Equipment Basics: Buying New Skates

by Bughouse Cuckoo

When buying new skates you must break down the skate into its different components:

  • boot
  • plate
  • wheels
  • bearings

There are a number of questions to consider for each component.  Do your research online and talk to other skaters, especially those with similar skating styles, to find out what works for them.


What kind of boot are you looking for: vinyl, leather, vegan? Do your feet have any special needs: wide, narrow, split widths, high arches? Features: Do you want a clinch strap across the ankle or a roller collar? Fun details: Do you want a custom color or want the inside of the tongue to be lambskin or thicker material? What is your budget?


Material: Nylon or aluminum? (Some metal plates are lighter/heavier than others).  Check reviews!  Trucks: Single action, double action trucks, what is the angle of the trucks? Axles: 7mm or 8mm? Again, what is your price limit?


What kind of wheels you choose depends on the surface you will be skating on. A general rule is that the grippier the skating surface, the harder the wheel durometer. Ask skaters what they recommend or what has worked for them in terms of both durometer and brand. See if you can you borrow a pair at practice to try them out. 


When picking bearings, you have to buy the correct size for your axle (7mm or 8mm). If you have 7mm axles but 8mm bearings, there are 7mm axle ‘sleeves’ you can buy for under $10. There are different kinds of bearings and different materials and brands from $20-100. 


Are you going to buy your skate parts separate and have them mounted?   If you are getting them mounted…standard or specialty?  Are you getting a forward mount?  Are your plates smaller than the boot?  Decisions are all yours.

Best for New Skaters

Go for a starter skate like R3 or Rocks.  You don't want your skates to control your feet but have your feet control your skates. The higher end skates are more responsive to minor shifts in weight and are difficult to control for a new skater.