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Inline Skates: How to choose Inline Skating Shoes |Beginners and Intermediates

Choosing the right inline skating shoes is the best decision you can ever make. The appropriate shoes for inline skating aren’t just fancy-looking or expensive. They’ve also got the best features that make them stand out as the most preferred rollerblades.

Making the wrong call here could mean compromising your inline skating experience. I bet you’d not want to go through that. Trust me. It can be frustrating and devastating, especially after spending a fortune to buy the inline skates.

So, what should you do to avoid disappointments? Below is a quick rundown of what to consider when buying the best inline skating shoes. The recommendation is informed by personal experience, research, and consultation with experts in the field. I believe you’ll find it helpful.

  • Type of Inline Skate,
  • Personal Safety,
  • Rollerblading Skills Level,
  • Price,
  • Material of Manufacture and Quality,
  • Inline Skating Shoes Design Features, and
  • Skating Location

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. In the next few minutes, you’ll discover more about these considerations in detail. So, without much ado, let’s get to it!

What to Consider When Choosing Inline Skating Shoes

You can only make an informed buying decision when you’ve got the right information. Below is a comprehensive explanation of what to consider when buying inline skates.

1. Type of Inline Skate

When I started, I had no idea there were different types of inline skates. At the back of my mind, all inline skates were the same. I noticed a couple of differences in design, learned but never comprehended why that was the case. What I was missing was inline skate theory. 

Below is a list of the types of inline skates that you can always consider when you’re ready to buy a pair for yourself or a loved one. From a total novice, I learned all these from research and interacting with fellow inline skaters.

  • Aggressive inline skates: They are mainly used for artistic skating to perform tricks and jumps. These skates have a relatively small wheel size of 55-59 mm. Also, they’re best for street skating, skating over obstacles, or skating in skate parks.
  • Inline hockey skates: As the name suggests, these skates are mostly worn by hockey players and have 72 mm and 80 mm wheel sizes. Nonetheless, you can still use them to skate in a skate park or sports courts for fun.
  • Inline recreation skates: These skates are designed for recreational skating in skate parks, sports courts, or street skating. They have a wheel diameter of 70-90 mm.
  • Inline fitness skates: Are commonly used for body fitness and recreational skating. They’re the most common inline skates and have a wheel diameter of 90-110 mm.
  • Inline racing skates: As the name suggests, these skates are used by speed skaters. They have large wheel sizes of over 110 mm with hard wheels.

Depending on your interests, you can opt for either aggressive inline skates, inline hockey skates, inline recreation skates, inline fitness skates, or inline racing skates. But here’s how to make it more fun and interesting: try a couple of these inline skates before you settle on one.

In their article, ‘All you need to know about: Inline skating,the Guardian has an interesting perspective.

“If this is your first venture into the skating world, it’s probably best to hire or borrow skates rather than buy. You can usually find skate rental near popular skating sites.”

2. Personal Safety

Personal safety is everything when it comes to choosing skating inline shoes. Inline skating for beginners can be an uphill task during the early days. That’s why you need to look out for yourself by settling for the best inline skating shoes that guarantee your safety.

For beginners, the inline skating braking system should mean a lot. As a starter, your skates should have heel brakes on either of the skating shoes—left or right. You can always rely on the braking system to slow you down or bring you to stop when speed is beyond your control.

3. Rollerblading Skills Level

There are three rollerblading skill levels depending on one’s experience. You can either be a beginner, an intermediate, or a professional expert skater. So, how do these influence your choice of inline skating shoes? 

Rollerblades for beginners should have small diameter wheels of 70mm and lower for more stability. Intermediate inline skaters can do medium-sized wheels of between 70mm and 100mm, while pro skaters can do wide diameter inline skating wheels. Anything above 100mm will be a good deal for expert skaters. 

Based on the types of inline skates, inline fitness skates and inline recreation skates are best for beginners. On the other hand, inline speed skates, aggressive inline skates, inline hockey skates, and inline racing skates are best for intermediates and expert skaters.

This is because it’s tough riding in any of these unless you’ve got some basic knowledge of how to rollerblade.

