Are you a bit on the heavy side of things and wondering if roller skating could be a good workout for your massive body? Roller skating is among the most enjoyable outdoor sports that can help large skaters burn calories. Compared to a sport such as running, roller skating is a low-impact indoor and outdoor sport that won’t kill your joints and muscles. While few roller skates on the market have a stated maximum weight limit, quite a few will accommodate even the heaviest skaters without straining.
Also Read: Best Wide-fit Inline Skates
In this post, you’ll find 5 roller skates that support large skaters without falling apart. Most importantly, you’ll learn how to choose heavy-rider roller skates so you can order the perfect pair each time.
Do Roller Skates Have a Weight Limit?
Also Read: Best Quad Skates Ever
No, roller skates don’t have a weight limit. At least, most skate brands don’t indicate the weight limit number. Some companies state the weight limit, though. For example, Rollerblade states the maximum weight limit as 220 lbs for adults. But, you shouldn’t worry about skate load capacity. Most skates with a weight limit are almost always crappy. Sorry, big girl or guy — there’s almost nowhere to find weight limit information for quad skates. As a heavy-weight roller skater looking to burn some unwanted fat, the best thing you can do is to choose solid skates with equally solid metal plates, hard-cored wheels, and a good-quality boot.
Also Read: How to Roller Skate for Beginner skaters
Best Plus Size Roller Skates Comparison Table
All five skates have two things in common. First, they all have metal base plates. As you’ll learn later in this skate-buying guide for plum-size roller skaters, big skaters are best served by using options with hard-to-break plates.
Second, all these roller skates are affordable. None of them costs over $300 at the time of writing. They may not exactly be high-end options, but they work for big guys looking to lose some weight.
Once you chisel that body into the great shape you want to see through consistent skating, you can always upgrade to better-quality (read expensive), lightweight skates. BTW, many top-end roller skates today have plastic plates.
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Here’s a comparison table of my top 3 picks:
- Beautiful, long-lasting (won’t scuff or scrape easily), brushed-suede roller skates
- Features metal baseplates and trucks
- Large soft wheels for outdoor roller skating (65mm, 78A)
- No feeling cracks and small pebbles when skating outdoors
- Attractive price point
- Great skater reviews
- Solid PU bushings that stand up to heavy weights
- Spray them with FootMatters Professional Boot&Shoe Stretch Spray to quicken the breaking-in process
- Consider replacing the stock insoles with proper insoles
- But bolted-on toe stops aren’t a great idea
- The tongue feels somewhat flimsy
- Not for the beefiest of feet, but should accommodate thick performance socks
- Die-cast aluminum base plates
- Boot made of light synthetic/vegan-friendly materials
- Rainbow-themed colors on the boot and laces boost the aesthetic appeal
- Available for when you wish to declare your uniqueness and boldness to the world; black and pink are also available
- Adjustable toe brakes for smooth, stable stops (safety matters!)
- ABEC 5 bearings; loosen the wheels up a tad for smooth spins
- Put toe covers on the vinyl boots to protect them
Impala skates have received quite a bad rap over the years, but these ones aren’t trash.
82A,58mm gummy wheels combined with ABEC 7 bearings
Reliable PU toe stoppers
Aluminum alloy trucks and base plates
Thick padding for comfort
Brakes not replaceable and adjustable though
Pretty fast, take care when going downhill or you’ll take a bad tumble
Toe cover could increase boot longevity
PETA-approved vegan boots
1. Candi Grl Carlin Drifter Artistic Skates (Top Pick)
The Candi GRL Carlin Artistic Skates is a Roller Derby product. Roller Derby is a skate brand known for its good-quality skates, and the Candi Grl Carlin Artistic skates are no exception.
The boot is crafted from long-lasting suede that doesn’t scuff or scrape easily. And with their 65mm 78A wheels, you won’t feel the cracks and small pebbles when skating outdoors on asphalt.
These are heavy beginner skates that come in at a reasonable price for the quality. They’re high-cut boots that give you the support and maneuverability you need to have fun on rink floors and at parks. The padding may not be as good as it is in the Impala skates, but that didn’t bother me.
Also, they look nice, but if you hate cleaning stuff, stay away from any of the light-colored boots. Because they attract dirt like a magnet. I chose the peach one, but I probably should have chosen black.
