of roller blades that measure up quite well with more up-market products.

Rollerblade – Bladerunner Phoenix (Girls)

Just like the Bladerunner for boys, Rollerblade’s Bladerunner Phoenix for girls is an adjustable roller blade with four adjustable size settings that are made to grow with your child. The low profile support provides great support while still giving your little girl a ton of manoeuvrability. The padded inner liner is soft on little feet while still providing enough support and grip to make them feel in control.

The 72mm wheels and ABEC 3 bearings are both high quality products that are designed to make movement as effortless as possible while not overdoing the speed. Your daughter can learn to skate and become comfortable on the road without feeling out of control. This skate was made with the philosophy that a first skate doesn’t need to be low quality in mind, so quite a lot of thought has gone into creating something that is really top of the line.

Rollberblade – Zetrablade W Women’s Inline Skate

Rollberblade’s Zetrablade W Women’s Inline Skate is a nice entry-level roller blade that makes learning easy, without too much babysitting. The 80mm 82A wheels and SGS bearings provide a smooth, effortless ride without being too slow or too fast. The ample padding inside the boot makes this is an incredibly comfortable blade that is great for taking on longer outings. The combination buckles and Velcro closure system keeps your feet feeling secure and snug in the boot.

This skate nicely combines balance and control to give the novice something that can easily learn and improve with. The Zetrablade W is the industry standard when it comes to entry-level roller blades, and their sensitive design, with newcomers in mind, makes a first introduction to the sport/pastime much more comfortable. A well-made rollerblade that, with proper care, should last you for quite a long time.

Moxi – Beach Bunny

Moxi’s Beach Bunny roller skates are high-quality and very durable classic style roller skates that many people will remember from the roller rink. They are man-made using drum-dyed vinyl and have a high-impact aluminium plate for extra protection. They are simply to lace-up and fit well, and the comfortable padded tongue reduces chaffing and rubbing, letting you cruise all day long.

These fashionable roller blades are made for fun and casual use, and they come in a wide range of colours to suit any taste and preference. Don’t let the cute design fool you. The ABEC 5 steel ball bearings provide a smooth and effortless glide, and the 58mm 78A hardness wheels give you amazing cushion for a ride that you won’t want to end. These skates are also great because of the replaceable stopper that comes with them, so you can always get new ones as you wear them out.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about roller blades

If you are just getting into the sport, you have likely realized there is a lot more to it than you may have initially thought. We will try and provide you with enough information to let you make your purchase with confidence. The below section contains answers to some of the most commonly asked questions by previous buyers.

Setting of laces on black roller skates

Rollerblades have three main components: the boot, the guide, and the wheels.(Source: Eleonora Vatel: 61051856/ 123rf.com)

What are roller blades exactly?

Roller blades are basically inline, street versions of ice skates. They are made for rolling across hard surfaces with ease and are comprised of an adjustable platform on top of a boot, all mounted on top of a series of wheels. Many models, especially those made for kids and beginners, have rubber brakes at the rear of the skate to aid stopping.

What components does a roller blade have?

There are three main parts to a roller blade: The boot, the guide and the wheels. All of these differ based on the kind of skate you’re buying, although there are some universal features. Below is a table that contains a lot of information about all of these different parts:

Part Characteristics
Boot Generally high in order to give support to the ankle and usually have a joint to allow the ankle to flex.
Booty The part inside the boot to make it more soft and comfortable as well as being removable for easy washing.
Sole Made from carbon fibre or a range of plastics.
Guide or chassis This is the part of the skate which joins the wheels to the boot, can weigh between 160 and 220 grams and be between 230 and 325mm long.
Wheels The bigger they are they more speed they allow. Hard wheels are faster and more durable.
Cuffs This is the part of the skate which gives the most support.

What protective gear should you wear when roller blading?

