The Best Rollerblades (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Skate towards success with the help of these fan-favorite rollerblades.
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BY Corrina Murdoch / LAST UPDATED ON March 28, 2021
Some activities withstand the test of time — and what better example than rollerblading. A staple in the ‘50s, this activity became synonymous with drive-in diners and leisurely beach time. Though we might not all crowd together for shakes and fries as we did mid 20th century, rollerblading has retained its appeal. With movies like Whip It, the revival of roller rinks, and the skating path at Venice Beach, it’s no wonder rollerblading has remained popular. Letting you skate in warm weather (or inside during winter), rollerblades feature a single line of wheels along the base with a brake pad at the back. They come in bright colors with light-up wheels or muted hues for those focused mainly on exercise. Helping riders foster coordination, balance, and get in a heart-pumping workout, there’s so much to love about this gear. So, if you’re looking to add a dash of magic to your exercise routine, it only makes sense to pick out a pair of these summer skates. We’ve curated a list of the best rollerblades on the market. Let’s get to it.
Stylish and comfortable, these adjustable inline skates are ideal for any experience level. They close easily and light up to make blading even more fun.
- Durable polyurethane wheels that light up
- Buckle closure for ease
- High ankle to improve balance
- Sized primarily for youth
- Buckle can get stuck in position
- Bearings require ongoing maintenance
Simple yet effective, these sleek rollerblades are designed for serious skaters. They incorporate adjustable sizing with the push of a button.
- Comes at an affordable price point
- Suitable for sports like roller derby
- User-friendly buckle closure
- Brake pad wears down with time
- Can be somewhat restricting on calves
- Button adjustment can get stuck
These skates are built to offer streamlined performance for athletes. With smooth-rolling wheels and an easily adjustable fit, these rollerblades are sure to last over the long term.
- Black design won’t show scuffs
- Prominent brake pad for quick stopping
- Wheel hardness lets you reach fast speeds efficiently
- Wheels are relatively small
- Designed primarily for female users
- High cuff can be too tight on riders’ calves
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Benefits of Rollerblades
- Improves cardiovascular health. Among the many benefits of rollerblading are the advantages to heart health. By incorporating rollerblading into a regular exercise regiment, you can get the heart-pumping benefits necessary to a healthy lifestyle.
- Strengthens muscles. Though you can move easily on rollerblades, they do require a lot of muscle for you to move around. Particularly for leg and lower back muscles, rollerblades can help you tone your muscles.
- Helps foster balance. Unlike roller skates, rollerblades have a single line of wheels. This means you have to balance both while still and in motion, helping strengthen your abs and improving your overall ability to balance.
- Can assist with coordination. Because of the speed at which you can travel with rollerblades, they can help you develop gross motor skills, particularly coordination. This vestibular skill is essential to getting around safely in any environment.
- Useful in many sports. From roller derby to speed racing, rollerblades are a prominent component of many sporting activities. Many use them to keep their skills sharp for hockey when the weather gets warm. Riders can benefit from using rollerblades all year round.
- Lets you get around faster. Instead of walking from place to place, rollerblades let you travel at much higher speeds. Plus, since rollerblading is lower-impact than running or jogging, you can move more quickly without putting your legs in any pain.
Types of Rollerblades
As the name suggests, this type of inline skate is built for casual rollerblading. They feature a single row of wheels, usually made out of polyurethane. Typically, these skates close with a buckle and Velcro strap. At the back of the skates is a brake pad, so you can tip your heel and come to a stop. Featuring a soft interior, these skates have a low-rising boot that keeps the rider stable without encumbering their ability to move around.
This type of skate is geared towards those with substantial rollerblading experience. Designed for fast travel, these skates are ideal for those pursuing fitness goals. The wheels are generally larger than on other models and placed further apart. Unlike more casual rollerblades, these don’t feature a brake pad. The boot sits close to the ankle to keep the rollerblade weight low so you can move around faster. If you are using the skates to get around quickly or for cardio, this type is a good option.
Though urban, or street skates, are a newer type of rollerblade, they are quickly becoming more prevalent on the market. In effect, they are a blend of recreational and racing rollerblades. They feature the high boot of a recreational inline skate, along with the buckle closure and sizing adjustments. To let you travel more quirky, they also incorporate larger wheels without a brake pad at the back. This type is ideal if you plan to use the rollerblades for both speed and casual riding.
Roller Derby Skate Corp.
Opening its doors in 1936, this company is credited with creating the first roller skates, and thus with the origins of roller derby as a sport. An American business, this company has continued to create high-quality inline skates and rollerblades. Among its most popular offerings is the Roller Derby Cobra Inline Skates.
With a dedicated focus on crafting outdoor sporting gear, this brand has a wide line of rollerblades, skates, and protective gear. Hitting the market in 2017, it has continued to be a popular supplier of skating gear for all seasons. One of its top products is the 2PM Sports Adjustable Inline Skates.
