You’re looking to buy a pair of the best roller skates for kids so your little one can enjoy the indoors and outdoors more. But there’s tons of choices on the market, and it can get a whole lot overwhelming. You’re up against a vast sea of what looks like good quad skates for young children. But which is the absolute best kid’s roller skate for the money? This resource answers that question and many others besides.
These kids roller skate reviews (+buying guide) dive into the features and other considerations to look for while shopping. Hopefully, your toddler or child will end up with youth roller skates they’ll love and use.
Whether your young girl or boy wants nice-looking roller skates for goofing around in the skating rink, gliding down smooth sidewalks, or just enjoying the great outdoors, you’ll find a pair that’ll work for them.
What’s the Right Age for Kids to Start Roller Skating?
Most child development experts believe young children in the 4-5 age range can handle roller skates. But age isn’t the most important thing, the ability to balance coupled with great coordination skills is.
When I was poring through material for this post, I learned that many parents buy the first-ever pair of skates for their kids at age 5.
But also keep bumping into interesting folks on Reddit and elsewhere who claim to have strapped on their first pair of quad skates at age 2! I think allowing a 2 -year-old to be rolling around on oiled wheels isn’t a good idea.
Guide to Choosing Kids Roller Skates: Summary
First and foremost, get the right size skate. Also, consider buying an adjustable size skate.
It’s better to have OK roller skates with a perfect fit than premium skates with a poor fit. Fit is the most critical aspect when it comes to choosing kids’ skates of any kind. And because the feet of children are always growing, consider choosing roller skates with some mechanism that lets you adjust the size.
Comfor and foot support matter, too
Once you have the fit right, consider how supportive and comfortable the boot is. Kids need comfortable skates that also provide adequate ankle support while still being reasonably maneuverable.
Don’t ignore bearings, wheel size, hardness, and quality
Then, turn your attention to features such as the wheel quality, hardness, and size. Bearings don’t have to be highly ABEC-rated, but they shouldn’t be so crappy that doesn’t spin at all. Metal base plates are great especially if the child is kind of big and heavy, but plastic plates should be OK for most kids. Next, brakes. They shouldn’t be defective, and if they’re replaceable, that’s even better.
Finally, choose a kiddo-friendly color/color combination. Kids love bright, exciting colors rather than dark, adult-y ones. Boys tend to favor blue, green, black, and red. Most boy’s roller skates come in different color combinations such as black/purple, black/blue, green/black, and red/green among others.
Girls seem to like pink and purple, but girls roller skates are available in various color combinations with pink or purple in the mix. And if the skate also has some great child-centric graphics, that’s nice.
Price and Brand
These two come last because they’re the least important. $100-$200 kids roller skates are decent. You can buy whichever brand you like, but if you have any doubts concerning brands, stick to trusted brands such as Chaya, Impala, Chicago, Riedell, Bont, Roller Derby, and Candi Grl.
Which Roller Skates Are Best for Children?
The best roller skates for kids are those that fit well without causing blisters or decreasing power transfer. Price and brand should be secondary considerations after fit and comfort and support.
But if you’re looking for actual recommendations, consider the xxx. Not only does this skate look fabulous and fit well, but it’s also size-adjustable. You won’t have to buy a new pair of skating boots every month because that’s how fast those little feet are expanding!
5 Best Roller Skates for Toddlers and Kids
Here’s the list:
*This website participates in the Amazon Associates program. And as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
1.Best Overall: Sowume OTW-Cool Adjustable Kids Roller Skates
A company called Sowume makes the OTW-Cool unisex kids roller skate. Sowu what? I googled up the name, and I couldn’t find any website anywhere that bears that name.
But I did bump into this source and learned that Sowume is a 2019-registered company that deals in a bunch of baby gear. They carry inline skates, kites, balloons, toy cars, baby toys, infant toys, and more.
And this little-known company delivers. Here’s how I know that: over 2,600 parents on Amazon voted the Sowume OTW-Cool Roller Skate for Kids as one of the best options for the money. As I type out this, the product displays a customer rating of 4.8/5. That means something, right?
The OTW-Cool is a decent-quality skate that looks just its name suggests — really cool. It’s exactly what your cool kid craves. And the best part? They’re comfortable thanks to the well-thought-out design and generous cushioning inside.
Young boys and girls who start hitting the local roller rink on these skates never want to stop. They want to roller skate forever. Because these nice-looking kids’ quads fit like a glove. They’re nowhere near those poorly made Walmart doodads that squeeze the living hell out of young skaters’ feet.
The OTW-Cool skate adjusts up to 4 sizes. You won’t have to buy new roller skates for Ryan or Roslyn every other month. And your lass or lad can easily operate the release button that powers adjustability.
