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Roller skating is a fun sport and a great cardio exercise. You can use it as an alternative to your morning run or engage in one of the roller skating disciplines, including speed skating, roller dancing, freestyle, aggressive skating, derby, roller hockey and many others. Regardless of your choice and seriousness of your intentions you will need the right roller skates in order to feel comfortable and perform well on the track. Every kind of roller skating activity requires roller skates of a specific type and configuration. That is why the first and foremost aspect of shopping for roller skates is a clear understanding of what you are going to use them for. Let us see now what the main types of roller skates are:

1. Recreational (workout) roller skates. This is the most popular category of roller skates recommendable for beginning skaters. These roller skates are meant for free workout skating. Recreational skates are generally cheaper than other types of roller skates allowing the novice to learn basic skating without making a big investment. Recreational skates vary according to the position of wheels, boot type, wheel hardness, bearing precision, fastening and design elements. Most generally recreational roller skates may be categorized into quad and inline skates. 


       i.         Quad skates (traditional roller skates) are equipped with four wheels positioned in two rows. These skates are typically used at skating rinks as they offer a good grip to the rink surface. Better stability and lower speed make them a good choice for the beginning and young skaters. However, quad skates are also used in such professional sports as roller derby and roller dancing.

      ii.         Inline roller skates (or roller blades) have three, four or five wheels positioned in one row. They allow for a better maneuverability and speed and are meant for outside workouts. Inline roller skates are a bit harder to master as they require certain balance skills. However, once you have grasped the technique, the inlines offer a broader range of movements and higher speed.


2. Aggressive skates are inline roller skates designed exclusively for performance of tricks. These roller skates feature heavy hard boots, strong frame and small wheels intended for performance of vertical tricks, spins and grinds. The skater will not be able to produce high speed in aggressive roller skates as they are not intended for cruising. The aggressive skates are recommended for dedicated skaters with developed basic skating skills.

3. Speed skates are specifically designed for speed marathon racing and downhill. Speed skates are meant for professional sportsmen. They are not suitable for basic skill learning. There are quad and inline speed skates which are used for indoor and outdoor skating respectively. Both of them feature low-cut soft boot allowing for a better ankle mobility and control of the wheels’ angle resulting in a better push-off. Every component of speed skates is designed to make them move faster. Thus, speed skates are generally equipped with the “fastest” top-rate bearings (ABEC 7, ABEC 9). Inline speed skates are often made with elongated plates with 5 wheels with the view to increase the push-off surface. Due to their structure, speed skates have poor maneuverability and are uncomfortable for city use.


4. Derby skates belong to another special-purpose type of skates used in roller derby. Roller derby is a predominantly female team game played on quad roller skates. Roller derby requires quick reaction, speed and a certain level of aggressiveness and so do the derby skates. Just like derby players, derby skates are supposed to be tough in order to endure falls, collisions, friction and impacts. That is why they feature strong durable boots with reinforced toes and heels. Derby skates are always made with low-cut boots for free ankle movements. Different plate materials, including nylon, aluminum and magnesium, are used in derby skates depending on their price category. The higher the price the lighter the derby skates you are likely to get. The high-end derby skates typically come with thermo-moldable lining, high-rating bearings and magnesium plates. The wheel hardness may vary according to the experience and preferences of a derby player.

Whether you buy your roller skates for yourself or for your child, you should always remember to avoid unknown manufacturers and adhere to trusted brands. This simple rule will save you money, feet and inner equilibrium. Not only well-known specialized manufacturers of roller skates have solid quality standards they also have a convenient sizing range and reasonable return policies.  


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