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Best Aggressive Inline Skates

By: Lisa Maloney on June 08, 2018

Aggressive stunt skates remain very popular -- and very specialized

Aggressive or stunt skating is the stuff YouTube videos are made of: flips, jumps, grinds and slides, with some spins and other crazy footwork thrown in. As always when it comes to skates, performance rules -- but some reviewers lend a lot of weight to style, too.

Until recently, the high-end aggressive skate category was the domain of custom-built skates that you chose pieces for one at a time, depending on what sort of tricks you intended to do. But stock aggressive skates have gotten steadily better, and our best-reviewed model in this category for the second year in a row, the K2 Unnatural (Est. $165 and up), is already beloved of many an aggressive skater.

The K2 Unnatural comes with ABEC 5 bearings and a flat 60mm/88a wheel setup -- that is, all four wheels are the same size, which can keep you from getting hung up on some tricks -- but can be changed to an anti-rocker setup with smaller interior wheels. Hexagonal wheel spacers mean you don't need to buy new axles if you choose to make the switch.

The staff at ONE Rollerblading Magazine wax enthusiastic about the K2 Unnatural's sturdy construction, great quality control, and comfortable boot design. "It's like wearing shoes you can grind in," they write, along with a note that the Unnatural's boot can run up to a full size large. They also write that the Unnatural has a large sweet spot for balance on both front and backside boot tricks.

That boot design is a high point for most users too, who say they love its combination of adjustability and support, and don't mind putting in a little break-in time to get the fit just right. You can crank down the extra strap at the top of the boot for the ultimate in support and a more flat-footed ride, or leave the strap looser and tweak the laces to get more of the forward lean that is typical of many aggressive skates, a step that several skaters say actually helps them get better control because of the forward lean.

The one-piece soul plate on the K2 Unnatural is another high point, with a Teflon insert that users say makes it slide smooth and fast. However, that soul plate comes with equal servings of good news and bad news. Because it's both screwed and glued to the Unnatural's boot, the construction is super solid, a high point for the staff at ONE Rollerblading Magazine. But that also means the soul plate can't be replaced.

If you'd like an alternative, the USD Aeon 72mm (Est. $280) also has a flat rocker setup, with a MyFit FatBoy heat-moldable liners, ABEC 7 bearings and four 72mm/88a wheels that sport a gap in the middle to help with aggressive tricks. The other notable aspect of this boot's setup is that the boot shell, soul plate and frame are all one piece, with just the cuff, buckle and midstrap being replaceable.

The result, say reviewers with Roller Warehouse and Back to Blading, is a light, responsive skate that offers a solid, low-to-the ground ride in spite of the large-ish wheels. You can almost use it for powerblading with aggressive tricks mixed in, notes the Roller Warehouse staffer, although if you do a lot of ledge tricks this might not be the best skate for you. But if you're interested in exploring a flat rocker configuration, he unequivocally recommends this skate.

The reviewer with Back to Blading illustrates this with video of his struggle to do Royales; eventually he grinds down the angle of the H-frame and says it's worked wonders, declaring these the most enjoyable skates he's ever had. "They feel like an extension of your foot rather than your foot in a boot with wheels on it," he writes.

The 72mm version of the USD Aeon comes with a black boot. If you see an Aeon with a white boot, that marks that it has four 60mm/90a wheels, again arranged in a flat rocker setup with no bolts to worry about in the middle of the frame, since the makers chose not to comply with the universal frame system (UFS) system.

A solid skate for beginners and intermediate skaters is the Roces M12 (Est. $160). It comes with two 58mm/88a wheels with smaller inside wheels for an anti-rocker setup that aids with some tricks, and ABEC 5 bearings. Users like the memory foam padded liner and the solid build of these skates; one says she used her first pair for more than 10 years, while another says he's come back to skating after 17 years and, thanks to the Roces M12, feels like he never quit. Ultimately, although the M12 isn't anything fancy, users say it's a great non-clunky skate that gets the job done, especially for spins, grabs, fast blading and rails.

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