Skating has been around for several decades. It became a popular pastime around the 1940s or 1950s when surfers decided they needed an exhilarating activity when surfing wasn’t possible due to a lack of waves. The original roller skates were an alternative to ice skating which made it possible to enjoy this sport outdoors in any weather, but mainly as an alternative to skating on ice.
Skates have come a long way since the first 4 wheel skates on specially made shoes. Those babies’ rollers were made to resemble the wheels of a car, with 2 rollers in the front and 2 in the back. These made way for inline skates which featured a line of two to five wheels along the length of the boot.
Choosing the best inline skates depends on your level of skating expertise, your budget, and the intended purpose. There are a number of different inline skates to choose from and we’ve chosen some of the best to help you select the right ones for you.
The Best Inline Skate
If you’re just discovering the joys of inline skating then you’ll love these Bladerunner by Rollerblade Advantage Pro XT. They offer great support and comfort while ensuring smooth skating. They are well padded and have a dependable closure system. These adult inline skates are the best choice when you first start to skate to help you gain confidence as you learn the basics of skating. Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the best electric skateboards.
Best for new skaters
Great foot supporting shell that aids learning.
Excellent padding in the liner and tongue
BLADERUNNER 80mm WHEELS and ABEC 7 bearings are a good combination for rolling at a moderate speed
- Weight7.6 pounds
Rollerblade Zetrablade Men’s Adult Fitness Inline Skate offers unrivaled comfort and support for the beginner skater. These men’s rollerblades have exceptional grip and roll with ease. They also have a supportive low balance shell to help keep you on your feet and the secure, convenient enclosure means these skates will stay snugly on your feet.
Great for beginners and casual skaters
Supportive, comfortable and easy to use with a smooth ride.
High cuff for added support
Ample padding in the Training liner
Rollerblade 80mm/82A wheels blend speed and control
SG5 bearings provide a smooth, easy ride.
- Model07503200 956 280-P
- Weight7.19 pounds
Bladerunner by Rollerblade Advantage Pro XT Men’s Adult Fitness Inline Skate makes skating a dream, even for novices. The integrated composite frame provides a lower center of gravity for added stability and the skates themselves are top quality and durable. The padding offers comfort not usually found in skates so you are sure to feel like you are gliding on clouds. If you are also a skateboard enthusiast, be sure to check out our guide to the best skateboard shoes.
Advantage Pro XT is a great entry level skate
Supportive shell for easier learning
Great padding for superior comfort
Closure system adds to the overall fit
The composite frame is integrated with the shell to provide a lower center of gravity for stability with durability.
- Weight8.2 pounds
The K2 Skate Men’s Kinetic 80 Inline Skates are ideal for speed skating and simply cruising. They feature the K2 softboot which is light and breathable to keep your feet dry and comfortable when you want to skate actively. The Stability Plus Cuff offers better power transfer, stability, and performance. The composite construction of the frame also gives great balance and smooth skating so even beginners will be skating like the pros in no time. They are priced just right too, making them a great value. Don’t forget to also check our guide to the best roller skates.
Stability Plus Cuff
Fit the same as your everyday athletic shoe size
Suitable for beginner to intermediate skaters
- BrandK2 Skate
- Weight3 pounds
If you ask seasoned skaters what they want in professional inline skates they will probably describe VNLA Carbon Speed Roller Blades. Firstly, these skates are suitable for indoors and outdoors making them the “go anywhere” skates. The Vanilla ABEC-9 racing bearings enable you to speed along like a lightning bolt making them perfect for racing or just speeding around town. High-quality materials are used in the making of these skates, making them super comfortable and they require a minimal amount of time to break them in. The lower cuffs also facilitate lots of tricky moves and the high rebound wheels let you glide over almost anything. They also come in some great colors to help you stand out from the pack.
1/2 Fiberglass 1/2 Carbon Fiber boot
7000 Series Aluminum Frame
Sizes 1 through 5 come with a 3×100 frame / Sizes 6 through 13 come with a 4×100 frame
85A indoor/outdoor wheel
ABEC9 Vanilla Racing Spec bearing
If the city is your playground then 5th Element ST-80 Urban Inline Skates are your vehicle to play hard. Not only do these skates look like a serious pair of skates, they offer superb maneuverability and speed to help you dodge foot traffic and other obstacles as you glide around the city. They fit snugly around your feet for comfort and support and the lightweight aluminum frame will not slow you down.
