What to Wear Roller Skating – The Ultimate Guide

When starting off skating, a question most beginners ask is, “what should I wear to go roller skating”. When selecting what to wear roller skating, safety is key. So, your main focus should be on selecting proper safety gear.

Apart from this, you will need to choose skating clothing items that offer up comfort and freedom of movement.

Having been a part of the roller derby world for years, I have enough experience putting together the perfect roller skating outfit. The good news is that by the end of this post, you will have a better idea of how to do this as well.

So, keep reading to find out which safety gear and clothing items you should be picking up before you head out on your roller skates.

Roller Skating Safety Gear

As I mentioned, safety is paramount when putting together a roller skating outfit. So, let’s take a look at what protection gear you will need:

family wearing skating gear

Skating Wrist Guards

Around 47% of all skating injuries involve the wrist. This is because when you take a tumble on your roller skates, your first instinct is to throw out your arms in front of you to break the fall. This may result in sprains or fractures.

Check out our guide on how to fall safely when roller skating.

It is precisely due to this that skating wrist guards are one of the first things you should shop for. Now, while wrist guards have been around for a long time, there are more designs to select from than ever before.

The classic wrist guard will begin just below your knuckles and end past your wrist. These guards tend to have a curved piece of plastic where your palm is to help absorb the shock from your falls. The guards are often secured by one or more velcro loops.

If this is what you are looking for, then the ELOS wrist guards will suit you nicely. They are ideal for beginners, being made from tough fabric and featuring a large piece of plastic on the wrist for maximum protection. They can also be tightly secured via a wide velcro strap.

In case you prefer something with a thinner profile, then I would suggest the Andux Hard Gauntlets. While the palm area is reinforced, it isn’t nearly as bulky as traditional designs. This pair is a lot more flexible as well, making it suitable for intermediate skaters.

If you are a more seasoned roller skater and favor performance over padding, the Flauto wrist guard should be your go-to option. These are reinforced at the palm and even further down the wrist to help absorb the shock of any impact. At the same time, the cutout at the top of the wrist allows for greater movement.

Of course, you shouldn’t just focus on the design. It is just as important to pay attention to the fit. Make sure that you can snugly wrap the velcro portion around your palm or wrist. This will help the wrist guard stay secure and protect your hands more effectively.

If you are just starting out with skating, I would suggest a wrist guard with as much padding and protection as possible. Since you’re most likely to fall while learning, this can help prevent more serious injuries.

As your skills improve and you become more confident, you can gradually move to a less padded option. Still, regardless of how good you become, it is best to wear your wrist guards so that you can minimize the impact of any accident.

Roller Skating Gloves

Some people find wrist guards to be a bit too bulky and uncomfortable to wear. If you also feel this way about wrist guards, you will need an alternative that is lightweight and more streamlined, but still offers a similar level of protection. This is where roller skating gloves come in.

These gloves can be fingerless or cover the fingers completely. Regardless, they tend to be made of tougher fabric, with an additional layer of rubber or material over your palm. While they won’t protect you from sprains or breaks, they will lower the risk of you scraping and scratching yourself.

My recommendation would be the Flying Eagle skate gloves. The cut-off fingers and shorter length means that you have a bit more flexibility. At the same time, the palm has a protector and the knuckles are padded for additional protection.

For skating during winter, I would suggest the CRS Cross Finger skate gloves. Although they are meant for ice skating, they will work just as well in this case. It provides proper insulation as well as a padded palm area. This will protect you if you take a tumble on icier surfaces.

Roller Skating Knee and Elbow Pads

After your wrists, your elbows and knees have the greatest risk of injury while on roller skates. Thus, roller skating knee and elbow pads are an important component of your skating safety gear.

Most elbow pads and knee pads are of the hard shell variety. This means that they have a mound of plastic where your elbow and knee is. The more prominent the mound, the greater the protection offered. However, larger mounds can limit your range of motion.

Beneath the plastic mound is a layer of foam. This, too, works to absorb the impact from falls. Once again, this layer can vary when it comes to thickness. The thicker foam layers do protect your knees and elbows, but will restrict movement as well.

It should be noted that most elbow and knee pads are available as a set, often complete with wrist guards. Supposing that you want to buy an all-in-one set for beginners, the GONEX pads will be a good investment.

They are available in Small, Medium, and Large, making them suitable for both children and adults alike. The pieces offer a good amount of padding without restricting movement. At the same time, they can be tightly secured to your limbs to allow greater movement.

