Craig Adderley / Pexels
Craig Adderley / Pexels
Craig Adderley / Pexels
By Daniel Goldstein, OnRamp
If you're looking to get outdoors, what’s a more classic sunshine sport than rollerblading? As crazy as it may sound, the rollerblade design came before roller skates and was created by a Dutch inventor in the early 1700s. Over two centuries later, two brothers from Minnesota thought the in-line design would be best for off-season hockey training. Thus, in 1983, Rollerblade, Inc. was born. Today, there are over 60 inline skate manufacturers, and their output results in hundreds of different products. With so many to choose from, how do you know which is best for you? That’s why we’re here. Check out what we believe are the best rollerblades on the market today.
Best Overall: From the company that started it all, the Pro XT Advantage is the latest and greatest in the Rollerblade line.
There are rollerblades, and then there’s Rollerblade. The Rollerblade corporation started it all back in the 1980s, and since then, the brand name has evolved into the product name. Though “Pro” is in the name of the skate, Rollerblade specifically designed these for beginner and intermediate skaters. The built-in frame provides greater support and stability, while the wheel-bearing combination creates balanced speed and control. The closure system supports both the instep and the ankle, giving skaters a greater feeling of balance. If you’re just getting started with rollerblading, this is the inline skate for you.
Best On A Budget: High Bounce combines all the elements of style, comfort, stability and speed in a cost-effective rollerblade.
It’s not cheap to get started in any sport, really, but there’s also no reason to mortgage the house just to have a little fun in the sun. High Bounce understands this, and their adjustable inline skate proves it. With a soft, comfortable inner shell, smooth-riding gel wheels, and a frame constructed with reinforced nylon, the High Bounce provides all the stability, comfort, and speed you want from your rollerblades. With an adjustable button that conforms to fit around your foot, you can be sure the skate grows with you, making it great for kids just starting out in rollerblading.
Sizes run small
Best Kids’ Rollerblades: From one of the most trusted names in outdoor sporting goods comes a high-quality rollerblade designed just for kids.
Featuring high-performance, 90mm wheels with ILQ-9 bearings, the K2 Marlee Youth Skate gives kids just the right amount of speed for fun and safety. The Vo2 S-Frame with extruded sides is constructed from durable aluminum, so it will withstand abuse and provide a responsive, comfortable ride. And a parent had to be involved in designing these, as the Speed-Lacing feature takes only one pull to put on or take off the skate, avoiding whining impatience with lace-up skates.
Best Braking: Using the patented ABT Braking System, rollerbladers – especially beginners – gain significant control with the Rollerblade Macroblade.
The ABT (Active Brake Technology) Braking System revolutionized the way inline skates are used. Instead of raising the toe (or employing brakeless-stopping maneuvers), ABT brakes allow all four wheels to stay firmly on the ground, which in turn provides greater speed control and stability. The rear brake on the Rollerblade Macroblade even has a height-adjustable mechanism that helps maintain braking power even as the brake wears down. The system is even compatible with both right and left-footed skaters. Combine this with the twin-blade aluminum frame, 84mm performance wheels, and all the other features you expect from Rollerblade, and you’ve got one safe and durable inline skate.
What’s the difference between these rollerblades with three wheels and the ones with four wheels?
The real difference is speed. Three-wheel skates are markedly faster than four-wheel skates. What you’re sacrificing for speed, however, is stability. Four-wheel rollerblades are a lot easier to balance, especially on lift-off (pushing out with the skate), which makes them a better skate to learn on. Smaller wheels provide more stability, while the larger wheels require additional strength to balance. We recommend you start off with four-wheel rollerblades, and if your intention is to get into racing or speed skating, graduate later to the three-wheel design.
Some of these rollerblade designs don’t come with brakes. How are you supposed to stop, then?
We’ve found as many as seven different ways to stop that are most popular among rollerbladers. Here are two that are among the most popular: the first is called a T-Stop. Typically, this is done by putting your left skate forward and placing your right skate behind you, perpendicular to your front skate (creating an upside-down “T”). This skate is used to drag you to a stop, much like an anchor. The second is the Plow Stop, which is a lot like the common stop used in snow skiing or ice skating. Pull your skates forward until they form a triangle in front of you, inhibiting your forward motion. These techniques can be found in instructional videos online.
Is rollerblading a good workout?
Rollerblading can be a great workout, depending on your objectives and your body type. Rollerblading is considered a low-impact workout, so if you have pre-existing conditions with your knees, joints, hips or back, rollerblading is an excellent alternative to higher-impact aerobic exercises. Remember, it’s in the strides, not in the coasting, where you’re burning calories, increasing heart rate, and working out your leg muscles. The harder and more consistently you push, the better the workout.
Daniel Goldstein is a freelance writer covering the latest in technology and musical equipment for OnRamp. The Active Times partners with OnRamp for informational product guides. OnRamp and The Active Times may earn a commission if you make a purchase through OnRamp product links. The Active Times is not involved in OnRamp content creation.
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