- Under $50: In this price range, you can find recreational rollerblades of good quality. Most inline skates for children fall in this category.
- Between $50 and $100: Many racing and recreational skates fall in this category. The majority of adult inline skates are priced in this range.
- $100 and up: Though less common, you can find many streets or urban rollerblades in this category. Professional models for serious athletes usually fall in this range, too.
All rollerblades have a single row of polyurethane wheels. Usually, there are either four or five individual wheels. To work properly, the wheels must be properly sized. Look for something in the range of 7-8 centimeters. Also, they must be hard enough to work well on pavement yet forgiving enough to give you a reasonable amount of grip on the road. Finally, the internal bearings must be well-lubricated so the wheels move smoothly. So long as all these criteria are in order, you can count on the wheels to work well.
An essential part of the rollerblade is the boot itself, the part where your foot sits. To be comfortable and usable, your foot needs to fit properly. There must be a small amount of wiggle room by the toes, so be sure to consult the sizing chart. Additionally, the boot needs to have a quality lining (ideally one that won’t hold onto moisture) and keeps your feet comfortable. Look for a boot with a small strap at the back to make it easier to put on and take off the rollerblades.
This is the part of the rollerblade that closes onto your foot. While it technically is a part of the boot itself, it performs such an important role that it is worth looking into individually. Most rollerblades use an adjustable buckle that ratchets into place. Others are controlled by a push button. This component determines how tight against your calf and ankle the rollerblade is. It works in conjunction with a Velcro strap that goes over the main part of the foot.
Though not all rollerblades have built-in brakes, if you opt for a recreational model, then you are going to want to look into the quality of the brakes. It will sit at the back of the line of wheels so that, when you press your heel backward, you can come to an efficient stop. Sometimes, only one rollerblade out of the pair will include a brake. If that’s the case, be sure that it is on your dominant side to make sure you can stop comfortably.
- Size. When you go to pick out your rollerblades, after you’ve gone through all the essential features, look at the size. Even a half-size too small or too large will make the rollerblades virtually unusable, so consult the chart. If necessary, measure your feet beforehand. If you’re unsure, it is always best to err on the larger side.
- Comfort. Especially if you plan to use the rollerblades as a method of exercise or recreation, you’re going to want them to be comfortable. Seek out models with softer linings, more supportive bases, and breathable material so that your feet can stay cool. Look for higher-quality material inside the rollerblade so the lining doesn’t lift when you remove the skates.
- Durability. The goal of any sporting equipment is finding something that can last over the long term. To achieve this, be sure that you pick out a rollerblade that is meant to last. Opt for harder polyurethane wheels (around 82A on the hardness scale) and look for well-made bearings (ABEC-7 is a good standard). By finding good wheels, you are well on your way to optimal inline skate durability.
- Maintenance. Everything requires upkeep, but taking care of your rollerblades shouldn’t be a chore. You’ll need to clean them after use and take care of the wheels, lubricating them once in a while. Outside of that, the brake pads and wheel attachment parts also need care. The heavier-duty your rollerblades are, the less frequently they will require maintenance, and the more time you can spend skating.
Best Rollerblades Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Wear a helmet and protective padding when rollerblading, especially if you are new to the sport.
- Be sure to check the wheel quality and the attachment to the boots before you ride to ensure a tight hold.
- When tightening the boot of your rollerblade, close it a bit extra since movement will loosen it.
- As with any footwear, rollerblades require some breaking-in, so practice with them before taking any long trips.
- Like a car has a towing capacity, rollerblades have limits to the forces they can withstand, so make sure not to overdo it.
- After a ride, be sure to air out the insoles to prevent premature wear to the inside of the inline skates.
- Though rollerblades are durable, some small parts can rust so keep them dry and store the skates indoors whenever possible.
Q: Can you lose weight by rollerblading?
Since rollerblading is a form of exercise, if you make it a part of a healthy lifestyle (good diet, proper sleep, etc.), then yes, rollerblading can lead to weight loss. It can also help strengthen muscles and improve balance.
Q: What are good rollerblades?
Good rollerblades have a sturdy boot, good attachments, and durable wheels. The best inline skates work on multiple terrains and have wheels that move smoothly thanks to well-lubricated bearings. Look for options with quality brakes and a strong exterior to maximize durability.
Q: Are roller skates better than rollerblades?
The two are inherently different, so it all comes down to the athlete’s preference. Roller skates have two rows of two wheels each. Rollerblades have a single row of wheels (usually four). If you are looking for speed and distance, rollerblades are often a better way to go.
Now that you know the finer points of rollerblades, you can make your pick. It could be the 2PM Sports Adjustable Skates or the cost-effectiveness of the Roller Derby V-Tech Inline Skates. Inline skates are fun for all ages. Do you have some rollerblading expertise? Tell your tale in the comments below. Happy skating!