What makes this skate a good choice for a plus-size roller skater? It’s because it features a sturdy aluminum chassis. What’s more, its solid PU bushings keep things nice and stable. Thanks to these urethane bushings, my turns felt pretty efficient.
Large, Soft Wheels for Bumpy Outdoor Rides
They came with large, soft 65mm tall (38mm wide) 78A all-purpose Kemistry Glide Roller Derby wheels. And, the so-called Bevo Silver-5 race-rated chrome bearings rolled nicely. But I can’t say it was the smoothest spin I’ve ever seen.
After breaking the bearings in, I can skate sidewalks, asphalt, concrete, and skate parks without issues. I can also safely use these skates indoors on super-slippery floors because the wheels are super grippy.
Boots Are Stiff Right Out of the Box
The brushed suede upper looks good, maybe it’ll last. But these boots were pretty stiff right out of the box. But how stiff? So stiff that I hated wearing them…because they hurt my feet and gave me fun-killing blisters on my feet and inside of the ankles. Padding could be better, though, but once you break them in, you’ll love how well they flex.
Soften the Upper to Break Them in Faster
Use the leather and suede-conditioning spray below to soften and stretch the suede boot and quicken the break-in process. Simply remove the plastic cover at the top and spray the contents onto the inside and outside of the boot.
Be sure to use the FootMatters Professional Boot&Shoe Stretch Spray on the inside and outside of the boot and then strap the boots on and roll around for some time. Alternatively, use a shoe stretcher. Blowdrying the roller skates helps, too.
If you want even better and faster results, blow-dry the boots for about 10 minutes. You’ll end up with boots that conform to the shape of your feet.
How Do These Heavy-Skater Boots Fit?
Fit-wise, these guys run somewhat narrow, but that’s probably because I have wide feet. I had to return the skate and order size 10 (I’m size 9) because it crushed my toes even though some reviews said it has a wide toe box.
They fit me just fine even though the fit was snugger than I’d hoped. I started using thin socks, and the problem vanished.
So, measure the mondo point size of your feet and order as per the model’s official size chart. But this definitely isn’t a wide-forefooted skater’s best option.
But for big girls with medium-width, the skate should be roomy enough for you to wear thick performance socks. You could even swap out the stock insoles and fit in better-quality insoles for a comfier experience.
The Not-so-Good: Bolted-on Toe Stops and Flimsy Tongue
The toe stops are bolted on, which means you can’t shift them up or down at all. Well, that was a bummer for me. Also, I felt the stops sat a little higher than I like, but that wasn’t a dealbreaker.
There’s something else I didn’t like. The tongue felt somewhat flimsy, and as I put the boots on, I needed to rein in the unruly tongue. Again, not a dealbreaker.
And as mentioned above, these aren’t super comfortable skates. If you want comfier options, get those $300+ Moxis and Sure-grip Boardwalks. But high-end skates have nylon baseplates, not ideal for big roller skaters.
Overall, these are nice-looking boots that should last. Well, the price didn’t exactly feel like a steal. But with a metal base plate, a durable boot, and decent wheels, it didn’t feel like a rip-off.
2. Moxi Rainbow Rider Women’s Skates (A Budget Pick)
The Moxi Rainbow Rider Women’s Skates are a good pair of budget roller skates that work well for big skaters thanks to them having die-cast aluminum base plates.
The wheels are 40mm in width, which makes them grippy and stable, but that’s too wide if you like doing spins. The boot is synthetic and might scuff and scrape with constant use, but it is supportive. Loosen the wheels up a little before use.
The vinyl boot on these rainbow-themed skates makes for good ankle support. Leather would have been better for the upper because leather lasts longer and looks better than vinyl.
Mine are sunshine yellow, but you can also get them in black or pink plus all the other bright rainbow colors that communicate the radiance of your boldness to the world.
But leather doesn’t work very well for folks with weak, untrained ankles. And at that price point, you can get decent suede or synthetic leather boots. But these are budget boots so I can’t really say I was disappointed. You get what you pay for, you know.
Die-Cast Aluminum Base Plates
No matter how beefy your frame might be, these skates are ready for you. I don’t care if you’re 300 lbs — these metal plates are solid enough for you. That’s because they’re made out of die-cast aluminum.
