Roller skating outside
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Where to Find Roller Skates for Cheap Summer Fun

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Roller skating outside
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Back to the Future

2021-Cheapism-Best-Cheap-Roller-Skates
In case you haven’t heard, roller skating (and, to a lesser degree, inline skating) is back. Roller skates aren’t new — they’ve been around since the 1860s. But every decade or so, a new generation discovers how much fun it can be to scoot around on eight wheels, whether it’s the roller derby craze of the early 2000s, the roller discos of the 1970s, or the speed-skating tournaments of the 1910s


Inline skates, often called Rollerblades after the company that popularized them, were hot in the 1980s and '90s, then fell out of favor with athletes and consumers. But GenZ has rectified that, rediscovering the joy of four (or three) wheels. Although you can spend hundreds of bucks on a pair of roller or inline skates — and if you’re serious about the sport, you probably will — there’s no reason to pay more than $100 if you’re new to skating and just want to give it a try. 


Prices and availability are subject to change.


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row of roller skates
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Where to Buy Cheap Roller Skates

As with bicycles, above-ground pools, and washing machines, demand for roller skates has skyrocketed during the past year. Price and availability continues to fluctuate, making shopping a potentially frustrating experience. You may be able to find a pair of cheap skates at your local skate shop — and we always love to shop small — but online is where you’ll find the most selection. Here’s a brief rundown of what you can expect to find:


Amazon: Pages and pages of roller skates (and inline skates) from cheap no-name kids’ roller skates to pricey adult models for roller derby, jam skating, and more. Prices range from about $35 for beginner youth skates to about $300 for Moxi brand adult roller skates.


Walmart: Fewer options than Amazon, but still plenty to choose from (more if you include third-party sellers on the Walmart site). Prices range from about $25 for a pair of Roller Derby brand adjustable kiddie skates to $200 for a pair of low-cut Riedell adult skates.


Target: Less selection than Walmart, but the same basic selection of roller skates for kids and adults from brands including Chicago Skates, Roller Derby, and Circle Society. Prices range from $30 to $100. Inline skates can cost as much as $200.


Dick’s Sporting Goods: Dick’s carries around a couple dozen  models (most of them for traditional indoor/outdoor skating) for kids and adults from brands such as Epic, Roller Derby, Roces, and Chicago Skates. Prices run from $35 for kids’ skates to $120 for a pair of classic adult skates. Their inline skate selection is decent, too.


Academy Sports & Outdoors: Like Target, this retailer carries only a couple dozen roller skate models from brands including Roller Derby, Airwalk, and Chicago Skates. Prices range from $30 for a pair of youth skates to $90 for an adult pair.


Ebay:  Hereyou can find new-in-the-box roller skates for kids and adults as well as gently (and not-so-gently) used and vintage models. Price and selection are all over the map, but are in line with big-box retailers when it comes to new, name-brand roller skates and inline skates.


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Roller Skates
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Types of Roller Skates

There are a mind-boggling number of roller skate styles available. If all you want to do is take some gentle turns around the local roller rink or your neighborhood streets, a pair of traditional or artistic skates — they look a lot like ice skates — that have a stiff above-the-ankle boot and prominent toe stop are your best choice. 


Once you’ve learned the basics and want to graduate to track skating and racing, a pair of low-cut speed skates, which resemble athletic shoes on wheels with a toe stop. If showing off your groovy moves is most important, choose a set of jam skates instead. Like speed skates, jam skates have a low-cut ankle, plus a cover to protect the laces while you’re turning tricks and a smaller toe stop. Look for a known brand like Roller Derby, Chicago Skates, Epic, or Riddel. 


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Trac Star Youth Girl's Adjustable Roller Skate
Amazon

Roller Derby Girls' Trac Star Adjustable Roller Skate

$25 from Amazon
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This is one of Amazon's top sellers, and plenty of parents say these make a great first pair of roller skates for a youngster. Buyers say the molded plastic shell is supportive, the ratcheting straps are easy to adjust, and the washable inner liner is comfortable. A handful of parents complain that sizing seems to run small, so be sure to measure your child’s foot before ordering. A boys' version is also available.


