Consumer Guides

Skates: Choice and Purchase

There are different types of skates, whether they are from ice, road or rollerblade in line, but all have in common the fact of allowing you to travel a long way with little effort … having fun! Here is an easy guide to get the best out of the shoes market, to choose the right model for you and your skills and to get prepared for the purchase.

History of The Skates

The very first skates you can trace are the bones of Mammuth that were used to slide on the ice. Following several eras after the rudimentary prototypes made as plates, steel blades on which to keep moving on the ice.

The real skating was born in the sixteenth century in the Netherlands, to allow movement during the winter, when the movements from one area to another were made difficult by heavy snow. In particular, we remember a date, 1572, as evidence of the presence of ice skates: it seems that during a clash in the open sea between Spaniards and the Dutch, the latter were saved precisely using the skates, while the enemies were locked in the middle in the ice.

The element of interest is that the skates were born as a means of transport and have continued for a long time to perform this function: it is not infrequent to find in the paintings of Flemish painters people on skates carrying the basket of shopping.

In 1900, skates begin to refine, the modern techniques of industrial processing apply to the creation of increasingly comfortable skates, with wheels or in line. The first were composed of a minimum of two and a maximum of ten wheels, chosen from three materials – wood, iron or rubber.

The wheels are due to an American annoyed by the inability to use the skates in the summer, or when the ice melted, and thought to equip them with a mechanism then unknown, the steering, which allowed to direct the wheels through the movements of the body.

In the twentieth century, skating is no longer a means of locomotion, but of leisure: you start skating on tracks not only of ice, but also of wood, to the sound of music – initially a live orchestra.

Type of Skates in Commerce

The first fundamental division is between roller skates and ice skates.

The wheels are then divided into ” quad ” skates, that is, the classic four-wheel skates, and ” in-line ” skates, which are not just the Rollerblades, certainly the most modern and similar, in use, to ice skates. Rollerblade is not, as you might think, a specific type of skate, but only the brand of the company that first commercially exploited the idea on a large scale of a skate suitable for everyone to move on the road, not only on slopes.

There are also other types of inline skates, such as Snow White and Pic Skates (also these are trademarks of manufacturers) that are used in ” figure skating “, in which there is no rear brake and the pad (or rostrum) front), far from being used as a break, it is used instead for jumps and figures, like the pad of the quads and like the teeth of the ice skates.

Roller Skates

The first models were made of wood, a maximum of 50 centimeters long, then the metal arrived and finally the boot as we know it, the one with the ball bearings and the two pairs of plastic wheels. Competitions with roller skates are necessarily carried out on smooth and hard surfaces, which follow smoothness and are free of dangers; often to this end the areas closed to traffic are used, for example: during the events and the city feasts.

The classic track for roller skating is a strip interspersed with two curves and two straights, all super-elevated and inclined towards the inside.

Inline Skates

They are called (improperly as we have seen) rollerblades, and represent the ‘last arrivals in chronological order but among the most appreciated in every part of the world. They have a plastic shell provided with laces or hooks designed to keep the ankle steady and to protect it from falls and trauma, the wheels are no longer arranged on two rows, but one behind the other on the length.

The structure on which the wheels are placed ends with the brake, which has the shape of a protrusion at the back, usually made of rubber. The newer models have ever larger wheels, allowing greater speeds.

This type of skate in line is the classic model designed by Rollerblade for the general public, with the rear brake, but it should be noted that it is not used by skaters experts, nor from those agonistic. The latter categories having different braking techniques do not use that type of brake which, among other things, is considered an element of embarrassment.

The Skates of Figure

It is divided into ” artistic “, ” dance ” and ” synchronized “. The misunderstanding that often confuses figure skating with figure skating is common and is due to the fact that in English ” figure skating ” does not exist as a term and is called ” Figure Skating “; this wording takes on the double meaning of generic ” figure skating “, at the top of the category, and of ” figure skating “, as we call it, in the name of the specialty.

