Roller Skates: Best Models, Styles, and Where To Find Them!

Roller Skates

Roller Skates

Christie James

Christie James
Recognized Blog Writer With Appearances On Media Outlets

Updated on 5/29/2023

There can be a lot to consider when buying your first set of skates, there are so many options out there, but we are here to help you make some decisions that will lead to the right skates for you. The first option to consider is a full custom setup, where you can choose everything from the wheels to the laces, depending on your tastes. 

There is lots of fun to be had here, but you will need to know a few things to find the right pair for you.

Following that, we have the process of setting up packages. With these skates, you get nothing but the best because everything designed to work together is built into them: wheels, boots, plates, and even laces! Choosing a decent package setup will be a good idea if this is your first pair of skates, and there will be everything you need to get started. 

Then, let's take a look at this flow chart to determine what will suit you the best regarding how your setup will be done. Our next step will be to dissect the roller skate to explain its most essential components, and this information will be convenient if you decide to build your skate. 


What are roller skates?

Roller skates, also known as quad skates, are shoes or bindings that fit onto shoes to enable the wearer to move along on wheels. There was a time when the first roller skates were effectively ice skates with wheels replacing the blades. Eventually, the "quad" roller skate style became more popular, consisting of four wheels arranged similarly to a typical car. 

Roller skating is a hobby, sport, and a method of transportation that involves using roller skates as wheels.


Who Invented Roller Skates?

The first wheeled skates were reported to have been used on a stage in London in 1743. However, in 1760, Belgian inventor John Joseph Merlin patented the first patented roller skate. Despite their ease of use, they were hard to steer, and stopping was difficult because they lacked any braking mechanism, and as such, they did not gain popularity. In the city of Huy, which had a party with Merlin playing the violin at the launch of the prototype skate, the initial "test piloting" took place.


Meyerbeer's opera Le prophète from the 1840s included a scene where the performers used roller skates to simulate ice-skating on a frozen lake set up on stage.

The exposure of roller skating to a large audience led to its emergence as a new and popular activity throughout the Continent and, eventually, worldwide. The art of figure skating was developed by ice skaters subsequently, and roller skaters also sought the ability to turn in their skates similarly. 


The "rocking" skate was invented by James Plimpton from Massachusetts in 1863, with four wheels for stability and independent axles that rotated when a skater pressed to one side or the other to create an edge. It was a vast improvement on the Merlin design and led to the enormous popularity of roller skating, dubbed "Rinko mania" in the 1860s and 1870s, spread to Europe and around the world, and continued through the 1930s. Plimpton skates are still used today.


From a pastime to a competitive sport, roller skating evolved into speed skating, racing on skates, and inline figure skating, very similar to what is seen in the Olympics. Rolling hockey, played with a ball instead of a puck, became so popular in the mid-1990s that it was even included in the 1992 Olympics. According to a 1999 study by the National Sporting Goods Association, 2.5 million roller hockey players were there. Roller skating did not cut despite being considered for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Jam skating and roller derby are also roller skating sports. 

The popularity of roller skating exploded during the disco era but declined in the 1980s and 1990s. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, roller skate sales increased. 

A revival of roller skating occurred in the late 2010s and early 2020s, following several viral videos on the popular video-sharing app TikTok. Many popular brands sold out to the point of back-orders, with many people taking up the hobby during the COVID-19 quarantines worldwide.


Different Types Of Roller Skates


Speed Roller Skates 

Because of the design of these skates, they are so popular because they are meant for speed. Speed skates have low-cut shoes (boots) similar to tennis shoes. Due to the low-cut design, it is easy to maneuver around corners on speed skates. There are several skates available that are characterized by the freedom of movement that they provide in the ankle area, making them a popular choice for jam (dance) skating and, of course, speed skating. Skaters can also skate faster and longer with speed-style wheels and bearings (parts that make their wheels spin).


