How Do I Choose Skates to Buy For My Child? Everything You Need to Know to Make the Best Purchase for Your Little Skater
Roller Skates for Kids – All those questions you’ve been pondering
If you are a parent who is thinking of buying your child or children their first pair of skates, congratulations! The process and research can be overwhelming, so let us answer some common questions we get from parents. Hopefully, you will feel at ease buying skates for your child and fitting them into the best overall skate.
No matter the type of skate or how old your child, remember that skating is a fun activity that provides the exercise they need that they will enjoy for hours on end. You can even join them! It is important to keep safety in mind by wearing protective gear. For kids, helmets are important at ALL times. Knee and elbow pads and mouth guards are also a good idea. There is no substitution for adult supervision and guidance. Look to DevaSkation for all of your family’s skating needs, and please feel free to contact us if you need any recommendations or have questions about all things skating!
Check out our FAQs below and then move on to our Parents’ Guide to Buying Skates for Kids! If you feel like you’re ready to buy, then use your newly found knowledge and head on over to our kids skates page!
What age can my child safely start skating?
This is a question we see a lot from parents. Children can skate as soon as they can walk! A two year old can skate, and we see it all the time! But only you know your child’s level of fitness and ability. If your child is unsteady on his feet, he may not be a great candidate for skating — but you never know until you try. Just be mindful of watching them at all times, and be sure they wear all of the appropriate safety gear.
Are there any benefits related to skating?
Children see many benefits from skating! Not only is it a great way to get your kid outdoors (or even stay indoors) to exercise, which will get them away from the TV and video games, but it is also a great way to improve and increase leg, knee, and ankle strength. Skating has been shown to improve balance and focus and is a hobby that can last an entire lifetime! There are several sports that involve skating such as ice hockey, roller hockey, roller derby, and many others. So, if your child has a competitive spirit, skating might be a perfect sport!
What size skates should I get my child?
Kids grow, and they grow fast when it comes to shoe size! The good news is skate sizing is the same as a child’s normal shoe size and can be ordered online with confidence. Of course there are always exceptions, as with many shoe brands. Your best bet is to measure the length of your child’s foot (without shoes on) and check a skate-sizing chart against the foot measurement. Most manufacturers provide size charts for skates, and we have the most popular brands’ size charts on hand for you. If you have questions or concerns, you can always give us a call or email and we will help!
We can’t stress enough that it is NOT SMART to get a skate for your child with a lot of ‘wiggle room’ so that they can potentially last longer! Skates should fit snugly. A loose-fitting skate can cause injuries ranging from blisters to ankle sprains to bigger accidents! Plus, if the skates don’t fit properly and comfortably, chances are that your child won’t want to skate in the first place. Wearing multiple socks to make up for a larger sized skate is not a solution either. This creates moisture and is not a good support for ankles. This method can also inhibit a child from developing proper skating form. What we do suggest is that you buy skate booties to help prevent blisters. It is okay to buy one size up (if they are just skating recreationally) and have your child wear one pair of thick socks to start, then thinner socks when they start feeling too tight. If your little one is starting Roller Derby or another kind of competitive skating, their skates need to be snug to start with to avoid injury.
Recreational skates should fit comfortably. This means they should be fairly snug and not too tight. There should be good ankle support and the big toe should not rub against the front of the skate boot.
Hot Tip: Kids skates come in sizes “J1” through about a “J13”. This stands for “Junior”. Once the child grows into adult size shoes, then they begin to wear sizes 1, 2, 3, etc. that matches their adult shoe size.
Should I get my beginner skater Inline Skates or Quad Skates?
New skaters tend to fare best on Quad, or Roller Skates. These are the four-wheel, roller rink style skates. They are easier to balance and provide for a more stable surface when compared to Inline Skates, or Rollerblades.
If you have a young child wanting to try skating for the first time, it may not be the best choice to give them Inline skates — but of course, it’s personal preference and inherent ability, like many sports activities. Inline skating requires developed ankle and leg strength in order to balance on the wheels that are in a line, versus Quad Skates that have a wheel at each corner providing a “platform” for the child’s foot.