Its urethane wheels have a diameter of 54mm tall and a width of 32mm. Most kid-specific quad skates have 47mm-60mm wheels, so 54mm is standard. Its 32mm wheels are stable enough for beginner kids and more experienced youngsters.
A durometer rating of 82A means these PU rubber wheels are soft enough for skating outdoors and on really slick indoor surfaces. But they’re also hard enough for use on most indoor surfaces.
The bearings are ABEC 7. These are high-performance skate bearings that spin really well. They’re not overkill for neophytes or mediocre for advanced skaters. They’re good ABEC 7-rated bearings for all skating levels.
What’s more, all eight wheels light up as the tot zips around. And no battery is required. Besides promoting visibility while skating at sunset, light up roller skate wheels energize and glamorize the ride.
Sizes Chart for Sizing OTW-Cool Kids Roller Skates:
- Small (S): 10C-13C US for kids aged 4-6 years
- Medium (M): 13C-3Y for 7-10 year old kids
- Large (L):3Y-6Y youth size for kids aged 11-13 years
By the way, Y is for youth size and C for children size.
Safety: Each skate features a PU toe-stop/brake. Both brakes are easy, safe, and comfortable to use. If your kid hasn’t learned to stop on roller skates or even to roller skate, learn how to teach them to roller skate.
Closure type: Laces, powerstrap, and buckle. No issues whatsoever with any part of this 3-tier skate fastening system.
Available colors: Pink and pink/black for girls and blue/orange/green/yellow for boys.
- Look cute and flashy
- Many positive reviews from parents
- Wide wheels for stability
- Soft, grippy PU rubber wheels that work outdoors and indoors
- Cushy liner for comfort
- Adjusts to 4 full sizes to save you money
- Under-$70 price point
- Light-up wheels that spiece up the ride
But don’t even the most popular brands sell defective products and even treat customers with disdain?
2.Best Roller Skates for Boys: Xinosports Kids Adjustable Roller Skates
What about the bearings? They’re rated as ABEC 7. This means they don’t suck at spinning. These are 608zz carbon/steel bearings, and they should last quite a while.
Build quality is good. They look like an adult’s skates, and they provide as much firmness and support around the ankle as your son will ever need. I don’t have if this has anything to do with the name of the company, Xinosport, but these skates have a sporty feel about them.
A mom I’m in my social circles bought this skate for one of her two sons and Chicago roller skates for the other son. The Chicago looks good, but not nearly as good as this choice. And when it comes to overall skate quality, fit, and comfort, these little guys blew the Chicago ones out of the water.
Each of the sons rides their skates hard, and after 6 months, the Chicago option has started to show some wear. As for the Xinosport boy’s skate, it scoffs at abuse and fiercely guards its integrity.
One super important fact about this option is that it expands to accommodate fast-growing feet. Pressing a button on the side of this skate easily adjusts the skate up to 4 sizes. Xinosport offers this skate in two kids’ sizes:
- Youth Medium: Adjusts from youth sizes 1 to 4 for kids aged 7-8 years
- Youth Large: Grows from size 5 to size 8 when you push in the green fit adjustment button. This size is for kids in the 9-12 age range. Just in case you’re wondering if it’s the same as men’s adult size 5-8, it is.
These kids’ quads look adult-y enough. If you’re within the stated size limit, you can wear them and no one will ever know you’re wearing skates designed for young children.
Oh, I almost forgot about the looks. Skates aren’t always cute, but these are. These are some of the nicest I’ve seen, the sort that gets compliments all the time. Buy these as a Christmas gift for some youngster, and they’ll love you forever.
Their friends will love them too, and soon, every kid in your neighborhood will be gliding around on these. You’ll have touched off a revolution, a revolt against bad-quality skates that make parents hesitate to usher their kids into the exciting world of roller skating.
Colors: Black/blue with bits of green on the front of the skate, adjustment button, buckle, and collar. The toe stops, rear wheels, and cuff are blue. There’s also a bit of blue on the side of the toe box, but the front wheels are green. I can’t see how any boy wouldn’t love these skates.
- Great build quality at a reasonable price point
- Light-up PU wheels that don’t need a battery
- A unique design: A rollerblade boot mounted on 2×2 wheels instead of 1x4wheels
- Stylish looks that gets your son noticed (for all the right reasons)
- ABEC 7 carbon/steel bearings that spin well
- Brand known but not the most popular
But who cares about brand when a company’s products speak for themselves?
3.Budget Girls Roller Skates: Roller Derby Trac Star
Like many kids’ roller skates these days, this one looks like a rollerblade boot sitting on a 4-wheeled plastic base.
I was surprised when I saw how nicely made the skate really is, because most low-priced kids roller skates have horrible workmanship.
