Posted by Jeremy Edjan

Players taking their first steps into inline hockey often have a few key questions about gear - especially if they’re coming in from an ice hockey background.  We’re here to tackle a couple of those questions and help you take solid first steps into the sport!

Inline Girdle / Roller Pants vs Ice Hockey Pants

While much of your ice hockey equipment is transferable, one element that’s got a little less utility in inline hockey are ice hockey pants.  The standard pant and hockey sock combo work incredibly well for the impacts and rigor of ice hockey, but are far too insulating and bulky for inline hockey.  Players will find themselves sweating without the cooling effect of the ice, and may find that the bulkier protection limits mobility and agility while you play.

For that reason, we have the inline girdle.  Made of a flexible, multi-density foam foundation, the protection is tailored to the needs of an inline player, while providing a solid degree of mobility and breath-ability to keep you cool and comfortable during your games.  Hugging close to your body and made of moisture-wicking material, inline girdles also help manage sweat and temperature.  A coverall-style mesh pant goes over the girdle and shin guards, providing a bit more protection and a cleaner protective shell over your equipment, made of a polyester and mesh fabric that promotes further airflow, such as the Alkali RPD Quantum pant below.

The fit and finish across brands varies, from Bauer’s tapered fit Vapor pants, to Mission’s generous-fit Inhaler pants.  With a large variety of features and styles across a wide range of price ranges, being properly fit is key to maximizing your comfort and performance in-game.  Coupled with a high-performance girdle such as the CCM Super Tacks Girdle, a player can really maximize their protection and mobility, drawing from the best of both worlds.

Indoor vs Outdoor Wheels

Most skates come with one or the either, and both have their place.  The aim of the game is to maximize your performance and durability, regardless of surface - so here’s the breakdown.

Indoor Wheels

Indoor wheels are made of a softer base material, providing a great deal more grip and control on smooth indoor surfaces, such as sport court or ice court.  Without the natural friction and traction from the grit of an outdoor surface and the debris build up commonly found on it, the extra softness of the wheel allows a player to perform all the movements and techniques required without worrying about slipping.  The Labeda Addictions pictured below are one of the best-performing indoor wheels available on the market.

The caveat here is that they’re a fair bit less durable than harder wheels, and will very easily get shredded up on rough surfaces.  Furthermore, the extra grip coming from indoor wheels will slow you down on the extra grit of outdoor surfaces, reducing both the performance and lifespan of your wheels.  For those looking for a value-conscious rendition, the Labeda Grippers are spectacular.

Outdoor Wheels

Outdoor wheels are made of a comparatively harder, more durable material.  The stiffer wheel provides better energy transfer and speed in a skate, and makes use of the naturally occurring friction on outdoor surfaces.  This maximizes the durability of your wheels, making them more resistant to damage and wear.  Our in-house brand of outdoor wheels remain a popular option for those venturing into the sun for their games.

On the flip side, the reduced grip of the outdoor wheel means that you’re going for a bit of a slip-and-slide on indoor surfaces, especially polished concrete or sport court surfaces  The loss of control and hold makes it easier for you to “blow out” an edge and injure yourself in more aggressive movements.  Outdoor wheels such as the Revision Hi-Lo Clinger below are often found on lower-end inline skates, which serves as a great budget-friendly option for those using their skates for other outdoor activities.

Each style of wheel has its place in the sport, and carrying a set of each means that you’ll be prepared regardless of the surface you’re due to be playing on; carry each set with its own set of bearings and spacers to make those frequent changes easier.  Nevertheless, even within each category of wheel, there are a large variety in wheel stiffnesses, qualities, and styles - swing into the shop here at the Vancouver-grown Coast to Coast Hockey Shop and be professionally fit for the best set for your needs.