The Best Inline Skates (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
These are the best inline skates for every skater and every style.
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BY Heather Fishel / LAST UPDATED ON March 4, 2021
Inline skates are fun for people of all ages. Whether you wore rollerblades as a kid to cruise the sidewalks or inline skates to roll around the skating rink, or maybe you’re interested in a different kind of transportation, inline skates have a lot to offer. Featuring a single line of smooth-rolling wheels that make it easy to accelerate and increase speed, these skates are a great alternative to skateboarding and biking. They’re convenient, comfortable, sleek, and speedy.
You can skate just about anywhere, and you can even master tricks, ramps, and so much more to challenge yourself. Whether you’re using your inline skates to commute, explore local sights, or try out new skating challenges, you’ll have a ton of versatility right on your feet. Check out our picks for the best inline skates on the market in our guide below.
An adjustable set of skates that fits a wide range of sizes and is durable enough for skaters of all experience levels.
- Reinforced aluminum alloy frame
- Polyurethane wheels are wear-resistant
- Skates ride smoothly and quietly
- Light-up wheels are a feature that’s really only for kids
- Wheels may vibrate as they roll
A lightweight inline skate that’s great for casual skating with an affordable price.
- Adjustable sizing allows for a more custom fit
- Triple buckle closure is easy to use
- Bearings offer great speed
- Skates have a narrow fit
- Brake takes time to master
A high-quality, entry-level pair of inline skates designed for durability and solid comfort.
- Skates are balanced for beginners
- Padded comfort performance liner offers great cushioning
- Great lateral support for the ankles
- Wheels are prone to breaking
- Wheels may also wear down within months of use
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Benefits of Inline Skates
- Great form of exercise. When you skate with inline skates, you’re getting both aerobic and anaerobic benefits. You’ll increase your heart rate, strengthen muscles all over your body, and tone up.
- Improves your balance and coordination. Inline skates require both balance and careful coordination as you get used to their thin platform — and you’ll really strengthen both of these physical qualities to master tricks and advanced moves like skating backwards.
- Low-impact workout. If sports and activities like cycling and skateboarding are too hard on your weight-bearing joints, inline skating can be a better choice. It’s a low-impact activity, so you’ll get in exercise, have fun, and lessen any aches and pains you might experience otherwise.
Types of Inline Skates
Recreational inline skates are the most basic type. These are the skates that most people wear and choose — they’re great for casual skaters who want to have fun, try out local roads and trails, or get in a basic workout. They’re very versatile and suitable for all levels, including beginners. Though the shape and design might vary slightly, recreational inline skates are designed to handle just about anything the average skater might try.
Racing inline skates are a more specialized kind of skate. Designed specifically for going fast and reaching top speeds, racing skates are made with advanced inline technology. They’re lightweight, streamlined, and utilize special bearings to roll as fast as possible. Since they are more expensive than recreational skates and made with fancier materials, you’ll want to invest in racing skates only if you plan on getting serious about your racing performance.
One sport that requires inline skates is roller hockey — and there are special skates made just for it. Roller hockey inline skates are designed for the fast pace and rough play of a hockey game, and they’re also frequently used by ice hockey players who want to train off the ice. These unique skates are typically made with a lighter weight and extra-tough materials for better durability.
Urban inline skating is a relatively new kind of skating — it’s a mix between recreational skating and more aggressive skating. Urban inline skates are designed for this, and they have all the same functionality and versatility of recreational skates but more durable boots. These boots are better equipped to withstand wear from tricks, jumps, and all kinds of impact-driven wear. The wheels on these inline skates are also typically larger.
There’s perhaps no inline skate brand better known than Rollerblade. This brand is so popular that many people call all inline skates Rollerblades. Since 1980, when two hockey players created the first Rollerblades, this company has created standout products like the Rollerblade Zetrablade Elite InLine Skate.
