Aggressive Inline Skate buyers guide
So you are buying a new pair of Aggressive Inline skates? Here is what to take in to account when choosing your perfect setup.
Aggressive skates are skates that can accommodate grind tricks. This means you will want to slide over railings with them.
In this article it is assumed that you want to have a pair of skates to do some tricks with. and especially grinds! You might like recreational inline skating , used to love skating as a child, or just want to get in to a new extreme sport and am looking for some expert advice on what model to choose. Below is a summary of important aspects in to buying skates. If you have more questions you can always reach out to us on whatsapp
Are you sure?
The short answer: If you do not want to grind, then do not get aggressive skates
Aggressive skates might look cool, and you might want to do some cool stuff on skates, but if you do not know what grinding is, or if you are a 100% motivated to learn it, then an Aggressive skate is not for you.
Any trick you might think you want an Aggressive skate for can actually always be done easier on freestyle inline skates. Are you thinking about dropping in the halfpipe, skating backwards, doing a 360, and carving the bowl? Then Freestyle skates (with about 80-90mm wheels) are the choice for you
If you are super in to grinding, then Aggressive skates are for you. We love aggressive skating here at This Is Soul Skateshop and got wat you need, for starters, check out our tutorial on how to learn the Soulgrind
Popular skate models
The short answer: Go for the Roces M12 or USD Aeon models
Half of our friends skate the Roces M12 and the other half skates the USD Aeon models. They are both timeless and good looking skates that have great value for money.
Other great skates to start (and end) with are:
2 or 4 wheels
The short answer: If you are unsure about this, take 4 wheels.
The only reason why anybody would use only 2 wheels, is to make grinding easier.
When you grind in between the 2nd and 3rd wheel, these 2 middle wheels are actually super in the way. Because wheels are grippy, if one of the wheels sticks on the obstacle you are grinding on, you might fall.
The sad thing is that when you are not grinding, then you want those extra wheels to have a smooth ride with. 4 wheels will give you better feeling with the road. The more points of contact you have the better the ride is when the road is kind of bumpy. Your manoeuvrability and speed are also allot better on 4 wheels. In short, 4 wheels make everything better, except grinding.
The dream is to have a skate with 4 wheels and also a big grind block. The USD Aeon solved this by having a one piece boot so that there would be no constraints in the wheel placement because of the position of the frame mounting.
A way to get the best of both worlds for all other aggressive skates with a removable frame in the UFS mounting system, is to get the Oysi frame. The Oysi frame has a big grindblock and still has 4 nice wheels.
Hardboot vs Softboot
The short answer: Go for a Hardboot
A hardboot skate has a removable liner. This means that the padded part of the skates can be taken out and replaced. Softboots do not have removable liners.
Some of the cheapest recreational skates on the market are softboots (do not get those, they are horrible) and also some of the most expensive skates on the market are softboots.
Skates should NOT flex sidewards at all. The stiffer a skate is built, the better it performs (stiff on the outside does not mean it is not comfortable on the inside).
Some of the most stiff skates in that regards are carbon based softboots like the Seba CJ, USD Carbon or Gawds skate.. They are however all often over 300 euros. The cheapest way to create a well performing skate is to built it in the hardboot style.
The short answer: all hardboots come in 41-42 style double sizing
Its typical for hardboot skates to come in double sizing. This means that 2 or more sizes are bundled in to one. It is expensive to create these moulds so that is why brands combine sizes. They will put a size 41 liner in a size 42 boot and call it a 41. Because this is actually a little lie, we will correct for this on our webshop and call it a like it is. If you buy a 41-42 size, then this can mean two things:
1. Either the brand advertises it as a 41-42 themselves and we advertise it conform to their labeling
2. Or we have purchased the size 42 skate and labeled it 41-42 ourselves since their 41 would also use the same mould and does not differ in any sensical way.
After years of experience helping people in the store, and comparing different skates to each other for ourselves, we noticed that it is never justified to put in a smaller liner in a bigger shell. The shell should always be filled up in length to the max. Every body likes to have a little bit more room at their toes. A skate should fit perfectly, but this fit comes from the top and with of the foot. not from the lengt.
Sometimes skates that are listed on our website as double sized can be found somewhere else floating on the internet with a single size. That means it is falsely advertised.
What size to choose?
The short answer: take your shoe size or one size up
Skates should feel be very very tight. The problem is that most people are not used to having this sensation on their feet at all and thus think they need a bigger size.
When you stride, your are moving controlling your wheels with your foot and the skate is the tool to transfer this movement. The stiffer the skate and the tighter the connection between those wheels and your foot, the better performance you will get.