There is a wide range of protective accessories you can get for roller blading, including knee pads, wrist guards, elbow pads and helmets. The riskier the style of skating you’re engaging in, the more protective gear you’ll need. If you are new to skating and have slower skates, a helmet and wrist guards usually provide adequate protection. If you are going into concrete parks and hitting jumps, you will need all of the safety equipment available.

holidays, vacation, love and friendship concept - group of smiling teenagers with roller skates and skateboard riding outdoors

There are various styles of roller blades with different features. (Source: dolgachov: 46993397/ 123rf.com)

What types of roller blades are there?

There are various types of roller blade with different characteristics based on the kind of roller blading being done: free skating, freestyle slalom, fitness-based, aggressive, artistic, hockey, speed, downhill and off-road. The below section provides a breakdown of each kind.

Type Characteristics
Fitness Intended for basic skating
Freeskate Good for improving your technique and learning how to perform tricks, jumps, ride slalom and play hockey
Slalom Specially made for slalom
Aggressive Heavier and more durable. Will withstand falls
Artistic While this is typically done with old-school skates, people also figure skate with roller blades.
Hockey For playing hockey, designed for grip, sharp turns and speed changes
Descent Suited to high speeds. Have 5 wheels and a higher boot
All-terrain Have pneumatic wheels and can be used on any kind of surface (grass, dirt or asphalt)

How should you look after roller blades?

Keeping your roller skates in good working order is key to getting the most out of them and extending their useful life. There are some materials and time requirements to do it properly. To clean your skates apply a wet cloth with soap and water. you can also use this on wheels, guides, and boots.

If you need to wash the coverings in a washing machine, it’s a good idea to throw them in a washing machine bag or pillowcase beforehand. If you can the best thing to do is wash them in cold water by hand. After they’ve dried, apply a disinfectant (and deodourant if necessary), and hang to dry. Make sure to remove your wheels and clean the guides on each side.

What is my size for roller blades?

The first decision should be the size. Ideally, you would be able to try them on before purchasing them, but when buying online this isn’t always possible, so pay attention to what people in the comments say about sizing. You can also measure your foot and add between 0.5 cm and 1 cm to make sure you get the correct size.

How do you choose roller blades for kids?

Based on the Official Inline Skating School Of Barcelona, one of the most reputable in the world, children should begin skating at around four. While there are some children who start earlier, the majority of kids that young don’t have the strength or coordination to really roller blade correctly.

Most brands offer adjustable roller blades for kids that can be adjusted to their feet as they grow. This is a nice option because it makes it more comfortable for kids, and parents save money by getting more use out of the same pair of skates.

Are there different roller blades for men and women?

You can find roller blades made for both men and women that are designed slightly different to accommodate different feet sizes and types.

For  example,  roller blades for women offer a slightly tighter fit and a shorter sleeve.  Skates for men in turn have a wider boot shape to fit the male foot better.

Conversely, those made for men have wider boots and are made to be better suited for male physical needs.

Shopping criteria

There is a staggeringly large selection of roller blades on the Canadian market. This is nice because you’re spoiled for choice, but it can be hard to get the right one for you. That’s why you need to inform yourself on the most important shopping criteria and features to carefully consider. Below we have laid these out for your benefit.

Type of skating

There are different styles of roller blading and they require different skates. The most popular are fitness roller blading, racing, recreational and urban skating. Understanding the type of skate required is the first thing to determine.

Level of skater

You also need to consider the competency and skill level of the roller blader in question. There are beginners, intermediate, intermediate-advanced and expert bladers out there. Skates made for beginners tend to have smaller wheels and brackets. As the skill level changes, the skate designs change.

roller-blades

The primary difference between pro and beginner skates is that the latter has smaller wheels and brackets. (Source: Michael mistco: 2460832/ unsplash.com)

Materials

Another important consideration is the material used. Many use combinations of plastic, leather, and carbon fibre, with one or more of these materials being used more than others.

