May 4, 2005 1:36 AM   Subscribe

So I wanna buy a decent pair of rollerblades. I'd prefer to spend less than $200, or even less than $150 if possible. Should I look for particular brands? Other things I should look out for? I know nothing.

Extra points if you know a good place in Vancouver where I should look.
posted by stray to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I paid $150 for my skates (in the US) and I'm very happy with them. The exchange rate might tweak the price up a bit unless you can find a Canadian maker.

Go to a reputable store and tell them what you want to do (casual skating vs something specific for exercise vs off-road) and they should be able to show you a few options. If you don't see something you like, go elsewhere.
posted by glyphlet at 5:17 PM on May 4, 2005

The sporting goods shops around SoCal regularly advertise cheap 'blades. They're usually prior-year models, but they're fine for beginners and/or recreational use. You may also want to try on pairs at the local shop, then see if you can get a better price on line. (This is of questionable ethicality; if you find a better price online, you should at least ask the local shop if they can match it.)
I got a pair of Solomon 'blades for $70 or $80 (U.S.), which is probably only about Cdn$540. They've gone hundreds of miles with only minor tune-ups and a (possibly unneeded) new set of wheels.
Get wrist guards and maybe helmet & knee pads, depending on how coordinated/flexible you are, and how smooth & open your skating course is likely to be.
posted by spacewrench at 5:28 PM on May 4, 2005

I'll assume you want a rec/fitness skate. You'll probably want a boot with stiff ankle support, a little easier on the ankle. Most fitness skate are made to give good ankle support. Watch the size. It should be on the snug side but not too tight. You might have to go down a size or so from your sneaker size.

Don't be concerned about the ABEC value of the bearings, an ABEC of 3 is fine. You might benefit from "slower" bearings while you learn anyway. (I know, I know, ABEC and speed aren't necessarily related.)

Wheel size and hardness shouldn't be that much a concern either. On rec/fitness skate, they are all pretty similar.

Remember the three "C"s of buying inlines--comfort, comfort, comfort. Seems like the ski boot makers make comfortable ones. I love my Salomons and my daughter loves her K2s. Try on a bunch, put some weight on them and see how they feel.

Good luck!
posted by sexymofo at 6:01 PM on May 4, 2005

Whatever you buy, make sure the fit is perfect and the skates feel solid. You can upgrade the wheels, bearings, etc later. If you start off with a good fit, things will be much easier.
posted by bh at 6:05 PM on May 4, 2005

Have you seen the Land Roller? They look amazing, sort of all terrain roller blades. You can even get them with disc brakes, which sounds nice to me, considering how bad I was at stopping on roller blades.
posted by tomble at 6:49 PM on May 4, 2005

One more suggestion: take lessons.

You can really hurt yourself skating if you don't know how to stop quickly and effectively. A good shop will offer lessons for a reasonable price (I paid $30 US). The lesson should be no more than an hour or two and will save you a lot of bruises, scrapes, and maybe even a broken bone.

Good luck and have fun!
posted by glyphlet at 7:38 PM on May 4, 2005

Response by poster: Great advice. This seems to be a slightly more serious undertaking than i'd imagined! Um, I'll definitely be using 'em for recreation on smooth paths, but do y'all think it's possible to use 'em for getting around campus, also (after plenty of practice)?
posted by stray at 8:38 PM on May 4, 2005

don't forget wrist elbow knee protection. helmet is optional
I installed toestops on my homemade inlines ,the most reliable stop is turning backwards and using toestops, way safe and quick.
posted by hortense at 8:52 PM on May 4, 2005

you're gonna have to spend at least 150 if you want something decent. Also, I'd recommend going with plastic straps as opposed to laces if you just want casual skates. I spent about 260 on my K2's but I've been skating since I was four.

