The best inline skates for kids are those that come with a full slate of safety gear. It's important for your child to skate with a helmet, wrist guards and knee and elbow pads, advises the American Academy of Pediatrics and Texas A&M University Family and Consumer Sciences Department. Once your child has the gear, then you can find her the best pair of skates.
Your child’s age and skating ability should suit the skate’s design, the American Academy of Pediatrics explains. Inline skates with five wheels are the top of the line when it comes to high speed and low friction. Five-wheeled inline skates should only be used by children who have advanced to competitive or long-distance skating. Inline skates with three or four wheels are a better choice for the beginning inline skater of all ages.
Buy inline skates that fit your child's current foot size. They must fit well, notes the American Academy of Pediatrics and Texas A&M. If the skates are too big, your child’s feet will slip around inside them, leaving her with little control and no ankle support. Her foot can also shift from the front to the back of the skate if the skates are too big.
Some inline skates are adjustable to accommodate the growing child while others come with inserts for the snuggest fit. Adjustable inline skates can fit up to four different shoe sizes. With these skates, use the push button to adjust and select the appropriate shoe size. Padded inserts that fit beneath your child’s foot or around her ankle or heel keep the foot from sliding around and give her the most control.
A few other considerations come into play when choosing the best inline skates for your child. Brakes are a must, as is proper maintenance. Replace brake pads and wheels when they wear down, particularly if the wear makes the wheels stick or rotate unevenly. If you’re buying used skates, consider starting off with a fresh set of brake pads and wheels. The type of wheel you choose plays a part in inline skate performance, with harder, bigger wheels moving faster than slightly smaller softer ones. Outdoor inline skates require a softer wheel than indoor skates to better roll with any bumpy and uneven terrain. Hard wheels outdoors will not absorb any shock and cause your child to bounce on asphalt and pavement rather than roll.