One of the most common questions we get from beginners or people who are getting back into recreational skating after a long hiatus is: Should I wear protective gear?
Our answer is always yes.
1. It can help with your confidence
When you first start roller skating or blading you generally suck.
Not many people can put on skates and be amazing straight away.
In the process of learning (or re-learning) how to skate you’ll quite often find that falling safely and getting back up again is a big part of it.
The most common protective skate gear is padding for knees and elbows, wrist guards and a helmet.
Falling onto a padded knee, elbow or wrist guard is easier and more comfortable than falling onto a bone or skin.
Rolling out for the first time with protective gear on can also help with the mental game of skating, giving you confidence to find your balance again.
Often injuries can occur when you need to fall forward but you actively try not to and you end up doing something unnatural - like twisting, wrenching or standing bolt upright and falling backwards.
Pro tip: If you feel unstable bend your knees, this should activate your core and stabilise you and if not - you can safely fall forwards or take a knee onto your knee pads.
2. It can minimise or prevent injury
Just like any sport there is a level of risk involved in skating.
You can't control what happens when you head to the rink, outdoors or to the skatepark.
Dogs, kids, sticks, debris, other skaters - these are all variables that you simply can't control.
Protective padding for your knees, elbows and wrists can help stop or minimise any bruises, scrapes and scabs (ew) caused by falls.
Gear can also help prevent fractures and breaks but it won't necessarily cancel those injuries out altogether.
Wearing a helmet (especially outdoors and at the skatepark) can also protect and save you from head injuries and concussion.
You only get one head so protecting your noggin is pretty important.
3. It can help you nail new tricks
Even seasoned skaters have new tricks they want to learn and things they can't do yet.
Skating is evolving and changing and new moves are coming out all the time.
When you're trying out a new move there is a level of fear involved - usually a fear of falling or having to bail the trick halfway through.
Wearing protective gear can help minimise that fear and the chance of injury, giving you the confidence to push your limits and try something new.
4. It can look damn good! (or be invisible)
Gone are the days when all padding was black or grey or black and grey.
Nowadays brands like 187, Triple 8, Pro-tec, Moxi and Smiths Scabs are coming out with protective gear that is bright, colourful, patterned or just damn cool.
There's rainbow, mermaid, tie dye, camo, checkers, leopard and holographic...
And yes, there's also plain old black.
Not into padding you can see? These days there's all manner of covert gear (including bum pads) designed to be used underneath your clothing.
Of course wearing padding and a helmet is a personal choice, there's no rule (at least in Australia) to say you have to do so when skating for yourself recreationally.
However, when it comes to the question of should I wear padding, our answer will always be yes.
Interested in protective gear? Check it out here.