If you have ever used inline skates (or “rollerblades” as they are often called) for fitness or fun, and you want to take it to the next level, read on. Here, we review the 7 best inline speed skates for racing and more serious recreational skating.
Then, in our buyer’s guide section, How To Choose The Best Inline Speed Skates For You, we feature some inline speed skates with a more supportive boot suitable for beginners and those switching to speed-class inline skates for the first time.
We have also reviewed aggressive skates for trick skating, skating in parks, on ramps and challenging streets in our related article, The 7 Best Aggressive Inline Skates.
Quick Answer: The 7 Best Inline Speed Skates
- VNLA Carbon Speed Inline Skates
- Rollerblade Powerblade 3WD 125 Premium Inline Speed Skate
- VNLA Spyder Inline Speed Skates
- K2 Skate Pro Longmount Inline Speed Skates
- Pasendi Professional Carbon Inline Speed Skate
- Ferrari FS81 Speed Skate
- JieKeHaiDao Professional Carbon Inline Speed Skate
Best Inline Speed Skates
Best Inline Speed Skates Reviews
Features of the VNLA Carbon Speed Inline Skates
- Wheels: 4 x 100mm 85A Urethane for indoor/outdoor
- Frame: Vanilla Carbon series 7000 aluminum with 195mm mounting (sizes 1-5 come with a 3 wheel frame, sizes 6-13 come with a 4 wheel frame)
- Closure: Micro-adjustable cuff buckle, 45° buckle, performance asymmetrical lacing
- Bearings: ABEC-9 Vanilla Racing
- Shell / Upper: Fiberglass & carbon fiber (heat-moldable)
- Liner: Premium liner
You can use it indoors on the track or outdoors on the road, thanks to high quality wheels made from Urethane with a 85A hardness. A wheel size of 100mm means it is slightly easier to keep your balance, especially when you’re just switching to racing skates.
The boot is constructed from half fiberglass, half carbon fiber for a durable, rigid and lightweight construction. With their high grade aluminum frame, the skates perform great on different structures and you can rely on durability. The precision bearings are smooth and provide an easy roll.
As for sizing: the sizes 1 to 5 come with a shorter frame that fits three wheels, whereas from size 6 onwards the frame will mount four wheels. Heat molding the boot is no problem and is recommended to achieve the best fit and remedy pressure points. Sizes are for men’s speed skates, the ladies go down one size.
The Vanilla Carbon inline speed skate is available in four different colors including the striking carbon green and carbon blue. Vanilla Carbon combines advanced features with durability, and the comfort of heat-molding to create a professional skate which nonetheless makes racing accessible to beginners.
Features of the Rollerblade Powerblade 3WD 125 Premium Inline Speed Skate
- Wheels: 3 x 125mm 85A Hydrogen for indoor/outdoor
- Frame: Extruded aluminum, racing axles, laterally adjustable, 195 mount spacing, brake assembly kit available
- Closure: 45° buckle, laces
- Bearings: Twincam ILQ – 9 PRO
- Shell / Upper: Carbon fiber, microfiber (heat-moldable)
- Liner: Premium liner with precision footbed
A tight fit is achieved by laces on the entire foot and a micrometric 45° buckle. Heat-molding is an option to shape the boots to your feet. With an ergonomic shape, precision footbed and premium liner, these skates are comfortable and therefore great for marathons and long distance races.
The frame is constructed from extruded aluminum and sufficiently rigid for great speed on long stretches and precise maneuvers while turning. Mounted on the skates are three 125mm Hydrogen wheels with a 85A hardness.
They perform well on varying grounds and in different conditions and will be very slick when wet. Paired with Twincam ILQ 9 PRO bearings, rolling is good and requires hardly any maintenance.
The Rollerblade Powerblade 3 wheel skate is a premium-priced model with great foot support and efficient fit, high precision and excellent finish. It looks elegant, is built for speed and distance and offers high and stiff performance.
