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Skate Purchasing Guide

This guide is not an exact science because everyone's preferences vary, and some markets have different prices. If you have more specific questions about your situation, please contact us. Some examples have been linked for you.

Q: What are inline skates and what are quad skates?


  • Inline: Inline skates are where the wheels are "in a line," and most recognizably called rollerblades. They are similar to ice skates, with beginner models having a heel brake. This category also includes inline skates for hockey, freestyle/urban/aggressive/skate park, figure skating, downhill/alpine, slalom, speed, marathon, trail, etc.

  • Quad: Quad skates have four wheels arranged on a rectangular base, most recognizably with a toe stop in the front, like the old retro style. This category also includes quad skates used for artistic (like figure skating), dance/jam/rhythm, derby, freestyle/urban/aggressive/skate park, trail, etc.

Q: Which type of skate should I get?

A: The model you should get depends on your primary intended use for the skates.

  • Inline skates - Are best for skating outdoors, and can handle rougher surfaces like trails and roads. If you've ice skated before, the feeling is similar. Some beginners find it easier to learn on inline skates because there is a longer base of support. Skaters can progress to speed skating, slalom skating, roller hockey, urban/park skating, communicating, downhill/alpine, or wherever your heart desires.

  • Inline skates with a toe stop - AKA inline figure skates - these are specialized inline skates designed to mimic figure skates with toe picks. You can do most of the same skills as ice skates (though the technique is a little different) on wheels. There are many very accomplished inline figure skaters.

  • Quad skates - these are primarily used for derby, artistic roller skating (similar to figure skating, but on quad skates), roller dance and urban/park skating. There are many variables to quad skates that make them more or less suitable to the task - such as the type of boot, wheels, and toe stops to name a few. In short, you can learn to skate on any quad skate type, but there are many fun factors to play with once you decide what discipline(s) you want to pursue.

Q: Which skates should I buy?

A: Once you've decided on the type of skate, next is to narrow down which pair to get. Here are some rough guidelines of what you typically get at a particular price point. This guide refers to new skates. So you may be able to find better prices in the used market or on sale. But you can compare the used model to its retail price to get an idea of its quality. See the Brand Comparison tab for some guidelines on quad skates.

  • Beginner skates for kids: Aim for skates at least $65CAD+ or $50USD+. Below this price point, they may not work well, for example, the wheels may not spin, or parts may warp and actually cause the skate to stop working while you're rolling, possibly causing injury. These skates might be okay for a toddler to walk around in, but if they get any better, or want to get any better, they will have difficulty progressing and might lose interest in the sport.

  • Beginner budget skates for big kids, teens and adults (quad or inline): Aim for skates at least $100CAD+ or $75USD+. Below this price point, the skates may not carry the weight of the user well, and will not perform the way skates are supposed to perform. These skates will get the user up until precise edges are required, at which point, if you'd like to continue to progress, consider moving to advanced skates. If you are a heavier person, you may need to skip right to intermediate skates, because they will often come with stronger frames for the wheels.

  • Intermediate skates for all users: Aim for skates at least $200CAD+ or $150USD+. These will usually come with better wheels, bearings, breaks, and a more supportive boot. The user is more likely to find progressing quicker and easier because the skate will more likely perform the way it's supposed to. (This is the recommended starting price point if it's in your budget!)

  • Advanced skates: These are starting at around $300-$400+, but what you're doing with the skate changes all the factors, so it might be time to speak with a specialist if you're looking in this market to improve on what you've had. With skates in this price range, they are more likely to perform the way they're intended to. But depending on what you want them for, the more advanced you get, the more specific the equipment needs to be. Beginner skaters can also start on an advanced boot, but those that have components on the extremes, such as extra-large wheels, extra hard or soft wheels, etc., may make it more difficult for beginners.

Protective Gear Purchasing Guide

This guide is not an exact science because everyone's preferences vary, and some markets have different prices. If you have more specific questions about your situation, please contact us. Some examples have been linked for you.

Q: What type of protection should I get?