But what’s so special about die-cast aluminum? Aluminum die casting is a metal-molting process that happens under very high pressure inside molding cavities. The result is super-hard aluminum that stands extremely well to extreme stress. I can’t believe Moxi offers some of their skates with plastic base plates at well over $350!
Adjustable Toe Brakes for Smooth, Stable Stops
This option offers adjustable toe stops so that you can set them as low or as high as your technique requires. Throw in good stopping ability and high-traction Moxy gummy wheels which are some of the finest outdoor wheels ever, and stopping will never be an issue.
The wheels are 62mm in diameter at durometer 78A. These are the kind of wheels you need for rolling around on bumpy asphalt and concrete. Well, the description says the wheels are 58mm, but that’s not what I got.
At that hardness level, these Moxy wheels are way too soft for heavy guys and girls. And the softer the wheel, the quicker it wears. So, don’t expect the wheels to last more than a month if you’re out there riding every day.
But everyone needs to replace their wheels at some point, right? When the time to replace the wheels comes, swap them with harder outdoor wheels (85A or harder wheels).
You Can Spin On These Moxi Skates, But The Wheels…
This may be a beginner roller skate, but that doesn’t mean that the only thing you can do with these skates is only cruising around. If you like doing spins and deep turns on the rink floor and parks and rolling backward, these skates have got you covered. Because the boots are supportive, and the PU breaks work.
But with a 40mm contact patch, the Moxi Gummy wheels on these guys are too wide and chunky for spinning and other demanding kinds of footwork. For artistic maneuvers and gymnastics, you’ll want to mount narrower, much harder wheels (98A?). But if you’re skilled enough, you can still squeeze nice spins out of these roller wheels.
You May Have to Loosen Up the Wheels a Bit, Though
I had to loosen the wheels up a little because they wouldn’t spin for more than a second. I couldn’t get them to spin even with their ABEC 5 steel bearings.
There’s one more thing. These vinyl boots aren’t very durable. But is that really surprising? So, expect them to scuff and scrape at some point during use.
Fortunately, you can always prevent boot degradation by putting toe covers on them. Good toe covers are good, and they are relatively inexpensive.
On the whole, this Moxi skate packs tons of value at that price point. Most importantly, these Moxi roller skates are heavy-load boots that work well for big riders.
3. Impala Big-rider Roller Skates (Most Comfortable)
Impala Rollerskates Medium Width Big-rider Roller Skates: You often don’t hear good things about Impala skates, but this option is worth a closer look. If you’re a new skater with some fat to burn and not-so-strong ankles, try these guys.
These are the most comfortable choice here thanks to the ample padding they offer. And with 82A 58mm gummy wheels equipped with ABEC 7 bearings, it doesn’t get any smoother than that.
With 82A 58mm gummy wheels paired up with ABEC 7 bearings plus reliable PU toe stoppers, only a lackluster skating technique could hold you back. But these wheels, while gummy enough, aren’t good enough for rolling over small pebbles and cracks because they’re not tall enough.
This PETA-approved vegan boot offers precisely what you need: aluminum alloy trucks and baseplates. Also, the padding inside is really thick compared to all the skates in these reviews. You can expect the shoes to be comfortable.
But the upper shouldn’t be expected to last long given that it’s constructed out of synthetic materials rather than leather or suede. However, this high-cut boot offers a good level of support for weak ankles. Expect the upper to scuff easily, too. Consider adding a toe cover as that’s known to increase longevity to some extent.
The lacing notches at the top look OK, but I did notice that the paint started chipping off after some time. Not much of an issue for me, but I can see how that could be an issue for quality-conscious folks.
As for the build, it is good, but the skates are a bit heavy. That extra weight comes from the metal baseplate and wheels. As far as performance, these guys roll fast.
If your skating has gotten somewhat rusty, be careful, or you’ll spill. Be sure to have the right safety gear. Wear a proper roller skating helmet and good rollerskating knee pads and wrist pads.
These beginner boots fit true to size. And the manufacturer says these boots are medium width. However, they’re not the best option for wide feet. That said, they’re definitely not narrow.
One more thing. Remember to loosen the trucks and wheels a bit if you want a butter-smooth roll. Another thing is that the brakes aren’t replaceable and can’t be adjusted. Definitely not a good thing, but it isn’t too bad for starter skates.