Some really bad ones have color runs everywhere. And they fit awkwardly. Plus, the majority are extremely clunky. The worst part? They fall apart insanely fast.
Good news: You don’t see any of the mediocrity on the Roller Derby Trac Star.
America’s very own roller skate brand, Roller Derby, is a big brand. And it’s conceivable that its monstrous size enables this company to access decent-quality construction materials at incredibly low prices. How else do you explain these girls’ starter roller skates being so cheap yet so beautiful and solid?
Like the others in these reviews, the Roller Derby Trac expands when you work the pink adjustable button found above the rear wheels. Operating this size adjustment device is easy. Any kid old enough to wear these quad skates can operate it without help.
But how well do the wheels roll? I’ll start with the good and then tell you about the not-so-good about this skate’s wheels.
The good: These aren’t like those shiny, clunky plastic wheels with zero rebound found on most $25ish kiddie skates. These are 54mm urethane wheels. At such an attractive price, that’s really NICE.
Durometer rating information of these wheels isn’t provided. But it’s reasonable to assume they’re 80A-ish. They’re ideal for skating indoors as well as outdoors.
The not-so-good: The wheels don’t spin that smoothly. Well, they’re not too bad for a complete beginner who has no idea how nicely good roller skate wheels roll.
Once your daughter starts rolling at the local skating rink and sees how smoothly other kids glide around, they’re going to want new skates. Think of these as the quintessential kiddie roller skates. Because they’re really pretty, but not awesome performance-wise.
Pro tip: I later learned that Roller Derby ships this skate with the wheels adjusted tighter. They want to help beginner kiddies get used to the skates without rolling around uncontrollably.
So, as your daughter’s skating skills improve, loosen the wheels a little to release some of the tightness. But the skates are supportive and surprisingly durable for the money.
Lest I forget, the trucks and base plate are plastic. But did anyone expect metal trucks and base plates at that price point? So, don’t buy these if your daughter is too heavy for their age. For big, heavy girls and women, metal trucks and base plates are the best bet.
But getting these skates on can be challenging especially over the first few times. I read a comment somewhere (Reddit, Amazon? Can’t remember) that I feel Roller Derby should capture in the user instructions. The commenter’s daughter couldn’t get their feet into the boot insert for the life of them.
After several futile attempts to strap the skates on, the mom decided to undo the skate’s straps and took the detachable, washable inner boot out. The daughter slid into the liners without a problem. Next, she put the out shell on and fastened the Cam-Lever buckles.
Luckily, after about 7 times removing the inner boot first, the problem ended. Her daughter can now get her skates on and off without needing to remove the liner.
Sizes: These are sold in 3 different sizes namely:
- Medium size: 12J-2 for Size for kids aged 5-7 years
- Large size: 3-6 for 7-10 year olds
The skate in the picture above is medium size 12-2.
Closure type: There’s a 45˚plastic buckle that clasps the foot nice and secure & another plastic buckle on the top. Both are sturdy and stay in place.
Colors: Vibrant pink mixed with some green, black, and white.
- Real eye candy
- Good for indoor &outdoor roller skating
- Easy-to-use Cam-Lever buckles for snug secure fit
- Shell made of quality plastic
- Breathable, removable, washable boot liner
- A pocket-friendly price point
- Skate arrive ready to use
- Made by Roller Derby, a well-known American skate brand
- Size adjustable
- No laces to tie
- Plastic trucks & base plates
- Wheels don’t roll super smoothly at first
- Getting the skates on/off troublesome at initially
- No illuminating wheels
- Not ideal for heavy young skaters
Verdict: Probably the best cheap girl’s roller skates out there. It adds up to tons of value for the money.
4.Best Sneaker-style Roller Skates: Chicago Girls Sidewalk
Some girls roller skates look like rollerblades. Others look like a dress shoe. And the Chicago Girls Sidewalk Roller Skates look like a real sneaker on wheels.
As you might expect, these skates are comfortable. And because they’re a high-top design, they’re quite protective and supportive. They’re as supportive and protective as you might expect any sneaker on wheels to be.
But at $39-ish, no one should expect premium-quality components, and this doesn’t disappoint. The parts could be better quality. And construction quality could be better.
At 60mm, its wheels are taller than those of any of the other four picks reviewed here. 60mm roller skate wheels are the biggest wheels found on kiddies’ quad skates. Because the wheels have a reasonably large diameter/size, the sneaker-like quads take on sidewalks better than most. And when you throw indoor skating surfaces on them, they perform even better.
But these wheels aren’t like the regular thane roller skate wheels we know. They’re “composite”, which essentially means they’re less rubbery and less bouncy. Which in turn means your daughter will feel some of the shocks and vibrations.
Bearings? They’re not the best. Chicago describes the bearings as semi precision bearings. That’s just a fancy of saying that the spin is meh.
