Attention alI soul skaters: If you’re anything like us, we know you’re still rooting for team Pup N Suds and sometimes have vivid dreams of blading down a really steep hill, wind in your hair, knee pads, elbow pads, and wristguards fully locked and loaded. News flash: Rollerblades have made a comeback in a big way, so you can finally live out your 90s X Games fantasy. (If you didn’t live and die by the Disney Channel original movie Brink!, then you must be a Gen-Zer, or from a family that didn’t allow television watching. If that’s the case, I’m sorry.)
If you were around to experience the absolute mania that was blading in the 90s firsthand, it’s probably time for an anti-aging serum. If not, let’s just say everyone had a pair—myself included. I had at least three separate birthday parties at the Los Angeles-adjacent skate rink Moonlight Rollerway, and you would routinely see people of every age and creed cruising down bike lanes and boardwalks. In 1994, Newsweek estimated the inline skating market in the States to be worth around $650 million, 40% of which was captured by Rollerblade, Inc., the name-brand that transformed the inline skating trend into a global phenomenon, which we still refer to as “rollerblading.” An amazing clip from the opening scene of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, shows the Rangers decked out in protective gear, while high-fiving and doing slow-mo flips and tricks—epitomizing “the apex of 90s culture.”
Skating started making a huge comeback during the pandemic, with more people looking for safe, outdoor activities and new ways to exercise. Unsurprisingly, TikTok had a fairly big hand in expediting this trend—with tons of expert skaters and bladers making it look easy and fun. Now that we’re two years on, it seems that skating is here to stay. So, if you haven’t been able to locate that dusty old pair in the back of your mom’s garage, go ahead and treat yourself to some new blades. Here are our top six picks, including the best blades for beginners, and those who thought they were advanced, and are now eating their shame cookie, in silence.
The Best Men’s Rollerblades for Beginners
If this is your first on a pair of skates since childhood, don’t fret. There are plenty of tips and tricks out there, so you won’t look like a rube in front of all your cool new sk8r friends. One very fastidious reviewer claims that the, “Zetrablade skates have been an excellent re-introduction to inline skating [and] good for commuting to and from work.” He goes as far as to say they have aided him in losing fat and gaining muscles in his legs—score. The higher ankle cuff and double straps provide extra support and high-performance wheels and SG5 bearings allow for better wear and moderate speed, and thankfully there is a break on the back, for when you forget how to stop.
The Best Women’s Rollerblades for Beginners
The women’s version of the OG Rollerblade brand’s Zetrablade is virtually indistinguishable from the men’s above with the same high-performance features. One excited reviewer testified to their longevity, calling them “perfect” and “smooth”. She was, “looking for a pair of rollerblades to do some cardio…used them for six hours straight and never had a problem.”
The Ultimate Three-Wheel Blades
Ok, Erik von Detten, we see you. You’re no beginner—to you blading isn’t a trend, it’s a lifestyle. Well the next step is lacing yourself into a super sleek pair of three-wheel skates. These babies are ultra-lightweight for extra speed and control, yet durable enough for (the experienced) urban skater to hit the pavement on the reg. Plus, the frame on these bad boys can be laterally adjusted to align with your skating stance.
The Cute Retro-Looking Pair
The Impala is the Barbie Dream House of inline skates. These Palm Beach-pastel stunners are entirely vegan, made with a durable hard-plastic outerboot that provides plenty of ankle support, and an optional heel-brake for those that still don’t know how to stop these things. The only thing you’ll have to ponder is which colorway best suits your style.
The Best Light-Up Pair
Now we’re talkin’. We can’t discuss rollerblades and the 90’s without covering the absolute hysteria around lasers, glowsticks, and things that light-up. Rave babies, rejoice—you can now take to the streets at dusk, headphone blasting “Sandstorm” and perform your own laser-light ballet for the neighborhood. To top it all off, these skates come with skate socks (which are reinforced in all the places that matter most for support when blading).
The Chicest Pair
If you’re the type that’s not going to do absolutely anything unless it has some sort of elaborately curated mood board or some sort of redeeming aesthetic value, then look no further. The Yeezys of rollerblades are these exquisitely crafted pairs, in myriad hyphy color combinations, that absolutely scream, “Ya, I skate, so what?” Renowned skater and designer Jon Julio started THEM back in 2018, and the brand’s precise injection molding process results in durable and low friction shells that look sleek and perform well.
Lace them skates as tight as they go and roll on out to America’s greatest Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Wait… no yeah, that’s right.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.