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Frankly, hardly any of us at Vegan Foundry was born at the time, but it was during the seventies that roller skating became huge. Roller skating rinks got extremely popular and in no time it developed into a professional sport with several modalities such as racing, jam skating, roller derby, and a few others.
While it’s scary at first, roller skating, in general, is a fun activity that helps you relax through the freedom that is gliding. It’s a tough learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, the pleasure amped up by the adrenaline is immense.
Roller skates are basically boots attached to a metal or a plastic plate with wheels.
What determines whether a certain roller skate is vegan is the actual boot or shoe. Just like regular boots or shoes, you have a range of materials like leather or suede that are animal-based.
As a result, the goal of this blog post is to help you find great roller skates that completely avoid those materials and provide you with an alternative to glide cruelty-free.
Here’s a list of 8 vegan-friendly roller skates that we’ll be looking at in more detail.
Top 6 Vegan Roller Skates
Riedell R3 Roller Skates
The Riedell R3 is one of the most popular quad roller skates in the market, starting with the highly comfortable boot made from special-grade vinyl that is more durable than regular vinyl.
Combine that with decades of boot-making experience and you get a top-notch construction that is comfortable and meant to last.
They also feature a PowerDyne Thrust nylon plate and Cosmic SuperFly wheels with 62mm x 42mm of size, as well as a 90A on the hardness scale. Making these skates ideal for competitive and recreational indoor skating.
Also, the wheels are equipped with precise ABEC-7 bearings which are exceptionally fast and smooth, giving you a frictionless experience on wheels. However, they may not be as durable as bearings with a lower-rating, although they provide a better experience.
To conclude, there’s a mini round toe stop that can be adjusted to fit your braking tendencies.
Pacer Cosmic Cruze Quad Speed Skates (Unisex)
The Cosmic Cruze is an excellent entry-level roller skate, not only because it’s affordable, but because it has very reliable components.
Curiously, they combine the GTX-500 boot and the Cosmic Superfly wheels to provide you with comfortable low-cut boots and speed wheels made of Grip-Rite Urethane with deep speed grooves for maximum grip and control.
The wheels are 62mm x 40mm in size with a hardness of 90A, making them the perfect partner to maximize fun in the rink through speed but with enough grip to not slow you down.
However, in exchange for affordability, you get crude ABEC-1 bearings that are the least precise, yet also the most durable. On top of that, you also have fixed toe tops, which may or not be suitable for most people. When in doubt, adjustable toe tops are the best.
That being said, at their current price, they may be among the best quad skates.
Riedell Dart Quad Speed Roller Skates (Unisex)
The Riedell Dart is a versatile quad skate that is built with rinks in mind, as well as competitions where speed is of the essence. However, you can also use it for recreational skating.
These skates feature a low-cut boot with ample padding, giving you extra protection for when you’re derby skating. The lack of ankle support is exchanged with the freedom to move and the ability to quickly gain speed, given that the boots have a lightweight construction.
They also feature laces and a single cuff strap that allow you to quickly tighten or loosen the fit.
Attached to the boots, there’s a PowerDyne nylon plate designed to withstand overuse and Riedell Dart wheels with 62mm of diameter and 43mm of width and a 93A hardness. These numbers describe the ideal indoor skates, but they can also be used sparingly in the outdoors.
In addition, the wheels are equipped with Kwik ABEC-5 bearings that allow you to move aggressively inside and outside the rink. To conclude… these quad skates have an adjustable toe stopper that allows you to customize braking to fit your needs.
Riedell Angel Indoor Roller Skates (Unisex)
The Riedell Angel roller skates are lightweight, entry-level roller skates designed for the beginner artistic skater or recreational skater.
Let’s start with the high-cut boots made from soft, synthetic fabric that gives you the flexibility to pick up and freely perform new moves. They’re available for both men and women, with the men’s boots having a wider “D-width” fit.
Connecting the boots and the wheels there’s a PowerDyne thrust nylon plate with aluminum trucks that can also handle the roughness of the outdoors.
The wheels are RC Medallion Plus Wheels with a 57mm diameter and 32mm width and a hardness of 96A that will allow you to execute fine movements and sharp turns in artistic routines. The wheels also feature a an ABEC-5 precision-grade rating which is more than enough for beginners.
Riedell Citizen Outdoor Roller Skates (Unisex)
The Riedell Citizen roller skates are wonderful for beginners and intermediates that want to take skating to the sidewalk. Starting with the high profile soft boots made from vinyl which are perfect for uneven terrains where ankle support and flexibility are paramount.
The boots have traditional laces, allowing you to lace up as tight or as loose as you like— an ideal choice for those seeking roller skates that provide more freedom. Also, you have a nylon base plate that is designed to tackle the outdoors where the surface is rough.
The wheels on the Riedell Citizen’s are 62mm in diameter and a bit narrower than artistic skates which allow for more consistent skating in rugged terrains. On the scale, these have a hardness of 85A, meaning you have a good grip on the concrete as well as impressive durability.
Overall, these are exceptional outdoor roller skates with a solid vegan-friendly construction.
Sure-Grip Rock Sonic GT-50 Outdoor Skates
The GT-50 is designed for speed and agility while at the same time providing you with comfort and extra padding to absorb the impact on uneven terrain.
The Sure-Grip Boardwalk outdoor wheels have 65mm of diameter and 38mm of width, as well as a 78A on the hardness scale, so they’re originally designed to absorb the shock from the bumps and cracks common to most pavements.
They’re also built with ABEC-7 bearings for a highly precise and speedy ride, as well as adjustable mini round toe stops to set the braking according to your preference.
