Skate HQ’s Guide to Best Men’s and Women’s Skates
Finding the best pair of skates isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially for newbies. To help out undecided shoppers, here is Skate HQ’s Guide to Finding the Best Skates.
There are a few factors to keep in mind when making a choice, including these essential points:
- Comfort – The utmost priority is how snug the skate’s boot fits to the person’s ankle and foot. It should be snug enough while still providing ample space for forward ankle flexion. This ensures balance. First-time skaters need to look for higher ankle cuffs if possible, because these give better support. For the more experienced skaters, shorter ankle cuffs can prove to be beneficial since they give more flexibility (useful for aggressive skating).
- Ventilation – The universal rule for all types of boots is that they need to have great ventilation. This is necessary to keep feet comfortable and cool, especially on humid days or prolonged workout sessions.
- Bearing Quality – The quality of bearings can be quantified through the ILQ or ABEC rating. The higher the number is, the more precise their engineering is. In layman, this means they run more quickly. This is a top consideration for pro skaters, but can be overlooked by those only skating for exercise or recreation.
- Correct Wheels – Depending on the skating style, the specs needed for wheels will vary. Basically, bigger wheels are faster, while smaller ones give more control. Big wheels are recommended for speed skaters, while small wheels are better suited for hockey or aggressive skating.
- Maneuverability – Wheels larger than 100mm are usually found in recreational skates. These can be too fast for first-timers, so opting for smaller ones to get better maneuverability is recommended. Another factor to keep in mind is the length of the frame. Longer ones give more speed, while shorter frames give more control. Picking the specs of a skate will rely on these options.
- Security – It is very dangerous for skates to have loose closures. This is a common issue with cheap skates. It doesn’t matter what kind of closures are used (laces, ratchet buckles, or snap-down buckles) – the important thing is to keep them fastened securely and safely.
- Brakes – Before finalizing a purchase, it is also essential to know what kind of braking is preferred. General skates come with heel brakes, which are suitable for skating for fitness or exercise. Slalom skates (a kind of recreational skates) are used for dancing and aren’t equipped with heel brakes. On the other hand, aggressive skating, speed skating, and hockey skating will require a different kind of braking method – usually, the heel brakes for these are only optional and can be acquired through additional purchase. Having zero brakes can be acceptable, as long as the skater knows how to brake via alternative techniques.
- Safety Gear – After all has been checked and fitted, skaters need to wear appropriate safety gear to avoid serious injuries. These include elbow pads, helmets, knee pads, and wrist guards.
This Skate HQ’s Guide to Best Men’s and Women’s Skates was designed to help skaters, especially first-timers, to have a quick checklist of what to look out for before buying a pair of skates.