Anyone looking for the right amount of thrill and exercise can find it in rollerblading. The beauty of it is you don’t have to be a kid or teenager to make the most of it – it’s an activity fit for people of all ages. Although many left it for dead after its peak popularity in the 1990s, rollerblading has been having quite the boom in recent years.
Yes, rollerblading has rolled back into style, and we can’t get enough of it! If you don’t have your pair of blades hidden in the closet somewhere, then it’s time to do some shopping before going for a roll around the block.
How Do You Pick Out Rollerblades?
First things first, let’s make one thing clear: the official name of the sport is inline skating, though it’s become known as rollerblading because of the Rollerblade brand that became synonymous with the sport. The rollerblades also aren’t to be mixed up with roller skates, which differ in the positioning and design of the wheels. Now that we have that confusion settled, it’s time to focus on what you need to know when shopping.
Shopping for blades can be a fun experience, though it can easily turn into a hassle for beginners considering how extensive the range of roller blades can be. From renowned brands like Powerslide, Impala, Razors, RDS, and USD, to a variety of colors, and prices, there are just so many things to look into and pick. But, it should get easier if you focus on the crucial aspects, and take it from there. And, when I say crucial, I mean:
The Roller Blade Type
Designed for specific purposes, you’ve generally got two distinct categories of inline skates – the recreational and the aggressive, as well as other more specialized skates.
These are a type of roller blades where the focus is on comfort. This is easily spotted with the relaxed fit and soft boots which beginners can greatly benefit from while still learning how to roll properly and with confidence. They may not be ideal for professional skaters or those who want to do tricks, yet they’re more than suitable for occasional skaters who like to go for a spin through the nearby bike lanes.
People into relaxing cruises around the city as well as commuters can highly benefit from them too. Remember that there can be slight variations in the recreational blades options, with the bigger wheels being better for speed and covering longer distances. The smaller counterpart is great for more control over the movements.
These are the opposite of the recreational because they’re made for tricks. You can easily recognize them by the smaller wheel diameter, down to 30mm with some models. This isn’t accidental – such skate wheels are perfect for mastering maneuverability.
There’s also a difference with the boots as they’re constructed from harder materials, in the likes of plastic and carbon fiber. This makes these skates the real deal if you’re looking for the utmost support, durability, and responsiveness.
Specialized Types of Skates
Variations of the inline roller skates are ideal in case you’re after something more purpose-specific that would suit your skating needs better than the previous two. To change up the dynamic in your life and take the fitness regimen to the next level, you can spice things up with the fitness blades great for control and comfort with their higher shaft and padding.
Looking for the perfect pair to help you conquer the roads at a higher speed? The speed/marathon blades with their large wheelbase and lightweight boots are made for aerodynamics.
If it’s more maneuverability you’re searching for, especially for the urban setting where you expect to do lots of jumps, the freeride type with the hard supportive boots and shock-absorbing wheels can help you turn the streets into your own skating park.
And lastly, for a more artistic take on the sport, you’ve got the freestyle/slalom skates typical for the shorter frame for maximum control.
The Roller Blade Features
In addition to knowing the basic types of skates, as well as the variations, you can further simplify the shopping experience if you get to know a thing or two about some of the important features, like the following:
Frames can make or break your experience, so they aren’t details you’d like to overlook. The reason you need to pay attention to these features stems from the fact there are stylish roller blades with frames that vary in sizes, and the materials they’re made from.
The shorter frames are fit for control, whereas the longer ones are made for great speeds. In terms of material, you ought to make a choice between cheaper and of lower quality with the plastic, and more expensive yet durable with the aluminum.
Wheels are the very elements that define your experience with the sport, so being cautious with the choice is the least you can do. To make a well-rounded decision, you’d need to consider both the size and hardness of these essential parts.
Wheels with a smaller diameter are put to great use when used for recreational skating, as well as with getting a hold of the sport. The larger wheels are ideal for better-skilled skaters.
As far as the hardness goes, you can see whether a wheel is considered hard or soft based on the durometer scale. A maximum of 100A can be your indicator, so the closer the wheel hardness is to this number, the harder the wheels. Harder wheels are advantageous for optimal durability, though the softer ones come with their perks too, among which you’ve got better shock absorption and grip.
How Do You Practice Rollerblading?
You check for the health benefits rollerblading offers, you’re amazed by how it helps build muscle, improve balance and coordination, lose weight, and improve posture, and now you want to enhance your well-being with all this. As a beginner, acquiring the ideal pair of rollerblades is only part of your concern – the other one being the skill.
Instead of talking yourself out of trying your hand at rollerblading, you can start by checking out some apps, like the Rollerblade Skills Guide, and video tutorials. Working on your endurance, muscles, coordination, and skating position would be of help too, even when you’re on your feet without the blades.
If you prefer trying it out by wearing them, then hit the nearest park, watch what other skaters are doing, practice some balance and basic movements, and save the complex movements and tricks for later. Don’t forget the safety gear for protection and a friend or two for support. See, it doesn’t have to be difficult, does it?