Best Roller Skates 2018

Best Roller SkatersWhile roller skates, or quad skates as they are technically known today, may seem like a thing of the past or for children, they have actually made a surprising comeback thanks to new and innovative ways of using them for competitive purposes. Of course, most skates are still designed and marketed for younger consumers.
Regardless of who is using the skates, what separates the best roller skates from a bad pair remains fairly the same. That said, there are a number of qualities about skates that determine how the ride will feel and control that is not so simple as “better” or “worse”.

What is the Best Roller Skates in 2018?

Figuring out what skates are good and for whom can be difficult. That is why we have put together a list of the top 5 best roller skates and highlighted what each one is best for. Then we provide a helpful buyer’s guide, so you can find the pair of roller skates that are right for you.

Product
WheelsBearingBootPlate 
Roller Derby Firestar
(Best for Beginners)
54mm608ZMid-TopPlastic
Chicago Skates
(Best for Adults)
60mm608ZHigh-TopAluminum
Roller Derby Trac Star
(Best for Kids)
54mm608ZMid-TopPlastic
62mmABEC 5Low-TopNylon
50mmSealedN/AN/A
63mmABEC-1Mid-TopPOLYMER

1. Roller Derby Firestar – Best Roller Skates for Beginners

Roller Derby Firestar For GirlsRoller Derby Firestar For Boys

Roller Derby is a well-known and respected brand in the roller skate market. Having been founded in 1936, the company was making roller skates before the modern form of roller derby sport was even a thing. Through that time, the company has expanded to produce roller skates for every age and skill level with most of their lineup extending well beyond the professional or competitive play.

Stability

In fact, these roller skates are actually designed for young children who are beginning to learn how to skate and have not yet developed consistent gross motor control. One of the primary ways that the Firestar skates accomplish this is with the use of small wheels. Where the normal minimum for roller skate wheels is 59mm, these wheels are 54mm. This not only provides the skates a better sense of balance and control, it also limits the maximum speed that your child can skate.

Control

That being said, the ability to control these skates is not merely benefited by a smaller than normal wheel size. The Firestar skates also use Roller Derby’s patented torsion design plate. While the plate may only be made out of plastic, the torsion design will allow the skater to shift their weight, bend and flex with them. This means that when your child is skating, even if they are not applying proper balance across the skate, the plate will flex with them to help them remain upright.

Alignment

This is further cemented by a wheel and toe stop design that almost forces the skater to maintain a proper form with the weight evenly distributed across the skates. Though, this can actually be both a good and a bad thing.

The good quality about this alignment is that the child will be inherently encouraged by the design to remain centrally balanced over the skates. On the downside, this means that if the child does not remain in the proper position, then they are more at risk of falling down. Thankfully, this design does preclude that the child is more likely fall backward onto the relative safety of their rump than forwards where they could do more damage.

Outer

The outer of the Firestar also offers a number of benefits, both to help train your child to skate properly, and in general.

For one, the outer is made from vinyl, which is a durable, yet supple form of plastic. This will mostly prevent water from getting into the skates. Still, there are two mesh strips on either side of both skates that serve to provide some breathability, so that the skates are more comfortable in warm weather. In terms of stability, the sports shoe boot design keeps the feet flat while the child is skating to further facilitate proper form.

Pros:
  • A reasonably priced pair of skates
  • Plate features patented torsion design
  • Provides lacing and Velcro closure
  • Provides reasonable ankle support
  • Vinyl provides durable, water-resistant outer
  • Sport shoe boot design for stable footing
  • More breathable than some
  • Smaller wheels provide excellent control
Cons:
  • The bearings are the lowest class
  • Will not skate as fast as others
  • Wheel and brake placement is poor

2. Chicago Skates – Best Roller Skates for Adults

Chicago Men’s Classic Roller SkatesChicago Women’s Classic Roller Skates

While roller skates may be seen more in the purview of children, plenty of adults still take enjoyment from making laps around a roller rink. That is where the Chicago Skates’ Classic roller skates come into play. Having been founded in 1905 by the Ware Brothers in, you guessed it, Chicago, these are the same style and design of skates that have proven for more than a century to provide an excellent skating experience.

Durability

One of the best things about the Chicago Classics is that they were made to last. Like most products made in the early 1900s, people did not simply have money to throw away and constantly replace old products every time a new one was made. In that vein, the Chicago Classics are made stronger primarily by the use of an aluminum alloy base plate. While this type of base plate may not be ideal for professional or competitive skating, it is capable of bearing the weight of skaters well over 200 pounds and will not suffer from corrosion by water. Another material used in the manufacture of these skates which will stand the test of time is the leather outers though, this may require a bit more of an extended breaking in period than other skates made with vinyl outers.

