So you have decided that you want to learn to inline skate. Perhaps you have never been on an inline skate before, but you have decided to venture out and try this great sport. There are so many different kinds of inline skates. Where do you begin and what do you look for? Here are a few simple guidelines to follow in selecting a good inline skate.
1. Decide your purpose. Do you want to use your skates on the sidewalks near your home? Or do you wish to use them in a rink? Are the skates going to be used often or just occasionally? Inline skates can be used for hockey, freestyle skating, racing, fitness training, recreation, aggressive skating and cross-training for sports such as skiing. Determine what best describes your use and focus then on that kind of skate.
2. Decide what you can spend. You can find skates between $35 and $1000. If you can only spend $35, look for another sport. You will not be satisfied and probably will quickly drop the sport because of the poor performing skate. Spend at least $200 on your skates. If you spend less, your feet will probably be so uncomfortable you won't enjoy skating at all. If you can afford to spend more than $200, your feet will definitely notice the difference. It's almost always true, that fitness and recreational skates rated highest for comfort cost between $300 and $400.
3. Decide on a boot. The boot's purpose is to support your foot and ankle. When you try on the boot, it should fit comfortably. If not, do not buy the boot. You will be disappointed. Some people prefer the hard boots for their skates because they feel like they provide the best ankle support. Others find the softer, more flexible boats more appealing.
4. Decide on the wheels and bearings. Inline wheels come in different sizes and hardness. Most recreational skates come in 72mm to 76mm. If you are an aggressive skater, you might want to try something smaller. Inline wheels are made of urethane and come in different harnesses'. Most recreational skates are equipped with 78A or 82A wheels, with 78A considered to be on the softer side. If the skates are primarily used inside, I would suggest something like a 85A which is a harder wheel. If used mostly outside, use a softer wheel, like a 75A. As far as bearings are concerned, they are usually rated according to the precision with which they are made. Typically, higher priced skates will use bearings designated as "precision" and are rated ABEC-1, ABEC-3, or ABEC-5. If you are buying a $100 or more expensive skate, I would make sure you are getting at least an ABEC-3 or higher bearings.
Once you have made these decisions, you are ready for a great experience. Perhaps you will decide that this will be a life-long sport. Enjoy!
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