There are many types of roller skates available but for beginners, it may be difficult to work out the best inline skate for their needs.
In this article, we discuss two popular types of inline skates: Aggressive and Recreational – so you can be clear on the differences in design, construction and skating style.
Aggressive by name, aggressive by nature. These skates are designed for skaters to perform lots of tricks such as sliding along rails and require plenty of ‘grind’.
Recreational skates are designed for skating around town or your local park, with comfort and performance prioritized.
In this article, we explore the differences between Aggressive and Recreational inline skates to give you a clearer idea when purchasing your next pair of inline skates.
Key Features of Aggressive Inline Skates
Aggressive skates are built for skaters operating in skate parks or in quirky parts of the town where there are rails and ledges to grind on. Some of the key features of aggressive inline skates are detailed below.
The grinding motion of aggressive skating naturally wears the skate more than recreational skating. This means you’ll find the parts of an aggressive skate easily replaceable.
This design ensures the two central wheels are smaller than the outer wheels to prevent them from touching the ground. This makes grinding much easier as there is more surface area.
Adding extra robustness to the aggressive skates, the soul plates better protect the foot and support grind tricks. They are also easy to replace.
Rigid Ankle Support
The movements of aggressive skating are far more intense than recreational skating.
The motion of grinding along ledges and pipes puts extra strain on your ankle so aggressive skates are fitted with extra rigid ankle support.
High-Impact Hard Boot
Aggressive skaters are likely to fall when performing high-risk manoeuvres.
To protect against foot injury, aggressive skates typically have hard material boots constructed from plastic or carbon fiber.
Small, Hard Wheels
The wheel diameter of aggressive skates typically ranges between 55mm and 60mm. Smaller wheels get out of the way and enable a lower center of gravity and greater stability for tricks.
As most aggressive skaters are experienced skaters, they will tend to know the specific wheels and bearings they want to use.
Most retailers selling aggressive skaters will provide an option to purchase the boot only, to allow for customization.
Key Features Of Recreational Inline Skates
Recreational inline skates are not built for intense, high-risk movements but rather for lovely strolls in the town on flat surfaces.
Comfort is more of a priority along with a smooth roll. The key features of recreational inline skates are presented below.
Typically made from textile material, recreational skates have a soft boot. This supports better ventilation, breathability and comfort.
Large, Soft Wheels
Recreational skates normally have wheels ranging from 80mm to 84mm and are constructed from durable plastic.
The large and soft wheels encourage good stability and lower speeds which are ideal for recreational skaters who just want to cruise at a gentle pace.
Recreational inline skates for beginners come fitted with a brake for easy stopping. It may be counter-intuitive to many beginner skaters but most skates do not have a braking system.
To ensure recreational skates are relatively low-risk a brake is included.
Most recreational skates are the entry point into skating for beginners. You will therefore find most recreational skates available at an affordable price.
As recreational skates are built for use straight away and made from affordable materials, there is not much capability to customize the skates. You very much get what you are given.
Types Of Skating For Aggressive And Recreational Skates
Recreational skates are perfect for keeping fit on your local sidewalk or park.
Recreational skates are popular for those who don’t care about reaching high speeds or handling around corners but simply want a nice easy stroll.
That is why recreational skates are simply constructed and rarely feature high-tech specifications.
A combination of the larger wheels, braking system and soft boot is built for low-intense skating where ideally you will not encounter any falls or high-impact collisions.
Aggressive skates are quite different in being designed and constructed to withstand intense and agile movements.
Seeing a skater grind across a ledge is a highly skilled form of skating which requires skates that have maximum surface area for grinding and are robust to handle falls.
Aggressive skating requires fast, agile movements with plenty of change in direction. As a result, aggressive skates need to-level ankle support and energy transfer to enable those movements.
What Is Better For Beginners, Aggressive Or Recreational?
In simple terms, recreational skates are by far the best option for beginners.
Recreational skates are often seen as the entry point into the world of inline skating with many beginners deciding to perfect the standard skating roll using recreational skates, before looking at freeride or aggressive skates which encourage high-speed and agile movements.
The design of aggressive skates with the two smaller wheels in the middle and two larger wheels on the outside doesn’t make it easy to travel from A to B.
So if you’re simply looking to develop your skating technique, the even-sized wheel design of recreational skates will offer a smoother, stabler roll.
It will also depend on your nature and preferences. You may well be a daredevil and want to progress quickly in aggressive skating technique.
In this case, trying on aggressive skates and performing some simple tricks such as rolling down a ramp could be a good place to start.
What Are Freeride Skates?
Freeride skates are different from aggressive and recreational skates.
Once you’re into recreational skating and become confident you may want a similar type of skate that offers enhanced performance. Freeride skates are a great option.
Freeride skates are designed for skaters who want to travel across urban environments but with extra control, power and excitement.
While recreational skates are designed for ease and comfort, freeride skates focus on performance.
Constructed with a sturdier boot, Freeride skates have enhanced power transfer from to the floor enabling you to generate more speed.
This skate type appeals to skaters who are after something in-between recreational and aggressive skating, by enabling a good smooth roll with the capability of some aggression and tricks.
Freeride skates typically cost more than recreational skates and have more customizable options.
Aggressive skates are for experienced skaters who wish to perform tricks and grinds on ramps and ledges, while recreational skates are designed for entry-level inline skaters wanting to develop their technique in a low-intense manner by rolling through their local park or sidewalk.
In this article, we have outlined some of the key design differences and skating style differences between aggressive and recreational skates.
Aggressive skates are designed to be robust, with strong ankle support and small wheels to reduce the surface area for grinds.
Recreational skates are more focused on a comfortable feel and stable roll by having a soft boot and larger wheels.
Hopefully, you now know the key differences between the two skates so next time you purchase inline skates you don’t purchase the wrong skate type.
Luckily, there are plenty of great aggressive and recreational skate options available online to purchase across many price ranges.