In the variants of figure skating, there is also the ” skating show ” a variety of group that provides the use of scenic gear, which has no comparison on the ice where the tools are absolutely prohibited. Figure skating is a sport of individual type, of a couple or even of a team in which, by means of the movement on skates, exercises are performed on the ice.

The exercises are performed on a musical basis and can depict lines, steps, circles, pirouettes, jumps, all tied up in choreography with different degrees of difficulty.

Within the category, there are three specialties:

  • Traditional figure skating : performed precisely by a single or a couple that moves in unison.
  • Dance on ice : that the ice is strictly in pairs (on wheels even in solitary) and is less acrobatic of the artistic, since it is more like the ballroom dances.
  • Synchronized skating : teams, even mixed, but almost exclusively female.

To practice this type of discipline, it is necessary or in any case recommended to come from the dance world, which guarantees neuromuscular coordination and a good physical structure.

For women, it is required a lean, long-limbed body, as well as an essential body mass, just enough to allow acrobatic grips and evolutions; on the contrary, for man the ideal is a robust and solid physical structure, which allows performances based on physical force.

From the point of view of benefits on the body, figure skating represents a complete sport, to the extent that it affects all parts of the body, not just some as you might think with a superficial look. It is undeniable that the legs are involved in a relevant way, because the thighs and buttocks undergo continuous pressure, but the arms are used to maintain balance and participate actively in the exercises, as well as the abdominals, which are decisive for posture.

Therefore, an all-round action on the body mass, and benefits on the cardiovascular system because it is an aerobic discipline and as such, acts on the heart rate and on the venous circulation. The only sore point are slips and distortions: finishing with the butt on the ground will be the norm and report minor traumas too. But some bruises have never killed anyone.

The Skating on the ICE

It can be performed individually or in pairs, creating sequences of figures with the support of a musical base. Features:

  • Speed
  • Equilibrium
  • Coordination
  • Interpretation
  • Dissimulation of physical effort

In fact, one never gets the impression that the skaters get tired during the performance: they smile and twirl like the most natural thing in the world, while in reality, the body is subjected to a not insignificant stress.

The performance evaluation also follows very strict criteria expressed in fixed and unequivocal fixed scores: a jury composed of nine elements will then judge the performances not on a basis of comparison between the athletes, or on the objective and/or emotional achievement of the exercise, but on the assignment of a score that meets unequivocal and unquestionable absolute evaluation requirements.

The exhibition is in any case divided into two parts, one compulsory, the other free: the compulsory program includes the lifting, the jump, the individual jump, the pirouette, the spiral and the spinning top in pairs; the free program instead focuses on the spectacular performance, relies on music, which can be rumba, samba, mambo, merengue, salsa or cha cha cha and must respect the time limit of 4 minutes and 30 seconds.

Skating on ice has become a phenomenon of custom, one of the alternatives of entertainment for an increasing number of fans of the genre. In all the big cities, there are ice rinks equipped to offer the public the opportunity to freely and skately dedicate themselves to skate: beginners and lovers of the material meet on the common ground of pirouettes and vaulting, without rules or inhibitions, because the categorical imperative is to have fun.

There is no learning, no teaching, but the passion and desire to turn for once without restraints, even if you do not have the skills, and be for once like the stars you admire on television.

In addition, in terms of expenditure of calories do not mess around, there is even talk of 400 calories with only one hour of non-competitive skating but still faced in a serious way, without pauses or slowdowns; for professionals who perform demanding workouts, the figure rises to 900. Try it for yourself.

Companies that Produce or Sell Shoes


Leader of the in-line skating market, he was the first to deal with it, transferring its functionality from hockey to the entire public. Now the Rollerblades represent a style in its own right, untied by references to a single discipline and used by anyone, professionals as well as those who just want to have fun, in every place and every age.

The amplitude of the lines offered is almost infinite, they are subdivided between woman, man and child and, in each new proposal, an ever more refined technology and an increasingly broad wearability are conjugated. The site is valuable not only for purchases, but also for the availability of information on the best way to use the skate, which require careful maintenance and special care, so as to use them without risk and to preserve them over time.