Features of the VNLA Spyder Inline Speed Skates
- Wheels: 4 x 110mm High Rebound 85A for indoor/outdoor
- Frame: Vanilla Carbon series 7000 aluminum with 195mm mounting
- Closure: Micro-adjustable cuff buckle, 45° buckle, lacing with lace cover
- Bearings: Vanilla Reaction Racing
- Shell / Upper: Ultra light-weight carbon fiber, microfiber (heat-moldable)
- Liner: Premium liner
The lace cover looks slick and allows for extra tightness. For a personalized fit, heat-molding the boot is an option. The skates are surprisingly comfortable without compromising speed.
The aluminum frame provides stability and is rigid enough to optimize for performance riding. It comes with 195mm standard mounting and is attached to the boot with two plate pins. Adjustments are straightforward thanks to the included T-wrench.
The four 110mm wheels offer a high rebound factor, yet the hardness of 85A durometer is good for both indoor and outdoor skating. Their oval shape minimizes surface area and therefore friction and the wheels maintain speed quite well. Combined with smooth and long-lasting Reaction Racing bearings, you won’t feel minor bumps and shocks.
The Vanilla Spyder inline speed skates are a higher-priced advanced to expert model that will support you in reaching the next racing level. An alternative with smaller, 100mm 85 indoor and outdoor wheels are the VNLA Empire Inline Speed Skates.
Features of the K2 Skate Pro Longmount Inline Speed Skates
- Wheels: 4x 100mm 85A for indoor/outdoor
- Frame: Heat-treated stiff aluminum alloy Radical frame, 195mm mounting, lateral adjustment
- Closure: Dual Boa closure system
- Bearings: Twincam ILQ – 9 PRO
- Shell / Upper: Carbon fiber (heat-moldable)
- Liner: Liner with footbed
Built for stability even at high velocity, the boot is softer than on other performance models, yet these skates make little sacrifice for speed. With no cuff, you have the full freedom of movement and can bring all your racing technique into play.
The carbon fiber boots can be heat-molded for a fully adjusted fit. The dual Boa closure system provides a secure and tight fit. The K2s are considered true to size, so pick the skates like you would regular shoes. The aluminum alloy Radical frame has been heat-treated for extra stiffness, yet it compensates for minor shocks.
With 195mm mounting for four wheels and lateral adjustment, the skates are versatile enough for different styles. The K2 Skate Pro rollerblades also feature ILQ – 9 PRO bearings for high precision and S-channel rubber shields to protect them from moisture, dust or dirt.
Overall, this is a stylish, moldable, lightweight and comfortable inline speed skate for advanced riders. A similar yet slightly more affordable model is the VNLA X1 Inline Speed Skate.
Features of the Pasendi Professional Carbon Inline Speed Skate
- Wheels: 4 x 110mm 85A for indoor/outdoor
- Frame: Aluminum
- Closure: Micro-adjustable cuff buckle, 45° buckle, lacing
- Bearings: High quality bearings
- Shell / Upper: Half carbon fiber, half fiberglass, synthetic upper (heat-moldable)
- Liner: Synthetic
The boots are half carbon fiber and half fiberglass, so you get a great balance between a stiff and rugged construction with the advantage of a low weight.
You can heat-mold these boots and dial in the fit with regular laces and the micro-adjustable buckle. The shoes fit true to size and are lined with a synthetic material.
These inline speed skates are ideal for aspiring professional racing skaters who want to take one step up from 100mm fitness skates, yet want to spend slightly less than for a Vanilla, K2 or Rollerblade model.
Features of the Ferrari FS81 Speed Skate
- Wheels: 4 x 110mm High Rebound 85A Polyurethane for indoor/outdoor
- Frame: 7075 CNC aluminum
- Closure: Micro-adjustable cuff buckle, 45° buckle, speed-lacing
- Bearings: ABEC-9 chrome steel bearings
- Shell / Upper: Carbon fiber shell with microfiber upper (heat-moldable)
- Liner: Comfortable Lycra liner
The boot is made from a carbon fiber shell with a microfiber upper, sporting a closure system that consists of speed laces, a cuff buckle that allows for micro-adjustments, and a 45° buckle to cover the laces.
