Inline skating is a fun way to get around, and it packs a big punch in terms of cardiovascular fitness. Because the pushing-off nature of a skate stride recruits so many of our big muscles, inline skating is a great way to get a killer workout – and you’ll be having so much fun, you won’t even notice it.
Inline skating for fitness is simply one of many ways people use inline skates. Avid hockey players take their game to the streets during the summer months. Some people even use their skates to commute around town.
Fitness skates are designed to be light, not too bulky, and offer comfortable mobility through the ankle. They generally have hard wheels that last considerably longer (with proper maintenance) on rougher pavement. Fitness skates also include a brake on the heel of one of the skates; simply press that heel down to connect the brake to the pavement to slow down or stop.
Roller hockey skates are designed with heavier materials, extra protection and increased lateral support for the fast stops, starts and tight radius turns that come with a game of hockey. Their rugged exterior helps protect the feet from slashes, smacks, and slap shots. Roller hockey skates tend to have softer, tackier wheels, designed to help handling on smoother surfaces.
INLINE SKATE FEATURES
Whether you inline skate for hockey, for fitness or for fun, it’s helpful to understand the makeup of your equipment. This will help you pick out the right components for your needs when you‘re shopping.
Chassis The chassis attaches the boot of the skate to the wheels through the spacers and axel assemblies. The chassis can be made of many different materials such as composite, aluminum, magnesium, titanium, carbon, or a blend of elements. Composite and aluminum are the most common frames. Composite is more forgiving and flexible, designed for beginners and is more commonly found in skates with lower price points. Aluminum chasses tend to be stiffer, lighter and longer, making the skates faster, and tend to be found in skates ranging in the middle price points. Some of the other elements used in chassis design are much less common, and used in the higher-priced skates.
Brakes Fitness inline skates include one brake, which is traditionally interchangeable between the heel of the left or right skate, depending on preference. Roller hockey skates do not have brakes and instead rely on the skater to make the proper movements to stop.
Bearings and Spacers Inline skate wheels turn freely because of an anti-friction device called a bearing that is inserted between each wheel and axle. They reduce the friction between the skate wheel and skate frame. Each skate wheel requires two bearings - one on each side with a nylon or aluminum spacer in between. An axel is then threaded through the center, attaching the entire wheel assembly to the chassis.
There are a few types of bearings found in inline skates; here are some of the most common:
ABEC is a bearing standard set forth by the Annular Bearing Engineering Committee. The ABEC standard mostly measures accuracy in production. It does not measure bearing durability, or how well the bearing functions under a load. ABEC 1 is the lowest precision level; the scale is rated up to ABEC 9 in odd-numbered increments.
ILQ bearings are rated on a similar scale to ABEC – for example, ILQ-7 bearings are comparable to ABEC-7 bearings. ILQ bearings have six slightly bigger ball bearings inside, as opposed to the seven ball bearings found in ABEC-rated bearings. These larger bearings can help the wheel to turn with even less friction.
Silicone grease (SG) bearings offer a greater quantity of lubricating compound on the ball bearings. This can aid in reducing friction, helping wheel speed. SG bearings are also rated on a scale from 1 through 9.
A number of inline skate manufacturers have come up with their own proprietary types of bearings. Most tend to follow the 1-9 rating system set out by ABEC.
Wheels Inline wheels come with two numbers on them (for example: 72mm 92A). The first number describes the diameter or height of the wheels. The second refers to the durometer or hardness of the wheels.
Wheel diameter refers to the height of the skate wheel, measured in millimeters (mm). Generally speaking, the taller the wheel (that is, the greater the diameter measurement) the faster you go. Small wheels will help you get going, but maintaining a high rate of speed requires a lot more work. Larger wheels are slower at first, but help you maintain a steady and easy pace once moving. With this in mind, the size of your wheels should be dictated by the kind of use they will experience. Do you require quick, explosive starts, or do you expect to do more calm, controlled cruising?
Wheel durometer refers to the hardness of the wheel. The greater the durometer number, the harder the wheel. Harder wheels last longer when ridden on pavement, but also offer a rougher ride and slightly less grip on the skating surface. A lower durometer rating is beneficial when your skates will be used on smooth surfaces, or when precision handling is required. Roller hockey inline skates, for example, are traditionally equipped with lower-durometer wheels.
Closures In fitness inline skates, buckles, Velcro straps and laces combine to offer a custom level of tightness and flexibility, with increased stability across the ankle. Roller hockey inline skates are often made by hockey skate manufacturers – as such, they fit like hockey skates, look like hockey skates and lace up like hockey skates. SizingInline skate sizing can be complex, so it’s important to head in to try skates on if you can. Skate sizing can be listed in terms of foot size, shoe size, European shoe size or Mondo point. For more information on Inline Skate sizing, please visit our sizing chart.