Not surprisingly, this cheapo skate for girls features plastic trucks and base plates. Nothing wrong with having plastic parts. In fact, options with plastic plates and trucks tend to be lighter and cheaper than those with metal ones.
But plastic isn’t as sturdy/supportive as metal, and it’s not as durable.
Some parents have seen their daughter’s Chicago skates break after gliding around on them for just a month. That doesn’t sound like the best value for the money.
Still, I believe you’d get more bang for your buck by going with the significantly cheaper and nicer-looking Roller Derby Trac Star.
In comparison, the Trac Stars are better made. And the materials seem (and feel) like better quality. And while the Trac Stars don’t last forever, they sure beat these Chicago skates hands down in the longevity race.
Here’s one more thing: The Chicago Sidewalk Roller Skates for Girls aren’t size-adjustable. With these skates, the only way to keep up with fast-growing feet is to buy a bigger size every couple of months.
The padding inside is good, but it could be better. And tongue tends to shift during use. However, securing the skates firmly helps.
Sizes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, junior 12, and Junior 13.
Color: Pink/white with a blue tongue.
Closure type: Laces & Velcro strap on the top.
- Attractive price
- Sneaker-style design
- Large wheels that make gliding over sidewalks easy
- Nice girlie colorway
- Parts not the best quality
- Wheels don’t have much bounce
- Better skates can be had for cheaper
- Not very durable
Verdict: OK-ish, but not the best option for the money. But if you’re looking for sneaker-style skates for your daughter to learn on or just see the neighborhood with and don’t mind buying new skates from to time, then these are OK.
5.Best Roller Skates for Toddlers: Roller Derby Fun Roll
Are you shopping for a toddler? This is one of the options you want to consider. It looks like, well, a toddler roller skate. As you’d expect, this toddler quad skate is covered by kiddie graphics and patterns. And with such colorful decorations on the boot, tots don’t try too hard to love these quads.
One feature that makes these kids skates stand out from the rest is their tractor-like design. Close your eyes now and envision a farmer’s tractor. What does it look like? It has a solid build, and the rear wheels are remarkably larger than the front wheels.
I wondered why Roller Derby decided to draw creative inspiration from a tractor. Do you know why tractors have bigger rear wheels? Engineers place bigger, heavier wheels in the back mainly to promote better weight distribution especially while the machine’s pulling something. These vehicles have massive engines which weight tons, and the engine stays nearer to the front. To balance out the increased weight in the front, engineers place two super large wheels in the back. That’s smart!
Roller Derby put two large wheels in the back of this skate and two smaller ones in the front for the same reason — stability. The wheels are wide and farther apart than the front ones.
These PU wheels aren’t positioned under the skate, instead, they stay somewhat to the side, which keeps the base nice and wide. This design focuses on creating enough stability into your child’s first-ever ride so that they can start racing around like a little champ right off the bat.
It gets even better. Unlike regular kids roller skates that have the brakes out front, the brakes for these are in the rear. If you’re familiar with how tots fall, it’s almost always backward. These rear brakes make sure rearward falls won’t happen, or will occur less.
But won’t the child experience forward momentum when the rear brake stops them from falling? Yes, there’ll be some forward momentum. But chances are they’ll catch themselves before they eat crap.
These skates are comfortable thanks to their adequately padded interior. But you can’t remove the inner liner to clean it.
But they’re not fast at all. They lack the free roll of regular skates. As soon your baby discovers regular roller skates, they’ll ditch the Fun Roll for good.
They’re adjustable too. They’re designed to extend a full 5 sizes. That’s nice, but there’s more to know about this below.
Sizing: The Roller Derby Fun Roll roller skates come in two sizes:
Small size: J7-11, these aren’t small — they’re tiny. The size chart seems way off. Many parents of 3-year-olds find that their little girl or girl can’t get either foot past the top of the non-detachable inner boot. They’re small for many toddlers at age 3.
Medium size: 11-2: Unless your child has a very short and thin foot, Medium is the size that’ll fit them. If they’re a baby shoe size 8 for example, buy the next size up, which is size 11-2.
- Wheels sized and configured to provide maximum stability
- Skate design with a low center of gravity for stability and safety
- Great for beginner toddlers (boys and girls)
- Brake’s at the back to stave off rearward falls
- Adjusts to 5 sizes
- A Roller Derby product
- Great for absolute beginner toddlers (boys and girls)
- Size Small extremely small (won’t fit many 3-year-olds)
- Not fast
Closure type: 2 Cam-lever buckles that are super easy to adjust.
Color: for girls, there’s a pink option with pink wheels and yellow emojis on the boot. And for boys, the smaller front wheels and brake pad in the rear are blue while the rear wheels and a few other spots are yellow. The pattern on the boot looks noticeably different than the patterns on the girls’ version.