Quick and Maneuverable
Durometer & Wheels Made for the Street
Lightweight Aluminum frame
Stability and Comfort
Traditional Lacing System
- Brand5th Element
The Rollerblade Macroblade 100 3WD is one of the most popular men’s inline skates on the market. With three-wheel drive performance, a twin-blade aluminum frame, and flex/lateral support, this is one of the fastest skates on the market. Whether you’re flying down South Beach or playing hockey, no one’s going to be able to touch you. One of our favorite features is the athletic shoe design. Unlike inline skates of old, this mesh upper feels just like you’re wearing a pair of sneakers.
3WD (three-wheel drive) performance
Flex & lateral support
Athletic shoe design
- Model100 3WD
- Weight10 pounds
Next up, we’ve got the Rollerblade Zetrablade Elite Men’s Inline Skate. Designed for beginner and intermediate skaters, this is an affordable but high-quality four-wheel skate. Users have noted that it’s super comfortable thanks to the thick lining and padding on the inside. Unlike high-performance skates, this is really designed for casual skating. However, it’s no slouch either. It offers amazing grip and roll (like all Rollerblade skates do) because of the premium wheel bearings. If you’re just getting into inline skating, this is one of the best skates on the market.
Thick lining and padding
Performance wheel and bearings
The Rollerblade Maxxum Edge 90 is one of the high-end inline skates in the Rollerblade range. Designed for intermediate to advanced skaters, it costs more than the other Rollerblade skates we’ve featured. That extra cost buys you some of the best wheels and bearings in the business (90mm/85A wheels Twincam ILQ-7 Plus). You also get an ultra-sturdy aluminum frame that can be adjusted laterally if you want to lower the center of gravity. Also, despite being a performance skate, the Rollerblade Maxxum Edge 90 has an amazingly comfortable liner that fits the anatomical shape of your foot and provides shock absorption in the heel.
Extruded aluminum frame
Rollerblade Supreme wheels
- ModelMaxxum Edge 90
- Weight1 pound
This next product is an inline speed skate. Designed purely to achieve high speeds when traveling along with concrete, this type of skate doesn’t have the same ankle support, rigid frame, or safety features. Instead, the Pasendi Professional Speed Skates look like a ballet shoe placed on top of some wheels. This lightweight design makes them super quick. The carbon-fiber shoe shell weighs next to nothing and only has a ratchet buckle to keep you strapped in. Importantly, it has three high-performance 125mm wheels and chromium steel bearings to provide amazing roll.
Carbon-fiber shoe shell
Micro-adjustable ratchet buckle
125mm / 85A wheels
Chromium steel bearings
Inline Skate Buying Guide & FAQ
How We Chose Our Selection of Inline Skates
Brand - When looking at inline roller skates we steer clear of cheap imitations and stick to brands with a trusted reputation for quality and design. Some brands are more dedicated to specific products so we like to look at those who really understand the dynamics of inline skates.
Quality - Flimsy materials and poor workmanship are something we avoided when choosing the best inline skates. Some skaters can reach quite impressive speeds on the skates and they simply can't risk poor quality skates that can break and cause serious injury. We looked at materials that were durable enough to withstand the vigors of serious inline skating. The quality must be in the materials, the workmanship and the design.
Durability - Some inline skates for men need time to be broken in so the last thing you need is to replace them frequently. We chose sturdy and durable skates that have been designed and manufactured to last. This is particularly important for skaters who participate in competitions or just like to get out there and push themselves, and their skates, to the limits.
Reviews - What better way to determine the quality of a product than from the opinions of people who have already tried the product? For this reason, we always check the reviews to make sure the positive reviews far outweigh the negative ones. Reviews are also an exceptional way to discover if the product has any design floors. This is really important when it comes to inline skates +because you simply can't afford to have things go wrong because you rushed into a purchase without thinking. Reviews are effective feedback because they show the positive aspects, as well as the negative ones.
Price - We tried to compile our list of the best inline skates with a variety of different prices to suit all budgets. Cost is always an important issue, but you also have to make sure you are getting top value for the money you spend.
Features to Look For In Inline Skates
Skate Type - Are you just a beginner or casual skater or are you into serious competition. These are some of the most important aspects we looked into when putting together this list Keep in mind that some people are just causal skaters, others are professionals and even more used to be professional. Ask your local inline skate expert for the best type of skates for your needs.
Skill Level - Your level of inline skating skill should determine the type of skates you should choose for yourself. In that regards, they are just like any other piece of sporting equipment. Inline skates range from those suitable for beginners or recreational skaters to intermediate and all the way to advanced, and some in between. For beginners' skates, the wheels are usually smaller, with lower grade bearings. As your skating skill levels increase, you’ll start to look at better inline skates that feature better components and larger wheels for increased speed. You should always go for skates that are suitable for your skill level for maximum skating enjoyments.