4. Price

How much do inline skates cost? On average inline skates cost anywhere between $20 and $650. Skates prices come in different categories like under $25, $25 to $50, $50 to $100, $100 to $200, and $200 and above.

From this breakdown, you can therefore shop for the best inline skates under $100, best inline skates under $200, or best inline skates under $600. At the end of it, it’s your budget that counts here. 

Most importantly, don’t fall into the trap of matching high prices with high quality or low prices with low quality. For assurance, you have previous customer testimonials and reviews to back up your buying decision.

5. Material of Manufacture and Quality

The right material is sturdy and enhances longevity, meaning that you can use the inline skating shoes for a long time before making a replacement. Shoes for inline skating are made of PVC material combined with foam or fabric combined with foam.

Both materials are of high quality and will last long without compromising quality. However, if I were to choose, I’d consider the fabric plus foam inline skates shoes. One, they’re more comfortable, and two, they’re light and easy to skate in.

6. Inline Skating Shoes Design Features

Inline skate shoes

The design of inline skating shoes plays the essential role of enhancing foot comfort. Therefore, it’s important to evaluate a couple of designs before settling on one specific design. Below are the different parts of an inline skate based on the design feature.


Inline skates have different types of cuffs depending on the type of skate and the predominant purpose. Also, an inline skate can have cuffs or not. Furthermore, the ones with cuffs either have fat or thin cuffs. 

When considering the type of cuffs, there are only two options to look at, i.e., plastic cuffs, also known as high cuffs or carbon cuffs, also known as low cuffs. 

For beginners, you need more comfort and stability while in your inline skates. Thus, the skates with high cuff would suit you well. On the other hand, the low cuff skates are suitable for experienced skaters—mostly speed and marathon skaters.


You should choose wheel size based on your skill level. Rollerblades with large diameter wheels (90-100mm) are best for intermediate and expert skaters. For beginners, the best inline skates have small-sized wheels or medium-sized wheels (below 80mm).

Wheel size influences stability and speed. Experienced and intermediate skaters have balance and can skate at high speeds. On the other hand, beginner skaters are seldom stable on skates making small-sized wheels with high stability the best fit.


Inline skate frames are made from three types of materials like aluminum, plastic, and carbon. Before settling on any of these, first think about durability, weight, and stiffness. For beginner skaters, plastic frames would be a good option since they’re still learning. On the other hand, experienced and intermediate skaters can use both aluminum and carbon frames. These are sturdy and durable and 

Closure System

Inline skates closure system comprises the standard lacing, ratchet buckles, Velcro straps, and quick lace. All these work together to give you ultimate comfort and protection while in your inline skate shoes. 

Therefore, before settling on any shoe, ensure the closure system is intact and that your safety is not in jeopardy. If you’re having trouble making the difference, that’d be the time to consult with the store owner where you’re buying from.

Size/Adapt Fit

This has everything to do with your comfort. Therefore, you should aim for inline skating shoes that snugly fit you. Also, for kids, adapting fit inline skating shoes is the best option. Kids are still developing meaning their feet will be growing as well. Therefore, you’ll want to get them a pair of adjustable inline skating shoes. 

Other ways to know the perfect size of inline skates for you would be to compare it with your shoe size. Remember, your aim is to put on snugly fitting skates. In this regard, there should be a 1-inch size difference between your shoes and the inline skates you opt to buy.

Lining System

Liners are in-fitting shoe-like components of inline skates. They serve the main role of protecting the feet and ankles by improving fit and feet comfort. They also help with moisture absorption, thus keeping the feet dry as you skate.

The best inline skate liners are lightweight, comfortable, helps with energy transfer, and easy to fit. For starters, there are four types of liners, namely, standard, auto fit, and memory fit, and heat-moldable liners. 

The standard liners are best for beginners and intermediate skaters. They’re mainly made out of foam material and offer the needed comfort and foot protection. Some intermediate and expert skaters can use the other liners since they’re quite advanced in form and function.


For starters, there are three-grade type bearings for inline skates, namely, high performance, performance, and recreational. Moreover, bearings form an integral part of the rollerblade. This is because they influence how fast you can go and how smooth the ride is.