Verdict: Good as the first-ever roller skate for your toddler because of their great stability and safety features (rear brakes). Remember, the size chart provide isn’t accurate. Buy medium size as the smaller is for extremely tiny feet
Safety Roller Skating Tips for Toddlers and Children
Let’s dive right in.
1. Get your toddler to put sufficient protection before they go out roller skating.
Have them wear a properly certified roller skating helmet every time before they leave the house. Also, encourage them to wear their knee pads and wristguards. A dual-helmet is the best protection you can give them. And here’s a list of roller skate helmets for kids that meet the stringent safety standards of the US CPSC and ASTM F1492.
Help the child wear the safety gear correctly so that it fits as it should. Shoe them how to lace up and fasten their skates using the straps and buckles. And if the boot uses a BOA closure system of any kind, check to make sure it’s working properly.
2. What if my child hates helmets? Have them wear it anyway. If they can skate, they can understand just how terrible a bad fall can be if they spill without a helmet. Alternatively, ask them what it is they don’t like about their helmet. If it’s not cool enough, why not get great creative and add some nice graphics on it? Alternatively, go to a skate store with them and ask them to pick what they like.
3. Make sure the skating surface is safe: You never want your child skating on a busy street when there’s lots of traffic. Also, choose a surface that’s flat and smooth because it’s unlikely they’ll trip on some pebble or twig and break their skull or wrist!
Besides that, it’s that much harder to build up lots of speed if the surface is flat. Let’s them skate around the house if they’re too young or out in the driveway if they’re older.
4. Parental supervision is essential when the child is roller skating. Unless they’re a teenager or mature enough to skate safely outdoors, keep an eye on that mischievous tike.
5. Replace damaged gear soonest you can:
Make sure to take a close look at the helmet and rest of the equipment and discard it or replace broken or worn down parts.
6. Roller skate with your kid:
Some kids may not want to roller skate with their parents, especially older kids and teens. But unless they’ve told you they don’t want company, why put on a pair of adult skates and explore the outdoors with them? Roller skating is so much fun; few outdoor activities have greater potential when it comes to cementing bonds.
7. Nighttime roller skating is a bad idea unless you’re skating with them or you’re doing it in a place without vehicular traffic.
Because accidents happen more often when it’s dark. If you must do it after dusk for some reason, make sure to increase visibility. That’s where wearing a reflective hand band, vest, or skate with light-up wheels comes in.
A Parent’s Guide to Buying Roller Skates for Kids
Below are a few things to keep top of mind when shopping for kids roller skates. Remember, brand and price aren’t the most important considerations. Fit, comfort, quality, and ankle support are.
Should You Buy Roller Skates or Inline Skates?
Should you buy inline skates or roller skates for your little one? Most parents have found that kids learn easier on roller skates than inline skates. Inline skates require more stamina to balance and control compare to roller skates. Also, inline skates can gather speed really fast, which can be dangerous for a complete beginner who’s yet to master stability and balance on skates.
I explain below why roller skates are better to learn on vs. rollerblades/inlines.
Kids Roller Skates vs. Inline Skates: Summary
- Inline skates for kids have mostly 4 wheels, but inline skates can have as many as 6 wheels vs. always 4 for roller skates.
- Wheels arranged in a line in inline skates vs. side-by-side in roller skates.
- Inline skate boots are typically made of synthetic material while roller skate boots are usually made of leather, suede, or synthetic materials.
- Inlines skates come with a brake on one side of the skate while both roller skates use toe stops or toe plugs.
- Inlines skates have a frame supporting the foot while quad skates have a base plate and trucks offering support.
- Inline skates are lighter than quad skates, but quads are easier to learn on because they have wider wheels and a wider base.
What Are Roller Skates?
Also called quad skates, roller skates are a type of skate with four wheels arranged in 2 x2 parallel rows. There’s a pair of wheels at the back and a pair at the front of each skate. Each wheel-set mounts onto metal skateboard-like trucks with an axle. The trucks connect the wheels to the skates through base plates.
Most kids’ roller skates come with plastic base plates. But if you find a skate that checks all the other boxes and has a metal base plate, grab that. Skates with an aluminum plate tend to be pricier, but that’s because they tend to be more supportive and last longer.
What Are Inline Skates?
Also known as rollerblades, inline skates are a type of roller skate that have between two and six slim wheels with an in-line configuration. That is, the wheels stand in single file, one about one inch behind the other. Rollerblades for children for the most part come with four wheels. And a metal axle (usually made of steel) attaches each wheel-set to the frame.
I said above that roller skates are easier than inline skates to learn on, but why’s that so? Because roller skates are designed with a pretty wide base and have remarkably wider wheels compared to rollerblades, they feel more stable. For this reason, there’s a decent chance your toddler or older kid will struggle less as far as standing and maintaining their balance while skating on them.