Outdoor Roller Skates 

The purpose of these skates is to go out and enjoy the outdoors. It is important to note that outdoor skates come in either the low-top or high-top boots, and their wheels are specially designed for skating outdoors where the ground isn't as smooth as indoor skates. Indoor skates and outdoor skates are, for the most part, the same as far as they are concerned with the wheels. Compared to outdoor wheels, outdoor wheels are softer and more absorbent, which allows for a more comfortable ride, even over less than smooth surfaces.


Indoor Roller Skates 

The term "indoor skates" (sometimes called "Artistic Skates, Recreational Skates, or Traditional Skates") refers to skates used indoors. This is a traditional style skate suitable for those who would like to skate in a skating rink, to dance artistically (just like ice skating but with wheels instead of blades), or those who want to rhythm skate. These skates can provide reasonable control while performing spins or jumping maneuvers, and the wheels are narrower, which allows for easy turning and maneuverability. 


Roller Derby Skates 

The sport of Roller Derby dates back to the 1930s and is quickly gaining in popularity. These quad skates are designed to take the abuse experienced by participating in the sport. To be a good roller derby skate, you must meet several requirements. In addition to being durable, it must also be able to accelerate quickly to high speeds and handle tight turns. 


Kids Roller Skates 

The kid's skates are skates that are specially designed for young skaters. In addition to their excellent appearance, they are designed so that they will not be as fast as other skates. As a bonus, kids skating shoes are designed to withstand the wear and tear kids tend to put on their skates. 


Inline Roller Skates  

Inline roller blade shoes come in three types:


Recreational Skates   

Recreational roller blades, also known as fitness skates, are designed for skaters looking for a good pair of skates to exercise in, usually outdoors. The shoes (boots) are high tops that provide excellent support for the feet and ankles. In addition to the fantastic quality of these recreational roller skates, they are also amazingly comfortable so that the skater can skate for an extended period.



Racing Skates 

Skates for racing are skates that are designed to go fast, to put it simply. The boot is specifically designed to fit as closely to your foot as possible, providing you with the least amount of wind resistance possible. The wheels of these skates can be interchanged so that they can be used indoors or outdoors.



Roller Hockey Skates

These skates have been made specifically for those who play the sport of roller hockey. Roller hockey has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially among youths and young adults. As a result of the nature of the sport, these skating skates were specifically designed to withstand the abuse expected of them.


Best Skates For Beginners 

The most typical question we receive relates to "what is the best roller skate for a beginner?" New skaters tend to look for skates that are supportive, comfortable, attractive, and of high quality.

Although roller skates may seem more stable at first to very young children, learning to skate with a blade can be more manageable. Roller skates are good indoor skates used in roller derby, while rollerblades are used in ice hockey.


Quad Skates VS. Inline Skates

Traditionally, roller skates are pictured as quad skates. There are two rows of two wheels (hence, quad) on each quad. Rollerblades, more commonly known as inline skates, have a single row of wheels down the middle of the skate.

Quad skates have a more stable wheel arrangement, making them a good choice for beginners who struggle with balance. For more experienced dancers, tricks, and roller derby, they're even better. You lean forward onto a toe stop on quad skates when you brake. Quad skates are more customizable than inline skates, and you can change out the trucks, wheels, and toe stops to create a roller skate that's tailored to your feet and skill level.

Inline skates are easier to maneuver around obstacles and are faster. Like ice skates, they are chunkier and have wheels. Rollerblades have brakes in the back and usually only come with the right skate, so if you're new to the sport, it can be a little tricky to stop. (I've been rollerblading for more than a year and still brake by grabbing poles or hitting fences.) Inline skates are better for skating long distances and skating fast. Keeping your balance on a pair of rollerblades requires some skill, but you'll be moving and grooving most of the time anyway, so don't be discouraged. Even beginners can get the hang of inline skates pretty quickly. 

If you decide to skate on a roller skate, be sure to wear protective gear such as knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, and a helmet. You might feel more comfortable this way.


Best Roller Skates For Women

There are many best roller skates for women, including the best roller skates for beginners, outdoor skates, roller derby skates, artistic skates, indoor skates, cheapskates for women, and more. My favorite roller skates for women are the Sure-Grip Boardwalk outdoor roller skates. They have a high-top boot that provides solid ankle support, making them my pick for best overall roller skates. The colors are also fun.

