When it comes to buying roller skates (especially if they are your first skates) there are some pretty key things to look out for that you might not know about if you aren't a seasoned skater.
After buying my first set of adult skates for $189 many years ago, it was only a couple of months until I learned a few things and wished someone had told me to hold out for better quality, or to at least get a set that fit me properly. (Hot tip: leaving an extra cm or two in the toe for comfort is not a good thing with skates).
Of course, here at Chuffed we sell skates, but this isn't just a list of reasons to buy OUR skates. These tips can be applied to shopping for other quality brands too. I just want to offer some things to look for (and to avoid) so as many people as possible can have a good time on 8 wheels. The right skates will keep you skating longer, whereas the wrong ones might put you off for life. And I like skating too much to see people anything other than, well, CHUFFED, when they lace up. (Sorry, but I can't resist an easy pun).
1. TOE STOPS
This one is pretty much a must. If you have had skates with bolt on stops you will know that they are hard to use, don't really help you stop properly, and wear down super fast. They are hard to replace and are pretty much a no-go in the skatepark and for dance skating. Invest in roller skates with adjustable toe stops and it will make actually stopping with them so much easier and safer. Then when it comes time to replace them you will have loads of quality options to choose from.
There are good nylon plates out there, but in my opinion, aluminium plates are better quality and will last longer. That's not to say all aluminium plates are created equally. The plates that come stock on complete setups vary, and don't compare to plates that cost $500+ on their own... Try asking a few skaters who own the skates you are looking at what they think of their plates, and compare the feedback to your needs and budget. I like a lightweight plate with firm cushions for skatepark riding. When I dance skate, I still like a light aluminium plate, but switch to softer cushions for more responsiveness.
Repeat after me. Don't buy skates with plastic wheels. DON'T BUY SKATES WITH PLASTIC WHEELS. These aren't good for skating on any surface, and are actually pretty dangerous. Make sure that the skates come with urethane wheels. Sure, you can change the wheels on skates, but if they come with plastic wheels, this is probably a good indication of the quality of the rest of the skate too.
Some boots are stitched to the plate, some are glued, some are bolted. Some are a combo of the above. Our skates are actually all three. Usually glue will wear down with time, and without a second method of reinforcement, the heel can easily seperate. If there is stitching or hardware attaching the heel to the boot, this minor separation won't lead to a full heel lift.
I hate to say it, but with roller skates, you generally get what you pay for. Cheap skates might be ok for light skating, and you can definitely learn to skate in them, but they probably won't last a long time. Quality skates are expensive to make, and therefore cost more to buy. If you think you are going to be skating more than a few months, it's probably worth the investment in a decent set. If you have barriers to affording good skates you might like to check out our financial support program.
So, there you have it. These are the tips I wish I had received before the lady at the rink sold me the cheapest set she had and sent me on my way. If you keep these things in mind when you are buying your skates, you should be able to find a set that will make learning (and continuing to skate) more fun.
If you want any more advice, just slide on into our DM's on Insta.