Also, roller skates have more of their wheels (contact patch) touching the ground/skating surface. More contact patch means more friction or rolling resistance during skating. As a result, roller skates are generally slower compared to rollerblades. And because they’re not as fast as rollerblades, they’re a safer choice for toddlers and children.
Rollerblades come with tall slim wheels that look like an ellipse shape-wise. A much smaller part of this wheel is in contact with the skating surface. And because there’s less wheel/ground contact, there’s less rolling friction. That’s why rollerblade wheels pick up speed faster than roller skate wheels. Picture your child rolling down the street on rollerblades at a speed that makes your stomach turn!
But Roller Skates Don’t Turn as Well as Rollerblades
For a child who’s never skated before, inline skates can be scary to ride and harder to control once they build up enough acceleration. But there’s one department where rollerblades outshine roller skates: turning. Inline skates have way more agility compared to roller skates due to their wheels being that much slimmer.
Braking Mechanism: Toe Stops and Heel Brakes
When buying roller skates for a kid, be sure that it comes with a proper brake. With rollerblades, the braking mechanism comes attached to the rear of the skate somewhere under the heel. For roller skates, the braking mechanism is a toe stop and is found on the front of the skate. Another reason roller skates are a better bet for kids is that using toe stops is kind of easier than stopping through a heel brake.
The brake on inlines is usually on the right skate. But in most cases, you’re able to switch the rubber brake pad to the left skate if that’s desirable. And if you wish, you can even buy an additional brake pad and add it to the other skate for even greater stopping power. Also, if the heel brake wears down to anywhere near the wear limit line, replace it.
Unfortunately, you can’t always remove the toe stops on some roller skates. And if the toe stop isn’t detachable, you can’t replace it.
3. Get the Right Skate Size and Fit It Well
OK kids roller skates that fit perfectly are many times better than really nice skates that are either too large or too small. If skates are too tight, they end up cutting off circulation or squeezing the foot too hard that it hurts.
Another undesirable potential consequence of wearing skates that are too tight is that they can lead to bunions. And in some really bad scenarios, foot deformation happens.
As for roller skates that are overly roomy, they’ll give your little one nasty blisters. Pain and blisters will definitely discourage skate use. Also, if the kid’s foot literally floats inside the skate instead of stepping on it, the little skater will experience difficulty converting stride-power into smooth glides.
How Should a Kid’s Roller Skate Fit?
Roller skates for kids should fit snugly. The boots shouldn’t squeeze the little feet to the point of cutting off blood circulation. Nor should the boots be too roomy and loose that power transfer becomes diminished and ride control substantially suffer
Roller skates for adults and children should fit similar to regular shoes such as sneakers and dress shoes. That said, some skates may run smaller or larger while others may run narrower or wider.
Here’s what to do: Measure your kid’s feet. Have them stand on a white piece of paper against a wall. Then, trace out each foot’s outline using a pencil. Be sure to keep the pencil standing straight up as you draw the foot’s outline to get an accurate measurement.
Next, get the size chart of the quad skate model you’re considering and find out what the right skate size is for your child. A roller skate that fits like a glove keeps them safe and secure while skating. Also, a well-fitting skate feels nice and comfortable, which means your little one will want to wear them and skate more.
I encourage you to spend some quality time poring through kids’ roller skate reviews online before buying. It’s an effective way of knowing which skate brands and models are true to size and which are way off.
Assuming you’ve sized your tot’s roller skates right, it’s time to execute the next step. So, help the kid strap the skates onto their feet. Make sure that the laces, power strap, and buckle closure or BOA system (where that’s applicable) holds the skates firmly. And that the heels stay locked in nice and secure.
Ask the Young Roller Skater If the Boots Are Comfortable
Most kids aged 3 and above can notice and aptly communicate discomfort. But kids that age might also say the fit is OK when it’s not. I’ve seen my baby do exactly do that. They loved the shoe or whatever so much and couldn’t imagine not owning and using it.
Roller Skate Fitting Tips:
- When sizing roller skates for kids, let them wear the socks they’ll skate with.
- If your toddler/child is between sizes, size down, not up
- Consider choosing adjustable size roller skates
- Choose skates that expand 2-4 sizes, and choose a size range that’s nearest to your baby’s shoe size.
Adjustable kids roller skates come with a mechanism that when worked decreases or increases the skate’s space. the mechanism is usually some button that once depressed releases the front so you can pull it out, making the shoe roomier.
Skate Boot Style and Material It’s Made of
Young ankles need skates that protect and support them. Many roller skates have a synthetic, leather, or suede for the boot. Synthetic boots are more common these days. That’s partly because they’re tough, affordable, and durable.
