So you’ve decided to take up skating, the kind where you have wheels strapped to your feet.
Maybe you’ve been inspired by skaters on TikTok or Instagram.
Or maybe you always wanted to get into it but never had the time.
Maybe you just saw someone doing it in your street and that got you inspired.
Whatever the reason, skating is super fun, great for fitness and can really take you places (literally).
If you're buying your first pair of skates, you’ll need to know a few things first.
Research: Roller Skates or Inline Skates?
Pro tip: Don’t say the ones with 4 wheels!
The first question to ask yourself is: do I want quad roller skates or do I want inline skates (blades)?
If you don’t know then we strongly recommend you go to a roller rink and try both types out before you do anything.
Or see if any friends have skates you can borrow.
If you can’t get to a roller rink then think about what you did as a child as this will come most easily to you.
And if you haven't done either type of skating then choose the one you’re most interested in and be prepared to learn.
Just My Type
Now you know which type of skates you want, the next step is to decide what you’ll be doing.
There are loads of different styles of skating including competitive speed skating, artistic skating, jam/dance skating, long distance, skating outdoors for fitness and recreation, roller derby, indoor or outdoor roller hockey, aggressive skate park or street skating, slalom, cruising around the local rink… the list goes on.
There are different skates for different purposes and different skates for different levels.
Have an idea about what you’re going to be doing, where you're going to be going and get skates fit for that purpose.
Love Don’t Cost A Thing
But skates do.
The price of skates has got to do with the quality and cost of all the components.
Skates that are on the cheaper side or entry level end tend to have lower quality wheels, frames, bearings and boot while skates at the other end of the scale have higher quality components.
High quality components will usually relate to speed, smoothness, agility and all round performance.
When it comes to skates you get what you pay for - there is no substitute for quality.
Once you understand what skates cost you can decide what you are prepared to spend and compare the options at that price.
Go online to your local retailer’s website and check out the price range for a bit of an idea.
The Right Fit
Now that you know what type of skates you want, what type of skating you’re going to be doing and what the realistic cost of skates is, it’s time to go to your local skate store to get some skates.
Fittings take time and stock changes regularly so it’s good to go in after you’ve done all your research and you’re ready to get your wheel on.
When trying on skates you should wear the type of socks you plan on skating in and bring any insoles that you might be using.
Take into account any foot issues you may have as these can come out from skating. For example, if you never wear high heels because they cause you discomfort then heeled skates might not be the best idea for you.
For most people the ideal fit is snug (but comfortable) however this can vary as every person is different.
New skaters often want a softer, more padded and loose-fitting skate while more experienced skaters tend to go for something minimal and very snug.
Only you know what a skate feels like on your foot so you need to pay attention to the fit when you try skates on and choose what fits you best.
If the width of one brand doesn’t work then you might need to consider a different brand that suits the width and shape of your foot.
Don’t forget that skates will soften as they break in so if they are a little snug this allows for any break in.
Your preferred fit as a skater will also mature as you gain experience.
Support Local In Store & Online
Visiting a local store is the best way to get the right fit and most skate shops are small, locally owned businesses so support them if you can.
But if you can’t visit a local shop in person there are a few things you can do to get the right fit when buying online.
- Measure your feet correctly
- Check the size chart and make sure you have added on any desired room. Don't forget that sizing varies brand to brand and even between models
- Check if there are any sizing notes provided. For example if sizing is in EU size, check the EU size on your shoes.
- Consult any friends who have the same type of skate and see what they say about the fit. Try on their skates if you're a similar size
- Consult the brand website for any further info
- Contact the store you are buying from and ask for their opinion.
Once you have your new skates (and protective gear) it’s time to get out there and start your skating journey!