Aggressive inline skates might not be as popular as they were, but that doesn’t mean they’ve vanished from skate parks or the streets.
Plenty of people are discovering the joys of dropping into a half-pipe on a pair of sweet inlines or ripping off a Backside Royale to a Tru Makio on a rail.
If you’re one of them, or you want to try your hand at grinds, stalls, and all the fun that comes from aggressive inline skating, you need a proper pair of aggressive inline skates. After all, you can’t do a grind on a normal pair of recreational inline skates.
So what are the best aggressive inline skates?
In a Hurry? Here Are Our Top 3 PicksInvalid table id.
Reviews of the 5 Best Aggressive Inline Skates
Check out the features that make these five aggressive inline skates land at the top of the pile.
1. K2 Skate Unnatural Inline Skates
- TRADITIONAL LACING: Customize your lacing and knot the same way you tie your shoes.
- AGGRESSIVE CUFF: Aggressive skaters need more support than most types. The development process for...
This skate is designed for skaters of all skill levels, from beginners to advanced skaters. This novice-friendly design with advanced design features made this our choice for the Best Overall aggressive inline skate. This inline skate is made by K2, so all of their experience in making recreational and skis has made this skate a joy to wear and do tricks in.
This skate comes out of the box with K2 60mm 88a wheels with ABEC 5 bearings. This means the wheel is a little softer and a little larger to help with balance and feel. The frame is a UFS compatible frame, which lets you increase the wheel size up to 61mm if you like. The extra wide soul plate is a one-piece system with Teflon, which makes it easier to lock in on your ledge tricks. Unfortunately, the soul plate is not replaceable by itself.
The soft outer boot uses traditional laces for closure and has an extra wide Velcro strap across the top to secure your foot down. The cuff has a double strap system. The bottom buckle is a traditional buckle with a larger receiver for added durability. The top strap is a Velcro strap that gives extra support and helps lock the ankle in without biting.
- Two closures on top (One buckle, One Velcro) gives enhanced stability without undue foot pressure
- Teflon enhanced soul plate makes locking in easier and more forgiving
- Aggressive K2 cuff gives support without sacrificing control
- Soul plates are non-replaceable
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2. Roces M12 UFS Italian Aggressive Street Inline Skates
- Excellent men’s inline skates for grinding: The Roces M12 UFS inline skates for adults are perfect...
- Shell & cuff made of extremely durable high grade polyurethane: Our extra sturdy men’s aggressive...
This is the budget version of the M12 Roces skate, which is one of the best aggressive inline skates ever made. Because it’s an M12 and available at this lower cost, it was a no-brainer to make it our pick for the Best Budget Pick when it comes to aggressive inline skates.
The primary difference between the budget and pro versions is that the budget uses plastic that’s a little softer than the pro. This means you’re going to show wear more easily.
The grind plate and groove are both designed to get your foot close to the trick, which makes landing them easier.
The soul plate is a little narrower, which makes locking in on rectangular edges trickier when you’re just starting out, but it also makes nearside tricks more forgiving. The frame is a UFS design, so when your soul plate wears out, you can easily change it out for a new one.
The skate comes stock with 56mm 88a wheels with ABEC 5 bearings. The skate is designed in a rocker, so the interior wheels are undersized with aluminum spacers.
The closure system uses traditional laces with a memory buckle and Roces Grab Strapin back. As with all Roces skates, they tend to run small, so order up at least a size to a size and a half.
- Raised heel design gives better control during grinds and enhances shock absorption
- Liner is soft and comfortable
- 88a wheels give a little more control and comfort for beginner skaters
- Narrower fit than most aggressive inline skates (make sure to size up when ordering)
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3. Rollerblade NJ Team Street Inline Skate
- REMOVABLE COMPONENTS - Flexible features allow modifications, replacements and upgrades: cuffs,...
- BLANK UFS FRAME - Versatile and modular for UFS-compatible skates with Zytel material for strength...
This skate almost made our top pick, but was edged out by the K2 Unnatural. However, as our Runner-Up, the NJ Team Skate has a ton of great features. One of the key things that we love is that Rollerblade always makes the best liners. The inner liner fits well and the skate is true to size. So if you wear a size 9, you can order a size 9 and not worry about it.
The skate is extremely lightweight with a UFS frame and a soft shoe shell. The BlankR122 Frames are made of a composite mix and make it easy to lock in on your grinds. The skates come with 58mm 90a wheels with Rollerblade’s proprietary 5G7 bearings in a rocker setup.
The closure system uses traditional laces with a Velcro powerstrap over the top of the foot. A spring loaded locking buckle locks the ankle into place. The liner includes a shock absorbing heel insert that keeps the heel elevated for a more natural foot position to land tricks. The liner also has a preformed tongue and reinforced outer sole, so you can wear it as a walkable shoe for short distances.
- All major components of the skate are interchangeable to suit your style.
- Soft boot liner can be worn as a shoe with a hardened outside sole.
- Blank frames made of Zytel Plastic make locking in so easy
- Shock absorbing heel insert is a little stiff at first
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4. Roces M12 Lo Pro Bobi Spassov Pro Inline Skates
- Heavy-duty material for the inner boot
- Wheels: 60mm 93A HQ compound wheels + 2 grind wheels
This is a variation of Roces’ classic M12 style aggressive inline skate. This is the Pro version, so it has several features that the budget version doesn’t. This is also a Lo model, which means that the liner is cut a little lower than other models and the outer shell is a little harder. The shell features traditional laces, with memory buckles and a Roces Grab Strapin back.
The liner is thick and plush with memory foam, which helps keep your feet from getting too tired after a few hours of ripping tricks. The base frame is a UFS style, so it’s completely removable if need be. Because this model was designed for Bobi Spasov, it is designed for speed. The skate comes with twin 60mm 92a wheels with ABEC 5 bearings. It’s set in a rocker design, so the interior two wheels are much smaller.
It should be noted that M12 Lo inlines tend to run small in traditional sizing, so when you order one, make sure to order up a size. They also have a slimmer fit, so if you have a wide foot, you may want to go with a soft boot inline skate instead.
- PU shell is harder plastic which gives amazing durability and support
- Narrower soul plate lets you get on top of the grind during nearside tricks
- The H-block feels close to your foot giving increased control during backslides and other tricks
- Lo cut liner can feel a little narrow on the insole, so you might want to trade those out
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5. K2 Sports Varsity Aggressive Inline Skates
- K2 Softboot , the original, delivers unmatched comfort with the best fit on the market
- UFS compatible frames are designed specifically for aggressive skating, think street and vert.
This aggressive inline skate comes from K2, which has a lot of experience making skis and recreational inline skates. Their experience shows in the design of this skate, which gives superior comfort and control while you’re wearing it. At times it doesn’t feel like a traditional aggressive skate because of the soft boot and traditional lacing.
The soft boot gives increased breathability as well as comfort, especially as you wear it. The skate comes stock with four 55mm 88a wheels per skate with ABEC 5 bearings. The frame is a UFS design, so you can adjust the height of the wheel in the frame as you need. This can eliminate the need for rocker wheels so you get increased control with all four wheels on the deck.
The extra-wide soul plate is removable, so you can change it out when it wears or you just want a color change. It has traditional lacing with a K2 Super Stable cuff and wide Velcro powerstrap and a wide buckle above the ankle.
- Oversized soul plate and H-block give increased control during grinds and stalls
- Cuff sits underneath baseplate to provide increased support for ankles on topside tricks
- Thick Velcro strap locks your ankle into place
- K2 buckle is not spring loaded, so it can self-open sometimes
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When looking at purchasing aggressive inline skates, there are specific features that make them different from the traditional recreational inline skates that most people wear. Here we’re going to go over the specific features that make the aggressive skate different and what you should be looking at when it comes to purchasing one.
Four specific Elements of Aggressive Skates You should Know
Every inline skate, whether aggressive, freestyle, or recreational, comes with specific design elements in common. For example, every inline has wheels, bearings, axles and spacers, a boot system with a liner, and some sort of fastener. What makes aggressive skates different are the elements that aren’t in common with the others. Let’s take a look at four things you’ll only find on an aggressive inline skate.
The soulplate is the flat part of the skate that the frame attaches to. This part is actually the bottom of the actual boot itself. This part is flat and usually wide. Some soulplates are widened with an extension to make locking in on a ledge even easier. Older aggressive skates didn’t come with soulplates, but as more and more skaters began doing soul slides and stalls, they became a necessary part of the skate.
Some soulplates are able to be replaced as they wear down, which is a nice feature to have, especially if you tend to do your ledge tricks on asphalt or harder surfaces. You can also find soulplates that have Teflon embedded. Teflon is a naturally smooth material, and that makes doing slides a lot easier as it reduces the friction between the plate and the ledge.
When looking at the soulplate, you should think about the style of tricks that you want to do. If you’re doing more nearside tricks then a narrower soulplate will give you more control over them. On the other hand if you’re a beginner, then a wider soulplate will help you lock in and land the tricks, giving you more confidence as you learn and progress.
The Groove and H-Block
Older aggressive inline skates used to have grind plates, which were hard plastic or metal plates that attached to the frame. When you did a grind on your frame, the plate wore down instead of your skate. Now, modern aggressive skates have a hollow that starts in between the middle two wheels of the skate and has a matching hollow on the soulplate as well.
The hollow on the frame is called the H-block, and the hollow on the soulplate is called the groove. Together, they let you do rails or ledge grinds, and are where you stop when you do a stall. In a lot of cases, the H-block is replaceable because it sees so much wear. However, because frames are so easily replaced now, many manufacturers integrate the H-block into it.
When purchasing an aggressive skate, your H-block and groove should fit the widest rail that you think you’re going to attempt. In many cases, you’ll know this already, but if you’re just starting out, go for a wider H-block rather than a more narrow one. A wider block and groove let you stick a stall more easily and also lock onto a rail quicker.
Most inline skates come with four wheels that are all the same size. However, in cases where your H-block is small, and you are attempting a wide rail, the inner two wheels can interfere and cause you to miss your tricks or even injure yourself. That’s where an anti-rocker system comes into play.
An anti-rocker is where the middle two wheels are removed and replaced with smaller wheels, often so small that you can barely see them. In some cases, they remove the wheels entirely and just go with a set of spacers. The intent on doing this is to give the rail more room to fit on the skate frame.
If you’re a novice skater, then chances are that you won’t need an anti-rocker setup to start out with. As long as you have a UFS frame system, you can always change your wheel setup to that system when you need to and your ability level increases. For experienced skaters, you know if you want an anti-rocker system, but it’s often more cost effective to get a flat wheel system with all four wheels installed. That way, if you like anti-rocker, you can just remove the two middle wheels and you have replacements when the first set wears out.
UFS stands for Universal Frame System. What this means is that you can take your frame and attach it to any skate you want. It used to be that every manufacturer had a proprietary frame system, so if you skated K2s, you could only change your frame to another K2 boot. And some manufacturers even had different frames between models.
Skaters said enough is enough, and they demanded that skate manufacturers change their way. So they did. In 1999, the skate industry created the UFS standard, which also opened up the market for aftermarket frames. Now you can get a frame for your skate that is nearly any color, has any size H-block, and even allows vertical wheel adjustment if you like. For novice skaters, stick with the stock frame that your skate comes with, but know that you have the ability to change it up if you like.
What Do the Numbers That Describe Wheels and Bearings Mean?
When you look at the wheels that come with an aggressive inline skate, you’ll see them described with something like this: “58mm 88a wheel with ABEC 3 bearing”. These numbers all mean something. The 58mm refers to the size, or diameter, of the wheel. The 88a refers to how hard the wheel is, and the ABEC 3 is an acronym that stands for Annular Bearing Engineering Committee and tells you how precisely the bearing is made. Let’s go into more detail:
Size of the Wheel
When it comes to skate wheels, the smaller the wheel, the slower it is. If you’re after speed on your aggressive inline, look for wheels that are 60mm and above. Here’s a chart to help you understand how size affects speed:
|50-53 mm||Smaller and Slower||Kid’s inlines, street, and bowl skating|
|54-59 mm||Average size||Great for beginners and for vert skating|
|60+ mm||Larger and Faster||Best for street skating on rough surfaces and where you want a lot of speed|
Hardness of the Wheel
The term that is used to describe the hardness of a skate wheel is durometer. These are measured either on the A scale which goes from 0-100, or the B scale which is essentially the A scale + 20. So an 80B wheel is equal to a 100A wheel. The softer that the wheel is, the more it’s going to grip the surface. This gives you more control, but also makes you go a little slower. Let’s look at a chart:
|78a – 87a||Softest wheel||Great for longboarding or street skating that requires more grip|
|88a – 95a||Good Grip||This gives a little more speed but still has great grip and control for street skating|
|96a – 99a||Good Speed||This is usually a starting point for beginners. Gives good speed with a good balance of control and grip|
|100a+||Fastest Wheel||This hardness means that the wheel has virtually no grip whatsoever. Don’t use these on anything but controlled courses, because they will shimmy and slide everywhere|
When you want the best performance from your aggressive skate, you’re looking at your bearings as part of the overall package. In most cases, an ABEC 5 is the sweet spot of price and performance. ABEC ratings available are 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. In most cases, a novice inline skate may come with ABEC 3 bearings.
The reason you shouldn’t waste your money on an ABEC 7 or 9 bearing is because in order to take advantage of the higher tolerance and performance of an ABEC 7 bearing, it needs to be going at about 20,000 RPM. To put it in layman’s terms, a 54mm wheel turning at 20k RPM means your skate is going at 127 miles per hour.
So, you may see advertisements that say that a bearing is ABEC 7, but you should know that that is just silly, because unless you’re hitching your skates to the back of a train, you’ll never really need that level of precision.
Here are some frequently asked questions.
What is the difference between an aggressive inline skate and a regular inline skate?
Aggressive inline skates usually have harder and smaller wheels than recreational skates. That’s because you want the higher speed that a harder wheel gives with the smaller diameter to give you more control. There are other differences, like the inclusion of the soulplate and the H-block as well, which give you areas to land your tricks on.
For example, an H-block is used to do rail grinds while the flat surface of a soulplate is used to do soul grinds.
What safety equipment should you wear when using aggressive inline skates?
You should always wear a full set of pads, gloves, and a helmet when skating. A helmet will protect your from concussions and serious brain injury, while pads will save your elbows and knees from painful road rash. Additionally, a good pair of skate gloves with reinforced palms will help prevent you from getting gravel embedded under your skin when you bail out of a trick.
What is a UFS Aggressive Inline Skate?
A UFS aggressive inline skate is simply a skate that adheres to the Universal Frame System for skates. That means that you can take the frame (the part of the inline that holds the wheels) and remove it from one set of inline skates and attach it to another.
Why are the inner two wheels on aggressive inline skates smaller than the others?
This is because in some cases the larger inner wheels prevent an aggressive inline skater from landing tricks on a larger diameter rail. They put smaller wheels in the middle (or sometimes remove them entirely) to give a larger space for the rail or the ledge. That way the wheels on the inside don’t catch and cause you to take an unexpected spill.
The K2 Skate Unnatural aggressive inline skates are some of the best all-around skates you can get, no matter what your budget or your experience level is. The bevy of features such as the Teflon embedded soulplate and double upper strap system ensure a great fit and ease in locking in tricks. If you’re after a skate that’s more focused toward more advanced skaters, then our runner-up, the Rollerblade NJ Team Street Skate is a great alternate choice.