Aggressive or stunt skating is the stuff YouTube videos are made of: flips, jumps, grids and slides, with some spins and other crazy footwork thrown in. As always, performance rules -- but some reviewers lend a lot of weight to style, too.
The Xsjado Avant line, now in its third iteration as the Xsjado Avant 3 (Est. $230), has developed a reputation for combining all the qualities that make for a high-performing aggressive skate. (Xsjado is pronounced "Shadow.") The Avant 3's liner "footwraps" are comfortable, the skate itself is light and locks your foot in for ultimate responsiveness, and thick, wide soul plates "allow you to pretty much grind on virtually anything," as one reviewer writes at AggressiveMall.com.
The Xsjado Avant 3 comes with 57 mm/88a Avant Team wheels, ABEC 7 bearings and Undercover Grind Rock II anti-rockers. (Anti-rockers are smaller, hard wheels set in the second and third positions on the skate, giving you more space and stability for grinds and slides.)
Another trademark of the Xsjado skate is its removable footwrap -- what would be the liner in a fitness skate -- which doubles as a stand-alone shoe. Users say the footwraps look good and feel good, and when you're ready to skate the instep ratchet strap plus toe and ankle straps lock your foot securely into the skate shell.
The Xsjado frame can even accommodate some non-Xsjado skate shoes in addition to the stock footwraps -- and since your feet don't move at all inside the Xsjado Avant 3 they work like extensions of your feet, freeing you up to pull off crazier tricks than you may have thought you were able to do.
If you'd like an alternative, the Razor Genesys 10 (Est. $200) is the latest update to another perennial favorite. They also come with a super-comfortable, well-padded liner and fit true to size, with a little extra space to accommodate wider feet.
The Genesys 10 comes with 56 mm 90a wheels with 42 mm anti-rockers and ABEC 5 bearings -- just a little slower than those on the Xsjado Avant 3. All in all, reviewers say this stock package is good for beginning to intermediate skaters, and you can always upgrade the bearings and wheels for higher performance. (The Genesys frame accepts up to 59 mm wheels in a freestyle (all four wheels the same size) or anti-rocker configuration.)
Reviewers say the Razor Genesys 10's soul and backside plates are easy to replace. They're also pre-grooved, which means you can head right out to the skate park as soon as you pull these skates out of the box. With that said, the Xsjado Avant 3 still gets the top spot for its overall higher performance.