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Roller Derby FireStar Youth Roller Skate
Amazon

Roller Derby FireStar Youth Roller Skate

$28 from Amazon
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Once your kiddo’s gotten a taste of roller skating, it's time to upgrade to a skate like this model, which has a fixed, lace-up boot that provides more foot and ankle support than step-in beginner skates. This is a boy's roller skate, but a girls' model is also available.

Chicago Girls Rink Roller Skate - White Youth Quad Skates
Amazon
CHICAGO Skates Men's Classic Roller Skates
Amazon

Chicago Men's Classic Quad Roller Skates

$55 and up from Amazon
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Chicago Skates also makes an adult version of their traditional roller skate for both men and women, and they don’t cost much more than the kids’ models. A few buyers say they wish the lace-up boot had a little extra cushioning for outdoor skating, but the majority of buyers seem quite satisfied, based on their feedback. Note: This model is frequently sold out, so if you see your size in stock don't hesitate.

Chicago Bullet Men's Speed Roller Skate
Amazon

Chicago Bullet Men's Speed Roller Skate

$50 and up from Amazon
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If competitive skating is more your thing, this low-priced model is a good pick for beginner track skating, roller derby, and old-fashioned leisure skating inside or out. They come with ABEC-1 bearings, which aren’t as speedy and precise as those on pricier speed roller skates, and a minority of buyers complain that the wheels aren’t ideal for outdoor skating, but both of those components can be upgraded. A women’s version is also available.


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Roller Derby Women's Rollerstar 600
Amazon

Roller Derby Women's Rollerstar 600

$70 from Amazon
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If you harbor dreams of becoming the next Olivia Newton-John and spending your days freestyle skating, owners say this model is a good, inexpensive pick for indoors or out. A handful of owners note that these don’t roll as smoothly or turn as sharply as more expensive freestyle skates with more sophisticated components, but the majority of buyers are plenty satisfied with their purchase. Note: This model sells out frequently.

Riedell R3 Black Roller Skate Set
Riedell

Riedell R3 Skates

$100 and up from Riedell
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If you’re serious about skating, especially track skating and roller derby, these Riedells are a great entry-level choice, say pro skaters and reviewers alike. The low-cut boot is comfortable and supportive, while the ABEC-5 bearings and Radar Cayman wheels are built for speed. However, some owners say that you may want to upgrade those components to match your skating style.


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Rollerblade Zetrablade Men's
Amazon

Rollerblade Zetrablade

$100 and up from Amazon

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Roller skates aren't the only wheeled footwear that's making a comeback: Inline skates are, too. Rollerblade is the brand that started the inline skating craze back in the day, and they're still the go-to brand for many. Their Zetrablade skate is a good choice for beginners, owners say, and the quick-release straps and laces are easy to adjust for a snug, supportive fit. These Rollerblades aren't designed more aggressive skating, however, and skilled skaters should consider upgrading to a pricier model like the Macroblade 90 ($200 from Inline Warehouse).

Roller Derby Girl's Stinger 5.2 Adjustable Inline Skate
Amazon
Papaison Adjustable Inline Skates
Amazon

Papaison Adjustable Inline Skates

$70 and up from Amazon

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This is Amazon's top seller, a unisex inline skate that's available in both child and adult sizes (and three color choices, too). The biggest selling point — aside from the relatively low price — are the wheels, which light up when you start skating. Most owners who leave feedback say the skates are reasonably comfortable and durable for a beginner pair, though a minority of buyers complain about poor packaging and cheap components.

Roller Derby Boys 2-in-1 Roller/Inline Skates
Walmart

Roller Derby Boys 2-in-1 Roller/Inline Skates

$40 from Walmart

Shop Now


Can't decide whether to try roller skating or inline skating for the first time? With this 2-in-1 skate from Roller Derby, kids can do both (not simultaneously, obvs). Most buyers say their kids love the skates, which are size-adjustable, but caution that it can be a challenge to swap the wheel platforms from roller to inline skates. A girls' version is also available.


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