How to Choose Inline Skates: A Complete Guide for Beginners

Inline skating has continued to increase in popularity due to the low cost and easy access – all you need is a pair of inline skates, protective gear, and a paved surface! If you are new to inline skating, you may not know what kind of skates you need or how to pick the right pair.

Don’t worry! In this article, I’ll go over everything you need to know about choosing the right inline skates for your style and skill level. We’ll look at different features like size, fit, materials, wheel size, brake type, and more.

What is Inline Skating

Inline skating is an enjoyable and efficient way to get around on wheels. It’s great for fitness, socializing, or just having a bit of fun.

The design of inline skates makes them the perfect tool for traveling quickly over smooth ground, as they have four wheels located directly behind one another in a single line. This offers a much smoother ride compared to other wheeled sports and requires less effort!

If you’re looking for something with superior speed, then you’ll want to check out Fitness/Speed Inline Skates. These have larger wheels and better-quality bearings which provide increased speed when needed.

They are designed with the more serious skater in mind who is looking for maximum performance out of their roller skates. So if you want to take your roller skating to the next level, then consider investing in some inline skates today!

Type of Inline Skates to Choose

Choosing the right type of inline skates is key when looking for a pair that suits your needs. For experienced skaters, it’s important to select a skate that matches the style of skating they most often enjoy and to consider what type of surface they will be using them on most frequently.

Meanwhile, beginners should first determine their current or desired style before selecting the best option for them.

Fitness inline skates

If you’re looking for an inline skate that is comfortable, easy to control, and well-ventilated, then fitness inline skates are the way to go. Designed specifically for recreational and fitness skating, these types of skates provide a great balance between performance and comfort.

Aggressive inline skates

Aggressive inline skates are the perfect choice for those skaters who want to perform tricks and take their skating to the next level. They are designed to give you full control over where you’re going and how you’ll get there, as well as a good amount of safety features that ensure you can push your limits without worry.

Speed (racing) inline skates

Speed inline skates are designed for the performance-minded. They are perfect for avid skaters looking to take their passion to the next level and excel in racing as well as intensive training.

These skates provide maximum stability, thanks to their extended frame which can hold up to five wheels and is attached to ankle-high shoes.

Freestyle/slalom inline skates

Freestyle/slalom inline skates are one of the most popular skate types. With smaller wheels placed close together, these skates are perfect for experienced and advanced skaters wanting to do slalom skating. The close wheel arrangement means you’ll have extra control when carving and cutting through tight spaces.

Children’s inline skates

When it comes to children’s inline skates, you want something that is comfortable, safe, and adjustable. The great advantage of some types of skates is that they come with an adjustable tip and heel, allowing for necessary size adjustments as the child grows.

In terms of frame material, be sure to opt for a sturdy option that can handle the intensity and style of your child’s skating. As far as bearings type and wheel size are concerned, again make sure to choose ones that can withstand regular wear and tear from kids skating around consistently.

Recreational skates

Recreational skates are perfect for all-around park and street skating. These skates usually come with four wheels, and a heel brake on one, making them incredibly versatile in their functionality.

With soft boots that provide a comfortable fit and improved maneuverability, recreational inline skates are a great choice for those looking to skate for fun!

Artistic skates

Artistic skates offer a unique style and experience for inline skaters. Originally designed to be quad skates, you can now find them in an inline version.

This type of skate is perfect for anyone looking to express themselves through the spin and jump combinations. The rocker makes them easier to spin while the front toe stop helps with take-offs during jumps.

However, these skates may not be suitable for outdoor skating so keep that in mind when making your choice.

Hockey skates

Hockey skates are a popular choice for those who want a more maneuverable inline skate. It has a short wheelbase and no heel brake, so you’ll be able to move around freely and quickly with no problems. The boot is also designed to be tough and supportive, allowing it to withstand the impacts that come with hardcore skating.

These skates may require some breaking in as the boots are famously stiff and resistant at first. But once you get past that point, you’ll have amazing support on your feet for hours of skating pleasure – exactly what hockey players need!