Outer

Aside from the durability leather provides, the Chicago Classic is also made of vinyl if you prefer a lighter material that is waterproof and molds much quicker to the shape of your foot. Just keep in mind, leather is also waterproof and will last longer. Other benefits of the Chicago Classic outer is its high-top boot design. In fact, this is the only pair of skates on our list to feature the high-top boot design. This style of boot provides the most secure fit while also offering the most ankle support to help prevent injuries if you do happen to fall.

Customization

For those of you who are already familiar with skating and roller skate features, the Chicago Classic offers a couple of ways to tailor your experience to suit your style of skating.

For instance, the trucks at the base of the plate where the wheel axle sit are adjustable by up to ⅝”.

This may not seem like much, but it means that you can determine whether you want these skates to provide additional control albeit at the expense of turning speed or if you enjoy the rush of sharp turns. Other custom options include the use of an adjustable toe stop that can be switched out for different sizes or materials depending on your braking preferences or needs.
Pros:
  • Plate is made of durable aluminum
  • Will skate really quickly
  • Provides the most ankle support
  • 60 mm wheels balance control and speed
  • Adjustable toe stop offers customization
  • Heeled boot provides smooth ride
  • Vinyl provides durable, water-resistant outer
  • Leather is waterproof and durable
  • Adjustable truck for custom control
Cons:
  • The bearings are the lowest class
  • One of the more expensive pairs of skates
  • Can feel a bit restrictive

3. Roller Derby Trac StarBest Roller Skates for Kids

Roller Derby Trac Star For GirlsRoller Derby Trac Star For Boys

If you have children who are already familiar with the basics of how to skate and are looking to progress their skills, the Roller Derby Trac Stars are a step in the right direction.

One of the best qualities about the Trac Stars, aside from the fact that they are one of the less expensive pairs of skates that we saw, is that they are designed to grow with your child eliminating the need to constantly have to buy new skates every year or so once, they outgrow their old ones.

Boot

By far the most revolutionary quality about the Trac Star skates is their boot, which is not a single piece like with every other type of roller skate. Instead, the Trac Stars use a hard outer shell into which fits a softer, pliable liner. The shell itself is made out of molded plastic but features a couple of pieces that actually snap and buckle in place. This allows the shell to actually adjust its frame and size to accommodate your child’s foot and ultimately grow with your child. The liner is made from a soft material that allows your child’s foot to breathe and is also machine washable.

Stability

Much like other Roller Derby brand skates designed for use by children, the Trac Stars features exceptionally small wheels. The 54mm wheels will provide a better sense of stability than taller wheels and will also ensure that they cannot reach quite as a fast of speeds that could prove more dangerous if they were to fall down while skating.

Adding to the stability, the Trac Stars use the same-patented torsion design plate as their other skates for kids, except the Trac Stars roller skates feature a slightly different wheel alignment.

With the rear wheels placed at a sharper angle than others, children can skate harder without having to remain upright or else risk falling down.

Control

Aside from the additional stability that the patented torsion plate provides the Trac Star skates, it also offers your child more control in general. As an intermediate child’s skate, the Trac Star needs to balance allowing your child to skate with more proficiency while still preventing them from going overboard and hurting their self.

The torsion plate combined with rear wheel angle alignment will provide your child the freedom to turn and shift, developing the skills necessary for adult skates. The fact that the wheels are only 54mm in diameter further provide more control on top of the additional stability.
Pros:
  • A less expensive pair of skates
  • Plate features patented torsion design
  • Provides a dual buckle closer
  • Smaller wheels provide excellent control
  • Shell can adjust in size
  • Liner is comfortable, breathable, and washable
  • Provides decent ankle support
Cons:
  • The bearings are the lowest class
  • Will not skate as fast as others
  • Difficult to put on or change size

4. Riedell Skates Dart – Best Speed Roller Skate

Riedell Skates Dart - Best speed roller skateAt some point in time, many skaters outgrow the equipment they use to effortlessly glide across the rink and seek to upgrade their roller skates to a product that could conceivably compete in either professional or competitive arenas. While Riedell may not have as storied a history as some of the other brands on our list, their founding in 1945, as well as their numerous patented components, still gives them plenty of prestige to enter the speed skating market.

Wheels

If you want a pair of skates that can fly down the rink, one of the most important factors is the wheels. The Riedell Darts are able to generate their blistering speed in part due to the size of their wheels. At 62mm, these are the largest wheels out of any other pair of skates we reviewed and the largest regulation sized wheels for most competitive leagues. That being said, you will want to make sure that you are already competent if not excellent skater before using the Riedell Darts since size of the wheel will not only make control more difficult, the fact that they are also rated at 93A hardness means they are not ideal for slicker surfaces.