Tip: If you see your child’s ankles turning inward or bending while on Inline skates, they should get coaching for correct form – or it may be too soon for them to use this type of skate.
If you do choose inline skates for your child, make sure they are buckled and/or tied up snugly around their ankles so that they develop good form skating and don’t risk injury.
Both Inline and Quad Skates can be used indoors and outdoors without problem provided your skates are designed to be used on the given surface. You can learn about indoor wheels here and outdoor wheels here!
Should I buy skates at a retail store or go online to buy from a trusted / more professional brand?
Leather boots are durable, comfortable, and built to last! They outlast vinyl and cheaper skates significantly and are worth the price. Most big box stores do not specialize in skates and it is not advisable to purchase from a big box store unless your child is not going to use the skates much. If your child enjoys skating, consider that you get what you pay for when it comes to skates. Paying a little more money at a professional skate shop can go a long way. The only difficult part about buying some great skates online is getting the right size which you can easily take care of with the help of our awesome sizing video!
My child’s leather skates are the right size, but they are still tight around his feet! Did I order the wrong size?
We field this question from time to time. Parents buy nice leather skates for their child and they are the correct size, but their child complains that the skates are uncomfortable. Keep in mind that leather skates have a break in period. High-end leather skates take some time to break in because they are literally working to mold comfortably and perfectly to your child’s feet with every use! Make sure your child is wearing socks and skate booties and that your child skates for shorter periods to avoid blisters and discomfort. Eventually, the skates will take shape and your child will be able to skate for hours and hours without issue.
Skates that are made of leather will stretch after some time. After a few sessions of 30-60 minutes, the leather boots should begin to become significantly more comfortable. It’s like breaking in a pair of high heels or dancing shoes. 🙂
Tip: If you want to get a leather skate boot to break in fast and mold to your foot quickly, here is a great secret! Grab a pair of socks and get them wet under the sink, bathtub, or hose. Then wring them out well, and wear them with your new skates. After about an hour of skating with the damp socks on, the leather will soften due to the humidity created by the moisture and will mold to your feet more quickly.
PRO Tip: Store your child’s skates with a damp wash cloth inside AFTER they’ve skated with wet socks. Tie the laces up to help keep the leather moist, and be sure your child skates again within 24 hours to prevent the cloth from developing odor or mold. The skates will shape easier during the next use and become significantly more comfortable!
Should my child skate inside or outdoors?
We recommend buying different skates or at least another set of wheels for indoors and outdoors for a few reasons. Wheel material, durability, and cost are a few things to factor in when thinking about indoor versus outdoor skating.
Outdoor skates have softer wheels. This might seem counterintuitive, but outdoor wheels are actually softer so that they can absorb vibrations from rough terrain. Soft wheels allow for a better grip to the ground for your little skater when they inevitably run over pebbles, rocks, asphalt, and other debris.
For kids that will be skating both indoors and outdoors, more money should go toward a quality pair of indoor skates while having a less expensive option on hand for outdoors. As any parent is well aware, the outdoors bring dirt, mud, water, and extra wear and tear. This way — should the outdoor skates get worn and dirty — you can cheaply replace them. We also suggest that you purchase separate sets of indoor and outdoor wheels that you can easily swap out. The best outdoor wheels are the Atom Pulse wheels according to our own use and feedback from our amazing customers.
What special gear should I purchase?
Obviously, when it comes to children, safety is paramount. Therefore, basic safety gear like a helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads are necessary especially if your child is skating outdoors. Another major thing to examine is the toe stop. A toe stop (or stopper) can provide stability and braking power when it is needed most. The toe stops on the majority of “cheap” skates are usually almost useless due to their material and size. Children respond better to larger toe stops, so consider switching the stoppers that were provided with the skate. Several toe stops are designed to have a larger surface area and are actually used to perform “blocking” maneuvers in sports like roller derby, so you know they can stop your child quickly. The best toe stops with large footprints are the Atom Bionic Bigfoot and the Mota Monster. If you’d like even more information on skating safety, check out our Guide to Safety for All Skaters Article!