Inside, the lycra liner snugly and lightly cushions your foot while you achieve extra tightness and dialed in fit with heat-molding.
The 7075 CNC aluminum frame hast 195mm mounting for the four wheels, which are from Polyurethane material with a high rebound factor and a durometer hardness of 85A.
Paired with ABEC-9 chrome steel bearings, you get smooth rolling not only indoors, but outdoors as well where the combination of frame and bearings can easily deal with minor vibration and shocks.
The Ferrari FS81 inline speed skates come in sporty red or elegant black will serve you well if you have a little extra to spend on racing skates and are seeking high performance with comfort.
Features of the JieKeHaiDao Professional Carbon Inline Speed Skate
- Wheels: 4 x 110mm 85A race wheels for indoor/outdoor
- Frame: CNC integrated aluminum frame
- Closure: Micro-adjustable cuff buckle, lacing
- Bearings: High quality bearings
- Shell / Upper: Half carbon fiber, half fiber glass with microfiber upper (heat-moldable)
- Liner: Synthetic liner
You get an ultra lightweight boot of half carbon fiber and half fiberglass with a microfiber upper. The material allows for heat-molding so you can achieve a personal fit, and women or riders with a narrow foot get sufficient hold. The regular laces can be tightened sufficiently, while the micro-adjustable cuff buckle provides a secure hold.
The boot sits on top of a CNC integrated aluminum frame that allows for four 110mm race wheels. The skates comes with 85A hardness wheels paired with high quality race bearings.
While other skates provide a little more comfort, the JieKeHaiDao Professional Carbon inline speed skate will let you learn basic racing technique and achieve your first racing success.
How To Choose The Best Inline Speed Skates For You
There are several factors to consider when deciding on racing inline skates, and we’ll go over each of these. At the same time, they make up the essential differences between a fitness model and a speed skate.
- Inline Speed Skating For Beginners & Switchers
- Closure system
Inline speed skates are a special kind of rollerblades made for racing. Inline speed skating is a sport of its own as recognized by FIRS, the International Federation of Roller Sports, and is often called inline racing. Skaters enjoy the thrill of high velocity movement and effortless gliding, and speed skate races are not unlike ice speed skating.
If you’re looking to try racing inline skates for the first time or want to find a high-performance model for great efficiency, we’ve reviewed the best inline speed skates.
Speed racing inline skates typically feature three or four larger wheels, a shorter frame and a low-profile boot. They are designed for a snug fit with optimal power transfer and allow for a greater range of motion and riding on the edges of the wheels.
When making your selection, pay attention to the wheels, the frame and the closure system. The bearings, shell and liner are also of interest. After our top selection, we’ll go into greater detail on how to pick the best pair for your needs.
Inline Speed Skating For Beginners & Switchers
Inline speed skates are highly optimized for performance and require refined technique to handle and master. As a beginner or when you’re switching over, you might require something less aggressive. Give your ankles time to strengthen and build up tonicity, thus avoiding injury.
The following skates incorporate some of the racing features while providing your foot with sufficient support and safety to get used to the difference. If you want to take it slow, go for four wheels and a smaller wheel size first, before taking on the 3 wheel inline skates with 125mm wheels.
3-Wheel Inline Speed Skates
- Rollerblade Tempest 125 3WD Inline Speed Skates: A great hybrid between a fitness and racing skate with three 125mm Hydrogen 85A wheels, carbon fiber upper, aluminum frame with racing axles and asymmetrical lacing for both comfort and performance.
- Alpha 125mm 3-wheel Inline Skate : Lightweight and fast with 125mm race wheels, race-rated speed bearings, aluminum frame and an extra supportive shell and comfort liner.
- K2 Skate Mod 125 Inline Skates: A supportive yet pliable and snug soft boot with a speed-lacing system and a combination of two 125mm wheels and one 120mm wheel make this model great for switchers or marathon use.
- F110H 3×110 Inline Skates: A racing skate with hard boots, a comfortable liner and PRO bearings as well as heel shock absorbers. Great for jumps, slides and long distance races.