Plate

The Riedell is the only set of roller skates on our list to use nylon as the material for their base plates. This is important because nylon is the primary material used for professional roller skates with magnesium and aluminum alloy a close second. The use of nylon allows the PowerDyne Thrust plate to remain durable, flexible, and lighter than almost any other material used for a base plate.

Still, it is actually the alignment of the kingpin trucks that make this plate ideal for generating speed. As the plate’s name suggests, the PowerDyne Thrust enhances the skater’s ability to transfer power from boot to wheel with a 15-degree kingpin angle.

Toe Stops

Just as important to speed skates, the ability to skate fast needs to be complemented by the ability to stop on a dime without throwing the skater to the ground. The Riedell Darts have considered this as well and alleviate those concerns by providing Midi Gripper toe stops.

These toe stops are adjustable which can allow them to suit whatever skating style you prefer. Moreover, the devoted design acts as a suction to assist you is stopping quicker. That said, they are not advised of suicide stops.

Pros:
  • Comes with decent quality bearings
  • Fastest skates we reviewed
  • Great for sticky floor or outdoors
  • Dual 62mm wheels provide good balance
  • PowerDyne Thrust nylon plate is professional quality
  • Can support any kind of toe stop
  • Included Midi Gripper toe stops good for advanced skaters
  • Vinyl provides durable, water-resistant outer
Cons:
  • Most expensive skates on our list
  • Provides the least amount of ankle support
  • Not ideal for slicker surfaces

5. Razor Jetts Heel – Best Heely Roller Skates

Razor Jetts Heel WheelsRazor is by far a company that is more well-known for its scooters than for its roller skates. In fact, since the massive success of the Razor scooter, the brand has put out a wide array of unique products that continuously change the game and challenge competitors to keep up with their innovative designs. With the Razor Jetts, that trend only looks to continue, as these are not at all traditional roller skates.

Convenience

Instead of an entirely different product that you have to use in lieu of shoes, the Razor Jetts are actually designed to strap directly onto your shoes. This presents a couple of advantages, but clearly one of the most convenient is that there is no need to take your shoes off. Much like with the Heely brand of shoes which feature wheels in the heel of the shoe itself, this means that you can walk normally while wearing the Razor Jetts and simply lean back a bit to engage the rolling action.

Control

The fact that the Razor Jett requires the user to engage the rolling action by leaning back a bit can be tricky. In fact, this product is not recommended for younger children or people who do not have a reasonable amount of gross motor coordination. Even for those that do balance well, this type of skate can take a bit of getting used to. That said, the inclusion of 50mm wheels, the smallest on our list, combined with the ability to step down with your toe, do help prevent any awkward falls when mastering the technique.

Limitations

One thing to keep in mind with the Razor Jetts is that they are not meant to truly serve as a replacement for roller skates. If you or your child regularly skate at a skating rink, Razor Jetts are not suitable for that environment.

For one, the small wheels combined with the unique riding technique will inherently limit your speed which can be dangerous in a skating rink. On top of that, these skates are the only ones to use sealed bearings, which means you cannot lubricate them and will limit their lifespan though you can replace them if desired.

Pros:
  • Least expensive product we reviewed
  • Can adjust to almost any shoe size
  • Comes with a spark strip
  • Easy to put on
  • 50mm wheels offer plenty of control
  • Easy to transport
  • Can still walk while worn
Cons:
  • The slowest skates reviewed
  • Sealed bearings limit lifespan
  • Offers little ankle support
  • Requires better than average coordination

6. Pacer – Mach5 GTX500 Quad Roller Skates

Pacer Mach-5 Black Pink Skates review

Skating Made Easier

The Pacer Mach-5 are roller skates that look like the ones you may have seen in old movies. Or maybe you were once young and would like to relearn how to skate again.

It’s not going to be an easy task (always use caution when skating), but once you get the hang of it, rolling around in the park will not only feel wonderful and keep you out of the automobile but generate lots of leg strength and weight loss.

Durable Ball Bearings

The wheel dimensions are what’s key here: they are built to accommodate anyone of any particular experience with skating.

The bearings, or the little interior parts inside the wheels that keep them rolling smoothly, should stay in good shape for a long time without needing replacement parts. Just keep the blade out of deep water to prevent rusting.

