To have the most fun with your skates you have to feel comfortable and in control. Even the most skilled skaters have times where they have found themselves in situations where they are neither comfortable nor in control leading to a very exciting or very disastrous skating experience depending, of course, if they stayed vertical or not!
While you cannot always control your surroundings, one thing you can do is take the necessary steps to ensure that you are using the skates and gear appropriate for your level of skating ability.
It doesn’t matter if you are skating for fun, fitness or transportation; when it comes to skates, "you get what you pay for" in most cases and it is best to find a pair that fit properly and are of high quality. If you are an adult taking up skating it is most likely that your feet have stopped growing. So why buy a pair of poor quality skates that will end up hurting your feet?
When purchasing a pair of skates ask the following questions:
Are the skates the correct type for the skating that I want to do? Choosing the correct skate
Do the skates fit properly? Do they have a brake? Do I need a brake?
Like the young women pictured, your best bet is to buy a high quality, attractive soft boot skate with wheels that are between 80mm-110mm. Remember that the bigger the wheel, the faster you will go with less effort. However, what you gain in speed with large wheels is often lost in mobility, which means turning quickly will require more effort and skill.
Also remember, that the faster you skate, the more skill you will need to stop. If you are a beginner-intermediate skater, consider starting with a skate that has a brake as it can always be removed later. Try the Macroblade 90, which is a great intermediate skate that will facilitate stride efficiency and mobility providing an optimal skating experience.
If you are new to the sport and skating in an urban setting, it is highly suggested that you wear full protective gear. This includes wrist guards, knee and elbow pads and ASTM or Snell-approved helmet. All gear should be of the correct size, worn properly and in good working order. Protective equipment should not move upon impact and allow you to slide upon falling.
The most important piece of gear to consider is, of course, the helmet. The helmet should fit snuggly on the head and sit straight across the forehead. It should not be tilted forward or tilted back. Over each ear there should be a triangle with two equal sides. When it has been buckled there should be no fore or aft movement of the helmet and the strap should be comfortably snug, allowing for no more than the width of two fingers underneath the chin.
Whether protective gear should be worn or not depends on your skating ability, the kind of skating you’re a doing and where you are skating. When in doubt wear it, especially the helmet.
The clothing you wear while skating should allow for easy movement and cover the parts of the body that might come in contact with the ground during a fall such as the buttocks, hips and knees.
Since skating is an active sport, be sure that you have adequate means of hydration, especially if you plan on skating for over an hour or are in a warm climate. Wearing a small backpack will not only give you a place for your shoes but also for a bottle of water and maybe a snack to keep you skating for a longer period of time.
Getting Out to Skate
Once you have the skates and the gear appropriate for you and managed to master the basics of moving, stopping and turning, then the only real question is “Where do I skate?”
Depending on where you live you might be able to skate right outside your door. It can be that easy! Exploring your neighborhood on skates gives you a completely different perspective of it and allows you to interact with your surroundings and maybe even your neighbors in a whole new way.
Skating in a city, your own or one you are visiting, offers the perfect backdrop to your skating experience by giving you an up close and personal view of the world around you. If the city you’re skating in is new to you consider purchasing a simple walking map of local attractions. This will give you a great way to plan your skate, making the most out of your visit. Consider parks, outdoor rinks, and waterside paths, as excellent options where you can also use your skates.
Remember that the key to having the best time with your skates is to be comfortable in the skates and in control while skating. Taking the time to find skates and gear that suits your ability level is the best place to start. And, for the safest skating experience and before taking to the open road, don’t forget to spend a little time with the basics of skating, especially controlling your speed and stopping.
Now go ahead and go get those skates. You’ve got some exploring to do.