Maybe you’re reenacting the fantastical, mind-bending cheesiness of Xanadu. Or maybe your kid just discovered the Drew Barrymore-directed roller derby romp Whip It! Whatever the case may be, roller skating is not only a great way to get kids off their screens and outdoors, it’s also a fun yet socially distant group activity that lets them burn off some energy while also working on their balance and gross motor skills. The best roller skates for kids look cool, without question, but also last for years and provide ample stability as skaters traverse the neighborhood. And even adults get in on the action: Padma Lakshmi and her daughter skated all over Paris this summer.
According to the pros at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, skating makes for invigorating outdoor exercise, provided you follow some basic safety precautions. Make sure your little athlete wears a helmet specifically for skating; these come down lower in the back to protect the skull in case of a backwards fall. Make sure the helmet fits properly, with the chin strap snug under the chin. And kids should wear knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards because of those things called broken bones and sprains.
The skates themselves should have solid ankle support; if you can squeeze the plastic of the boot, they’re not supportive enough. The wheels and brakes should be secured and not worn out, and the skates themselves should be buckled snugly. The best kids roller skates and blades are maximally adjustable: little feet should feel snug without being uncomfortable.
The Best Roller Skates for Growing Kids
For your future derby star, these quad skates are tailor-made for the beginner. A padded collar is more comfortable, while a power strap above the ankle provides confidence-building stability. Soft, grippy wheels and quicksilver bearings will have him of her tearing up the track in no time.
These skates may not be the fastest, nor will the provide the most support. But for the true beginner who's growing like a weed, the Trolls roller skates provide a key feature: adjustability. They expand out with the growth of your son or daughter's foot, allowing him or her to wear them longer, thus saving you from hemorrhaging money.
Perfect starter skates for little kids, these go up four sizes when you twist a lever. Because they have no shoelaces, they're easier for younger kids to manage. The ankle support is solid, and these can be used indoors or outside.
Not only does this skate adjust four full sizes when you push a button, but these are the most solid beginner skates you can buy, made by the brand that has been outfitting skaters since 1905. The high-top style gives kids added stability. The padded collar is for comfort. And the breathable inner mesh prevents foot sweat. The tow ratchet buckles ensure a better and secure fit.
These classically cool skates feature an athletic-style boot with a padded ankle collar; the lace and Velcro closures make adjusting the fit easy. The wheels are oversized for extra stability.
Subtle, they're not. And yet these are truly standout skates, because of the reinforced boot and dual front brakes for easy stops. Plus, the skates can be used indoors or outdoors. You just push a button to adjust the sizing for growing feet.
The Best Roller Skates for Older Kids
The Moxi brand is considered pretty much best in class, which is no surprise given that it was founded in 2008 by roller skater Michelle Steilen a.k.a. Estro Jen. And yes, they're an investment, so buy them if your kid is a fan of the sport. Here's what you get: An inner liner that is made from moisture-wicking Dri-Lex that keeps feet cool, a rolled collar that boosts range of motion, and metal hooks for ultra-tight lacing. The wheels are made from high-rebound urethane, so they're ideal for getting around sharp turns with panache. And the ride is the smoothest in the biz. Plus, you get PowerDyne toe stoppers for easy braking control.
How absolutely cool are these skates? Perfect marriage of form and function. They lace up for a simple fit, and have additional ankle padding and a curved collar for extra support and comfort. They can be used indoors or out.
This hardy but cute Aussie brand makes vegan skates with metal speed lace eyelets, aluminum alloy trucks and baseplate, and ABEC 7 bearings. Meaning, you get a fast, balanced, and very smooth ride.
If your kid feels the need, the need for speed, these are skates you want to consider. They have a sneaker-style boot, meaning, your kid can go faster. They're a good fit for anyone experienced enough to try skating tricks, or just wanting to go fast(er).
These look like figure skates. They lace up like figure skates. They fit like figure skates. You get the idea here. They ABEC-5 bearings and a Carrera toe stop, meaning great stability, balance, and stopping. They're for indoor use only.
Impala is an Australian brand that's dedicated to bringing back a love of skating. And these retro-feeling skates are pretty dreamy. The upper is PVC, the wheels are colorful and roll smoothly. You can use these indoors or out.
The Best Roller Blades for Kids
These too have adjustable sizing; you just push a button to adjust it up to four sizes. This particular style is ideal for casual and recreational inline skating. And they can be used indoors or outside.
The cool thing about these roller blades: Kids can go somewhat faster, without having to put in the effort. That's because of how the wheels are designed. The boot design gives them extra foot support and balance, and the easy closure system ensures that their ankles aren't wiggling around.
If these look a little like ski boots, that's no accident. They provide truly solid ankle support. Kids don't need to break them in, and they have adjustable straps and pull tab for a great fit. The padded boot liner is breathable and there's an optional heel brake. They're best for kids who have already earned their sea legs on actual roller skates.
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