by Staff Writer
Although popularized in the 1980s, inline skates have been around for centuries. Inline roller skates have evolved from heavy attachments to stylish, lightweight, comfortable skates. And while inline skates were originally designed as an alternative form of transportation in Europe, inline skating has transformed into artistic, fitness, recreational and competitive endeavors.
What are the different types of inline skates?
There are several different types of inline roller skates, including hockey skates, racing skates, recreational, aggressive, artistic and women's styles, to name a few. Aggressive skates are designed for doing tricks and often feature grinding plates. Women's roller blades are designed with a narrow heel and higher instep to better fit a woman's foot.
Should I get rollerblades with laces or buckles?
Most roller blade skates have levered buckles. The buckles let you tighten the hard plastic boots, giving a snug, secure fit. The number of buckles will vary, usually between two and five. The more buckles on your inline skates, the more custom fit you should be able to achieve. Laces are usually found on inline hockey skates. Inline hockey skates usually have leather uppers, instead of plastic, so laces can be used to get a more precise fit.
What do the ratings on wheel bearings mean?
ABEC ratings evaluate the rolling resistance of the bearing. Being the friction point between the wheel and the rollerblade frame, the wheel bearing will have an impact on how your inline skates perform. The higher the number after the ABEC rating, the greater the smoothness of the bearing, increasing the ability of the wheel to effortlessly roll. However, a higher rating usually means that the wheel bearing will wear down quicker.
What should the wheels be made of?
Almost all inline skate wheels are made of polyurethane, which can be made in different levels of hardness. The harder the wheel, the better it will hold up over time, but softer wheels tend to provide better grip.