Roller skates tend to adhere to the same sizes as standard footwear, thus making finding the right size fairly straightforward. For example, if you are a size five in trainers, you will likely be the same in roller skates.
Nevertheless, although sizing (mostly) similar across the board, there are some styles of roller skates which will be sized differently.
This is why it’s important to know other ways to spot whether your new roller skates are going to be right for you in the long run. Arguably, getting a good fit is even more crucial for first timers who’ve never skated before, as knowing what feels right isn’t always straightforward.
General Sizing Information
Sizing For Children
One of the main aspects of roller skate sizing that you need to be aware of, is that sizing for children is somewhat different to that of adults. This isn’t to say that they won’t be the same size in skates as they are in normal shoes, but more that their rapid growth needs to be taken into account.
Feet growth is most rapid during the earlier years of your child’s life, typically between the ages of 0-3 years old. Thereafter, the process slows a little, but may still see a change of size every eight months or so, though every child is different. Due to this common knowledge, most children’s roller skates come in adjustable sizing.
By opting for a size adjustable first pair of skates, you have the benefit of longevity in knowing that they will fit for between 3-4 size changes. However, if you prefer to purchase non-adjustable ones, then you need to be mindful of two things: the sizing specific to the skates you’re looking at, and to purchase a roller skate size larger than their standard shoe size. You should use the size chart of the different brands to get the best fit.
Ideally, this should mean that there’s no more than a finger width of room between the foot and the heel of the skates. The reason for being so precise is that poor fit can lead to ankle support issues, as well as general discomfort and pain.
Sizing For Adults
Unlike children, adults don’t have the luxury of adjustable roller skate sizes, therefore selecting the right size becomes more important.
In a similar fashion to children however, choosing either your normal size or one size higher – even if you are a half size – is generally the best rule of thumb. That being said, it’s always important to read the sizing specs of each individual skating brand, as they can have their own sizing factors that impact the final fit. Artistic and recreational skates come in black (men’s sizes) and white (women’s sizes) and generally they don’t come in half sizes.
When visiting a professional roller skate fitter, novice skaters will often be advised to size up their shoes. The reason this advice is given is because the skate needs to be fitted without being too tight. Equally however, you won’t want it to sit too loosely either.
To test out whether your skates are too snug or not, stand up and see where your toes sit — if they’re pressed against the end of the skates, they’re too small for you. However, if you have more than an inch or so of room at the toe box and other end of your skates, then they are too big.
Another element of sizing skates you’ll need to take into account is breaking in time. This is when the shoes become used to your specific foot shape and thus mould to it, which in turn gives a more comfortable experience.
To easily tell whether breaking in will make a huge difference to your size, wear your roller skates and then bend your knees as if about to skate. This will move you into the typical skating position. Your toes will come away from the front of the skates, which will help you see how they will fit once broken in — if there’s too much distance between your toes and the end of the boot, you need a smaller boot size.
Alongside the above tips for roller skate fittings, it’s also worth taking the time to measure your feet when purchasing new skates.
When visiting a physical shop, there’s normally a measuring plate which you can stand on that will give your measurement in millimeters; this is needed for you to compare it to the measurements of your intended skates. Whenever measuring your foot length, make sure to wear the socks you will be wearing, or similar, whilst in your skates. This way, you’ll get the most accurate fit.
If you’re measuring your feet at home, while wearing the right socks still applies, you may need to get more creative when determining your foot size. There are several ways to do this.
You can use a foot mould, which will take an imprint of your foot. There’s also drawing around your foot so that you can get an outline which you can measure. Lastly, you can also rest your heel against a wall, then draw a line where your toes end.
Once you’ve got your measurements, you then need to try the skates on, both when they’re unlaced and when they’re laced. This is so you can check the measurements are right when you first slide your feet in, with the laced up test then helping to indicate the support, foot space, etc.
Roller Skate Width
Typically speaking, the width of roller skates will be the standard width you see for other footwear. Not only because it’s the most common foot width, but also due to your skates being broken in. However, should you wide feet, you will need to purchase your skates from a shop that specialises in wider shoe sizes.
Roller skate sizing is important for both the comfort of your experience, but also for you to gain better stability while performing.
To ensure you have the correct fit of shoe, you need to utilise the measurements given alongside the tricks outlined above. This is because while it may be recommended to go up a size, after measuring and trying on your skates, you may find your normal size is better suited to you.
Furthermore, children’s sizing in skates is different from adults due to their frequently changing foot sizes, and so investment in adjustable skates is often the better option. No matter what you buy or where from, make sure the fit is snug without being too restrictive.