4.Pacer Rollr Grl Astra Freestyle Rollerskates (Cutest)
You shouldn’t expect much from $50 skates of any kind, and I was a little skeptical when ordering these sparkly skates. But here’s the kicker: I didn’t end up returning them. Tip: never buy $50 skates with plastic plates. Because insanely cheap roller skates with plastic plates are almost always unsafe.
The Pacer Rollr Grl Astra Freestyle Skates are really cute high-top boots with good ankle support. They feature 65mm wheels with Bevo Silver 5 race-rated chrome bearings for skating outside and gliding on slippery surfaces.
Firm aluminum plates underneath make for great support even when you’re a little on the plus size of weight. And the skates come in at an attractive price point.
Pacer roller skates may not be the finest skates ever, tbh, but they’re pretty popular among starting skaters. They have 65mm wheels with good rather than great bearings. They didn’t roll too well right out of the box. But putting in better Bones bearings afterward did give me nice, buttery rolls indoors and outdoors.
Well, Pacer says these high-cut skates are brushed suede boots. But that’s not what the actual boot looks like. It’s more like a vinyl boot on the outside with the interior lined with suede. I liked the boot’s flashy gold glitter, but it definitely isn’t 100% suede.
There’s comfort padding inside, but it’s not nearly as ample as what I saw in the Impala boots. You can expect enough ankle support plus decent comfort around the ankles.
It’s supposed to be medium width and should fit true to size. So, I ordered size 9. But the skate was too narrow for me. I’m slightly over 4″ in width, but on measuring the cheap removable insoles inside, they were 3 1/8″ wide. I returned them for size 10, and they fit like a glove.
After skating for about 20 minutes, I noticed that the seams inside the boots had rubbed blisters on my feet. I figured wearing thick socks could solve the problem, but wouldn’t thick socks take up the room that I was trying to create?
I had to use thin socks, and the fit felt better though still not great. I read that others got a better, comfier fit with neoprene socks.
It did feel like I needed to do a little more to break them in, which wasn’t like too bad.
Overall, the Pacer Rollr Grl Astra is like a budget version of the Sure-grip. It’s perfect for heavy beginners who also happen to be value shoppers. But in all seriousness, these aren’t meant for any kind of quad skating that ventures beyond the beginner level.
5. Retro-Styled Crazy Skates for Heavy Riders
The medium-width big-rider Crazy Skates aren’t like the very best option out there, but this retro-styled roller skate works well for large skaters and everyone else. Unlike most skates, these ones offer micro-adjustability, allowing you to increase or reduce room a whole 4 sizes!
These stylish faux leather/ leatherette boots feature retro labels that add up to a stunning retro look. And if you’re wondering where Crazy skates are made, they were originally an Australian brand, but they expanded in 2011 into the United States. Maybe they make their products overseas and market them in the U.S. and other locations, who knows?
Unlike any of the other massive-rider skates reviewed here, this retro-style skate offers micro-adjustability. There’s a feature on the heel that lets you increase or decrease the room inside across 4 sizes from 3-6. I bought this one for my niece a couple of months ago. She’s size 5, and they fit like a glove after adjusting for fit.
If you’ve been thinking of buying the Crazy skates Evoke model but can’t because money is a little tight for now, don’t worry. Instead, buy these retro skates. Because they perform, they look good, they’re comfortable, and they fit great.
What’s more, they’re unbelievably affordable at that price point. I keep seeing models from big-name brands such as Riedell and Sure-grip that cost double the price despite having plastic plates. And that seems a little strange.
The manufacturer mounted 78A 62mm wheels with a round lip profile for super-smooth rolls and deep turns. And the ABEC 7 bearings inside the wheels do make a noticeable difference in roll quality. My teenage niece felt she needed to helmet up all the time she was on these skates because they rolled really fast for artistic skates.
Steel axles, alloy plates, and trucks come together into a strong skate that supports big loads without straining. Add in urethane bushings and a supportive vegan-friendly upper and you have something you’ll love for years. This product is available in 6 nice colors: white, teal, purple, pink, blue, and black.
Not Available in Large Sizes
One gripe I have is that this skate isn’t sold in big sizes. If you’re anything like size 7 and above, good luck finding something that big. Lest I forget, this retro boot fits ample feet well thanks to its wide heel.
