Anyway, I guess it's because it's almost summer; I've seen more threads about rollerblading and have been getting lots of PM's about skating than then in the past. Most of them are filled with the same questions about what skates are good or cheap and where to buy. So here's a small guide about skates:
0. EVERYTHING IS PRETTY MUCH PREFERENCE
not many companies make shitty products, skating is too small for that. sometimes stuff doesn't work but it's usually fixed or the company dies.
1. THE BOOT
It's not like a ski boot, it's going to be way flexyer and probably lighter. In fact, you want more flex, how else are you going to steeze out those topsides? To my knowledge, there is Shima Skate Manufacturing, USD, Razor, Remz, Xsjado, NIMH, Roces, Salomon, K2, Deshi, Valo, and Rollerblade. the bolded ones are the ones that are still around and making new stuff. the others are gone, that leaves 7 skate companies in business with only around 19 unique boots. It looks like there's more, but it's just different colors or skins. Like skiing, the boot is your most important part. I've skated most of the boots on the market and personally use USD Carbon 1's and am going to get the second versions. I'm not going to review all of them here but I will tell you the differences.
There is Soft boot vs. hardboot:
There's not really any true softboots left I don't think. Deshi was really it. now everything is mostly shells with skins. hard boots are just plastic shells. Some boots are kind of hybrids now, like the USD imperial and to some extent the carbon 2's. You'll see a difference in flex and weight and wear characteristics. Dont kid yourself though, carbons can be really stiff. On the other hand, my deshis flexed as far as i could. Remz are kind of softboots but I'd say they're a hybrid as well.
Some boots have liners, some don't, some are really unique and it's like a snowboard binding i.e. xsjados. I feel as though no liner feels closer to the skate, but you can't have a nice liner molded to your foot then. the skates I use have none. However, you can heat mold carbons so that solves my issue.
Boots have soles on them, it's the side part, you use them to do sole tricks (duh). You can put different plates on different skates for the most part, some might require some modding.
Frames seem to be the main issue with people on here. there's a few different types of frame setups.
this is the frame I use, any frame of such shape is a freestyle frame. notice there is no spot for two middle wheels. why do i use them? well for one, I like them. they feel different than normal h blocks and allow a bit more movement on the rail or whatever you're grinding.
these are normal frames, they have an H-block and space for two middle wheels. these frames have anti rockers in them right now (little plastic wheels that help grinding), some people use those, some people use nothing. other choose two have all four wheels with brings me to my next point. I've also seen people use smaller urethane wheels in the middle. i'm not sure why though.
I would imagine it's something along the lines of those. it's a new thing right now. they hold really large wheels so you can go faster. no h block though so unless you're the rocket power kids, good luck grinding on your frames. you can still do sole tricks though.
well they're wheels. some are different than others. undercover wheels are apparently a little flatter and eulogy are pointy. i use eulogy. M1 just made a tri and dual duro wheel (three different hardness, or two different ones in a single wheel) might feel different, I haven't tried yet. Personally I always buy the maximum size my frames can hold so they last longer and I'll go faster. they're all usually around the same hardness. bearings, i'd go with bones reds; cheap and good.
4. WHERE TO BUY
US? http://aggressivemall.com http://rollerwarehouse.com are two good sources. theres also some smaller shops that you can order from if you want.
Canada? http://www.shop-task.com is the only thing I can think of at the moment.
somewhere else? Eurpoe should be pretty easy to get, I think http://www.grindhouse.eu/en/Shop.html is the way to go. but other countries might be harder.
I think I covered lots of stuff. ask questions or contribute if you want, check out this thread to see what you can do on skates. don't limit yourself to pretzels. http://newschoolers.com/ns/forums/readthread/thread_id/505129/page/10/
*expects inevitable hate, doesn't care*