You want an easy time while on your skates. Therefore, the rollerblades you opt for should have optimum bearings with no friction in between. Skating is more fun when your wheels can move freely. So, test the bearings by sliding the wheels and check for any resistance.

Braking System

There are only two options when it comes to the braking system. Some inline skates come with in-built brakes, while others don’t. For beginners and some intermediate skaters, the best rollerblades are the ones with a braking system. You’ll need this for the heel brake.

Nonetheless, expert skaters are professionals and can stop without relying on the in-built brakes. They’ve learned braking techniques such as t-stops and power slides which are useful for emergency braking.

If you’re just starting, you’ll want to go for inline skates with brakes. Experienced and intermediate skaters can settle on what suits them.

Air Ducts

Air ducts are small openings on the sides of an inline skate. They’re built to allow the flow of air in and out of the inline skates. All inline skates have air ducts, with the only difference being in size. To keep your feet healthy, you should allow proper air circulation inside the skating shoes. Therefore, opt for inline skating shoes with relatively big air duct openings.

7.  Skating Location

Inline skates are designed for outdoor use. Therefore, you can use them in a skate park, sports court, or on the roads. Out of all these options, the major constant is the variation in surface types. While other surfaces are made of asphalt, others are made from concrete.

If you care about the longevity of the wheels of your inline skates, you’d want to choose the inline skating shoes with the best wheels. And more importantly, they shouldn’t get worn out frequently because of the type of riding surface.

8. Gender

Inline skate feet

It may appear like any gender would fit into an inline skate, and all will be well. Nothing can be further from the truth. Males and females have different foot sizes, meaning only specialized shoes would go into a man’s feet and a woman’s.

In their comprehensively researched study, ‘Gender differences in adult foot shape: implications for shoe design’ R E Wunderlich and PR Cavanagh made a discovery. 

Here’s what they had to say,

Men have longer and broader feet than women for a given stature. After normalizing the measurements by foot length, men and women were found to differ significantly in two calves, five ankles, and four-foot shape variables. Classification by gender using absolute values was correct at least 93% of the time. Using the variables standardized to foot length, gender was correctly classified 85% of the time.”

Inline skate manufacturers know this quite well. In response, there are inline skates meant for men and women. Meaning, if you’re male, it’s advisable to buy male inline skates, and if you’re female, it goes without saying that the female inline skates would suit you perfectly.

This can be discriminating at times. You’ve identified one cool rollerblade, but since it’s for the opposite gender, you’re forced to drop it. But that doesn’t have to be the case all the time. Today, there are unisex best inline skating shoes that’ll be perfect for you.

A rule of the thumb is to ask your vendor which genders the inline skate is meant for. In case you’re purchasing online, check for online reviews, customer testimonials, and product descriptions. If none of these is providing this information, feel free to contact the vendor.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much do inline skates cost?

Inline skates cost between $20 and $ 600 depending on the material used to make one, the manufacturer, and the purpose. Some inline skates fall below the $20 range. Others cost between $100 and $200, others between $200 and others between $200 and $600. 

2. Is inline skating a good workout?

Inline skating is a good workout method as it engages all the muscles in the lower abdomen. Participating in inline skates can help burn excess body fat and calories, which is awesome for weight loss, fitness, and improving your cardiovascular system.

Choosing Shoes for Inline Skating: Final Verdict

Choosing the right inline skating shoes for beginners, intermediates, and expert skaters can sometimes be an uphill task. Below is a quick rundown of what to consider when buying the best inline skating shoes. The recommendation is informed by personal experience, research, and consultation with experts in the field.

  • Type of Inline Skate,
  • Personal Safety,
  • Rollerblading Skills Level,
  • Price,
  • Material of Manufacture and Quality,
  • Inline Skating Shoes Design Features, and
  • Skating Location

Hope you find this article helpful. Cheers and happy skating!

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Navick Ogutu
Navick Ogutu

Navick Ogutu is the author at Elite SkateVers and writes about skating. He is the founder and CEO OF Elite SkateVers adn goes skating with friends over the weekend. Contact as to learn how Elite SkateVers can help you learn how to skate fast or improve your skating skills.

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