Overall, this is a metal chassis skate you’ll want to buy and keep for generations. But will this synthetic leather boot last that long?
A Guide to Buying Heavy-Skater Roller Skates
When buying a pair of roller skates, there are quite a few things that you need to keep in mind. But if you’re a plus-size skater, it’s easy to end up with quad skates that don’t have the capacity to support your massive body weight.
In this heavy-skate buying guide, I point out a few things you should pay attention to so that you can pick up a pair of quads that won’t fall apart on day #1 skating on them.
Before then, here’s an important question we need to answer. Should heavy skaters buy assembled skates or build theirs from the ground up?
Build Skates or Buy Assembled?
I believe the best way to get good-quality skates that support heavy loads without grumbling is to build a custom skate. I’m talking about buying every component required separately and then bring all of them together into a personalized skate. You’d have to purchase good wheels, plates, brake, upper/boot/trucks, axles, nuts, skate tool, and whatnot.
In most cases, buying parts separately increases the final cost of the skate. But the upside to a custom skate build is that you end up with a skate you’ll love, one with the best possible components for your specific needs.
What If You Don’t Want to Build a Custom Skate?
Alternately, you can choose a pair of skates that checks most of the boxes and replace some of the parts with more solid parts. For example, an option might have decent metal plates, a high-quality leather boot, a decent stopping brake, and great trucks. But the same skate might come with low-quality, shiny, chunky, plasticky wheels. In such a case, it’d be a good idea to buy the skate and remove the low-quality wheels and mount better wheels with a solid hub.
Now that the build or buy a complete skate is out of the way, let’s focus on what brought you here…how to choose good heavy-load skates.
What to Look for When Buying Roller Skaters as a Heavy Skater
Below is a list of considerations to keep top of mind while shopping for heavy-rider skates.
Fit, the Most Important Selection Factor
If you get the fit wrong, you’ll soon hate your skates. Because they won’t be comfortable. Or they’ll bruise your feet or cause nasty blisters. Different skate brands fit their skates slightly differently. And sizing differences between different models of the same brand aren’t uncommon.
So, measure your feet and use the official size chart of the particular model to calculate the correct skate size. Also, read skate reviews to get an idea of how sizing works across brands.
What if you have wide feet? Or narrow feet? Unfortunately, many manufacturers don’t provide boot width information. You’ll have to read reviews to know which skate companies provide wide-fitting roller skates or which offer narrow skates.
If you have narrow feet, Moxi skates would be an ideal choice. And if you have wide feet, Sure-grip skates and Bont Quadstars are worth a look.
Wheels: Go for High-durometer Wheels
Durometer is a technical term used to give skaters an idea of how soft or hard a set of roller skate wheels is. There are two main durometer scales namely the A scale and the B scale. The difference between the A scale and B scale is 20.
To put it into perspective, a wheel with a durometer of 80A is s hard/soft as a wheel with a durometer of 60B. That said, the vast majority of quad skate wheels in the market today are rated on the A scale. I can’t remember the last time I saw a duro B wheel.
If you weigh in at over 200lbs or heavier, go for harder wheels than your skating style usually demands. Different roller skating styles work best with certain durometer ranges.
For most outdoor roller skating, 78A-85A is the recommended durometer range. And when it comes to skating indoors, 86A-103A is the recommended durometer.
But if you’re this tall, large girl or guy looking to burn a few calories and get healthier through roller skating, go for wheels whose durometer isn’t softer than 93A. I’m talking about indoor skating here. But why 93A? Because that’s the wheel hardness level that many heavy skaters have learned works for large frames.
Why Soft Wheels Are a No-no for Large, Heavy Skaters
The problem with wheels softer than 93A is that most of them compress too much, and the urethane tends to deform under excessive pressure. Once the wheel deforms, it loses its perfectly circular shape and assumes a somewhat oval-ish shape. And it requires tons of energy to keep less round wheels rolling fast enough. Plus, the ride feels nowhere near smooth and stable when the wheels are deformed.
In some cases, deformed urethane skate wheels just won’t do the job and should be replaced. And you know what? Good roller skate wheels aren’t cheap. So, why not choose decent wheels that won’t flat-spot just because you put 250 lbs of flesh on them?
Best Wheel Size for Heavy Skaters?