Also, definitely definitely definitely get knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, helmet. You'll look like an idiot but you're gonna fall. Over and over again until you find your balance (and even guys who think they're way to tough for pads and have been skating since they were four fall occasionally). When I taught the Ex to rollerblade I got into a 45 minute fight with her about why she should get full padding. She thought she'd look stupid in it. She fell within 15 minutes, and even with me diving to catch her and her falling from an upright position she still fucked up her knee and elbow.

anyways, go to a hockey/rollerblading store and talk to the people to figure out what you need, though don't buy from them as they'll be high end.

and yeah, you'll be fine on campus. just watch out for brick paths, grates, and cute girls.
posted by slapshot57 at 10:40 PM on May 4, 2005

Response by poster: I am a cute girl, but I'll keep that in mind. :) Great advice, thanks. Another question, if anyone's still checking: whenever I have skated (just a handful of times years ago, or more recently with rentals) my ankles end up really sore because I tend to let them fall inwards. Is this typical of a noob, or something I should be more worried about?
posted by stray at 11:06 PM on May 4, 2005

Also, be careful of new concrete / asphalt, because when it gets warm, it slightly melts. Fast blades + soft asphalt = fionab slamming down on my arms (I know, I know, don't put your hands out) and breaking my elbow. It was so fast that I didn't have time to react, so just be careful!
posted by fionab at 12:05 AM on May 5, 2005

Response by poster: *winces*
posted by stray at 12:51 AM on May 5, 2005

One more tip: When you go to try on skates, wear a pair of thick socks, preferably ones made for inline skating - take a look at this froogle search if you don't know what I'm talking about; they have extra padding that might help with your ankle pain a bit, too. I made the mistake to wear normal socks when I bought my first pair of inline skates a couple of years ago, and they turned out to be too small. I bought the socks later, but made sure I wore them when trying on the new inline skates I bought this spring.
posted by amf at 3:06 AM on May 5, 2005


that's from having your skates too loose at the ankles. Look for a pair with an ankle strap. Also very important that I just remembered, make sure you get a graphite/aluminum brace on the bottom. Plastic has a high probabability of falling apart and then you're screwed.

the following skate should suit your needs:

just don't buy online, fit is probably the most important aspect of buying skate.
posted by slapshot57 at 7:33 AM on May 5, 2005

Hortense is wrong. A helmet is an absolute necessity. It doesn't matter how good a skater you are, it's always possible for something bad to happen, especially since you're not likely to be able to skate in a place completely devoid of careless pedestrians, bike riders, drivers and other skaters. Your noggin is very vulnerable and you don't want it to bounce off some pavement or a curb without some protection.

You need wrist guards too, since your wrists are the most likely to take the shock when you have a wipeout.
posted by ursus_comiter at 7:42 AM on May 5, 2005

nature designed an excellent helmet to protect your noggin
your skull.
also where I live there are excellent rollerblades at every thrift store in town some as low as a dollar so you could check there,save some money
posted by hortense at 10:49 AM on May 5, 2005

I second ursus_comiter, DO NOT LISTEN TO HORTENSE

you cn seriously injure your head even from a standing position if your legs slide out from under you. You're just learning, keep the equipment until you feel a hundred percent confident.

and you have the money saved, get new ones. that way you don't inherit someone else's problems.
posted by slapshot57 at 11:52 AM on May 5, 2005

hortense has skated for42 years total.taught skating at a rink (on quads) and made his own rollerblades out of Adidas xcski boots and rb trucks, recommends toestops for super reliable stops and was first to recommend safety gear in this thread .that said it is dangerous, you might want to stay home and watch rollerskate videos instead. I wonder if slapshot and ursus
actually skate?
posted by hortense at 4:35 PM on May 5, 2005

Look at Salomons. I switched from genuine Rollerblades to Salomons a couple of pairs back, and my feet feel much better after 'blading for a few hours. Be very careful when you start though, the Salomons also seemed to be a lot "faster" than what I was used to too.
posted by ensign_ricky at 5:00 PM on May 5, 2005

Response by poster: Sweet, thanks all of you.
posted by stray at 8:49 PM on May 5, 2005

look at the name hortense. played ice hockey for 20 years, rollerbladed for 16. Would be longer but I'm 24. I'm very impressed you taught ice skating. You're right, she definitely shouldn't wear a helmet because you taught a couple 9 year old girls to skate. What was I thinking recommending someone protect themself against your infinite knowledge

going off to another pissing contest now
posted by slapshot57 at 6:08 AM on May 6, 2005

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