If you happen to be looking for more professional pads, check out the Bodyprox range. The Bodyprox elbow pads don’t have as much protection as other options, which is why I would recommend them to more experienced skaters.

Instead of plastic, the pads are made of strategically placed foam. This does help to displace the shock from impact somewhat. At the same time, it offers enough range of motion to help you skate without any issue.

The Bodyprox knee pads don’t have hard plastic on them either but instead have a raised foam portion. So, if you are street skating or prone to falling, I would skip these. However, if you are skating on more even surfaces and need protection for dancing or artistic skating, then I would suggest this pair.

When selecting elbow or knee pads, consider the length of your arms and legs. Make sure that the padded portion sits directly atop of your elbows and knees. You should also ensure that you can tighten the buckles, ensuring that the pads will not shift while you are skating.

The buckles should be positioned well above and below your joints. This will prevent them from restricting your movement while skating.

Roller Skating Helmet

Helmets are not commonly worn by roller skaters, especially the more experienced ones. However, I would argue that roller skating helmets are one of the more important pieces of safety gear, especially if you’re a beginner or you are skating outdoors. This is because head injuries due to roller skating accidents are more common than people might imagine.

Another thing to be aware of is that not all helmets afford the same level of protection. This is why I would caution skaters to choose a product that has been tested by health authorities and meets required safety standards. Otherwise, there is no guarantee that the helmet will do a good job of protecting you..

Certified helmets will have the necessary level of padding and durability. They will also be built in a way that absorbs and dissipates the impact, reducing the risks of you suffering a concussion or other traumatic head injury.

You also need to consider the fit – your helmet shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. It should sit comfortably on your head but also feel secure. Keep in mind that it should cover and protect a portion of your forehead as well. You can ensure this by checking if there is a two finger width between the front of the helmet and your eyebrows.

The strap plays an important role in the design of a helmet. It holds it in place, preventing it from shifting, particularly if you fall over. Therefore, it must be adjustable so that it fits under your chin perfectly. It should be comfortable as well.

My personal favorite is the Triple 8 THE Certified Sweatsaver helmet. I like the fact that its design specifications meet the standards for US CPSC bike and ASTM F-1492 skate safety standards, allowing you to feel a lot safer with it on.

At the same time, the liner is plush, making this helmet a lot more comfortable to wear. Thanks to the sweat wicking features, you can even wear it outdoors in hot weather without worrying about it getting drenched in the process.

There are also thinner and thicker liners, depending on the kind of fit you are looking for. While they come in neutral colors, some designs offer a fun and interesting pop of color as well.

Roller Skating Socks

Your ensemble won’t be complete without adding roller skating socks to the list. While many people assume that skaters wear socks as a fashion statement, this isn’t the case at all. The socks are worn to prevent chafing and blisters, particularly when you are breaking in a pair of new skates.

Thicker socks also come in quite handy when your roller skates are a bit loose around the ankle area. These add padding to offer a better fit and to ensure that the delicate skin of your ankles don’t chafe against the fabric.

When selecting socks for roller skates, steer clear of cotton. This material may be comfortable, but it isn’t very breathable. As a result, it will trap all the moisture inside your skates, making it both uncomfortable and unhygienic. I would say that nylon is the best option here.

I would also recommend that you look for socks that have a double layer. This can help to reduce chafing considerably and ward off blisters or painful feet. If you can’t find such a pair, consider layering one over the other.

Finally, there is the length to keep in mind. If you were to look up images of roller skaters, you would often find them wearing knee length socks. So, is this the right length for you? Well, this depends on what you consider comfortable.

Socks for roller skating come in shin length, knee length, and thigh length. Thigh length socks offer the most amount of protection and can prevent scrapes if you take a tumble. Nevertheless, they can be a bit uncomfortable, particularly during warmer weather.

If you don’t like too much coverage, then shin length socks may be a good option. These protect your ankles and stop at mid-calf length. The only downside is that they don’t protect as much of your legs.

Knee length socks can offer the best of both worlds. They are also the more stylish option and offer a great roller skating aesthetic as well.

The Wrightsock Adventure cushion crew socks are one of my go-to options. It is perfect for preventing blisters as the double layers prevent friction between your foot and the skate. Also, the moisture wicking material keeps you dry and comfortable during long rides and warm days.

Roller Skating Clothes

Roller skating has made a serious comeback in the last year or so. The hype isn’t just about the physical activity involved. No, plenty of people are obsessed with the roller skating aesthetic, much of which has to do with its retro style.

