They say the key to exercising regularly is to find the most enjoyable activity that keeps you motivated to stay active. If so, a favorite childhood pastime like rollerblading may be the missing element in your regular fitness routine.
Miami, Florida-based fitness trainer Starr Hawkins, better known as Babymommafit, can attest to the power of cross training via inline skating. She says it’s the perfect complement to her signature Pilates-meets-HIIT bootcamp classes.
“Rollerblading is something I used to do when I was a kid,” says Hawkins, who took up skating as an adult last year when a friend and client gave her a pair of skates. “It’s great cardio, it’s fun, and it makes you feel youthful.”
Hawkins now incorporates rollerblading into her own training schedule three times a week. Beyond the cardio benefits of rollerblading, she lauds its ability to engage different muscle groups.
“Rollerblading involves a lot of core strength because you have to hold yourself up,” says Hawkins. “As you push off, you use a lot of outer thigh. The movement is explosive and works your legs and your glutes.”
Unlike roller skates, the best inline skates for men feature a straight row of wheels instead of two wheels in the front and in the back. They’re often preferred by skaters nowadays, as they’re built for performance and offer durability. No matter your skill level, inline skates are a great way to incorporate exercise into your routine. Plus, they can provide a solid means of transportation for traveling shorter distances.
What to Look for in the Best Rollerblades for Men
When shopping for a great pair of rollerblades for men, consider your environment. For the best inline skates for outdoors or the best inline skates for rough roads, look for pairs that feature larger, harder wheels to stay balanced on uneven surfaces. Conversely, the best rollerblades for smooth streets or an indoor rink will be a pair with smaller, softer wheels.
Hawkins suggests absolute beginners start off in a rink so they can take advantage of its sides or walls for balance as they build coordination. Fitness and recreational skate wheels range between about 70 and 90 millimeters, and novices should start with a mid-size wheel for more control. The best rollerblades for beginners will have wheels measuring between about 80 and 84 millimeters, which is considered the all-purpose standard. Bigger wheels for rough roads and the outdoors will range between about 90 and 110 millimeters and are faster than smaller wheels, helping you cover long distances.
Where you’ll be skating will also determine the hardness of the wheels you’ll need. The best inline skates for rough roads will require a harder, or more durable wheel. Softer wheels have a stickier grip that provides traction indoors or on smooth outdoor surfaces, like asphalt. A wheel’s hardness is indicated with an A number; the higher the A number, the harder the wheels. A rule of thumb is to seek out 80A wheels or lower for indoors, and 82A wheels or higher for outdoors.
Bearings are also important, as they give your wheels the ability to spin. They’re typically rated according to the ABEC scale, which defines the precision. The higher the ABEC number is, the more precision and less resistance you’ll have, making it easier to maintain your speed. Moreover, skates with four wheels offer more stability than those with just three.
Next, you’ll want to look at the boot or shell. While soft boots are typically more comfortable and ventilated, hard boots tend to provide more stability and control, which is ideal for entry-level skaters. A low-cut boot allows for quick maneuvering, like zipping around an indoor track or the sidewalks in your neighborhood. For rougher terrains, a high-cut skate will offer more protection as you scale bumps in the road.
Then, there are composite or aluminum frames. If you’re using your skates causally, styles with composite frames are suitable. However, for better power transfer, you should choose an aluminum frame.
As you advance in your skating abilities, Hawkins says the best way to increase your caloric burn is to simply up your output. “Add speed if you can,” she advises. “Once you go fast your heart rate goes up and it’s a workout.” Any type of leg strength exercise, plus squats and planks, provides the ideal fitness base for getting you road- or rink-ready.
Here, we’ve rounded up the best inline skates for men of all levels from go-to brands like K2 Skate, Rollerblade, Roller Derby, and 5th Element. Each style is made to offer the support you need, whether you’re casually gliding along or picking up more speed.
Rollerblade Zetrablade Adult Fitness Inline Skate
Best Rollerblades for Beginners
Beginner skaters will benefit from the stability of four wheels and a high cuff for extra ankle support with these Rollerblade Zetrablade Adult Fitness Inline Skates. The skate’s frame is designed to provide a lower center of gravity than the average boot for more control. 80-millimeter wheels and ABEC 5 bearings are an ideal combination for novices. Cushioned liners are an essential element because the best inline skates for beginners should be comfortable enough to keep you coming back for more.
JEUWITH 3-Wheel Fitness Inline Skates
Best Inline Skates for the Outdoors
When you want to cruise long distances outdoors, opt for large wheels, like this 110-millimeter set on the JEUWITH 3-Wheel Fitness Inline Skates. Bigger wheels equal faster speed and the ability to easily traverse lots of ground for your next rollerblading workout. 85A wheels are tough enough to navigate all manner of outdoor environments. The aluminum frame is strong, yet lightweight to avoid foot fatigue.
5th Element Urban Inline Skates
Best Inline Skates for Rough Roads
The large wheels on these 5th Element Urban Inline Skates will ensure that rough cityscapes won’t slow you down. 110mm wheels can conquer trails, streets, and sidewalks. The three-wheel structure offers quicker handling and more control, plus faster speed to go any distance. High-density, polyurethane wheels are built to last, as is the lightweight aluminum frame.
Rollerblade RB XL Fitness Inline Skate
Best Rollerblades for Large Guys
Larger men will be familiar with the frustration of finding sporting equipment that fits. These Rollerblade RB XL Fitness Inline Skates were designed specifically for them and range from size 14 to 17.5. 90-millimeter/84A wheels are versatile to skate a variety of surfaces but allow for a little more speed than the beginner’s standard skate. The shell provides the extra support that big guys need, but still offers flexibility.