Liners - One of the most important components of inline skates are the liners. If you have a poor fitting liner, the whole skate will not fit correctly and that will affect how well you can skate. In general, inline skate liners come in 4 basic types. You have a standard liner which is simple foam. Foam materials are usually found in beginner skates or some of the less expensive models.
Auto-fit liners make use of gel pads. These are more comfortable and offer more support as they will contour to your feet each time you put on the skates.
Then you have memory-fit liners. Although these are somewhat similar to gel type liners, memory-fit liners remember the shape of the feet and conform to that shape each time they are worn. Memory-fit liners offer a great deal of comfort and support.
The fourth basic type of inline skate liners is the heat moldable liner. These are removed from the skate, heated and whilst warm, placed on your feet so that they will contour to your feet as they cool. This makes them a very individual liner and the process of contouring them for your feet should be done in store by a professional.
High Vs. Low Cuff - The cuffs on inline skates are where you can find most of the support and stability. A good quality cuff allows the skater to generate more power to push off while holding the foot stable during lengthy skating sessions. High cuffs are usually made from plastic and are usually featured in skates for beginners or recreational skaters. The plastic used is generally of a good quality and is very durable. Low cuffs are often made from carbon and offer a lot more in terms of support and performance. Low cuffs are preferred by marathon or racing skaters.
Closures - The closure system refers to how the inline skates are secured to your feet. Just like many types of sporting footwear, the closures have evolved over time. Originally, the closure system was a simple lace-up style. Lace-up skates are still available, however, there is usually an additional closure system such as buckles for added security. Ratchet buckles are usually the ones that are used in conjunction with lace-ups and there are usually 2 or 3 buckles on the skate. Velcro also features in the closure system but more as a means of securing all the loose parts so that the boot will not come undone or have loose laces that can become a hazard. Quick Lace closure is exactly that. With one quick tug, the lacing is secure and you can tie off. On the other hand Boa lacing, although similar to quick lace if fed into a dial which can be tightened or loosened as needed.
Frames - Inline skate frames are usually made from plastic, aluminum or carbon. The type of materials used in the frames will mainly depend on whether they are beginner skates, fitness skates or advanced or racing skates.
Wheels - The wheels used for inline skates have gotten pretty high tech over the years. Plastic wheels were originally used but these days, most modern skating wheels are made from polyurethane. The size of the wheels varies from those suitable for beginners all the way to advanced skaters.
Brakes - Inline roller skates for beginners, recreational and fitness skaters. The brake is usually found on the right skate but can often be a switch to the right skate, depending on which foot is the skater's dominant foot. However, some skaters choose no brakes. Roller hockey skaters, racers and the more aggressive skaters prefer not to have brakes as it can interfere with performance.
Bearings - You pretty much can't have skates without bearings as these determine how smoothly you can skate. They can also affect how fast you can go. Their main purpose is to reduce the friction between the wheel and the fixed parts of the skate.
Types of Inline Skates
Fitness - Fitness skates are most suited to experienced skaters and those who like a little more speed. These are also great for longer skating sessions or skating longer distances
Recreation - These are popular for beginners and those who skate occasionally. They offer the support and stability needed when you are just learning how to skate.
Race - Inline skates for racing are a little stiffer in construction for added support and performance. The stiffer boot gives great support and strength when pushing off.
Urban - These are great freestyle inline skates for those with loads of experience and like to skate with a little more adrenal involved. These are more suited for aggressive skaters who love to weave their way through urban areas showing off their skills as they maneuver around obstacles and people.
Inline Skate FAQ
Q: Are Inline Skates and Rollerblades The Same Thing?
A: Inline skates and rollerblades are pretty much the same things. The original rollerblades were a little more on the chunky side but inline skates follow the same design principles, however, they are more sleek and comfortable.
Q: Arte Buckles Better Than Laces?
A: Both buckles and laces have their merits when it comes to inline skates. Laces give you a more individual fitting closure as you can tighten them or loosen them according to your preferences. Buckles, on the other hand, are a lot faster to secure.
Q: What Kind Of Socks Should I Wear With The Inline Skates?
A: You may think thicker socks are better to wear with inline skates, but the opposite is true. Thick socks can bunch causing friction inside the boot which can lead to painful blisters. There are specially designed skate socks which fit snugly over the foot, but they are surprisingly thin and comfortable.
Q: How To Maintain Inline Skates?
A: To keep your skates performing well for as long as possible, proper care is needed. Clean them after each use, particularly after lots of outdoor activity. Indoor skating will require less cleaning. You should get a tool with your skates that allow you to remove the wheels for a thorough cleaning. The liner is usually removable so it can be washed or at least aired out. Make sure the bearings are lightly oiled on a regular basis to keep them working smoothly.