Due to this, most roller skaters are conscious about what they wear whenever they put on their skates. It is a fun way to add more style and glamor to their favorite pastime. If this look is something you still haven’t figured out or want to make your own, here is a guide to roller skating clothes for all occasions and seasons:

What to Wear Roller Skating Indoors

When skating indoors, you don’t need to put in a lot of effort into how you look. It’s just about being comfortable. So in this case, you have more creative license when it comes to your clothes.

The first thing to focus on is freedom of movement. You should only choose  clothes that allow you to glide on your skates without restriction. So, if you’re going to wear longer pants, make sure that they aren’t too tight or made from unwieldy fabric. When in doubt, always check whether a particular outfit allows you to bend your knees as required.

Most people prefer wearing shorts when skating as this offers the best range of motion and is rather comfortable too. You have plenty of options when it comes to tops – short sleeves, long sleeves, long tops, and cropped ones. Just make sure that the material does not catch under your arms and restrict the way that you move them.

Contrary to popular belief, you can wear skirts and dresses while skating without any problem. The only reason people don’t do it more often is because they are not nearly as comfortable as wearing shorts and pants.

If you do wear a dress or skirt, opt for those that end above your knees, as this ensures that your movements will not be limited in any way. I would also suggest wearing bicycle shorts or tights underneath. This way, if you do fall over in an awkward position, there is no reason to worry about your modesty.

Also keep in mind that some skating rinks will have dress codes or restrictions. As a result, you need to check up on these before you go. This way, you can guarantee that you won’t be violating the rules in any way.

What to Wear Roller Skating Outside

The outdoors can be a little trickier to dress for, particularly if you are still a bit of a novice. There are plenty of areas where you can end up bumping and bruising yourself, so choosing proper safety gear is an absolute must. I would also recommend covering up a bit until you are steadier on your skates. This way you won’t have to deal with any awkward accidents.

Once again, if you’re wearing longer pants, make sure that the material is loose around your knees. A loose fitting pair of cropped sweatpants will be a good choice as well. Once you have gotten the hang of things, you can graduate to a pair of shorts.

You can also wear padded shorts just incase you fall on your butt.

What to Wear Roller Skating in Summer

During summertime I like to select safety gear that is more lightweight and breathable. This way, they are less likely to collect sweat. If you are still learning the ropes, though, I would advise you to stick with thicker material for safety reasons.

It is a good idea to choose moisture wicking socks during the hotter months as well. This way, they won’t get logged down with moisture that can seep into your skates. Instead, the socks will allow the moisture to evaporate more readily.

What to Wear Roller Skating in Winter

Just because the temperature drops does not mean that you have to give up skating. You just have to adapt your clothing to the season.

As mentioned, bulky clothing won’t really work for roller skating. This is why I would suggest layering clothes so that you stay warm but at the same time, avoid restricting your movements. To start with, opt for a thicker pair of socks than what you usually wear.

You could also throw on a pair of tights under these to ensure that your legs are fully covered and warm. Wear loose shin length sweats over these. If the weather isn’t too cold, you may be able to get away with just a shorter woollen skirt.

Another area  to be mindful of is your hands. If you are using wrist guards, wear a thin pair of gloves underneath – it is important to keep your fingers covered and warm. In case you are foregoing the wrist guard, opt for thicker gloves instead, preferably with added protection for your palms.

If you are wearing a helmet, your head area is already taken care of. If you aren’t, though, wearing a hat is a good idea. Want to keep your ears warm and still maintain your cool roller skating image? A pair of good earmuffs should do the trick!

What You Should Avoid Wearing

Now that we’ve covered all the must-have roller skating clothing items, let’s take a look at which pieces you should avoid. Here is a breakdown of what not to wear when you go roller skating.

Jeans

I would give jeans a miss, especially if you are just starting out. Even if you have several favorite pairs of jeans that are comfortable and sturdy enough to protect you in a fall, they also cut down on your mobility. This can make it more difficult to maneuver around when you’re skating.

The only time I would recommend jeans is if they are very loose and worn in. However, jeans are something that only experienced skaters should wear. Newbies are better off avoiding them to prevent any accidents.

Tight Skirts

Tight skirts or those that fall below your knees are also not a good idea. Once again, this is because they restrict movement. In particular, you need to stay away from long skirts that skim your ankles. While they may look cute and unique, they can easily get entangled on your skates, pulling you down in the process.

Heavy Clothing

Also steer clear of clothes made from heavy or impermeable fabrics. Remember that roller skating is like any other activity – after a while, you will work up a sweat. Thus, you need to dress in breathable fabrics that allow moisture to evaporate quickly and keep you dry.

