While carbon fibre skates are amazing for precision and speed as they have way more power transfer than normal hardshells, they might not be perfect for everyone. For example: speed skaters and freestyle skaters might benefit a lot from having a very rigid boot, but for others it might be a waste or maybe simply not feel right. Aggressive skaters for example almost never use carbon fibre in their skates because landings feel much more comfortable on plastic (which is also why they still ride on plastic frames) and your aunt Rebecca (fictional name, I’m certain you can skate beautifully, Rebecca) might not have the skills needed to justify putting her on carbon fibre freestyle skates.
If you just want to skate without thinking too much about performance, you might be better off getting yourself a comfortable soft shell, which is not only cheaper most of the time, but also won’t scare you off like a carbon fibre shell that is way tighter and takes a lot of time to form after your foot.
On the other hand, if you want to do a lot of jumps or simply want more than a soft shell offers, go for a classic hard shell. Most of these have a plastic shell and a liner inside of it. This allows you to replace a lot of parts to update your skate. I personally love this because it means I can repair almost anything for a relatively small cost instead of having to buy a new boot. The advantage of hard shells is that they usually support you a lot better than soft shells while also offering a lot of comfort. The downside is that they feel tighter and some people might not like this feeling. Regardless I am convinced that most people would benefit from riding on this type of skate.
Then there are slalom or freestyle skates which are fairly narrow because they are made for performance and precision. This is an amazing type of skate for everything freestyle, but some people might not like the lower cuff or have a feeling that these are too tight (they are supposed to be really tight, so yeah… That kind of is what you’re going for). There are the more accessible freestyle skates without carbon fibre that form more after your foot, but might fit a bit loose over time and the more rigid carbon fibre freestyle skates. If you plan on doing a lot of jumps, go for the first of the two (and that’s coming from someone rocking FR spins, which are amazing carbon fibre boots). Believe me, you will have a better time with either a hardshell or a freestyle skate that doesn’t have a carbon boot. That’s the funny thing with carbon: power transfer is a two-way street.
Which brings me to the third and last option: aggressive skates. These are amazing boots for in a skatepark, but often lack a bit when it comes to riding anywhere else. Here, too, exist carbon boots. But I would like to declare the people wearing carbon fibre aggressive boots for anything other than wizard skating crazy or superhuman. I like my kneecaps and back. I honestly don’t know how these people still land their jumps comfortably. Just stick to the plastic boots and if you feel special, go with a metal frame. That’ll give you enough feedback when your wheels touch the ground after a jump…
Ultimately, you need the skates in which you feel comfortable. I would recommend looking at which boot you like a lot and keep in mind it will bind you to a certain mounting system in case you want to try out different frames in the future.
Whether you end up with a hard shell, soft shell, integrated liner or carbon fibre, ultimately we share the same goal: to have fun on wheels.
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