Triangle Inline Skate Club Meetup Message Board › Buying Skates

Buying Skates

Simon
user 13392992
Cary, NC
Post #: 47
If you are looking to purchase new skates this information might help. Please remember that much of this is simply my opinion, but I'm posting it here since it might help you. This information was originally composed as an email from me to a female member that asked me about buying new skates. So the skates mentioned here are the ones for women. Take it for what it is worth, and I hope that it helps. Thanks.



Buying skates is not something you should rush. It's also highly personal. There are many things to consider, and I shall do my best to guide you. But ultimately the decision is yours and you must be happy with the skates before you take them outside, since you can only return skates that are in mint condition. Also, I'm sure that your wants/needs are different from mine, so I'll just do my best to steer you in the right direction.

The most important consideration for most people is money. Nobody wants to pay a lot for their skates, including me, but you really do get what you pay for. Last year I bought myself some of the Rollerblade Tempest 110 skates, which are pretty high end for Rollerblade. I paid about $375 for them, which while a considerable sum, is fine since I will likely have them for the rest of my life! My last pair of skates are from 1996 and are functionally fine, but just not want I want anymore as they have rather small wheels.

The next decision is where you are going to purchase your skates. I have found that local retail establishments simply don't cater to my needs. Most, if not all, of the skates are "recreational", whereas I am typically looking for fitness skates for skating longer distances. Having said that, plenty of people have purchased skates at Dick's Sporting Goods, since their skates typically fit people's budgets. Also, being able to walk into the store and try on lots of different models and sizes is valuable. I recently purchased some "urban/trick" skates online and it took well over a month of sending skates back and forth to California before I was happy with my purchase! I am a big fan of inlinewarehouse.com if you are thinking of purchasing online, but frankly it's challenging purchasing shoes/skates online as I'm sure you realize. The folks at inlinewarehouse.com are superb and they let you return mint condition skates for a different model or size until you are happy; amazing service!

People feel pretty strongly about brands, and I'm no different. I've only ever owned Rollerblade brand skates. I love Rollerblade skates; they are reasonably priced, well made, very comfortable, and they last forever. I currently own a pair of Tempest 110 skates, and a pair of Twister 80 skates. The Tempests are for long distance skating, where as my Twisters are urban/trick skates for skating around town or at the skating rink.

When purchasing skates you must consider the following:

1. Wheel size: This is perhaps the most important. The bigger the wheels the faster you go... But the bigger the wheels the harder it is to turn and control the skates. Also, bigger wheels, while faster, require more effort to get moving, but once you're going you really go! In terms of wheel size I would suggest nothing smaller than 84mm. The numbers in the skate names typically refer to the wheel size. I would encourage you to go with a 90mm wheel. Do not get an 80mm wheel since they are frankly too small for distance skating, and are better suited for urban/trick skating or at the skating rink.

2. Boot style: Traditionally inline skates have a hard outer shell, just like hockey skates. But that is not the only choice, and now you can get both hard and soft boots. Rollerblade sells both, and K2 only sells soft boots. My Tempests are soft boots, and my Twisters are hard boots. I think for most people today a soft boot is preferable since they allow your foot to breath better, and are often more comfortable for extended wear. The downside of the soft boot is that they are physically more fragile and will wear out quicker than hard shell boots.

3. Lacing/Binding style: There are lots of options here. My Tempests have asymmetrical lacing, which is wonderful and recommended. Asymmetrically laced boots hug your foot in a way that does not constrict blood flow, making the skates more comfortable for longer. You also have options regarding clips or velcro. Personally I hate the velcro "powerstraps", but they are often unavoidable; try and find a boot with just one velcro strap and one upper clip. While velcro is easy to tighten, I don't believe they hold your foot as securely as clips. But this is probably me being biased and is not really based on experience as I've never owned skates that have velcro straps, but my children have! One other option that K2 brand skates offer is Boa bindings; they are amazing and worth considering. Boa bindings are a lacing system based on a wire that you "dial" to tighten; pretty cool.

4. Bearings: Don't let bearings trip you up. They are less important than you think. The bottom line is that better bearings cost more, but the benefit in terms of speed is negligible. That's all I'm going to say on bearings since I don't think you should be choosing your skates based on bearings. They are easily replaced/upgraded if you ever wish.


Websites -- Check out the following vendor sites:
http://www.inlineware...­
http://www.inlineware...­

Check out the following models. I'm listing the high end performance skates too, but my guess is that these are not what you're looking for. Remember, try and get a 90mm or 84mm wheel. Bigger is better for speed, but small is better for ease of control. Perhaps the best skates for you would be the Rollerblade Activa 90 skates, the Rollerbalde Spark 84 skates, or the K2 Alexis 84 Boa skates. Keep in mind that I've never owned any of these skates, but I know people that have and they are happy.

Rollerblade Tempest ($300-$379)
http://www.inlineware...­
http://www.inlineware...­
http://www.inlineware...­

Rollerblade Activa 90 ($199)
http://www.rollerblad...­
http://www.inlineware...­
http://www.dickssport...­

Rollerblade Spark 84 ($159)
http://www.rollerblad...­
http://www.inlineware...­
http://www.dickssport...­

K2 Alexis 84 Boa ($199)
http://www.inlineware...­


If you decide to buy locally, price compare with online retailers. Then, ask the local retailer to price match.
Simon
user 13392992
Cary, NC
Post #: 51
I want to add that you can save some money by purchasing last year's model, which is often functionally identical to this year's model, with the only difference being the color scheme. The challenge with purchasing last year's model is that they often have limited sizes available.
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