If you put into search the fraze - How to choose skates - you will get many advices, which will usually repeat. The same information you will get also in many sport shops. Surelly you will get general advice, that is important to concentrate on quality of bearings, size of wheels, which influence the speed and stability, comfort of shoe and material of the frame. The problem is, that these information are themself empty and if you don´t have the details, to which you should concentrate at the choosing of skates, they will not really help you. How to choose skates then properly?
Then it can easily happen, that you follow the general advice and will buy the skates with seemingly exact bearings with term f.e. ABEC9, aluminium frame, wheels, which with their size and hardness are ok with general advice for your efficiency and even they will fit you when you try them in the shop and are comfortable. However they could be not suitable skates, on which in result you can´t skate properly and skating will be difficult and not very fun. Information alone then to layman will not tell a lot about the right choosing of skates and also the customer who knows all these information can be at the end helpless. How is this possible?
How to choose roller skates? Forget about general advices and clichés
Why upper mentioned parameters are non-standard? The reasons are mainly two:
1. Given parameters, after which are generally recommend choosing the skates, and which you will find in description at all skates, they don´t need to express the real quality.
- Normally you meet with the information, that heavier and more experienced skaters should have more prefer aluminium frame. Generally said yes, but the fact, that the frame is from aluminium, is as itself nothing to say information, which doesn´t talk about its quality at all. Aluminum frame can be pressed and thin, clothed into the shoe, thanks to which can have worse rigidity than quality frames from composite. But it also could be reinforced frame screwed into the shoe, which will function perfectly even at the strong reflection and can transfer maaximum of energy and respond accurately. The information itself, that the frame is from the alloy of aluminium will not tell you nothing at all about its quality.
- Bearings labeled ABEC 9 don´t have to be better than bearings ABEC 7. Always depends on specific material, quality of lubrication, processing etc. Who made the bearings will tell you many times more than its labeling.
- Two the same large wheels labeled with the same hardness 85A could have diametral price and quality differencies. The hardness itself will tell you something about the wheels, but doesn´t tell you exact quality. It always depends on specific construction, material of wheels etc. We could continue this way, but already it is clear that general advice is not enough, that only from the general advice you will really not choose the good skates.
2. Quality skates function only as the whole made from good single components, which are supplement sufficiently and fulfill the requirements of particular skaters.
- General advice says, larger wheels=higher speed, rougher wheels=higher speed. Also is mentioned, that the higher number of labeling the bearings, then there will be higher speed. Customer who has these information, will buy the cheap skates in the shop with larger wheels - f.e. 100 mm, relativelly exact bearings ABEC 9 and more solid wheels 85A. After common recommendation everything comes to that skates will be very fast and with this reinsureness the customer wants to buy them. But then it could happen, that this equipped skater then other experienced skater will overcome, who will have smaller wheels 90 mm, lower labeling of bearings f.e. ILQ 7 and the same solid wheels 85A. This skater will have more quality skates on legs, which except of o.k. wheels and bearings will have in addition much more solid and quality frame and mainly more solid shoe. This skater can more effectively use the correct technique and also will transfer over the quality shoe and frame all the energy to the ride to the front. Except of the higher speed, these skates will have more exact maneuverability and better stability.
- Other example. Generally applies that larger wheels = worse stability. If we compare two totally same skates, this fact applies. But compare the cheaper skates in price of 2500 Czech crowns with wheels 90 mm. Everything could be different. It is because the more expensive skates will have more quality shoe with more solid construction, which better holds the ankle. Side stability will ensure also better attachment and centering of the frame. Except of this, the more quality skates have very often, also with larger wheels, center of gravity significantly lower than cheaper skates with small wheels. This you will easily recognise because of the space between the wheels and the shoe, more smaller space there wil be, then there is better construction of skate from producer. In result, despite the general advice, the quality skates with wheels 90 mm will be more stabile than cheap skates with wheels 84 mm. We could continue in this. From already mentioned examples is evident, that general advices could be for non-experienced customer very misleading.
How to choose correctly then?
It is always important to see the skates as the whole and to concentrate mostly on quality of the whole construction, on the contrary, with the components which will be exchanged you don´t need to worry so much. If you want to concentrate at the choosing on the specific parameters, which are for the right choice authoritatively, instead of labeling of bearings or hardness of wheels you more concentrate on these variables:
- Stability - it is most given by quality of the construction of shoe, material of shoe, height, type of attaching and rigidity of frame, right on these parameters you will mainly concentrate. At skating you balance the ankles on relativelly narrow contact place (width of the wheels). Holding of ankles and support on the edges is then at the choosing very important. It influences stability, reflection and slide, which are really the basics of skating. With regard that at skating you move on inner and also outer edge of wheels and you rely on the edge, leg must to fit in skate perfectly at reflection, slide or at stalling, only then you can skate perfectly, to have skates under the control and improve your technique. Of course, the holding of ankles is partially also about the knowing of technique, but still all quality skates must to have corresponding side torsion, which is at most of the skates missing. Attention! Front-end flex, the moving of leg to the dirrection up front to the toe is generally required, concentrate then on side stability, not on front-end. Good skates have naturally soft flex to the front, so you can put yourself into bending sport ride in the knees.