Rollerblade Macroblade 80 Men’s Adult Fitness Inline Skate
Best Rollerblades for Skating in the Street
Ideal for a smooth ride down the boardwalk or around your favorite park, this super-popular Rollerblade Macroblade 80 Men’s Adult Fitness Inline Skate boasts a versatile 80mm/82A wheel. These skates are geared for moderate speed and the utmost security courtesy of a higher boot cuff. A secure closure system anchors you in and keeps you low to the ground for easier balance. The beginning-to-intermediate skater will appreciate the extra padding and overall smooth ride.
LIKU Black Professional Inline Skates
You can remove the breathable, memory foam padded lining to wash in between rides on the LIKU Black Professional Inline Skates. The special “rockered” wheel set-up combines a front and back wheel that are slightly smaller than the two middle wheels, allowing for more tricks and precision. Replace the two smaller wheels with wheels of the same size for faster speeds. The secure closure system with laces and a buckle provides plenty of stability.
K2 Skate Kinetic 80 Inline Skates
For an optimal combination of safe speed with just the right amount of spin, K2 Skate Kinetic 80 Inline Skates have 80mm wheels and ABEC 5 bearings. You also have a vibration-absorbing composite frame that’s lower to the ground for a more balanced ride and a soft, breathable boot with a stability cuff for reliable support and flexibility. What’s more, a s K2 Speed Lacing System makes it easy to get in and out of the pair. These inline skates make an excellent choice for beginners.
Bladerunner by Rollerblade Advantage Pro XT Inline Skates
Another good option for new skaters, the Bladerunner by Rollerblade Advantage PRO XT has a customizable three-part closure system that provides a secure fit with ankle support and 80mm wheels with ABEC 7 bearings for moderate speed and control. The PRO XT also boasts a flexible boot with plush, breathable padding, a supportive shell and low-profile composite frame to keep you feeling stable, supported and balanced.
Roller Derby Aerio Q-84 Inline Skates
Designed with 84mm wheels and Bevo Gold-7 race-rated bearings, Roller Derby’s Aerio Inline Skates are great for both recreational and fitness skating. These inline skates also feature a solid, lightweight frame, articulated, flexible shell that delivers ankle support and freedom of movement and a ventilated boot with memory foam padding for comfort. Finally, the Locking Cam-Lever buckle, velcro power strap and laces come together to lend a secure fit.
FR Skates FRX 80 Freeskates
FR Skates’ FRX 80 Freeskates have 80mm/85A wheels that are harder and smaller with ABEC 7 bearings, making them speedy, easily maneuverable and ideal for urban free skating or freestyle skating. They come with a molded shell and a removable, washable padded liner for support and stability. Meanwhile, the X2R frame allows for a flat setup that suits most beginners or a rockered setup for increased maneuverability. To switch between these two modes, simply flip the front and rear frame axles. Durable Street King 80mm/85A wheels with TwinCam MW Bearings finish off the design for a great spin.
Decathlon Oxelo FIT500 Inline Fitness Skates
Made for intermediate skaters and mid-distance outings, Decathlon’s Oxelo FIT500 Inline Fitness Skates feature foam padding, heel cushioning and a semi-soft boot liner with mesh to prevent moisture buildup. They also have a stiff, high cuff, micrometric buckle and instep strap for adjustable security. And for a controlled glide, these inline skates for men also come with 80mm wheels with 80A hardness and ABEC 7 bearings.
K2 Skate F.I.T. 84 Pro Inline Skates
Recreational and skilled skaters alike can enjoy K2 Skate’s F.I.T. 84 Pro, which delivers a relaxed-fitting boot with plenty of ventilation, a secure closure system and a stiff aluminum frame that holds onto more energy than plastic composite frames. Underfoot, the K2 84mm 80A wheels are on the soft side to provide good grip and shock absorption and feature TwinCam ILQ5 bearings for an ideal balance of comfort and speed.
Fila Legacy Pro 84 Inline Skates
Fila’s Legacy Pro 84 features a rigid yet flexible aluminum frame as well as 84mm/83A wheels with ABEC 7 bearings that allow you to cruise both indoors or outdoors. To ensure a comfortable fit, the style utilizes Fila Air Flow technology for keeping feet cool, layers of padding and a triple closure system that locks the foot down.
5th Element Stealth 84 Inline Skates
Best Rollerblades for Experts
If you’re a more advanced skater, you can’t go wrong with the 5th Element Stealth 84 Inline Skates designed for a combination of speed, comfort and performance. The style has it all — including an all-aluminum chassis for superior energy transfer to help you get more power with every stride and 84mm wheels with ABEC 7 bearings for more precision and speed with less effort. It also has a soft, ventilated boot to keep you comfortable and protected and an easily adjustable closure system for a secure fit.
Rollerblade Macroblade Inline Skates
The Rollerblade Macroblade has a sturdy frame with a lower-profile design for enhanced speed and maneuverability. Engineered mesh in the upper and a padded interior provide plenty of cushioning and breathability for a comfortable ride. Meanwhile, a stiff, high cuff coupled with a power strap and speed-lace closure are designed to offer a secure fit with good ankle support. The 100mm/85A wheels and SG9 bearings should minimize wear, optimize speed and make this pair ideal for skating longer distances.