The most important thing is to master the basics of inline skating. So to start off with, there’s no need to buy expensive or a particular type of skates. You could even hire or borrow some skates – you’ll often find rentals near to Skate parks.
They do need to fit properly though. Try on a pair in your usual shoe size with the socks you want to wear. Make sure that the skates feel comfortable and have enough ankle support. If your legs are straight, your legs should very lightly touch the front of your skates once they’re on. But with bent knees, they shouldn’t touch. You should have about one centimetre of free space between your toes and the front of your skates.
Your feet should fit snugly but not too tightly in your skates and shouldn’t slip. Check you don’t have any pressure points while standing, or tilting your boot towards the inside or outside. To put your skates on, first lace them up. Then close the straps, and finally the buckles.
Check that the brake on your boots is in a good position and the wheels roll smoothly. A good retailer can help you with the fit.
Match the skates to the skating
You might be asked which type of in-line skating you want to learn. Whether it’s simple fitness skating, free skating, slalom skating, urban skating or speed skating – ordinary fitness or free skates will do fine. You only need specific skates if you’re doing aggressive inline skating, when you should choose aggressive inline skates.
Once you get keen, you can then buy a second, more expensive, pair of skates which you can match to the type of skating you’re into.
Basic protective gear
It might feel more comfortable not to wear much protective gear, but you need to wear some to prevent injuries.
They aren’t compulsory on a skate lesson, but they are sensible. Choose a skate helmet - not a biking one - they have much better protection, especially for the back of the head. Bikers don’t tend to fall backwards as much as skaters do. Make sure you do up the chin strap properly. You can pick a skate helmet up in all kinds of funky colours, at similar prices to bike helmets.
Pads and protectors
It's compulsory to wear pads and guards in an in-line skating lesson. Buy a pair of kneepads – and make sure they fit well enough not to slip. You can get designs that are both breathable and comfortable with cushion padding behind the hard plastic shell. Complete wrist guards are a good idea - rather than just simple hand protectors since wrist fractures are a common skating injury.
Elbow pads aren’t very popular but they are good to prevent injury and you don’t want the misery of a broken elbow. Wrist guards, elbow and knee pads together will set you back around £30. There are other protectors but these are the basics.
Nice to haves
- You might also find shin protectors useful once you get more into skating and are ready to spend a little more on gear.
- A light pair of gloves can protect your hands from scrapes.
- A mouthguard will protect your mouth and teeth if you should crash out.
So that’s it. A few basics and you’re good to get skating.