But synthetic boots aren’t as long-lasting as leather. And while more work is required to break in leather and suede roller skates, leather boots often become quite soft remarkably more comfortable. Plus, leather stretches while synthetic boots don’t. You can address little fit issues of leather boots easily by having a cobbler stretch it out a bit.
Synthetic and leather roller skates work well for both indoor and outdoor use. And suede skates are best suited for indoor skating. If little Tom skates their suede boots outside, they’ll tear sooner than you imagine due to dirt and moisture.
The right boot style for your kid depends on exactly what they’ll do with the skates. Low-top skates dominate speed roller skating and roller derby. For every other use case, your kiddo should do well with either mid-top or high-top boots. Speed skating, roller derby, and skate dancing aren’t something a beginner roller skater does. This means you’re not looking for dance skates, rhythm skates, speed roller skates, or roller derby skates. They just need good old regular skates to have some wheely fun with.
Kids Roller Skate Wheels and Bearings
Skates with decent rubber/polyurethane wheels are best. Many dirt cheap roller skates come with clunky plastic wheels that don’t bounce off the ground at all (little to no rebound). But if it’s a good deal and you can get a decent pair of PU wheels, you can definitely pick up that cheapo skate.
But there’s no little vibration or impact the little guy or girl won’t feel with those Big-box youth roller skates. Rubber wheels are the best choice because they dampen shocks and vibrations very well.
Right Wheel Size for Kids Roller Skates
When it comes to the right wheel size for kids roller skates, stay in the 47mm-60mm wheel diameter range.
Smaller roller wheels accelerate faster, but they are less adept at rolling over small cracks and rocks. The upside is that smaller wheels keep your child closer to the ground. If they fall (they will), they don’t have much distance to cover before finally hitting the hard ground below! Also, smaller wheels are insanely fast, which isn’t a bad thing at all.
Wheels with a bigger diameter have your kid standing higher above the ground. And they don’t pick up speed fast. But once they do, they roll faster than their smaller counterparts. Plus, higher-diameter wheels deliver much smoother rolls.
Where Will Your Child Use the Skates?
Durometer measures wheel hardness. Higher-durometer wheels are hard than those with a lower durometer number.
When buying roller skates for little tikes, the duro number isn’t very important. Most skates come with a somewhere-in-middle durometer which works outdoors and indoors as long as wheel size permits.
Generally, indoors skating wheels are typically smaller and harder. However, if the indoor surface is very slick, softer wheels are the best bet.
As for outdoor roller skating, softer wheels with a larger diameter work best. Softer roller skate wheels grip the skating surface and dampen shocks and vibrations much better than harder ones.
Roller Skate Ball Bearings
Don’t obsess about the ABEC rating. Because kids don’t need high-precision bearings that roller like a dream. They just need good enough bearings. And they don’t need to be ABEC-rated. There are other bearing rating systems such as ILQ and SG, and they’re OK.
But if you must buy ABEC-rated bearings, any ABEC class should be good enough. Remember: even though a higher ABEC rating doesn’t always translate to faster speed, the fastest bearings tend to have higher ratings. If shopping for a younger skater, I suggest staying around ABEC 3 and ABEC 5.
What about skate-rated bearings such as those from the popular skate brand, Bones? They’re good, and some are awesome. ILQ and SG bearings are also pretty common. These ones are OK as long they’re affordable and spin reasonably well.
Maintenance Tip: Give regular TLC to the bearings in your child’s skates to keep them performing great and to increase their longevity. Here’s how to take care of roller skate bearings.
The Base Plates
Metal baseplates are heavier, sturdier, more durable, more supportive, and pricier than plastic base plates. Additionally, metal plates help turn a decent amount of every stride into motion. If your little one is significantly heavier for their height, they need an aluminum plate.
But if they’re normal size and just want OK skates for gliding around the neighborhood, plastic plates should suffice. For most parents, plastic plates are good enough.
The Trucks and Kingpin Angle
The kingpin holds the truck and its accompanying parts together. For pro roller skaters and dancers, the angle this king-size bolt makes with the skating surface receives much attention. This angle is between 10˚and 45˚ with most quads, and it affects maneuverability and stability in different ways.
Since you’re buying for a kid and not a roller derby star, don’t worry too much about it.
The smaller the angle, the more stable the skates, but the stiffer they are. The larger the kingpin angle, the easier it’s to lean into turns.
Sometimes it’s hard to find the kingpin angle information when buying kids’ roller skates. But where that information, stay between 15-20 degrees. Actually, most people find 16 degrees works best. But this spec isn’t something most beginners especially kids ever notice. Let them worry about it down the road when they’re much better at roller skating.