Additionally, these skates' softer wheels make them ideal for all types of roller skating surfaces, including asphalt and hardwood. With these smooth wheels, you'll go slower on the rink floor, but that's okay for beginners. To increase your speed, purchase a second set of wheels and bearings for indoor use, and you'll fly.

Finish with an adjustable toe stop on each skate for stopping. These skates can be used for everything.


Best Roller Skates For Men

Roller skates are at the top of my list, beginning with the VNLA Freestyle Pro. They are one of the more expensive skates on my list, but they are also best. The boot is pretty comfortable, and it's not padded, but it fits well.

It is a low-top skate, so absolute beginners who need the extra ankle support for balance should choose another roller skate. Nevertheless, these are great if you are into jam skating, roller derby, speed skating, or need a good pair of quads for all-around use.

The men's sizes range from 3-13. Women should size down one size (regardless of boot color) since all of these are men's sizes.

The skates feature Gorilla nylon plates and metal trucks from VNLA. My weight is about 200 lbs. I have no problems with them. Additionally, they have a Backspin Remix wheel that is good for jamming, speed skating, and everyday skating. I changed my wheels for harder indoor roller skate wheels.


Roller Skates Health Benefits

According to the Roller Skating Association website, skating has some health benefits. Among them are

  • A complete aerobic workout
  • The average 143-pound person burns 330 calories per hour while skating 6 miles per hour (9.7 km/h), or 600 calories while skating 10 miles per hour (16 km/h).
  • According to a study from the University of Massachusetts, inline skating causes less than half as much impact shock to joints as running.
  • In terms of health benefits, roller skating is comparable to jogging.
  • Roller skating is recommended as an aerobic fitness sport by the American Heart Association.


Frequently Asked Questions

How To Stop On Roller Skates?

As inline skates have a heel brake and quad skates have toe stops, these are essential, standard methods of stopping. The two brakes work best when your legs are scissored, one forward and one backward. The skate with the heel brake should be facing forward when using the heel brake. Lift your front foot toes and gently press down on the brake. Use toe stops by lifting your back leg heel and pressing down on them. When using roller skates' toe stops must skate backward; otherwise, you can cause severe damage to your feet and ankles.

How Much Are Roller Skates?

Depending on the model, prices range from $30 to $100. You can spend as much as $200 on inline skates. Dick's Sporting Goods carries around a dozen models (primarily for traditional indoor/outdoor skating) for kids and adults from brands such as Epic, Roller Derby, Roces, and Chicago Skates.

How Should Roller Skates Fit?

The skates must fit snugly around your feet without being too tight or too loose. Choosing the same size as your regular shoe size is an option for some people, whereas going up a size works for others. We recommend you go one size up if you're a first-time buyer.

How To Spin On Roller Skates?

Place one foot on your body and allow the other foot to trace a wide circle around it. As a result, your forward movement becomes circular, which slows you down to a stop while keeping you fixed at one location. The best way to do this is to plant your dominant foot and allow your non-dominant foot to trace the circle around you. You can also use this movement to slow down without stopping completely.

How To Lace Roller Skates?

You may develop nail issues or hammertoes if your toes are cramped at the top of your roller skates. (Hammertoes are toes that are bent downward permanently.) Lace your skates diagonally with half your laces and side-to-side with the other half to avoid damaging your toes. We bet you're wondering why your heels are slipping even though you're wearing the right size roller skates and thick enough socks. Perhaps your laces are to blame! Keep your heels snug in your roller skates by crisscrossing your laces and tying them at the top.

Where Can I Buy Roller Skates?

Many retailers are selling roller skates as everyone wants to partake in this fun summer activity. However, roller skates are still available at a few places. Our experts have spent hours researching the best places you can buy roller skates online right now, from Amazon to Dick's Sporting Goods. There are even splurge-worthy "designer" roller skates from up-and-coming brands like Moxi and Impala. You can still find women's, men's, and children's skates at the places below-but, keep in mind that styles and sizes may be limited due to the high demand.