There’s no right or wrong wheel size for big skaters. Roller skate wheels exist in the 45mm-70mm wheel diameter range. The right wheel size for you or anyone depends on your skating style.
For freestyle roller skating or artistic roller skating, 45mm wheels are a good bet. As for jam skating, speed skating, and roller derby, roller skate wheels in the 57mm – 62mm should do the job. And, larger wheels in the 65mm-70mm size range/wheel diameter range are for outdoor roller skating and long-track speed skating.
Regardless of wheel size, choose skates with stiff wheel cores or hubs as those are the only kind of wheels that are strong enough for massive loads.
What Wheel Core/Wheel Hub Works for Big Skaters
Harder wheels work better for large roller skaters. But having a high durometer number isn’t enough. You need to look at the wheel core/hub and choose skates with wheels with a core that is solid enough for your body weight.
Go for Wheels With a Solid, Aluminum Core
In terms of wheel hub materials, there are nylon and aluminum cores. As a heavy skater, a wheel with a solid, aluminum core would be the best choice for you. Solid cores are the best option because they’re extremely stiff. This extreme stiffness keeps the wheel perfectly round, and the urethane stays intact.
Wheels with a solid core are some of the most expensive options out there. Because good-quality aluminum is more expensive than plastic. But solid-cored wheels also tend to be a little heavy, heavier than spoked wheels or hollow-cored ones.
By the way, what are hollow roller skate wheels? Read the next section to learn what nylon and hollow-cored wheels are like.
Spoked/Nylon-cored and Hollow-cored Wheels
Nylon spoked roller skate wheels look like the picture below. The hub looks like the bike spokes, but not all spoke designs look that pronounced. By the way, spoke-y cored wheels are some of the most common roller wheels you can find. These cores are the lightest of all three core types, but they’re the least stiff. Which means they’re not the ideal wheelset for a heavy person.
As for hollow cores, these are also plasticky cores, but the core is more solid and lighter than spoked options. If you look at the wheel from the side, you’ll tons of core material put together in all kinds of patterns. Some of these cores look pretty solid, but they’re not as solid and stiff as aluminum cores.
A heavy roller skater might use good quality hollow-cored wheels, but where possible, a solid aluminum core is your best bet.
Wheels With Aluminum Cores Aren’t Common, Though
Big problem: most of the skates around have either nylon-cored or hollow-cored wheels. Solidly cored wheels aren’t as common, and it can be hard to find skates with such wheels. If the skate you’re eyeing features solid axles and aluminum plates, grab it even if the wheels aren’t up to snuff.
You can always swap out the wheels for better ones. That’ll sure cost money, but when it comes to getting fitter through roller skating, everyone pays.
Think About How You’ll Stop on Your Roller Skates
Stopping is one of the most essential skating skills everyone needs to master. Ask any roller derby player. You really need to master the derby stop and the mighty plow stop. That’s why you need to look at the toe stop.
Understand that some skates use bolt-on toe stops that can’t be replaced or even shifted around to a different position. That means you can’t upgrade to better-quality breaks. I know someone who bought Impala skates that came with toe stops that were too high that they couldn’t use them to stop.
It’s best to choose skates with adjustable toe stops. With adjustable toe stops, you can raise or lower the height of the brakes or remove them in favor of better-quality stops. You can even change from toe stops to jam plugs if you decide to transition to artistic skating in the future.
Plate: Choose Skates With Study, Metal Plates
The plates are the first component that knows how heavy you are because that’s where your weight distributes out to the skate. You need metal plates and not plastic plates. You want stiff, metal plates, preferably aluminum plates. Such metal plates should be able to provide all the upward force required to counteract the downward force you put on your skates.
Metal plates are the best choice because they’re more durable, more supportive, and have very little flex. Serious skaters and big skaters like metal plates because they flex less. Plates that flex more make you skate slower.
Most budget roller skates are cheap for a reason. Usually, these skates feature nylon plates. Nylon plates flex too much and no pro skater uses them. Plus, nylon plates don’t provide enough support for heavy-built skaters.
Flat Skates vs. Heeled Skates
Artistic skates are typically heeled skates. Being heeled means that these skates are designed to shift your overall balance a little more forward compared to flat-plated skates. With a heeled skate, more of your weight is over the ball of your foot. In comparison, flat skates have you putting most of your weight over your heels.