Kids Roller Skate Fastening Systems
Roller skates for adults and kids typically rely on good old laces to stay secure on the foot. Tying laces isn’t something beginner kids do well. They’ll certainly need assistance when putting on the skates. Also, some poor-quality laces have an annoying tendency to come undone mid-play. The upside of lacing is that helps you get a nice customized fit that’s snug enough.
Roller Skate Color
Kids like cool skates and cool everything else. So, be sure to select a color they’ll like. According to Sciencing.com, young children tend to prefer bright colors including blue, yellow, red, green, orange, and purpose.
For the most part, youth roller skates are sold in two-color combinations rather than just one color. I’ve seen lots of blue/black, black/yellow, black/purple, blue/black, and others. And haven’t most young girls always loved pink? And if the skate has some nice graphics, that’s nice too.
How Much Do Good Kids Roller Skates Cost?
As is the case with most products, the quality of roller skates for kids varies with price. You can expect pricier models to have more and better features compared to the cheapest options on the market.
But haven’t we all bought something that cost us a pretty penny only to realize it’s a rip-off after a few uses? Decent kids roller skates live in the $100 to $200 range.
But there’s tons of kids’ quad skates sold at incredibly low prices. Like $30 a pair. You can buy those Fisher-Price skates if you choose to, but in my experience, they’re almost always junk. I’d rather pay more and get better skates for my little princess or prince.
It’s reasonable to assume that skate manufacturers skimp on a lot of quality-related things to be able to make skates that ludicrously cheap.
What Are the Best Roller skate Brands for Kids?
Even though I said brands don’t matter that much, that’s not saying they don’t matter at all. If you’re not sure that 2021 brand making $30 roller skates using child labor in Asia or wherever will honor their workmanship guarantee, buy from a brand most parents trust.
But I’ve also occasionally received a bad product from some of the best-known brands in the United States. Plus, aren’t all baby products these days designed in the U.S. but actually manufactured in China?
Here’s a list of roller skate brands for kids that many parents trust: Bont, Riedell, Chaya, Candi Grl, Roller Derby, Rollerblade, Chicago, and Impala among others. Not everyone likes Chicago and Impala, by the way. There’s many parents who believe Impalla skates are the best deal out there while many others swear by Chicago skates. And there’s truckloads of parents who sound like they’re hating on these two brands.
In the end, the best way to know is to actually buy the skate and see how well it performs.
Should I Buy Used Roller Skates for My Kids?
The finest roller skates for kids can pretty expensive. But there’s no reason not to buy used ones if there’s a bit of life left in them.
So, ask family and friends or even online in dad and mom FB groups. It’s quite easy to connect with other parents whose kids’ skates are still in great condition but they’ve outgrown them.
Maybe your child intends to get into the Junior League and you don’t want to splurge on a new pair of skates yet. Consider joining a community where lots of derby moms hang out. I bet you’ll soon find someone who’ll let you have those almost-new boots their kid no longer wears.
Someone I know bumped into a mom online recently who needed to get rid of a really neat pair of high-end skates. The person actually gave their skates away explaining that their kiddo was no longer interested in making the JL.
Craigslist, e-bay, and garage sales are other places you can collect decent used skates at amazing prices.
Good Roller Skates for Kids: Conclusion
Brand and price are the most critical factors to consider. Unfortunately, many parents focus on these two too much and don’t pay enough attention to the most important factors. It’s best to choose fitting skates and then make sure that your child has secured them firmly onto their feet.
You can’t ignore quality, of course. Your child wants well-designed and constructed roller skates. The parts should be the best quality that can be had for the money. Pricier often means better quality, but some of the best kids’ quad skates I’ve seen aren’t sinfully expensive.
Whether you buy premium skates from a respected skate brand or the cheapest ones from a little-known brand doesn’t mean much. Prioritize skate fit and comfort over factors such as brand name and price.
Kids and adults can and do fall when roller skating indoors and outdoors. It’s important to have your kiddo put o fitting roller skating gear, especially a certified helmet. Knee pads and elbow pads add an extra layer of protection, so have the child wear them as well.
I'm Esther Moni, a proud stay-at-home mom and a psychology graduate of the United States International University (USIU) . I hate it when anyone calls me a housewife, because what does housewife even mean? Being a mother of two babies and a pup, Bailey, as well as being Ricky's wife tires me to no end, but I still manage a smile at the end of it all. And when my boys aren't done doing mischief, I juggle writing a post on parenting or baby gear performance for this blog and running my little counselling office based out in Nairobi. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/esther.moni/">Visit my Facebook profile here</a>, and this is my <a href="https://ke.linkedin.com/in/esther-moni-3841b573/">LinkedIn profile</a>, and here's my <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKcVb3NNDrURDH8C0KiAE1g/">nascent youtube channel.