As of mid-2020, the hottest recreational trend to hit the airwaves (and by airwaves, we mean TikTok) was rollerskating. These retro videos of people seamlessly gliding through their towns and cities were all over the place and, suddenly, we all wanted to be just like that. Videos of expert jumpers showing off their modded skates gave us an envy that we didn't even know we had... although, on the other hand, it could have just been the knee high socks and skate colors we were jealous of.
Regardless of what it was that drew you to these videos and here, by extension, chances are, you're curious about skating. Cool tricks aside, rollerskating is a great way to see local sights and have an excuse to travel from one skate part to the next. It's one way to see the world from a local level and we're all about it.
It might seem like the cool thing to do to roll out on your new skates and forget about a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads. Many new (naive) skaters have scars from this and some, even worse. Don't be that person. Protective padding isn't like it used to be in the 90s and no longer looks as though a person is wearing cotton balls strapped to their joints. Modern protective padding comes streamlined, sporting unique and fun colors, and in a range of various styles that ~definitely~ won't clash with your attire.
Yes, it's pricey. Anything that could potentially save a person's life - or their limbs - is going to be pricey. However, it's worth it, and this is all rolled into the cost of learning how to rollerskate, rollblade, or even cycle. In reality, safety is priceless so consider the money spent as a good insurance investment that only needs to be paid for once. Some brands to consider when it comes to protective gear are JBM, Pro-Tec, Triple Eight, and Smith Scabs. It comes down to this: some protective gear is better than none and if it's fits and is comfortable, get it.
Choose Your Challenger (AKA, Skates)
There are countless resources out there right now about which skates are the best for beginners. This, in itself, is overwhelming. While they all have very similar styles, the textures, fits, and wheels all vary, and in regard to the latter, those are not something you're likely to be changing out your first week of rollerskating. The Skates that you're likely to see all over the place right now are either Moxi Skates or Impala Skate brands.
One is more affordable than the other but, overall, you're going to spend at least $100 on good skates - and that's exactly what you want to do. Other alternatives such as Chicago Skates from Amazon might be slightly cheaper, while Riedell Skates are usually upwards of $150. In short, do your research. Read the reviews and watch YouTube videos on unboxings. It's tempting but don't pick a skate simply because it's cute.
Get Some Fun (Practical) Clothing
While all of those skaters look super cook in their gear and attire, much of it also serves a purpose. Bike shorts under skate skirts, spandex shorts, tank tops, fitted tees, loose stretchy pants, and, basically, anything that frees up the ankle, knees, and elbows is a good choice. Protective gear needs to fit under or over anything a skater wears and it's even easier when there's nothing there to finesse with. So, while skate clothing can look super cool, it also serves a super cool purpose.
Additionally, those knee-high socks aren't just for show. Many skaters wear them and it's not so much a trademark of the sport as it is a way to prevent the tops of the skates from creating friction around your upper ankles. Rollerskates are essentially high tops with a lot more weight and a lot more stability, therefore, they will grind and rub against any uncovered skin. High socks serve as a protective barrier and while they can look super fun, they're not just for looks.
Skates Require One Important Tool
It costs about fifteen bucks and it's called a Y3 tool. You can probably guess why - it's shaped like a 'Y' and has three different tools attached, all used to alter or mod skates. Typically, this wouldn't be something that's necessary to have right from the get-go but in the case of many new skates, the wheels are often very tight.
This can affect how quickly - and easily - one learns how to rollerskate, adding more complication to something that's already not easy. Additionally, this tool will allow skaters to add things to their skates and replace the wheels and toe stop if they choose, so it's $15 well spent.