Buying Your First Pair of Roller Skates
If you are contemplating buying your first pair of roller skates so that you can join in the fun of learning to roller skate as an adult, you may be overwhelmed by all of the options! This was definitely true for me. I am going to share with you my skate buying journey, the skates I use now, and a great video I found that breaks down the process for you. Enjoy!
If you want to skip to my conclusion about skates and the great video I found, they are at the bottom! I won’t be offended!
My skate buying journey:
When we went into lockdown last March, I started walking everyday, like so many other people. On my walks, I began to notice roller skaters. Had they always been there? I am not sure! All I know is that once I started seeing them, they were everywhere. Seeing the fun they were having, as well as getting to see what a perfect outdoor, socially distanced hobby it was, inspired me to run home and start looking for my own first pair.
For my first pair of roller skates, I chose Chaya Melrose Glitter skates- a $100 pair of hot pink and aqua glitter skates. I ordered them from Pigeon’s Skates. Luckily, I got my order in before the MASSES of people started buying skates, so they arrived pretty quick. They were so beautiful and comfy. They came with outdoor wheels stock, so I didn’t even worry about new wheels. I rocked those babies every day for months, timidly hitting the pavement on my own, decked out in the finest safety gear Fred Meyer had to offer. It was terrifying and fun and freeing. It was my first experience skating outdoors as an adult, so I was unprepared for how scary it was going to be. All those videos of skaters flying through the streets? Ya, those aren’t beginners! I found one nice, flat, rock free basketball court and just went back and forth.
A few months in, still terrified and progressing much more slowly than I wanted, I began to get jealous of the inline skaters who would wizz past me, seemingly fearless and unconcerned with rocks, cracks, and bumps. Would I also become fearless if I had a pair of inlines? I managed to convince myself that I would. I hopped on craigslist and there they were- a brand new, still in the box pair of inlines that were just my size! I snapped them up, so sure that all of my skating worries were over. Now, mind you, I got such a good deal on those inlines that I managed to ignore the fact that they cost twice as much as the quad roller skates I had chosen. So, I now had a baseline pair of quads and a midline pair of inlines. The next day, when I hit the basketball court, I strapped on my inlines, ready to leap off of curbs and fly over those terrifying sidewalk cracks! But, of course, that’s not how it worked out. My fear of skating and my inexperience were just as present on the inlines. I was a bit less scared of hitting rocks, having convinced myself that the inline wheels would go right over them. When I was skating in my quads, I lived in terror of each and every pebble sending me flat on my face. But I was not instantly a better skater. Buying different or fancier skates won’t make you a more confident or experienced skater!
I continued on the inlines for a few weeks, until I convinced some of my friends to get skates and start learning with me. They all wanted quads, so I switched back to my quads. I haven’t looked back. Switching between rollerblades and roller skates ( quads) is tricky, but that’s a convo for another time! What I had gained during my time on inlines was a few weeks more skating experience, and that made me a better quad skater when I switched back. The only thing that can make you more experienced is experience!
In the fall, I started skating a bit at the rink when it opened back up. What a treat that was! Smooth floor, no rocks, music, warmth! So, so much fun. I could tell right away that I wanted to upgrade my skates but that was right in the thick of the skate crunch- a period of about 5 months where so many people were wanting skates that you couldn’t find them anywhere. All the skate shops were sold out, Moxis were taking heat for the months and months of backorders, it was a dark time in skate land. I kept my eye on instagram, though, and before long, I found a pair of black Impalas in my size in stock at Wicked Skatewear.
Now, I won’t claim that Impalas are an upgrade from my Chayas, they are different, not necessarily better. What they were was black ( not hot pink glitter like my Chayas) and I was able to fit them with indoor wheels so that I could have an indoor and outdoor pair. Impalas have gotten a lot of flack for some boot heel separation problems that some people experienced, but I never had any problems with mine. The boots were much less comfy than the Chayas, which are more or less like wearing slippers, and the ankle was very stiff, but once I got them broken in a bit, they provided great support. I rocked these two pairs until about February, when I got the new skate bug again.
By this time, I was doing several days a week at the rink, and as many days outdoors or practicing dance skate at home. I started to see Moxi Lollys popping up at shops on instagram, so I started keeping my eye on that. I also started to think about wanting to invest in a pair of indoor skates that would be better suited for artistic roller skating, which I had started learning with one of the coaches at our local rink. I ended up finding a pair of Moxi Lollys in my size at Sin City Skates and I snapped them up! Fastest $400 bucks I have ever spent in my life! I added on some Radar wheels because everyone on instagram had them. Looking back, I think that I had just been waiting for Moxis to come back in stock all along. I had thought about buying them for my first pair, but had decided on the Chayas because I wasn’t sure if I would keep skating for very long and didn’t want to invest. Once I proved to myself that I was into it, I was going to get the coolest skates as soon as I could. It was inevitable. Moxi Lolly’s have their pros and cons, but you can’t deny the fact that they are the IT skate and if you have them, you are stoked. I will go into what I like and don’t like about them in a later post.
For indoor skating, finding skates was far more challenging. Good artistic boots and set ups can be hella expensive, and the good skate companies were out of everything. I follow an awesome skater and teacher, Kim Manning, on instagram, and I saw her post about a new skate company she was trying out- Golden Horse ( she still has an active discount code for them, go grab it from her channel if you are going to order skates! 10% is a lot when you are making such a big purchase!). I checked out the Golden Horse site and they seemed legit. I chose a mid level pair and they cost about $320 bucks with my discount. They require all sorts of measurements and photos of your feet to custom make your boots, which is pretty sweet for three hundred dollar skates. I had to get new wheels and dance plugs for them, but they are really good skates. They had a hell of a break in period, but I love them and I wouldn’t change my decision.
So, in a 9 month period, I bought 5 pairs of skates, which is an investment of several thousand dollars, as well as all of the time spent searching for the right ones. What would I do if I could do it over, knowing what I do now? I would start with the better skates. I know that it can be hard to imagine dropping $400 bucks on an unproven new hobby, but I think that if you hit the streets in better skates to start with, you start with an advantage. As well, a pair of Moxis will hold their value, so you can easily resell them if they end up sitting in your closet for 3 months. If you can swing it, just get them. I understand that not everyone can, of course. My favorite story about skates comes from another great skater and teacher, Nicole Fiore. She tells about winning her first nationals wearing second hand skates that were two sizes too big, skates that her parents had bought for her thinking that her feet would keep growing. It was several years later before they realized that her feet were as big as they would get and she finally got her own brand new pair of boots. If that isn’t inspiration to feel good about learning in whatever skates you have, I don’t know what is!
- If you can swing it, just start with a better pair of skates. What makes skates better? Lots of different things, but the most important factor is that they are the ones that you want. Like, really want. If you can afford your first choice just get them. If you don’t get them now, you will get them eventually so just save yourself a step.
- It’s not the skates you buy that make you a better skater. Only practice can do that. Buying new or fancier skates will not make skating easier or less scary. If you have skates already, just start practicing in those. Every second that you are on your skates you will be gaining confidence and experience.
And now for some really solid advice on how to choose your first skates!