What to look out for when buying roller skates for kids

Kind mit SchutzausrüstungRiding around on roller skates is fun for both old and young. It trains your sense of balance, fitness and it’s just plain better for you than spending the whole day in front of the TV. However especially the roller skates for kids have to meet a number of requirements in order to be really safe and useful for them. In this article we’ll try to describe what to look out for when choosing roller skates for kids.

Inline skates or roller skates?

Even kids in primary school can start learning to ride roller skates. Roller skates offer a very stable base, because they have two axles with two wheels each. This wide platform makes it much harder to fall over sideways or for your ankles to buckle than inline skates. The stoppers in front are also a big help when getting started, because they allow you to easily lock you roller skates and keep them from rolling– that means you can even use them to climb stairs or steps.
Their only real disadvantage is that they require a more energy to skate very long distances and tours. However that shouldn’t really be of any concern for kids getting started.
Inline skates are especially useful at high speeds and over long distances. They are less agile than roller skates and it takes more strength to keep your balance and keep your ankles from buckling. Overall we think that inline skates are great for experienced riders who like to go on long tours or ride primarily to stay fit. However for kids who are just getting started are primarily riding for fun, roller skates are the better choice.

What makes a good roller skate?

In order for your investment in a pair of roller skates for the kids to really pay off, there’s one thing to look for: Make sure that the skates are adjustable in size and can grow with the child’s feet. The younger the child, the more important this is. This allows for the skates to be used for a long time and, even more importantly, it makes sure they fit for a long time. When buying adjustable roller skates you have to make sure that the rails are real stable. If they are unstable, then the whole ride becomes wobbly. Generally speaking, adjustable skates with a plastic railing are lighter and more flexible, but those with a metal railing are a lot more stable and durable.
The other big factory is weight. Kids roller skates are often built with very low weight limits. If you want to use the skates in the long run, you should keep an eye on that when choosing the perfect pair of skates. The skates themselves also shouldn’t be too heavy. Especially small children get tired really fast if they have to lift heavy plastic skates with metal rails.
A handful of companies offer skates that can’t roll backwards, which might be nice when you just start learning, but could be frustrating in the long run. A nice pair of stopper on the skates is more important.

Buying for kids

Every parent know it – the new shoes can be as comfortable and high quality as you want. If the optic isn’t to the liking of the little one, then you’ll have a nasty time trying to get him or her to wear them. That goes doubly for something like roller skates – having them look fancy is at least as important as them being actually good skates. At least from a kid’s perspective.
There are basically two kinds of roller skates. The “normal” kind are the ones where you slide your feet into the skates just like a normal shoe. They are great for adults and bigger kids, because they fit nice and tight. For younger kids they are a bit of a problem, because putting them on and taking them of is just a hassle.
For very small kids it might be a good idea to have a look at the other kind of skates. Instead of sliding just your feet into them, you attach the skates to the shoes you’re already wearing. Of course that’s a lot less stable than the other kind, but they are much easier to put on and take off. They are also helpful for small kids because  they’re usually size adjustable. So, as long as you have fitting shoes, you have fitting roller skates.

Important: Safety equipment

Safety equipment is very important – especially for kids. Roller skates make you quite a bit taller than you usually are and… well…. you kind of fall down a lot when learning to skate. A helmet, wrist, elbow and knee protectors should definitely be worn whenever the little one are on their skates. We devoted a whole article to safety equipment.

Where to get roller skates

The optimal place to get roller skates would be a dedicated sports shop. However very few of them are still around, and even fewer carry a sufficient variety of roller skates to choose from. That means the easier way to get roller skates is through online shops.

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Conclusion on roller skates for kids

When choosing roller skates for a small child, make sure that their size is adjustable so that they can grow with the kid. They need to be very robust in order to survive regular usage. For small children, skates which you attach to the normal shoes are much less hassle. And don’t forget the safety equipment.