Before I bought my roller blades, I did a lot of research. One thing I knew was that I wanted my ride to be smooth. I wanted the wheels to absorb the shocks of the road. Here are a few things to look for in a pair of roller blades:
Shape of shoe– My roommate got a pair of roller blades that basically look like they are robot shoes with wheels. The whole outside layer is plastic. Don’t get a pair that look like robot shoes. Instead, get a pair that look like sneakers on wheels. They shouldn’t snap shut all the way from toe to the ankle. They should have shoe lacing for flexibility and control, a Velcro strap at the base of the ankle for stability and then at the top, and only at the top, the snap for safety. Many people also make the snap too tight. This makes it difficult for the ankles to move freely, so your turns will feel forced and tight. The part of the roller blade that should be the tightest is the Velcro at the base of the ankle. That’s where you need the support. The lacing shouldn’t be as tight as the Velcro either otherwise you’ll get blisters. So in terms of tightness, the Velcro is the tightest, the strap is less tight and the lacing is the loosest.
Fit– I used to think that I needed to wear two socks otherwise I’d get blisters. On the contrary, I find that a thin pair of socks will suffice if I follow the above recommendations on the shape, lacing, Velcro, strap, and mold. I wear a women’s size 8. It would have been a terrible assumption that I’d have to stick with a woman’s roller blade. First, my feet are on the wide side, so knowing this, I realized that men’s shoes are typically wider than women’s. Because they are also typically larger, I realized that I could venture into the kid’s section of roller blades. I saved an arm and a leg and got a great pair of kids roller blades for only 39.99. The size 4-7 fit me perfectly. My point? Don’t limit yourself to your section. Find the perfect fit. It doesn’t matter if it’s for females, males or kids. Your sole knows no gender.
Size of Wheel– The wheel size determines how fast you’re going to go. If you’re a newbie, stick with 72mm-78mm. Females usually opt for the lower end number while males opt for the higher end number. If you want speed and are an avid skater, you can opt for 80-82mm.
Wheel number– This is by far the most important factor in choosing skates, unless you want to change your wheels. There’s advantages and disadvantages of both harder and softer wheels. The harder the wheel-think 82A, the longer the life. Hard means durable, but hard also means you’ll feel every bump on the road. If you’re like me, I’d rather get wheels with a shorter shelf life that offer the smoothest ride possible. In my mind, I’d rather change the wheels more frequently than keep ones that make my journey bumpy. So I opted for 78A. My brother tried my roommate’s 82A, then my 78A, and the difference was like night and day. It’s so much more enjoyable if you feel like you’re riding on rubber wheels instead of plastic wheels!
Breaks– Lastly, especially if you’re rather new to roller blading, don’t leave the store with a pair that doesn’t have breaks! Although the breaks on roller blades aren’t the best way to stop, it beats not having any breaks at all! I was about to walk off with a pair and felt so lucky that it was cheaper than the other pairs-then I realized it didn’t’ have breaks