Thin or Ankle Socks

Thin or ankle socks should also be avoided at all costs. It doesn’t matter how well your skates fit or how comfortable the interior feels; there is a good chance that chafing will occur after you have been skating for a while. So, do yourself a favor and wear appropriate socks.

Restrictive Clothing

Last, but not least, stay away from clothing that is trendy but uncomfortable and difficult to move around in. Yes, it’s great to look fashionable and have an Instagrammable outfit on. However, if it compromises your comfort and safety, it just isn’t worth it.

Once you get the hang of roller skating, you can begin to explore more fashionable avenues and develop your own style. Until then, make sure that you stay safe and give yourself the opportunity to learn proper skating techniques and skills so you can build up your confidence.

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about what to wear when roller skating:

1. What Should You Wear Roller Skating?

The most important part of your roller skating clothing is your safety gear. This includes wrist guards, elbow and knee pads, and a helmet. These will ensure that you stay safe at all times.

Apart from this, you have a lot of freedom to wear whatever you want while roller skating. Just make sure that you don’t wear anything too tight or heavy. Anything that can impede your movement on skates should be avoided.

2. Can You Roller Skate in a Dress?

Yes, you can. Most beginners aren’t very comfortable doing so, and that’s fine. However, once you are more confident with your skills, there’s nothing stopping you from heading out to skate in a cool retro dress.

Just make sure that the dress isn’t too tight and that you can still move your knees as necessary. Also, avoid long dresses or skirts as they can become tangled up in your skate wheels and cause an accident.

3. Do You Need a Helmet for Roller Skating?

Roller skating injuries are more common than most people realize. In fact, head injuries tend to crop up more often than not. Wearing a helmet can help to reduce this risk, however. At the very least, you should wear a helmet when you’re starting out.

4. Why Do Roller Skaters Wear Long Socks?

Roller skaters wear long socks to avoid chafing. This prevents the inside of your skates from rubbing against your feet and the delicate skin around your ankles. Longer socks are also excellent for offering an extra layer of protection and preventing scrapes and scratches.

5. What Socks Do You Wear with Roller Skates?

It is up to you to select the kind of socks you are most comfortable in. However, it is best to steer clear of cotton socks as they don’t work well with roller skates. On the other hand, steer clear of short socks as they wont prevent chafing.

Your best option is to get a pair of double layer socks that cut down on the friction inside the skates. Nylon or another synthetic material will help you stay comfortable as well.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that you have to put in more effort into picking out your skating outfit.To begin with, it is important to wear the proper safety gear. This is especially true if you are a novice and are prone to spills and tumbles. The right safety gear can help you avoid serious injuries such as fractures as well as minor ones such as scrapes.

Ideally, you should wear wrist guards, elbow and knee pads, and a helmet before you head out to skate. If you don’t want to invest in so much gear, make sure that you at least have a pair of wrist guards and a helmet on at all times.

When picking out a helmet, ensure that it has been  designed according to proper safety guidelines. This is the only way to be certain that your head will be protected in case of a fall or accident.

If you don’t like wrist guards or are skating in winter, putting on a pair of skating gloves is a good option. They offer both comfort and protection. Just make sure that they have been designed to absorb any impact should you fall over.

Normally, socks may not seem like something you should bother too much about. When it comes to roller skating, however, they are one of the more important elements of your outfit. This is why you need to wear a pair of long, thick socks. Steer clear of cotton and opt for a synthetic material instead.

Then, you need to consider your overall outfit. The good thing about roller skating is that there aren’t any style rules to follow. So you have a lot more freedom when it comes to selecting what you want to wear. When choosing your clothing, however, make sure that it accommodates rather than impedes your skating ability.

Shorts and loose, cropped sweats are the best option for skaters. Avoid anything that is too constricting or long as this can get in the way of the wheels. Dresses and skirts can work, but make sure that they are loose and don’t compromise the movement of your knees.

Despite being comfortable, it is best to skip jeans, at least until you are more comfortable on your skates. Also, avoid any heavy or cumbersome clothes that can make you sweat while skating. During the wintertime, layer up instead of opting for bulky clothes. This will help you stay comfortable without struggling with limited movement.

So, there you have it – your ultimate guide to choosing skating wear. You will find guidelines to keep you properly attired from top to bottom in all seasons. It is a good idea to follow these tips and tricks at least when you’re just starting out. As you become more confident on your skates, you can experiment with various kinds of styles and clothing.

Until then, it is all about making sure that you stay safe and comfortable. This will also help you stick to your skating hobby for longer and enjoy it a lot more.

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