I tried skating using a flat-plated skate on one foot and a heeled one on the other. And the muscle tension I experienced caused sore thighs that lasted weeks. The stress happened because flat boots and heeled boots distribute weight differently.
Anyone who’s skated flat boots all their lives and then started skating on heeled boots knows all too well what I’m talking about here. The transition is an awkward feeling, one that needs time to grow into.
And if you’re evolving from a high-cut, heeled boot to a low-cut heel-less boot, you’ll notice a difference in weight distribution. In the first few sessions on flat skates, it feels like your skate wants to roll forward underneath you. But you’ll soon get used to it.
What’s Better, Flat Skates vs. Heeled Skates?
It all comes down to personal preference or your skating style. Heeled skates are purposely designed for dance skating/artistic skating while flat skates are for roller derby and everything else. But there’s some getting used to when you’re transitioning from a heeled skate to a flat skate and vice versa.
Wheel Axles and Kingpin Angle
As a heavy skater, especially if doing your own build, go for the most solid axles you can find. Because only strong axles can support heavy loads.
When it comes to the angle the Kingpin makes with the plate. The kingpin angle is a measure of the extent to which the kingpin is offset from the skate’s plate. 10, 16, and 45 kingpin angles are more common.
Understand that the lower the kingpin angle, the greater the stability of the skate. And the steeper the kingpin angle, the more agile the skate. But if you’re a new plus-size skater, don’t worry too much about the kingpin angle.
Boot: You Want leather Boots With Solid Stitching
As a heavy skater, it’s perhaps best to choose roller skate boots with real leather uppers. You also want stitched leather outsoles. Leather breathes well and is super comfortable. Plus, leather tends to outlast other upper materials. Also, taking care of leather is relatively easy, and if it ever scuffs (not likely), you can easily address that.
Roller Skate Boot Style
As for roller skate boot style, you can go with a low-cut boot or a high-cut boot. I put together a detailed guide on roller skate types. Read it to learn what kind of roller skate would work best for you.
Low-cut Boots (for Speed Skating, Derby, Jam Skating, and Regular Skating)
Low-cut roller skate boots offer lots of ankle support and decent articulation. They’re usually lightweight skates that look like a normal shoe. They’re designed to deliver speed and turbo-charged performance on race/derby tracks.
Jam skates, roller derby skates, and speed skates all have low-cut boots. These boots have a tight fit and enable you to turn or change direction super quickly. Also, low-cut boots help you build up speed quickly from standstill.
That’s why low-cut boots dominate derby tracks. That’s because they offer monstrous capabilities when it comes to catching agile jammers and defying blockers.
High-cut Boots (for Rhythm and Artistic Roller Skating)
High-cut boots are for more artistic skating. When it comes to rhythm skating, you want a dance boot that provides ample ankle support while not sacrificing ankle articulation too much. An artistic skate, like a rhythm boot, offers great support because it’s tall and considerably stiff.
These two boots look like figure skates on wheels. Artistic skaters aren’t interested in speed that much. The one thing they focus on is agility and grace. What’s better than watching precision skaters or synchronized roller skating at its finest on the rink floor?
Many regular roller skates today feature a low-cut boot. That’s because who wouldn’t want a skate that looks like an everyday sneaker? But it does seem like the popularity of low-cut style boots has been waning over time.
Maybe that’s because low-cut skates typically come in black while high-cut skates are available in many colors. What’s more, high-cut skates look really cute. Plus, they’re built for artistic expression which lots of people seem to have fallen for.
Generally, low-cut boots are used in skating rinks while high-cut skates are more common at skate parks because they’re more supportive. Still, boot style is a matter of personal preference.
Can Indoor Roller Skates be Used Outdoors?
Yes, you can use indoor skates outside. Just find a decent set of heavy-skater wheels, slap them on your roller skates and just roll off. But when it comes to roller skating outdoors, softer wheels are recommended. You need wheels in the 78A-80A range if skating on asphalt or concrete, but because you’re heavier than average, choose harder wheels. Go for 80A-85A wheels for cruising trails outside or grooving on pavement.
Wheel Shape: Go for Wider Wheels for Stability
When I started roller skating a couple of years back, I was a little on the heavy side. But that wasn’t much of a problem since some skaters I saw weighed 300 lbs. But what does skater weight have to do with wheel shape/wheel profile?