Interior lining

The inner lining of a roller blade is also important to keep in mind. If the lining is poor-fitting, you will not feel comfortable or safe while roller blading. The below table lays out the main qualities of each:

Type Characteristics
Standard Made with foam with a lot of cushion
Auto-Fit Come with gel cushions and mold to the foot
Memory Fit The gel used is made to conform to your foot shape
Heat malleable Adapts to the foot, changing shape with heat and only available at speciality stores

Sleeves

The sleeves are important because their quality dictates how much power you can generate, and therefore how efficiently you can skate. They also make it easier to roller blade for long sessions. Plastic and carbon are the main types. In the below table we have laid out the differences:

Type Characteristics
Standard Made from foam and have a lot of cushioning
Auto-Fit Have gel cushions and adjust to the foot
Memory Fit The gel used in manufacture adjusts to the shape of the foot
Heat malleable Adapts to the foot, changing shape with heat and only available at speciality stores
Plastico Usually found in beginner skates. Durable and resistant
Carbon Used on speed and road roller blading

Fastenings

There are various types of closure mechanisms out there, including buckle, Velcro, boa, fast lace and cord. Below we will show you what defines each:

Type Characteristics Advantages
Standard Laces This is the closure mechanism that has been around the longest Fit better around the ankle
Buckle Tend to be combined with lacing closures Are more comfortable when lacing them up
Velcro Easy to close Help maintain your ankle in the right position
Quick lacing Comes with a small strap that goes around the boot Generally more comfortable to fasten
Boa A small wheel which fastens or loosens the skate by turning it Gives a uniform fit across the boot

Frame

The sturdiness and stability of the frame is another feature you can’t afford to overlook. The frame makes it harder or easier to generate power and keeps you sturdy at high speeds. They are usually made from carbon, plastic or aluminium.

Type Weight Price
Plastic They often weight more, which increases the overall weight of the skate Are cheaper
Aluminium More lightweight Tend to be costlier
Carbon Are light and resistant Used by professional skaters

Wheels

Most old skates came with hard plastic wheels. They are now manufactured out of polyurethane, a durable rubber that provides great grip on hard surfaces. Some others use a mixture of polyurethane and butadiene to make them springier. These are the best kind to get, but also the most expensive. Based ln the style of skating you’re doing you will need to consider wheel size and durability.

Type of skating Hardness Diameter
Beginner fitness 80-85 A 72-80 mm
Advanced fitness 80-90 A 80-90 mm
Hockey 74-78 A 72-76 mm
Speed 83-110 A 90- 110 mm
Aggressive 84-95 A 47-64 mm
Freestyle 80-88 A 72-80 mm

Fixings

Fixings are important because they place limits on how fast you can go and help you develop better technique. Fixings are designed to cut down on the friction generated when you turn. They tend to be similar in all skates, so use your best judgement when determining which ones are right for you.

Brakes

While there ways to help slow down more gradually, the brake is still highly important, especially for learners. Most beginner skates have a brake included that sits behind the back wheels, although there are some that do not.

Type Characteristics
Brakes for free skating Larger surface area and are adjustable for height, manufactured with natural rubber and elastomer.
Brakes for beginner skates They are usually conically-shaped, made using injected polyurethane and are fixed. They aren’t suitable for jumps, just for slowing down during the learning phase.

Summary

Roller blades, whether for fitness, pleasure, sport or as a form of transportation are great investments. It is best to get something simple and easy to learn with when you first start out. Once you feel more comfortable and want to try some of the more extreme versions of the sport, then you can think about upgrading.

After you’ve mastered sliding, turning, braking, skating in reverse and changing direction, you can begin exploring other styles of skating and roller blades. The affordable skates we have included in our above list are high-enough quality that they should meet the needs of anyone just starting out.

If you enjoyed the above guide to roller blades and found it useful, share it with your family and friends on social media. Additionally, you can also leave us a comment in the below section and let us know what you think.

(Source of the featured image: Kaspars Grinvalds: 46645210/ 123rf.com)

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