Roller Skates – How to Pick Out the Right Skates


Are you going to be roller skating indoors or outdoors? What do you want to do on your skates, dance, race, derby, jam? What is your budget? By answering these questions you will get a good grasp on where to start your search.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Roller Skates

The very first thing you need to decide is where you plan on skating, inside at a roller rink, or outside on the street or sidewalk. This is because there is a difference between indoor and outdoor skates best roller derby skates.

Outdoor roller skatescome with a softer wheel than indoor, the softer wheel absorbs more vibrations that you get from rolling over rough pavement which in turn will you a smoother more comfortable ride.

Outdoor skates just like indoor come with either low cut or high cut boots, they have the same bearings, same trucks, laces… they are pretty much the same except for the wheels. It is possible to purchase an extra set of wheels for your skates so you can have one set for inside and one for outside and just swap them out as you please, however if you do this you will most likely want to get an extra set of bearings too to save you time on your switch out. (Pulling out bearings can be difficult for some people.)

Roller Skate Bearings

No matter what skates you decide to roll in you will need to decide what bearings you want your new skates to have. A rollerskate bearing is an anti-friction device that is inserted on each side of your wheels with an axle through the middle (bearings do not come with axles), they make your wheels roll. Each wheel requires two bearings, the axle is put in between and it is held stationary with bolts to your skate-frame.

Bearings use an “ABEC” rating to judge the quality of the bearing. ABEC ratings go from ABEC 1 through ABEC 9; ABEC 9 being the best. This rating does not judge the speed of your bearing bur rather the quality and the smoothness of ride; ABEC 7’s are a much smoother roll than ABEC1.

Regardless whether you are a beginner or the most advanced you want to stick to a minimum of an ABEC 5 bearing. If you end up with a complete pair of skates with a lower rated bearing than you desire, they are always an easy after market accessory that you can purchase.


Adult roller skates vary in price from $40-$1000. While most adults do not need a $1000 pair of skates, remember you get what you pay for. Spending more money will get you full leather boots with maximum support, the best bearings, the best wheels. Skates over $200 are typically very specific to the activity that you are going to do on your skates (Artistic dancing, jam, freestyle dancing, derby, speed skating). The average guy or gal that is just wants to hit the streets with the kids, or get back out on the rink should expect to pay around $50-$100. At this price range you get a comfortable skate, that will roll smoothly, which will in turn maximize your enjoyment.

Different Types of Roller Skates

If you are looking to race, join a derby team, do artistic dancing or go to the Friday night Jam dance you will need to purchase a specific model of skates so you can maximize your performance while doing those activities. Speed Skates, Derby, and Jam all come with lower cut boots to maximize your ankle articulation and agility. Derby skates have a power strap that goes across your ankle to hold your foot in place better. Jam skates do not have a break, instead they come with a Jam or Dance plug. Artistic and Freestyle skates both have high cut boots but Artistic skates have a break and Freestyle skates do not.

Starting Your Search

So, by first figuring out where you are going to skate, what activities you are going to participate in, and deciding your budget you will be well on your way to picking out the perfect pair of roller skates for your needs. Good luck and happy skating!

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