Choosing your first pair of inline skates!
So you are all ready to go out and purchase your very first pair of inline skates after reading our last article? Here are two tips to help you decide when choosing your skates:
The omni-present question: Hard boot or soft boot?
This can turn out to be a long arduous debate, but we’re going to cut it short here by saying that if you are a beginner, we would 100% recommend choosing a hard boot skates. Soft boot skates can actually feel more comfortable when you first use it but you are compromising quite a bit of support for that comfort.
On the other hand, hard boot skates give you ample support for your ankles and feet and can generally take on heavier weights as compared to soft boot ones.
Another plus point is, if you become more proficient and want to learn higher level skills like slalom skating, you can always change out the frames and wheels! With most soft-boot skates, you most likely don’t have this option of changing the frames.
Oh yes, and if you are buying for your little one, hard boot wins hands down as children tend to do 'edging' when they first start learning to skate and it will be harder to correct with soft boot skates. ('Edging' is the act of the supination of the feet where your weight rolls onto the outer edges).
Second tip: Take a look at the ankle strap!
Is it a velcro strap or a ratchet-type strap? Again, there is no hard and fast rule, but if you are a complete beginner, we would recommend the ratchet strap! It provides way more support and will prevent excessive edging!
When you are just learning to skate, you may have a tendency to supinate your feet as you subconsciously try to keep your centre of gravity between your feet. A ratchet strap will help a little bit with the edge control as it provides a more firm fit to your ankle. But of course, with more practice, your edge control will get better!
Once you have decided on the type of boot and strap, go ahead and browse around! Unless you have a bad case of flat feet, most brands' entry level skates are pretty much similar to one another.
After you have shortlisted the brands/models that you like, we are going to recommend you to test it on first before purchasing (e-commerce woes) ! Putting it on will allow you to get a good feel of the skates as different brands/models will have a slightly different structure and you can feel if there are any weird pressure points on any part of your feet.
Also, always ask if there are heel brakes or if you can purchase one to pop it in. Safety first!
Bearings are probably not such an important factor when you are just learning how to roll around, but you can consider a change of bearings later on! Most of the entry level adult skates come in either with ABEC5 or ABEC7 and they are good enough for recreational skating. If you ever want to change them, just remember, the higher the number, the better/faster it rolls!
Hope that summarised version can help you with getting your first pair of skates! Happy rolling!