Inline Skates Cost

When looking at inline skates, the cost is an important factor. Depending on the features and quality you are looking for, inline skates can run from very inexpensive to very expensive.

Low-level beginner skates typically start around $50-$100 for a basic pair, while more advanced and specialized roller blades can cost upwards of a few hundred dollars or more.

However, it’s important to remember that it’s worth investing in quality. Spending slightly more on higher-end roller blades will offer better protection, support, and comfort as well as better rolling and overall performance for your skating activities.

Brake, or no brake

When it comes to choosing inline skates, I always recommend starting with a heel brake for several reasons. Not only does it help you learn the basics of skating and how to stop safely, but having a heel brake gives you an additional level of safety should something unexpected happen.

The most important aspect in this regard is learning how to use your heel brake properly. Without it, your body will be tense and muscle memory can take months to really give you the skills and confidence that you need. So if you want to be safe while learning how to inline skate, make sure that you invest in a quality pair of skates with a heel brake!

Wheel Size and Hardness

The size and hardness of the wheels are important factors to consider when choosing inline skates. Wheel size is marked in mm on the side of the wheel and is usually given as two numbers such as 80/20, where the first number denotes diameter and the second number represents wheel hardness.

Bigger wheels are faster, suitable for uneven surfaces, and more expensive. On the other hand, smaller wheels are slower but provide higher levels of control and are cheaper.

When deciding between three or four wheel skates, four wheel skates are generally more stable and better suited for beginners while three wheel skates allow you to use larger wheels (up to 125mm) which increases speed and suits advanced users.

Wheel size and designation table

SpeedWheel sizeSkating ability
Slower76 – 80 mmSlower wheels are more suitable for beginners that are learning to keep balance and don’t need to be going fast.
Average speed81 – 84 mmAverage-speed wheels are suitable for almost all users of varying experience.
Fastover 85 mmWheels over 90 mm big are very fast and suitable for experienced skaters (speed inline skates).
Children60 – 70 mmFor better safety, smaller wheels are used in children’s skates. They are not very fast and will help your child learn basic skating technique and how to maintain balance.

The best control during freestyle skating can be achieved by using smaller wheels (55 – 62 mm) on u-ramps and skate parks.

The Durometer is used to measure the hardness of plastics and rubber materials. Wheels are rated on the “A” scale, which ranges from 0 (very soft) to 100 (very hard). The letter is always followed by a number in the range of 0-100. It can be difficult to determine the proper hardness. As a guide, use the table below:

72A, 78A, 82A, 85A
Average service life—————————Longest service life
High manoeuvrability—————————Average manoeuvrability
High reflectance—————————Average reflectance
Low body weight—————————High body weight
Smooth ride—————————Rough ride

Wheel hardness and designation table

HardnessMarkingFitness skating level
Softerunder 80ASoft wheels are suitable for skating in rougher terrain, they are better for absorbing impacts.
Average hardness80A – 90AOptimal hardness, for skating on regular surfaces, such as roads or inline skate tracks (fitness inline skates).
Hardover 90AHard wheels are suitable for faster skating (speed, racing).

U-ramps and skate parks require hard wheels for a better skating experience as they are more durable and offer better protection from damage.

Shoe Type and Size

When choosing inline skates, it is important to consider the type of shoe and its size. The shoe should provide optimal stability for both your foot and ankle, so it’s important to choose one that is both comfortable and supportive.

Most inline skates use a combination of plastic shells and support around the ankles for extra stability. They also often include air ducts for increased comfort when skating, allowing you to wear them for longer periods of time without discomfort.

When selecting your inline skates, make sure to measure your shoe size accurately by taking into account the length and width of your feet. It’s also a good idea to try them on first before making a purchase as there are different types of fits available in each brand – narrow/tight, mid-size, or wide/roomy – so you can find the best fit for you.

Soft or hard boots

When it comes to selecting the right inline skates, one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is whether to go for soft or hard boots.