- Epic Skates 125mm Engage 3-Wheel Inline Speed Skates: A comfortable cruiser that makes no sacrifice for speed. 125mm 86A wheels, a hard-shell upper, aluminum frame and ABEC bearings make this an agile and fast model, indoor as outdoor.
4-Wheel Inline Speed Skates
- Rollerblade 2015 TEMPEST 110C Premium Inline Speed Skate: With 110mm 85A Hydrogen wheels, this model is closer to a fitness skate, yet offers an anatomical fit, racing axles and aluminum frame. Security and comfort are paired with an optimum of speed.
- Roces USA Men’s LAB Inline Speed Skates: Smaller, 100mm 84A wheels will help you make the transition to racing and long distance skating. A carbon fiber boot, aluminum frame and race bearings bring your training to the next level.
While fitness skates have high boots covering the ankle and going up to the shin for support and control, speed skating models have a low cut that can leave your ankle bone exposed. You gain freedom of movement at the cost of support. Controlling the skate requires muscle power and tonic ankles.
Expect a minimum of comfort. The padding or lining between your foot and the shell is very thin to allow for the strength of your push to be transmitted to the boot and frame as directly as possible. The boot is made of composite materials such as glass or carbon fiber and resin to create a light and rigid construction.
The more the boot conforms to the shape of your foot, the better the performance. Many boots can be shaped by heat-molding, where the boots by themselves are heated up and then fitted to the foot. We’ve specified for each model if it allows for this technique. As for sizing, pick the skate size as you’d for a close-fitting running shoe.
You’ll only wear very thin socks in the skate boots. Most of these skates can be considered unisex, though women are advised to go down one size. Molding the boot can compensate for the typically more narrow female foot.
A fitness skate commonly uses wheels with a diameter of 80mm to 100mm (3.14” to 3.93”), while inline speed skates commonly feature wheels of a diameter from 110mm (4.33”) on up to 125mm (4.92”). With larger wheels comes more inertia, requiring a harder push, yet you can go faster.
You’ll also be set up higher and less stable, so don’t max out the wheel size from the beginning if you’re new to speed skating. The larger the wheels you ride on, the better your technique needs to be. Some skates combine three larger wheels with a smaller one, which allows for a lower and shorter frame.
Also important is the hardness of the wheels, specified in durometer – a higher value indicates a harder material. Racing skates use hard wheels to optimize performance and commonly range between 85A and 87A. The harder the wheel, the less your own weight will compress the wheels.
You lose less energy of your pushes riding on hard wheels. The tendency is to push the hardness as high as possible, yet speed skates discern between indoor and outdoor use. Competing in indoor races, wheels might feature a durometer of 88A to 97A, but the material could easily be damaged outdoors.
Softer wheels offer more grip and wear out more quickly. “Wheel rebound” refers to the relative height to which a wheel bounces back up when dropped, giving an indication of how much energy is absorbed. Pro racing skaters might combine wheels of different hardness on one skate.
The frame is also called the plate and holds the wheels. Common materials used are aluminum, magnesium or magnesium alloy, and carbon fiber. Skaters tend to go for a stiff frame, but the construction should allow for at least some flexibility.
It’s a question of preference as well as weight: the heavier you are, the stiffer the frame should be to feel good and ride well. For cornering, a too stiff frame feels unstable, yet a too flexible one performs slower. Frame stiffness allows for various combinations with wheel hardness and boot flexibility. Frame construction favors light materials which are able to absorb small shocks.
The length of the frame depends on foot and wheel size. Shorter ones are slower but perform well in very tight turns, whereas a longer frame is faster and harder to turn. You’ll see that short frames make for 3 wheel inline skates, but most racing skates use four wheels.
Some frames allow for a variable number and work with either three or four wheels. Lighter skaters with smaller feet often opt for a shorter three wheel skate, but each individual wheel has to take more weight. The positioning of the frame critically influences performance. Typically, racing skates feature a 195mm mounting and no mounted brake.
