Guide to buying speed skates
Performance is of paramount importance when buying the right speed skates. This is why you should especially focus on the wheel size and the circumstances you plan to use your skates in as well as going for a tight fit. Read this guide to know which conditions can affect your skates’ ability to perform in order for you to pick the right pair - you might just end up cutting off some seconds of your lap time.
Watch this video in which we give you an overview of what you should know before you buy new speed skates (the video is in English).
Speed skates are optimized for high speed and long distances. The main focus is on performance, not comfort, and the goal is to obtain the maximum effect out of every stroke. Speed skates are used for skating in clubs, for competitions as well as regular fitness skating with a desire for more speed.
In the bottom of this guide you can also read about semi speed skates - a fusion between speed skates and fitness inline skates.
Speed skate wheels – based on circumstances and size
First of all, you should choose your wheels based on the wheel size and the surroundings you intend to use them in to get most possible out of them. There are various technologies and parameters like wind and temperature that come into play when choosing wheels. For example, you can get wheels for wet conditions as well as for indoor and outdoor use. Therefore, it is worth the time carefully reading the product descriptions on the website.
In general, speed skate wheels are characterized by the following:
- The wheel size is typically between 90-125 mm, making it easier for you to maintain a high speed and ensuring more directional stable skates.
- The profile is narrow which reduces friction, making it easier to keep a good pace.
- The wheel hardness/durometer is in the high end of the scale; 82-86A. Hard wheels create less friction and offer better speed. Remember to read the description on each product page, because you have more durometer scales out there.
- The higher the price, the better quality and performance you will get.
The bearing is placed inside the wheels and is of great importance to the rolling resistance of the wheel and thus its ability to spin. There are different standards for how to measure the rolling resistance. At SkatePro we normally specify the bearings according to the ABEC and ILQ measurement scale that define the precision of a bearing. A common thing for all bearings is that:
- The higher the ABEC/ILQ rating, the less rolling resistance. This means you will be able to maintain speed better and thereby obtain better lap results.
Open bearings – keep them well-maintained
Most speed skates come with open bearings to minimize the rolling resistance in order to give you a better roll and higher speed. Since it is easier for dirt to enter the open bearings, it is very important that you keep them well-maintained – especially if you skate in water and sand.
The boots on speed skates are optimized for high performance. That is why they are designed lightweight and why you normally do not have a brake since this will just be in the way. Moreover, they are designed with a:
- low cuff for maximum effect of strokes and techniques
- stiff boot for maximum power transfer
- tight fit for better control.
In general, the boots are made of quality materials - some even of carbon which is a very stiff material. With carbon boots you can choose to heat-mold them in order to get an even better fit.
We recommend the following:
- Choose the same size as your shoe size. You want the boots to have a tight fit in order to gain more control.
- Read the size guide on the product pages to learn more about the model in question.
It is important to remember that performance is paramount when it comes to the boot - not comfort. The tighter fit the boot has, the more control you will gain and the more effect you get out of every stroke you take.
The frame on speed skates is lightweight. Some have space for four wheels, others three. With most frames you can customize the setup to your personal preferences by adjusting the frame in the front and back and thereby turn it according to your foot. On certain brands it is also possible to mount pitch and stride control in order to tilt the frame and this way adjust the angle for a customized skating style. Speed skates are characterized by having a low center of gravity providing better control for you to practice various techniques. The wheelbase is designed long for stability at high speeds.
The skate protection for speed skates is often thinner and lighter to ensure you agility and high speed. And exactly because of the high speed that this skating style has to offer, it is really important that you use safety gear in case you were to fall.
Semi speed skates - fusion of speed and fitness
If you want speed, but would like to have comfort and a brake, you should choose semi speed skates - a hybrid between speed skates and fitness rollerblades. They keep some of the comfort of fitness rollerblades but have bigger wheels and can reach higher speeds.
The boot can be anything from a typical fitness boot to a very small, compact, and light boot as you see on speed skates. They do, however, maintain some of the same comfort known from fitness rollerblades.
The wheels typically measure 90-125mm and usually you get a brake. Some of the models that are very similar to speed skates possibly do not have a brake, but in these cases, you will most likely be able to buy one that matches the model.
Regarding size, we recommend choosing one size bigger than your normal shoe size.
Check out our wide selection of speed skates
If you still have any doubts or questions, feel free to contact us.