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Inline Skating Newsletter Article

Why I Recommend Rollerblade and K2 Brand Skates

By Liz Miller

As I say in my shopping advice, it's very important to buy good quality skates, because cheap ones invariably hurt and don't hold up--and may not even hold you up. I recommended three inline skate manufacturers to my fitness and recreation-oriented students for years: Rollerblade, K2 and Salomon. That's because I've worn these skates myself and I've seen how happy people in my lessons are with them. [Unfortunately, Salomon has quit selling skates in the US since this story first ran.]

It was a sturdy pair of Rollerblade brand skates that took me from wobbling unsteadily around my neighborhood to receiving a shipment of the first 3000 copies of Get Rolling. Those purple and chartreuse skates were so durable, they still make a great pair of loaners for the occasional student my size.

My second pair of Rollerblades came with the ABT (cuff activated) brake. I recommend this marvelous beginner's asset to anybody who is worried about balance or control. You can only get this kind of brake on Rollerblade-made skates. The design is now less clunky than the 1994 photo here. My only caution is that Rollerblade makes several low end models that are no better than the skates you find at a department (as opposed to sporting goods) store.

When the K2 brand soft-boot skates first came out, they were a marvel of comfort after being encased in plastic. I found I could be on my feet for hours of teaching or exploring. This new level of comfort earned K2 a dominant place in the inline market right away. I have been sponsored by K2 off and on since their early days and so far, I've only had one pair that wasn't a match for my feet. K2 also has low end models, but I feel no hesitation in recommending their full line.

I skated happily on four pairs of Salomon brand skates and loved them all because I was able to heat-mold them to the shape of my foot. With customization with a good soft-boot fit, I felt you couldn't go wrong. Unfortunately, these are no longer available in the US.

Salomon and K2 became very competitive with their soft boot technology and other comfort features. That inspired Rollerblade to develop its own line of soft boot skates with and without the ABT brake, which is a good thing! Today, you will find that any sporting goods or skate specialty store worth patronizing is selling Rollerblade and K2 brand skates.