Types of Skates
Skating is very much an inclusive sport - anyone and everyone can pick it up (as long as you dare to) ! But, it can honestly be quite overwhelming when it comes down to purchasing your first pair of inline skates if you are a beginner. There are so many different types and even more variations that you will just end up choosing one that you like aesthetically.
So, here’s a brief guide of the different types of skates you can look out for.
Recreational inline skates
We shall start off with the most common in the market - recreational urban skates! These recreational skates are good enough for the weekly roll-around in your neighbourhood. They usually have four wheels and may have a heel-brake on the right side of the skates.
Perfect for beginners as they are usually wallet friendly and are durable enough to last you until you start advancing in your skating journey. However, some of the recreational skates may have a soft boot, which may not be so ideal when you are just starting out!
A hard-boot recreational skates like the MT4 Lavender (above) will provide the support beginners need and prevent pronation on the inside edges while skating.
Fitness inline skates
As the name suggest, fitness inline skates are meant for… building up your fitness. Initially invented to help ice hockey players train for their fitness during off-seasons, fitness inline skates are more commonplace now in Singapore as more people start to skate longer distance for leisure (if skating from one end of Singapore to the other end is your thing, you may want to check these out).
These skates traditionally have larger wheels (80mm and above) and may come in three-wheel skates, otherwise called tri-skates. Tri-skates generally have about 90-110mm wheels.
But before you go out hunting for fitness skates, don’t forget, the taller the wheel, the less manoeuvrable it will be!
You know those skaters you see doing snaky twisty turns and tricks along a cone-marked course, making you jelly in your legs? Yup, those are the slalom skaters!
Slalom or freestyle skates were designed for high manoeuvrability and usually have a ‘rockered’ setup. In a ‘rockered’ setup, two of the wheels have different sizes from the remaining two and are positioned in the frame in such a way that there is always only two wheels in contact with the ground, allowing the skater to make swift turns. Here's a visual representation of the different types of wheel configurations:
Most times, they have hard boots to support the skater when attempting challenging positions such as when performing tricks on toes. Most ‘rockered’ setups have a 76mm/80mm/80mm/76mm wheel configuration but there are definitely different configurations too.
Speed inline skates
Speed inline skates are a type of inline skates that was created to extract maximum speed or race-level performance from its user. You can call it turbo-charged fitness skates with even bigger wheels as compared to fitness skates.
Speed skates are really light, have extremely big wheels and have a low-cut boot to allow for maximum power transfer. Besides those unique features, the frames are also usually long and the wheels almost always sticks out beyond the end of the frame. It's all about the speed, not so much about the comfort!
Aggressive inline skates
Any guesses on why these are called aggressive skates? Maybe because there is no other way to describe all the heart-stopping jumps/drops/grinds that these ‘aggressive’ inline skaters are doing!
Probably the easiest type of skates to spot, aggressive skates look more like an astronaut’s boot than a pair of skates! The boots are made from extremely durable, sturdy and abrasion-resistant plastics and the bottom of the boot has a flat hard plate designed for those grinds.
If you’ve seen the movie ‘Whip It’, you can definitely recognise quad skates! Instead of having the wheels in one straight row, quad skates have their four wheels arranged two by two. Quad Skates can be considered as the OG as they were arguably the first type of skates ever.
There are variations in quad skates such as high-top or low top, but generally you will know a quad skate when you see one!
Having said all these, this list is not an exhaustive one of course. There are still a lot of other types of skates that are not listed here, like cross-terrain skates and inline hockey skates, but these are the slightly more common ones that you may see around! Hope this guide will help you in kickstarting your skating journey!