If you are thinking of getting a hardboot skate, then you can dive in to this excel sheet in the description of one of our vlogs. The sheet lists the true, inside length of all the hardboots we sell. If you know the length of your foot, just add about 10mm-20mm for the liner and then you will have the perfect size. Of course skates vary in width and height as well but then at least you have one of the metrics right.
If you order a skate and it is not the right size, then you can always return and exchange it for another size or get a refund. Before doing so, read the next chapter below.
How to know the size is right
The short answer: Commit to skating them in house
Never put on a pair of skates and then, while not even tightening them, decide that it is not your size.
When you get new skates, first put in the laces before you put them on. Skates have allot of padding in the back that pushes the foot forward and you need the closure system to push your foot back in to this padding.
Close the buckle, laces and straps as tight as possible. Then, make sure your ankle joint is as close to a 45 degree position. This means bending your knees a bit and press your shin against the front of the skate. This is the skating position and this is the position you should use to consider the size. Do not judge the size in any other stance.
Skate around the house a bit and see how the control is.
It should feel very tight overall, but not have a specific pressure point.
A good way get some indication of how this skate works with your foot is to take out the liner and try the shell without the liner. Never put on the liner without the hardboot shell. You need the shell, laces and buckle to push your feet back in the liner. A liner in your size will always feel too tight when tried on without the rest of the skate. Instead put your foot in the shell, shove it to the front so that your toes slightly touch and then feel how many fingers you can put in the back behind your heel. It should be more than 1, but not more than 2 fingers. If its less then 1 finger you will either need a way smaller liner (not smaller size but with less padding) in this shell, or you would need a bigger skate. If you have more than 2 fingers of room in your skate, then your skates are most likely to big.
The short answer: Get skates that are around 200-250 euro's to be save
Skates that are not build proper do not give you any control and are very slow. If you buy cheap then you will either not have fun at all because of the lack of confidence the skates give you and you will stop skating, or you will want a decent pair soon after buying your first one. That is why it is better to rent skates at our skateshop on the Overtoom 327, Amsterdam then to buy a low quality skate.
Skates that cost below 150 euro's always have something seriously wrong with them. Cheap softboots are too weak and unsupportive. Your skates will ben underneath your foot and it will be nearly impossible to stand up straight in them. Cheap hardboots like the Impala or Tempish brands have a decent boot but lack in the wheel and frame quality and are thus very slow.
Skates that are around 200-250 euro's are at the sweet-spot. They usually have every metric spot on. Great hardboot, great liner, great frame, great wheels etc.It just comes down to personal preference in style and and how a certain skate fits your foot.
Skates that are above 350 euro's are most likely the carbon based softboots. These are the unicum of the inline skating hardware and ace in all the metrics possible. The special thing about these boots is that they are more likely to be very very comfortable and can accommodate more different foot sizes. The risk of buying an expensive hardboot like a Powerslide Evo or a Seba CJ skate and having to return it because of the fit is low.
The short answer: All skates sold at our store have a decent soulplate
The soulplate was developed mid 90's after the first grind was done. The first soulplates were just little blocks of plastic mounted underneath the existing recreational inline skates to enforce them. Since then a hardware revolution occured from the mid 90s to the mid 00s. In those 10 years it was established how a modern day soulplate should look like and it has not changed since
All soulplates that were developed after 2005ish are just very similar in dimensions so our advice is not to think to much about this when you buy your first pair of skates. There are way more important things to think about like the way the skate fits your foot or even wether you like the styling of the boot.
ABEC Rating & Wheel Hardness
The short answer: Do not pay attention to the ABEC or wheel hardness metrics
Skate bearings are kind of all the same nowadays. If you have a skate bearing, The way it functions and wears down has more to do with the material used and the way it is lubricated, then with the ABEC scale.
The ABEC scale is a way to measure the precision of the bearing. It was not however invented for inline skating but for machine equipment and it thus has no relevance for the performance of your bearing in your skate.
Wheel hardness is measured in the Shore scale, and it is usually somewhere between 85A and 92A on a scale from 1 (very soft) to 100 (hard)
While the Shore hardness is a true thing, it is not the only thing and should not be taken in to account when getting wheels because its by far the most important factor.
Imagine a cyclist caring more of the Hardness scale of his rubber tire, than about the air tire pressure of how well his spokes are tightened. That would be weird right? You never hear cyclist talk about the hardness of the rubber tire. So neither should we.
In general if you buy a 200-250 euro's range skate, then the wheels and bearings are always very good, so do not worry about it