Buying

Read this before buying your first pair of in-line skates?

Recreational Skates

You will most likely be purchasing “recreational” skates. These are general purpose skates and are likely what you have worn at skate parties. They have medium sized wheels with a round profile and a brake on one of the skates.

Wheels

This is the most important thing to check. I found that skates sold by the big high-street chains have plastic wheels. Indoors they offer no grip and you skid. Outdoors they wear down really quickly. Not only that, they weren’t replaceable.

A good starting point is 72mm diameter with a hardness of 78A.

Closure Type

I have also noticed that the really cheap skates only have rachet/buckle closures. I’d suggest that you get skates that have both laces and rachet/buckle closure types. Some skates also have velcro closures to keep the laces tidy.

Protection

The more you skate, the greater the chance that one day you’ll fall. If you venture outside then you will fall.

Indoors the surface is smooth, level and clean. The first time you skate outside you’ll realise how grippy tarmac is compared to the polished wooden floor that you’re used to. Parks are full of debris and yes, hitting a twig just wrong will stop your feet very quickly while you carry on going!  You’ll find that areas you thought were flat do actually slope or have a camber.  And once you get going, if you don’t know how to stop you may have a long way to go before you find something to grab hold of.

So, get yourself a helmet, knee, elbow and wrist pads. Skate helmets have a hard outer shell and extend further down the back of the head than cycling helmets. Pads can be bought as pairs though packs containing a full set are available.

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