- Correct sise and suitable shape - how to choose the correct size of inline skates you can´t say generally, skates are made as semi-finished product from materials, which are shaped after the leg. All skates will shape to your leg after few days of riding, when the shaping of shoe on the particular shape of shoe, the size will be llittle bigger. Some of skates will adjust more and you have to get them exactly for your legs, at others the size will adjust "exactly". Your new skates should be never bigger! The chapter alone is a method of trying, where are the fatal mistakes made, so don´t underestimate the trying and try the skates properly. Also after skating little in the shop you can during few minutes feel basic differences in comfort, maneuverability and stability. In shop, we will be of course happy to help you to choose the correct size.
- Size of the wheels and proportional length of frame - before the choosing you will give yourself the question where and how you want to use your skates and what type of the skater you are f.e. : I manage the basic and I don´t want to overdue it. I have respect from the skating and I don´t have certainty at breaking. Old skates are not good for me any more and I want to ride faster. I don´t look for the speed and I don´t want to be physically "destroyed". I need the skates which will be maneuverable as hockey skates, or I just ride straight, on the long distance. The size of wheels and usually conected to length of frame influences skates by feeling, it is not only standard, but it´s important. Then always depends on, as it was already written, also on other aspects.
If we should be brief, we would mention at least these three points. If you will choose the skates, which will be stabile in ankles, will fit well and the size of wheels and the length of frame will be proportionate to your skills, you have almost won.
On what, on the other hand, the customers focus too much unnecessarily?
Also the parameters, which we will mention now, have undoubtedly influence on result riding characteristics, from our view they are however secondary to upper mentioned.
- Quality of bearings - not that the quality bearings would not insure perfect rolling of the wheels, this is of course true, but... new bearings you buy in price from 500 Czech crowns (basic functional) up to 1,000 Czech crowns (excellent). Comparing to this, shoe or frame you usually will not exchange. Also it is needed to mention, that in given price range the quality of bearings will be similar, at skates for 4,000 Czech crowns the bearings will be usually similar quality, of course, some will be little better, but all will work well. It is always more important to concentrate on the quality shoe and frame, which are the most expensive components of skates. If you will find the skates, which surelly and good react and they are comfortable for you, then average bearings from the production you will ride out, changed better feeling from the ride will be perfect. It doesn´t work on the contrary, not good or no stabile skates will not be good for your skating, even the bearings would be profi racing. The shoe is then for your choice much more important.
- Hardness of wheels - simillar example, again the parameter secondary to the quality of shoe, frame and riding characteristics. You can also exchange the wheels easily after wear and tear, for more quality or solid ones. At good skates you need to of course count with few exchanges.
- Brand - here we need to take it with the reserve, the fact is, that good brand is often the guarantee of quality and "no name" brand focusing on cheaper top product will not produce, but attention! Today is normal, that already known producers make low-end quality skates, there are mostly so-called SMU models. Don´t expect then, that the cheap skates, however from the known brand, which you will see in flyer action for 3,000 Czech crowns, will have perfect quality. Every large producer can produce today also cheap recreational skates, which have ok quality. These cheaper products from known companies you will never see in between of the models in their catalogue, which says something... The brand itself will not guarantee the quality always, it is needed to have good orientation between each models and their parameters. How to recognize SMU models from the originals in catalogue, with the quality which is from producer, you will read in article: How to not be tricked at buying of branded skates - watch out for models SMU! Don´t you have them at home?
- Reviews - it is good, that they exist and can help, but don´t take them as the absolute truth. From experience people often speak good "it their own" but not everyone openly admits, that made a mistake at the choice. Moreover it is always the question of the comparing, as the specialized sellers we have possibility to test in practise tens of the models of skates every year and compare their riding characteristics. Skates of all brands, which we sell, we really put on and rode in them, so we have complex picture about the different riding characteristics. Of course everyone likes something else, but if the skates are stabile, narrow, wide, or how to control them, you can know from the experience of more skates you try, the better, then you will have more realistic view. The reviews often write skaters, who have experience f.e. with one, two or three skates (generally, of course there are exceptions), skates could be then relatively ok, but there is the question, if the same opinion would be there after testing of 10 similar or little more expensive models right on path. We are sometimes surprised with reviews which are good on totally wrong skates, which are too far after quality of competition. Many times the revies are distorted that it is not possible to judge more similar products in practice and also with "respect to the carefully chosen by them". But not every customer has a possibility to compare and try larger amount of skates from various brands on their legs in specialized shop. In our shop and also in rental we are trying to offer to our customers to test skates from more important producers and also the models with various size wheels.
We can write about the choosing of the skates for the long time, we can write about the height of the center of gravity, in details about the wheels, bearings and others. But this was not our point today. We more wanted to give you the experience with choosing of the roller skates from the specialized shop. Normally we meet with that customers solving primarily f.e. bearings, hardness of wheels and material of frame, but they less take care about parameters as stability of skates, rigidity of shell, reinforcement of frame etc. Of course it is not easy for layman to orientate in these parameters, but these are the parameters which are the most important. Also this is why we are here, so we can help to our customers to orientate between all these models of skates and choose regarding to their skills, price budget and the style of their ride, the most suitable roller skates for their style of ride on behalf of our knowledge and experience from every day practice of selling and using the inline skates.