If you weigh more than a child or a small woman, hard boots are the better option because they provide more support, even though they may not be as widely available.

Harder boots provide much needed support for heavier people and can help avoid pronation on inside edges due to improved control from hard boots.

Choose the appropriate size according to this size table:

USUKEURLength (mm)


The frame

When it comes to choosing inline skates, the frame is an important feature that should be taken into consideration. Frames come in different sizes and shapes so you can choose one depending on your skating style: if you want to take longer rides, go for a longer frame; shorter frames give you more control over your skates.

The frame material is another factor to consider when choosing your skates; aluminum frames are more durable and can absorb bigger impacts compared to plastic frames. No matter which frame you pick, make sure it is strong enough to provide the necessary protection and support during your rides.


One of the most important factors to consider when choosing inline skates is bearings. You want bearings that are precise and of good quality, which can be determined by the ABEC scale. The higher the number on the ABEC scale (ABEC-1, ABEC-3, ABEC-5, etc.), the more precisely made and higher quality the bearings are.

Bearings with a high designated number on this scale will give you a smoother, faster ride because they can better handle impacts without compromising your speed. Ultimately, choose bearings that match your style of skating and promote speed so you can enjoy what you love most about inline skates!

Inline Equipment and Accessories

When it comes to inline skating, having the right equipment and accessories is essential. That’s why we have a wide selection of inline skates and protective gear like inline helmets and protectors.

We also offer clothes specifically designed for inline skating, so you can be sure that you’re safe and comfortable while out on your skates.

Try skates on if you can

If you’re looking to buy a pair of inline skates, it’s important to try them on first if you can. Trying out different brands, models and sizes will help you figure out which is the most comfortable fit for your feet.

Unfortunately, due to the lack of physical skate shops these days, finding somewhere where you can try skates can be difficult. If it’s worth it, though, I’d highly recommend traveling a couple of hours to do so.

Skate Description

When it comes to choosing the right inline skates, one of the most important aspects is their skate description. Skate descriptions provide crucial details about the construction, features, and components of each model.

It’s important to pay attention to things like wheel size and type, bearing rating, frames and clasps material, as well as whether or not it has brakes. These are all factors that determine performance and comfort.

Warranty Information

It’s important to pay attention to warranty information when choosing inline skates. While most brands offer some kind of warranty, understand that these warranties may not always be valid if you’re using the skates in extreme ways.

Tricks, stunts, jumps, and use down a skate park will likely void the warranty, so make sure you know what activities your skates are designed for before purchasing.


Is inline skating good for beginners?

Inline skating is a sport that can be done indoors or outdoors; it’s great for beginners.

Are inline skates hard to learn?

At first, skating inlines or quad rollers may be difficult to master due to needing good balance, core, and leg strength. However, with practice, these skills will improve and the activity will become easier.

Are 3 or 4 wheel inline skates better?

For shorter rides, a three-wheel skate is ideal due to its lightweight and faster pacing. For longer trips, a four-wheel skate is preferable due to its improved grip and greater stability.

Is inline skating safe?

Without proper safety gear or the right skills, inline skating can be dangerous. Every year, hospital emergency rooms treat people who have been hurt while inline skating, often with wrist, leg, knee, ankle, or elbow injuries.

Does inline skating burn fat?

Inline skating can burn up to 360 calories an hour and help you turn fat into muscle. For best results, do it regularly.


In conclusion, finding the perfect pair of inline skates for your needs can be challenging. There’s a lot to consider – size, type, and budget – but with a little knowledge and careful shopping, you can make sure you get the perfect fit.

Joseph E. Bogle

Meet Joseph E. Bogle, the founder and lead writer of, an enthusiast of skating for over a decade. I'm an aggressive skater and certified skating coach, dedicated to sharing his knowledge and passion for skating with others through his blog. With my unique combination of personal experience and professional expertise, is a valuable resource for skaters of all levels, from beginners to advanced athletes.