Why do I need Laces and Buckles on my Inline Skates?
Skates need to fit nice and snug to your feet and your heel and all the parts need to be held in place. To achieve this there are many different forms of closure systems used by the companies creating skates for the world. From lacing systems and buckles and straps, on this page we will take you through why certain systems are put in place on different types of Inline Skates.
Getting the skates to wrap around your feet properly can make a huge difference when skating. Having the laces nice and tight across the top of your foot will help keep your foot from lifting off the bottom of the skate resulting in you having more control and responsiveness. The last thing you want is a delay from the time you lift your foot to the time that the wheels leave the ground.
The majority of laces will be very similar. Most inline skates use longer laces in the 230cm area that will be flat. The flat laces help protect your foot from any pains where round laces might dig into your feet after being pulled tight or being pushed against your feet by a buckle or strap that covers them. There are also waxed laces which are great at holding their position. This results in the laces staying tight which saves you tying them up and fixing them every so often. We also have speed lacing which allows you to pull the laces tight and then tuck them away without tying them. This is a great option for kids and others who love a skate that is quick to take on and off.
Laces can be laced up all the way to the top of your ankle on some skates to offer more support and can even be intertwined with the liner of the skate to keep everything together.
If you choose to tie your laces lower then you will have less support but more flexibility to bend when performing tricks.
BOA are a company who specifically designed a lacing system for skates, ski/snowboard boots, cycling shoes and more. It involves a twisting dial that tightens the laces around your foot with a lifetime guarantee. These mechanisms make putting your skates on a whole lot easier and quicker. Simply twist the dial and the laces will tighten up around your foot. To take them off it’s a simple pull of the dial until you hear the click and the skate will loosen as you pull the tongue. These are typically found on K2 skates but recently Rollerblade have announced some new recreational skates that include a BOA system. At Slicks we have only ever experienced one faulty BOA strap out of hundreds sold. Due to the lifetime guarantee, BOA sent us a new dial straight away which we could easily replace for the customer. The BOA system is also featured on the K2 kids skates which comes in very handy for those younger kids that cannot tie their shoes yet. If you are looking for a skate that can be taken off and on very easily then maybe a BOA system is for you.
The top buckle or strap of a skate has an important job. It is there to support you ankle and to control how flexible or supportive the skate will feel. If left loose you can flex left and right much easier which can make aggressive skating much easier but if you are a beginner or a speed skater then you will probably want this buckle/strap to be tight so you have less movement and more support.
Most of these buckles will be ladder straps that can be pushed through the inside of the skate with a buckle clip on the outside. These make it very easy to close them and get it secure. Recreational and more budget skates will come with a plastic buckle clip that may not be removable unlike aggressive and urban freestyle skates that usually come with stronger replaceable metal buckles to protect them from impacts.
Some aggressive skates will come with velcro straps that can help with flexibility and durability as they are less likely to be destroyed by an impact. The velcro straps are more likely to be destroyed by time whereas a metal ladder strap will last longer over time but may not survive some hard impacts. Some skates will feature ratchet straps that can tighten as you pull a level on the buckle clip. These are more popular on Speed and Slalom skates as they allow you to get the skate super tight to provide that extra support for the responsiveness needed to perform the high speed skating or slalom movements.
45 Degree Straps
The strap that goes over the top of your foot is there to hold your heel in place at the back of the skate. Heel lift is never helpful when skating. Like I mentioned before, you don’t want any delay between lifting your foot and the wheels coming off the ground. Like the top buckles, these straps will be different depending on which type of skate you go for. Recreational and cheaper skates will tend to come with plastic buckles that sometimes cannot be removed. Some aggressive skates will come without a 45 degree strap to allow for better flex and skate durability. If they do have one it may be a velcro strap that will be less likely to break during impacts. Urban freeskates, speed and freestyle skates tend to come with removable buckles with ratchet straps which will help get that skate nice and tight around your foot.
Some more of the high end slalom and speed skates will come with and extra strap at the bottom of your foot which helps prevent your foot from moving left and right when skating. This could make all the difference in a competition setting saving you seconds in a race which makes these straps very useful. This strap is usually velcro as the location would make a buckle more susceptible to damage.