Buying new inline skates can be a challenge. With some many brands out there finding the perfect pair can feel near to impossible. Our team wanted to solve this dilemma and decided to sit down and make a step by step guide to buying your next pair of skates.
Step 1. Decide what you want to use these skates for
You can buy skates for so many purposes. The first question to ask yourself is how many pairs of skates you have in your arsenal. If this is your first pair, or you are looking to purchase skates that will be your only pair, you may want to consider a pair that is versatile for all types of use. If you are looking to fill a void in your arsenal, then consider what type of skate will fill the void.
Also, you should think about what type of skating you like to do. If you are a speed demon, and all you like is to train and race, then a marathon-style skate may be best for you. In general, manufacturers have categories such as:
speed/marathon - Big wheels 100-120mm, very fast, great for going straight
city/commuting - Medium wheels 75-110mm, pretty fast, more agile
fitness/general - Medium wheels 80-110mm, fast, pretty agile
quad skates/roller skates - Small wheel 80-90 mm, slow, agile
aggressive/skatepark - Small wheel 55-80 mm, very slow, extremely agile
Step 2. Determine your budget.
It is helpful to narrow your search if you have a price range–a maximum you are willing to spend, and a minimum too! You get what you pay for, and it’s smart to think of the low-end limit as well. Price can vary drastically based on what you are looking for so make sure to do some research before setting your budget. Another option is finding a nice used pair either through online shops, businesses like Play It Again Sports, or on Facebook Marketplace.
3. Try on as many pairs of skates as you can that are within your search criteria.
This can be a challenge for many, as the selection of skates at brick-and-mortar stores can be limited depending on where you live. Make every effort to visit a physical retailer, because every skate boot fits differently and comparing different options in real-time is very useful!
Here are a few tools to find retailers:
Local Small Businesses to check out:
Ridell Roller Dealer (roller/quad skates)
Another option to try on many different skates at once is to spend time at the NorthShore Inline Marathon Race Expo, where there are plenty of vendors who have skates available for trial and purchase! This happens every year during our event!
Step 4. Go for comfort.
If you have narrowed down your choices smartly, then it should come down to pure comfort and your gut feel. What pair can you envision having strapped to your feet for hours on end?
The fit itself should be very snug, allowing you to stay in control of movements. Very snug doesn't mean uncomfortable: You should still be able to wiggle your toes, and there shouldn't be any pressure points. This is especially important if you plan on doing long distances as you will be on your skates from anywhere from an hour to two hours.
Step 5. Go skate!
Our last step is to just get out and try them on. Many retailers do offer exchanges or refunds, so consider “breaking in” your skates in a way that allows for exchange if need be. For instance, stay out of the rain, stay off of dirt trails, and treat your new skates very nicely until you are sure that they work for you. Give them a fair shake, and also focus on comfort. Address any hot spots right away. Above all, enjoy your new skates!
What is the NorthShore Inline Marathon?
The NorthShore Inline Marathon is North America's premier Inline marathon. Started in 1996 by Olympian George Hovland, NSIM has become the largest marathon of its kind in the United States bringing together thousands of skaters to northern Minnesota every September. With over 10 skating, rollerskiing, and running races NSIM is perfect for everyone.
Registration is open and can be found on our website: