The best roller skates to keep fit and look seriously cool

Get ready to meet your new obsession with our pick of the best roller skates for women.

Best roller skates for women

by Jade Moscrop |

Roller skating has always been a popular pastime. From the roller discos of the 60s and 70s to the 80s and 90s, when inlines became the latest trend, and even the 00s to now. A huge community has been happily cruising on four wheels, jamming out, practising their tricks, dropping into bowls and looking seriously cool while wearing some fabulous roller skates.

The first recorded use of roller skates was in 1743 (have fun in that Wikipedia hole) and with each new generation came a 'resurgence' of roller skating, but in fact, it never went away. Isn't that awesome?

As we entered 2020, the pandemic took away normality and people started looking for a way to fill their time. Thus, a whole new generation got geared up and ready to find out what all the fuss was about with roller skates.

You only have to look at TikTok and Instagram to know that EVERYONE wants to be a roller skater in 2022. And while that's amazing, if you're serious about it, you need to get the right gear. This ensures you don't fall flat on your face, or lose interest and end up wasting your well-earned cash.

As someone who also took up roller skating in 2020 (#pandemicrollersunite), I'd recommend doing as much research as you can before you commit. There's a lot to take in, but if you respect the history of the sport, immerse yourself in the online community, learn what you need to know for your style of skating and don't just splash out on the first pair of roller skates you see, I guarantee you'll fall in love with it, too. {#h-as-someone-who-also-took-up-roller-skating-in-2020-pandemicrollersunite-i-d-recommend-doing-as-much-research-as-you-can-before-you-commit-there-s-a-lot-to-take-in-but-if-you-respect-the-history-of-the-sport-immerse-yourself-in-the-online-community-learn-what-you-need-to-know-for-your-style-of-skating-and-don-t-just-splash-out-on-the-first-pair-of-skates-you-see-i-guarantee-you-ll-fall-in-love-with-it-too}

Keep reading for our full guide on everything you need to know about roller skating if you're just starting out.

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The best roller skates for women 2022

To help you choose the perfect outdoor skates for you, we've rounded up some of the best-rated brands on the market for beginners, pros, and everyone in-between.

What are the benefits of roller skating?

Fitness

First and foremost, roller skating is a brilliant form of exercise, helping you to burn up to 600 calories an hour. It's a complete aerobic workout, involving all of the body's muscles, raising your heart rate and keeping you fit.

Skating is similar to jogging in terms of the health benefits, but it has less impact on your joints. It's specifically great for your quads, glutes and abs, helping you build your strength as well as fitness levels. If you hate running (like me), it's a great way to stay fit.

It's fun

If you ever skated as a kid, you'll know how much fun skating can be. Most of the time, it doesn't even feel like exercise. Learning new tricks, becoming more confident and cruising around in a pair of great looking skates - what's not to like?

What's more, it's a great social exercise, so if you find a group of like-minded skaters or encourage your friends to get involved, it's something you can all do together.

It's a challenge

If being challenged and conquering your fear gives you a buzz, you'll love roller skating. It does take guts to venture out onto a street, but if you practise often, you'll quickly pick up techniques to get better and feel the satisfaction of learning something new.

It can be a form of therapy

People who love running or going to the gym often say that the mental benefits are just as good as the physical ones, and roller skating is no different. It clears your mind, releases endorphins and gets your blood pumping.

You can do it anywhere

One of the best things about roller skating is that you can do it anywhere. On a basketball court, on a path near your house, at a rink, on holiday or even in your kitchen. All you need is a pair of boots, some protective gear and you're good to go.

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What size roller skates should I get?

It's important to note that not all roller skate manufacturers use the same sizing, and not all of them relate to your shoe size. Make sure to check each brand's specific sizing guide before purchasing. Otherwise, you may end up having to send them back.

Also, bear in mind that your skates will bed in over time, so if they feel a bit tight at first, don't worry too much. If they feel really tight though, you may need to size up. Make sure to only try your skates indoors while deciding if they're the right size, or you may not be able to return them.

What roller skating wheels do I need?

Your wheels can make a huge difference to your overall skating experience. Even if you can't afford top-of-the-range skates yet, you can invest in some great wheels to level up your skates.

Durometer rating

The durometer rating relates to the hardness of the wheel. The higher the number, the harder the wheel. Roller skate wheels are generally between 78A and 100A on the scale.

Hard wheels are perfect for roller derby or skating on polished floors. Softer wheels will allow you to glide over rocks and sticks easily while outdoors.

A great wheel hardness for outdoor skating is a 78A, but anywhere from 78A - 84A should be fine, depending on your preference. Softer wheels will help you to feel more solid while skating. However, they do require a bit more power to get you going (which is great for the thighs, I might add). Hybrid wheels (like 82A/84A) can be used indoors and outdoors.

Wheels are pretty personal, so you'll need to get out there and try some before figuring out what works for you. Many pairs of roller skates on sale today come with hybrid wheels that can be used for indoor and outdoor (82A). The best thing you can do is test them out and see how you feel, then go softer if you need to.

Wheel sizes

The wheel size refers to the diameter of the wheel. Which size you need depends on your style of skating.

Smaller wheels are typically used for dance or artistic skating, as they're easy to manoeuvre. In comparison, outdoor and indoor skating are better suited to a slightly larger wheel for traction and stability.

62mm - 70mm diameter wheels are great for outdoor skating. Make sure to check that the larger wheels won't touch your toe stopper or plates.

The width of the wheel also comes into play here, ranging from 31mm - 44mm. Narrow wheels are light and good for dancing but don't offer a lot of grip. Really wide wheels provide excellent grip, but are heavier and give you less movement.

Most outdoor skate wheels will be between 33mm and 42mm. Always check your current size before purchasing new wheels to ensure they'll fit.

Wheel bearings

Your wheel bearings, while small, are mighty, and having bad bearings can seriously affect your ride. If your wheels feel notchy or not as smooth, look into your bearings.

Most manufacturers have an ABEC rating on their bearings, such as ABEC 7 or ABEC 9. The higher the rating, the better the tolerance. Some bearing manufacturers choose not to use the ABEC rating, for example, Swiss bearings. But it doesn't mean they aren't as good.

It's best to check the reviews on each product when it's time for you to get new bearings. As long as you clean them regularly, they should last you a good while.

Do I need protective gear?

In a word: yes. Not only will having a helmet, wrist guards, knee pads and elbow pads keep you safe, but it'll also give you more confidence if you do happen to take a tumble.

As you become more advanced, you may feel safe enough to go without a helmet or elbow pads. But as with any sport, especially if you're skating on the streets, it's always wise to protect your bones.

On the hunt for protective gear? Here are our top picks:

SkateHut Matt Protection Helmet for Skating

SkateHut Matt Protection Helmet for Skating
Amazon

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amazon

Protects your head, looks cute and won't break the bank? We're sold.

Core Protection Helmet

Core Protection Helmet
Amazon

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amazon

In a classic black design, this helmet comes with adjustable pads to find your perfect fit.

Pro-Tec Street Knee Pads - Checker

Pro-Tec Street Knee Pads - Checker

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skate hut

These checkered knee pads provide full-coverage, without restricting movement,

Bodyprox Protective Knee Pads

Bodyprox Protective Knee Pads
Amazon

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amazon

If you're looking for something with a little more flexibility, these soft knee pads provide good protection and are comfortable to wear.

Everwell Protective Protective Gear Set

Everwell Protective Protective Gear Set
Amazon

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amazon

This set from Everwell has everything you need to get started.

CTHOPER Impact Wrist Guards

CTHOPER Impact Wrist Guards
Amazon

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amazon

It's natural to put your hands out before you fall, which is why wrist guards are a must. These are simple, comfortable and will keep you protected.

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I'm ready - now what?

Research

First off, watch as many skating tutorials as you can. Immerse yourself in the online community and soak it all up like a sponge. Find some brilliant influencers, track down some roller skaters also starting their journey, dig yourself a big ol' YouTube hole and settle in. You've got some learnin' to do.

Stretch

As with any exercise, warming up your muscles is key to avoiding injury. Make sure to stretch before you start skating, as well as afterwards. The last thing you want is to pull a muscle, so you can't go out on your new roller skates.

Find a space to practise

Basketball courts, car parks, smooth paths and sports halls are all great places to find your feet. You can also start on a smooth floor in your home (beware of marking the floors, though). With softer wheels, you'll be able to tackle most road surfaces, but avoid any gravel-laden roads as these will NOT be a fun ride.

Practise falling

This sounds silly, but it could be the difference between a quick fall and a serious injury. Discovering the best ways to fall will help you to feel safe while in your roller skates, as well as ensure you don't end up face-first on the pavement.

There are some great tutorials on YouTube to get you going. You should also practise standing up, sitting down, getting up from the floor, etc, so you can tackle most eventualities.

Practise stopping

The scariest thing about roller skating is not being able to stop, so learning stops should be high on your list. The plough stop is a good one for beginners, as is the T-stop.

Practise transitions

Once you feel comfortable on your skates, you can start learning some transitions to make everything smoother. These will help you turn, change from forward skating to backward skating and stop quickly with both toe stops, if you need to.

Cleaning

Your roller skates will need cleaning from time to time, especially if you skate outdoors. As you skate, debris can get stuck in your bearings, which will cause friction, making your skates less effective.

Every couple of months is a good time frame to clean your roller skates, including the plates, bearings, wheels, and the boot itself. Grab yourself a skate tool to do this with. This is a great guide to get you started.

Go at your own pace

It can be easy to look at other people's progress and feel like you aren't 'getting it' as quickly as you should be, but everyone learns differently and some people have more time to practise than others.

Go at a pace that's comfortable for you and keep practising - you'll soon feel confident, look awesome and become stronger. Happy skating!

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