I have written a comprehensive roller skating wheel guide, and you can dive into it if interested. But there are two main types of wheel profiles to think about. These profiles are square profiles and round profiles.
Perfectly square wheels are hard to find these days. But a roller skate wheel with a square profile provides greater grip than a wheel with a rounder profile. Greater grip translates into more stability but less agility, and vice versa.
Narrower, rounder roller skating wheels may have less traction, but they roll faster because they face less roll resistance. Also, they’re more maneuverable than wider wheels.
That said, most wheels on the market today have rounded edges, but some aren’t as round. If you’re tall and heavy and haven’t skated before, I suggest that you choose a skate with wider wheels.
Go for Wheels With a Stable Profile
Quad wheels are between 31mm and 44mm in width. 31mm wheels are extremely narrow and unstable — don’t go for these if you weigh more than most people. Go for 38mm-44mm wheels, wider if you’re a beginner. Wide wheels might not be fast, but if you choose hard ones, like 95A hard, you’ll roll just fine. If you choose very thin wheels, your rides might feel very squirrel (unstable).
If you took a roller skate wheel and dipped in paint and then rolled it on a hard flat surface, how wide would be the paint lines? That’s what wheel profile is all about — how a wheel links you to the ground.
What About Tread on Roller Skate Wheels?
Well, tread matters, but not as much as many people imagine. Some wheels feature shallow ridges that are incorporated to boost traction. And that’s a good thing, right? Right, except after skating for some time, all kinds of skate wheels heat up and sort of melt…a little. When wheels heat up and melt, they become stickier and the treads are pretty much useless.
That said, having tread can be beneficial for absolute beginners, heavy or not. For new skaters, keeping balance can be tricky, especially during the first few seconds. Wider wheels with greater traction can provide the much-needed initial stability so that you can roll more confidently.
Here’s another scenario where having tread on skate wheels could be beneficial: roller skating in the rain. I’m not for riding when it’s wet unless you know what you’re doing. But grooved wheels certainly help minimize slipping. And here’s a bunch of tips to make skate wheels a tad less slippery.
What About Price and Brand?
Maybe you’d hoped I’d spew out a list of brands that make skates with a high weight limit and the price of each product. But that wouldn’t be possible or even helpful.
In my opinion, the brand doesn’t matter as much as fit. So, get fitting boots that will allow you to upgrade parts as you like down the road. One big reason skaters of all weight ranges have trouble perfecting their technique is that they got sizing all wrong.
Get the fit too tight, and you’ll kill your feet in just 15 minutes. And if the skates are too big, your feet will keep slopping around. All you’ll get in the end is blisters and… nasty pain.
As for price, that depends on how much spend you’ve set aside for the purchase. You can get a not-so-bad entry-level skate in the $100-$120 price range. However, cheap roller skates typically come with a nylon plate. And nylon skate plates aren’t good for heavy skaters.
But decent skates such as Moxi Jack, Jackson Vista, Bont Quadstar, Riedell Zone, Moxi Lolly, and Sure-grip Boardwalk cost $200+.
For the most part, cheaper means worse. And costlier means better. Still, you can find a good budget skate built to support heavy-weighted skaters.
In terms of brands, I recommend skate brands such as Roller Derby (maker of Candi Girl skates), Sure–Grip Skates, Riedell Skates, Moxi Skates, Jackson Skates, Bont Skates, Rio Rollers (UK), Chaya, and others. Impala skates are popular too, but I (and many skaters) aren’t always heaping praise on them.
Wrapping It Up
The best way to get a skate that’ll hold up to heavy-weight abuse is probably to gather all the parts needed and build a custom boot. Another option is to visit a reliable skate shop and get fitted.
Alternatively, you can click over to Amazon and pick up any of the heavy-skater roller skates recommended above. And if any of them isn’t up to snuff in some aspect, replace the crappy component with a decent one and keep skating.
The best roller skates for heavy riders have metal plates and synthetic boots for maximum support. Stay away from options with plastic plates as these tend to be unsafe. You likely won’t go wrong with the Moxi Rainbow Rider, Candi Grl Carlin, Impala Women’s Skates, Retro-styled Crazy Skates, or even the cheap Pacer Rollr Grl Astra Freestyle Skates.