What To Consider Before Buying Roller Skates
There are a few things to consider before you decide which roller skate you’d like to purchase.
Knowing the different types of skates and components will allow you to select a model that is right for you and your needs. It’s important to select roller skates based on how they fit as well as the type of environment you’ll be skating in to avoid potential issues like discomfort or injuries.
Start first by figuring out whether you’d like to use roller skates indoors or outdoors, and what kind of skating you’re planning to practice.
The Different Roller Skates
Roller skates are essentially shoes mounted on a metal or plastic plate with four wheels attached, a pair of two in the front, and two in the back. The same way you purchase footwear for certain working conditions or leisure activities, you can also get roller skates for different modalities.
Indoors: These skates are supposed to be used in rinks and gyms, as well as indoor tracks because they’re specifically designed to glide smoothly on hard surfaces and generally have high-boots and slightly narrow wheels.
They’re also often referred to as artistic skates as they’re also used in artistic routines.
Outdoors: These are supposed to be used on a concrete floor and other uneven surfaces. They feature softer wheels that can handle vibrations, bouncing, and lateral movement.
Due to the nature of concrete and other uneven surfaces, the wheels tend to wear out faster.
Jam: This form of roller skating combines different aspects of gymnastics, dance, and skating. These generally feature low-cut boots and are lightweight to increase mobility.
Because this type of roller skating involves tricks, they usually have a jam plug instead of a toe stop – or no brakes at all.
Rhythm: These skates often feature high-boots to provide you with optimal control and ankle support, which is quite common in skates used for choreographed routines.
Racing: The type of skates for racing are usually lightweight low-cut boots with tight-fitting and little to no padding to improve the control you have over the skates. They are supposed to provide you with more maneuverability, as well as speed.
Derby: Roller Derby is a type of skating that is similar to racing. They have a similar look to racing skates but have more padding to withstand the impact of bumping or bashing against others.
Size & Fit
You have to choose roller skates based on your regular shoe size, so you should be using your sneakers or jogging shoes as a model. Roller Skates shouldn’t fit too loosely, otherwise, you’ll experience a loss of control as you ride.
However, too tight a fit and the roller skates can become unbearable on your feet. Generally, a close but comfortable fit is recommended for better control and maneuverability, but if you’re buying a pair of skates for your kids, keep in mind that they may outgrow the shoes.
In which case, you should purchase an adjustable model that will usually last longer.
Boots & Closures
Roller skates are available in high or low-cut boots or shoes. High-cut boots generally give you more control as well as more ankle protection.
You often see high-cut boots in ice skating or inline skating.
Low-cut boots are often seen in roller skates used for dancing, acrobatics, or racing, where the user generally requires more freedom of movement and flexibility in the joints to perform certain movements or tricks. Though, keep in mind that certain the profile of the boots and shoes may vary depending on the regulations for each competition.
The boots can also be hard or soft. Hard boots are obviously more durable and can take more damage (these are especially interesting for derby skating), but soft boots are usually more flexible and provide you with a bit more freedom in terms of foot movement.
While they’re typically more comfortable, they protect you a bit less.
Most roller skates are lace-up models, with low-cut shoes having similar lace systems to sneakers or running shoes. On the other hand, high-cut shoes typically follow the same lacing system as ice skates, but then again, it varies based on the model.
High-performance skates such as racing or derby skates may have a cuff strap to provide you with a more secure hold. Having loose laces isn’t safe in any type of skating activity, much less in high-performing skating.
For quad roller skates, the size and rigidity of the wheels play an important role.
The size of a typical wheel is 62mm, which is generally considered low but helps you have a low center of gravity, allowing you, most of the time, to achieve better stability.
Larger wheels, on the other hand, allow you to skate faster but are more difficult to control. Small and narrow wheels give you more control, but they’re often used in forms of skating that involve tricks, tight maneuvers, and other agile movements.
The rigidity of the skate wheels is measured in durometers— with higher numbers indicating harder wheels, which are better suited for indoor skating or smooth surfaces. Lower numbers represent softer wheels that are better suited for outdoors where the terrain is uneven.
A rating of 73A to 85A is considered soft and a rating of 85A to 103A is considered hard.
Skate wheels also have bearings that influence how easily you can glide and how much momentum and speed you can gain.
Bearings are rated based on the ABEC scale (Annual Bearing Engineers’ Committee). There are five classes from largest to smallest dimensional tolerances: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9. The higher ABEC classes provide you with greater precision, efficiency, and greater speed capabilities. However, this scale does not specify other factors such as materials, ball precision, hardness, noise, vibration, and other critical factors.
Because of this, a lower ABEC rated bearing may perform better than a higher ABEC rated bearing. Therefore, it’s not exactly a precise indicator of quality.
For the majority of skaters, an ABEC of 5 to 7 is sufficient.
Quad roller skates feature toe stops, which is essentially a brake at the front of the shoe.
More advanced roller skates have adjustable toe stops which allow you to find a sweet spot that will prevent you from tripping (if the toe stop is too low), or from not being able to break in an emergency (if the toe stop is too high).
Jam and Rythmn skates have jam plugs, which makes it easier to perform tricks as well as other maneuvers. However, keep in mind that jam plugs or toe stops are replaceable, so you can find one that actually fits the type of skating you’ll be doing.
Your roller skates of choice will be aligned with the type of skating you want to do.
Do you want to skate indoors or outdoors? And based on that choice, do you want to partake in high-performance competitions like racing or gymnastics, or perhaps other activities?
Pick something that suits your current skill level but that will allow you to improve down the road.
Hopefully, some of the choices we’ve listed in this blog post are interesting enough to help you on your skating journey, while still being cruelty-free.