Choosing a pair of children's skates
Choosing the right skates for your child can be a real challenge - especially if it's their first pair. What to choose: inline rollerblades or skates? How old do kids have to be to start learning to skate? What are multi-size skates? These are the kinds of questions parents ask themselves before investing in a pair of skates. Nomadeshop lets you in on everything you need to know about kids' skates.
High-quality multi-size skates
When it comes to buying their child's first pair of skates, many parents are tempted to buy toy versions, or skates from the supermarket. We don't recommend this approach due to issues surrounding comfort, solidity and safety. If a child is in pain, or if their feet aren't properly supported, they won't be able to skate properly or progress at a normal pace.
Kids' skates are multi-size, meaning they're adjustable by 4 to 5 sizes. Not all models are suitable for all size brackets, so over and above comfort and foot support, this should be your main deciding factor when choosing. This means you'll be treating your child to a solid kids' skate that will last for years.
How old do you have to be to start skating?
Children are generally ready to start skating at around 5 or 6 years old. But just like with walking, there's no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to learning coordination. Essentially, if your child is still lacking a little balance on firm ground, then wait a while before trying them out on skates.
In terms of minimum sizes, expect 25 for inline skates and 29 for quad (or Derby) skates).
Feel free to try things out at our store, hire skates or sign up to a kids' skate class with the Roller Club de France (RCF), Nomadeshop's exclusive partner, before buying.
Learn to skate
Before they're ready to hit the streets all by themselves, kids need to get to grips with the basics of skating. Participants must know how to brake, stop, slow down, turn and accelerate.
The Roller Club de France teaches kids aged 7 and above how to skate. Through these relaxed, fun learning sessions, kids get to grips with skating through a range of activities and games that equip them with all the technical basics and security and safety rules they need to know to practice this sport. Lessons run for an hour and a half, and end with a snack (provided by the club).
Remember that for every pair of skates you buy, you'll get a free kids' skating class.
Price ranges for skates
Is your child interested in learning to skate? Are you looking to buy them their very first pair of skates? To start off, focus on models that have fairly light composite frames. In general, these skates are fitted with boots made from a semi-rigid plastic shell that provides excellent hold and support for learners. K2, Rollerblade, and Powerslide skates offer the best value for money. Prices for kids skates vary between €89.90 and €129.90.
For seasoned skaters and those looking to practice on a regular basis, it's best to choose skates with an aluminium frame that's sturdier and more precise. If your child feels comfortable in their skates, or if they're ready to move on to their second pair, it's worth investing in this type of skate: they'll last longer and give them extra support and precision in their skating.
Quad skates or inline skates?
THAT is the question!
Inline skates offer better balance than standard traditional skates, because the wheels extend over the front and back slightly, giving children more stability (front/back). In most cases, this is the best option.
Kids quad skates with four wheels: two on the front and two at the back. Although there's less surface contact compared to inline skates, these offer extra lateral stability when children are at a standstill. If you notice your child's ankles are buckling inwards, it's a good idea to start with a pair of traditional skates to help them keep straight.
Watch out, though. This is something of an exception, and while you can get some that start at a size 29, you won't get high-quality quad skates in multi-size versions.
Skates are also perfect for those interested in skate dancing.
Choosing the right size skate
Choosing the right size kids' skates isn't always easy: you're investing in a pair of skates that could become too small, too quickly. Depending on each child's age and frame, their feet could grow too big for their skates in just six months! That's why it's sometimes a good idea to size up a little, so you get more wear out of them for longer. However, this can make skating more difficult and possibly even dangerous. If your child's feet are swimming inside their skates, it can cause balance issues and the lack of support will prevent the child from skating properly. Not to mention blisters and wounds from chafing.
In response, brands created skates with adjustable sizing. Depending on the chosen brand, these kids' skates adjust to fit children's feet as they grow, and be expanded by 2 to 3 sizes. Note that the entire foot section can be adjusted and enlarged, which means optimum comfort and hold irrespective of size.
Falls are inevitable when kids are learning to skate, which can worry a lot of parents. Don't be nervous, and don't forget that children are much suppler than adults. Plus, because they're smaller than us, they have less distance to fall.
Keep them protected by kitting them out with kids' skating protection gear: wrist guards, elbow pads, knee pads and a helmet.
For your first training sessions, go for the smoothest, most even surface possible. Ideally, you'll want to find a clearly delineated space, as children who are just starting out don't have great control over their trajectories.
You'll find all our kids skates and tips online, at our Paris store and from the Roller Club de France instructors.
Once you're up and running, you can join the Sunday outings that kick off outside the shop, led by the Rollers et Coquillages association.