Roller derby, the sport, was first created in 1936, and soon after, the brand Roller Derby was founded. With a focus on creating products that can handle the ups, downs, curves, and skating impacts, Roller Derby makes quality skates like the Roller Derby Women’s V-Tech 500 Button Adjustable Inline Skate.
Inline Skate Pricing
- $50 to $100: Most quality inline skates cost between $50 and $100. These skates are mostly recreational inline skates, which are good for beginner and intermediate skaters.
- $150 and up: If you need a specialized pair of inline skates, you’ll find them priced at $150 or more. With more customized features, they have a more premium price.
The liners are a pretty important feature in any pair of inline skates. They’re the only material between your feet and the skates themselves, and they can offer comfort, cushioning, and a great fit. Inline skate liners can be made from materials like foam, comfort padding, and even memory foam or heat-moldable material that’ll expertly cushion you from the heels to the toes.
While inline skates used to have basic laces, today’s skates are much more advanced — and more complex. The closure system is what secures the skates to your feet, and you’ll want to find a closure system that works for your needs and your comfort level. You’ll find inline skates with Velcro, ratchet buckle, quick lace systems, and other secure closure systems. Make sure the closure you choose is easy to secure and loosen.
The skate frame is what your boot sits on. It’s the centerpiece of an inline skate, as it holds the wheels in place and carries the weight of your body. Frames can be made from materials like plastic, aluminum, and carbon, and the material will determine how sturdy and heavy a skate is on your foot.
Lastly, you can’t forget about the wheels. As one of the most critical features of any inline skate, the wheels determine your speed, balance, and ability to ride over different terrain types. You can find different sizes of wheels and wheels made from various materials; you’ll want a set of wheels that roll smoothly for the best experience.
- Consider your skill level. Some inline skates are better for beginners, with lightweight construction, increased durability, and more stability. Others are for intermediate or advanced skaters who don’t need the same qualities from their inline skates. Knowing your skill level can help you find the right fit, so you have stability and quality.
- Cuffs offer extra support. The cuff of an inline skate makes up the hard back of the boot. It’s unassuming, but it’s where you’ll get your ankle support from. When considering different skates, make sure you choose ones with cuffs that are supportive and strong yet flexible enough to suit your skating style.
- You don’t always need fancy closures. While inline skate closure systems can be advanced and extra secure, sometimes basic works best. If you want to keep things simple, you can always opt for a pair of skates with traditional laces — they’re even easy to take off when you’re finished skating.
Best Inline Skates Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Gender does matter when you’re buying inline skates. Brands typically change the fit, color choices, and sizes, so you’ll want to consider pairs that are suited for your feet based on your gender.
- If you plan to skate aggressively, you’ll need an extra-tough pair of skates. Look for all-terrain, urban, or aggressive inline skates, all of which are better equipped to handle rough use.
- The number of wheels and the size of each wheel can affect everything from your speed to your control. Bigger wheels are good for speed and distance, while smaller wheels are better for control.
Q: Should I buy quads or inline skates?
It depends on how comfortable you are in either type of skate. Both quad skates and inline skates require balance, coordination, and practice. And both types can also be great for recreation. However, inline skates are better for outdoor skating, while quads are better indoors at a rink or track.
Q: What's the difference between inline skates and rollerblades?
Inline skates and rollerblades are the same product. Rollerblade is a brand of inline skates. Many people use the two names interchangeably, but not all inline skates are technically rollerblades since different brands make them.
Q: Is inline skating dangerous?
Inline skating can be dangerous if you don’t wear the proper protective equipment like a helmet. Elbow pads, knee pads, and other protective gear can also prevent injuries when you fall or crash into obstacles — but once you master the sport, you likely won’t experience as many falls.
The Papaison Adjustable Inline Skates are an excellent all-around pair of inline skates that’ll be supportive and fun for all skaters — including beginners. You’ll also make a great choice if you opt for the Roller Derby Women’s V-Tech 500 Button Adjustable Inline Skate, an affordably priced option.