Furthermore, you may need to go up or down on a size, so use the sizing chart in the link to find out which length is best for you. Once you know that, you’ll be set to start skating all over town.
Pros:
  • The wide wheel dimensions make it a good roller skate for beginners
  • Bearings will keep their strength for years, even if skated with daily
  • Sold in a wide range of sizes for both men, women, and children
Cons:
  • Sizes tend to have a .5 margin differential (either one size larger or smaller than what one would normally purchase)

Best Roller Skates – Buyer’s Guide

Wheels

Best Roller Skates Review - WheelsThe wheels of roller skates will play an important role in how they feel while skating. However, this is not a one-size-fits-all consideration as the differences in the wheel lend themselves more to one aspect of the ride as opposed to the other. At its base, this dichotomy can be broken down into control vs. speed. As the wheels get larger, they allow the skater to skate faster, but they also reduce the amount of control a skater can exert.

Less than 59mm

Any wheel under 59mm will heavily reduce the maximum speed of the skater.

These sized wheels are generally reserved for children’s skates since they are not yet developed enough to handle top speeds without the risk of falling down.

This can also allow smaller wheels to be a good choice for senior skaters who may have lost some mobility but still want to relive the glory days of their youth spent in a skating rink.

59mm-62mm

This is the most common size range for skate wheels and provides a solid balance between speed and control.

Once you hit 62mm, though, you will start to notice that the control becomes trickier while the speed may be too much to handle.

62mm wheels are also one of the more common sized wheels for professional skaters or for roller derby competitors.

More than 62mm

There are not too terribly many pairs of skates that come stock with wheels larger than 62mm. Any wheel that is larger than 62mm is strictly for speed skating and should only be used by advanced skaters.

Often, skates with wheels this size will feature a dual wheel design, which is wider than the average skate wheel to help accommodate some of the lost control the additional height imposes.

Plate

Best Roller Skates Review - PlateThe plate of a roller skate is the hard surface on which both the wheels and the boot attached. This component is important for stability as well as control.

The different materials used for the plate will generally correspond to the skater’s skill level while the truck will either provide a static control or offer some custom flexibility.

Aluminum

This is the classic material used for skate plates and is still seen as one of the better options. This is because aluminum alloys offer an excellent balance between strength and weight.

That said, competitive skates have started using a variety of materials beyond aluminum mostly to reduce the skate’s weight even further as well as provide more flexibility.

Still, for trick skates that involve grinding rails, you will want the strength and durability of aluminum.

Nylon

Nylon is one of the primary materials that professional and competitive skates have begun to use with their plates. This is primarily for two reasons: first, nylon is significantly lighter than aluminum that provides that additional bit of speed for competition purposes. Second, while nylon may not be as durable as aluminum, it is far more flexible, which provides the kind of durability skaters often need. That said, nylon plates are not meant for grinding.

Plastic

If a skate’s plate is made of plastic, a consumer grade skate should not be used for competition purposes.

While a plastic plate may be more than hard and durable enough to withstand years of skating, it will not be able to handle the abuse of speed skating, trick skating, or roller derby.

In fact, most of the skates that use plastic plates are designed for children who are simply incapable of pushing the plastic beyond its thresholds.

Truck

Best Roller Skates Review - TruckOn the base of the plater sits a component known as the truck. The truck is where the axle for the wheel connects to the plate of the skate. Most of the time the truck is fairly standard and unimportant. Still, professiona

l or competitive skates will often use trucks that allow adjustment to either tighten or loosen control. Tightening the control will allow you to turn faster but increase the minimum turn angle. Conversely, loosening the truck will allow you to turn at a sharper angle but slow you down a bit while doing so.

Bearings

Best Roller Skates Review - BearingsJust a quick word on bearings: unless you plan to use your skates for highly competitive purposes, the different types and grades of bearings are more or less the same.

In fact, even highly competitive skaters are only getting such a minimal boost to performance that it can best be understood as a placebo effect. The ratings of bearings are meant to indicate the quality of the bearing for industrial purposes that involve thousands of revolutions a second not skating.

Conclusion:

Best Roller SkatesWhen it comes right down to it, the best roller skates will mean different things to different people. The roller skates that work best for adults will not be the same roller skates that are best suited for children. Likewise, professional or competitive skaters have altogether different standards.

For the average skaters, the Roller Derby Firestars are best for children while the classic Chicago Skates are best for adults.

The Firestars completely sell out on control to ensure that your child can learn how to skate with a minimal risk of falling down while the Chicago Skates provide a smooth and custom experience for capable adults.

If you are looking for a pair of skates to take you to the next level the Riedell Dart is an excellent quality skate that is built for speed in a skating rink. With the largest wheels on our list combined with a low-top boot and nylon plate, these skates will have you flying past your opponents.

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5/52 ratings

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