A: Decide if you want recreational gear or sports gear

  • Recreational: These are considered entry-level, cost less, and are available at general sports stores like Sport Check, Toys R Us, or sometimes in department stores like Walmart that typically cost around $19.99CAD+ or $16USD+. These are acceptable for light, recreational, beginner skating. However, be sure that it comes with wrist guards and not just bicycle gloves. Please note that gear in this price range is not generally recommended for the skate park, skating outdoors, skating/falling at speed, or those who are prone to injuries, falling, have a fear of falling, are heavier, or want to feel more protected.

  • Sport: This is gear used for skateboarding and derby for example, and usually costs around $50CAD+ or $40USD+. This is meant to handle higher impact, are made with better quality materials and craftsmanship, and tend to fit better. The overall wearing experience is usually higher when you have the right size for you.

  • Hockey: Check with your league on their requirements if applicable. You will want hockey-related protection because there is the risk of being hit by sticks and balls/pucks.

Q: Why do I need protection?

A: When learning new skills, it is encouraged to push yourself to discover your limits, and this will cause you to fall. Falling on skates can be sudden and abrupt, which increases the chances of wrist and elbow injuries. When you have protective gear, you will usually be able to progress faster, have fewer injuries, and enjoy the sport longer. If you are playing impact sports like derby, or hockey, you must have gear.

Q: I am already an avid ice skater/skater, do I still need protective gear?

A: If you have not passed stage 6, and/or you are learning something new, and/or the surface you're skating on is uncertain due to slopes/debris, and/or you're playing contact sports, you should wear gear. Falling on concrete or even hardwood is very different than falls on the ice, where you can slide. Falling due to contact with another skater results in higher impact falls than falling on your own.

New Skates & Accessories

We have no affiliation with the following businesses. These are places we've shopped at, and are listed for your shopping convenience.

If you know of others or want to be listed here, please contact us!

Used Skates & Accessories

We have no affiliation with the following businesses. We recommend checking the condition before buying (wheels spin, no loose or missing parts, etc.)

If you know of others or want to be listed here, please contact us!

Brand Comparisons

We are not paid or sponsored by any of these companies. These comments are based on our personal experiences and the experiences of our skaters. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all available skates. We chose some of the more popular skates that we've seen people wearing or asking about.

We have ranked some quad skate models based on what stage you would be able to get to in the Learn to Roll Right program before you would find that the skate is no longer supporting you to achieve the skills. See also the Skate Purchasing guide above for a price comparison if your brand isn't listed below. If you have a question about a specific skate, please email us:

Very Beginner: Stage 1 - 2:

Moxi Rainbow Rider, Rio Roller

We don't recommend either of these skates or other skates at the same price point.

Beginner: Stage 1 - 3:

Chaya Melrose, Impala, Moxi Beach Bunny

These are okay if you're just seeing if you want to get into roller skating and can't afford the intermediate skates listed below. Note that you will hit a wall with your skates at around stage 3, meaning you may have difficulty executing and applying edges, power and control in your skating, and would be looking to upgrade to better enjoy your skating experience.

Intermediate: Stage 1 - 6:

Jackson Mystique, Reidell*, Sure Grip Urban Roller, Sure Grip Board Walk, Chaya Melrose Elite, Crazy Evoke, Moxi Panthers

These skates will be good enough to get you through the Learn to Roll Right program, and you can continue to enjoy recreational skating, trail skating and roller dance. You may find your ability begins to be limited if you are looking for precision or support, or for more advanced moves such as in artistic skating or park skating.

Advanced: Stage 1 - 6+

Reidell*, Chaya Melrose Premium, Wifa, Moxi Jack, Moxi Lolly

At this stage the sky's your limit, so you can, but you do not need to buy a pre-made set with boots and plates, etc. You can mix and match to meet the needs of your preferred skating style. Consult the advisors at the store, or email us if you want more information.

*Reidell often has boots and plates sold separately, and some stores will just combine suggested options. Use the skate purchasing guide above to determine if they fall into Intermediate or Advanced skates.

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