The closure system of inline speed skates should allow you to tighten the boots as much as possible for the best transfer of power. You’ll typically see a cuff buckle, a 45° buckle and asymmetrical lacing. The more micro-adjustments are possible, the better the fit will be while allowing at least for a minimum of comfort.
Again, keep in mind that there is no ankle and shin support from the boot like you might be used to from fitness skates and you’ll have to compensate for that with muscle power without locking muscles.
Speed skates use precision bearings with a high number on the ABEC scale for tolerance between ABEC-1 to ABEC-11. A higher number means less tolerance offers more precision in turn, as well as efficiency and speed capabilities. As for size, most bearings are of the 608 series, while some skates use the smaller and lighter 688 series.
The material of the bearings is of little importance at the speeds common in inline racing, so seals and lubricants are more important. A shield prevents the entry of dust and dirt in the bearing, while lubrication minimizes friction.
Bearings used outdoors will have a shorter lifespan, which is why skaters use dedicated models and often don’t switch back and forth between indoor and outdoor with one pair of skates.
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions Inline Speed Skates
What are the differences between a fitness skate and a speed skate?
In a nutshell, fitness skates are designed for leisure skating and a moderate workout, while speed skates are dedicated racing skates, optimized for high performance and velocity. A fitness skate features a large boot with full support, covering your ankle and reaching up to your shin.
It commonly has smaller, softer wheels. Inline speed skates can feature three or four wheels up to 125mm in diameter and have a minimal boot as well as an overall much harder construction.
Why are there models with three and four wheels?
On three wheel, you can perform easier and tighter turns at the cost of velocity. On 3 wheel rollerblades, the individual wheels also take on more of your body weight. A rider with shorter feet and lower body weight will see more advantages riding on only three wheels than a heavier skater with larger feet.
Which kind of wheels should I get?
As a newbie or rollerblader coming from fitness skates, don’t go for the biggest wheels just yet as they will feel quite unstable in the minimal racing boots. Go in increments, for example choose 110mm wheels after riding on the 100mm wheels of a fitness skate.
Pick the hardness slightly above of what you’re used to as well; if you’re heavy, consider a harder wheel as well. If you’re still learning turns, consider a 3 wheel skate or a model from our selection for “beginners and switchers” above.
What is the basic technique of inline speed skating?
Speed skating requires deeper and faster strokes than recreational skating. It is common to use the efficient skating technique of the double push where you move each foot across the centerline of travel, allowing for two pushes during each stroke.
Speed skaters maintain a low posture by bending their knees, which has the advantage of lower wind resistance and greater leg reach. Turns are more difficult due to the larger wheel size, but the reduced wheel profile enables you to skate with more agility when leaning into turns.
What is heat molding and how can I do it?
This technique to achieve the best boot fit works by heating up the boots (without frames, wheels, buckles) to 185° F for 15 minutes, then fitting them to the rider’s feet. Opposed to that, some boots are designed to shape themselves around your foot with time.
We’ve specified which boots are heat-moldable, but always refer to the manual and instructions for heat-molding of your particular model.
Do I require additional gear?
Inline speed skaters always seek to minimize wind resistance, so for racing, consider a skinsuit and a special helmet. As a beginner, consider protectors, at least for your hands. If you haven’t mastered braking yet, consider retrofitting your model with a brake at the end of the frame. For transporting and protecting your gear, a rollerblade bag will be useful.
Let us remind you that gear is not everything: even on inline speed skates, you won’t magically achieve new speed records if you’re lacking technique. If you’re a beginner or switching from regular skates, don’t go all in for all the new features, but choose wisely: which wheels are you used to, and what is a step up for you?
Do you want to keep a comfortable boot while riding on larger wheels, or try a low-cut boot while staying on smaller wheels? Avoid injuries and step up your training bit by bit before you open up to high velocity skating.
Thanks for reading! We hope our guide will help you pick the right model among our top selection of the best inline speed skates. Stay safe on the road (and on the track) and enjoy gliding on your new wheels!
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