Recently, I rediscovered a love of skating (thanks BUMP roller disco!), and just after Christmas I decided to take things up a notch and try out a pair of Rollerblade Twister X inline skates on the streets of Bristol.
Currently available from Slick Willie’s skate shop and retailing at £259.95, these are great for a variety of terrains and perfect if you’re still a little wobbly on your feet—although experienced skaters swear by them too. If you’re considering buying a pair, here’s all you need to know.
TWISTER X INLINE SKATES FEATURES
Rollerblade’s Twister X inline skates hit the market in 2017 as an upgrade to the very popular Twister Pro. With a hard-boot design perfect for urban skating, they possess a wide range of high-end features.
As soon as you slip your feet inside a pair of Twister X inline skates, they feel instantly snug and supported.
A premium-fit liner is contoured to provide padding that adapts to the shape of your feet, and there’s even a specialised foot bed for extra comfort. Although the liner is meshed and the shell of the boot is vented, breathability is somewhat limited if you tend to prefer high-exertion skating and faster speeds. However, you can easily remove the entire liner from the boot and run it through the washing machine.
An integrated shock absorber limits vibrations from the road and protects your heels from the impact of landing jumps, and there’s also a slider/toe protector on the side of each boot.
Although the Rollerblade Twister X inline skates feel a bit tight out of the box, it only takes a few sessions (perhaps 10 hours or so) to break them in.
Most of the support is provided by the hard outer shell, inner padding and adjustable straps. Combined, these do an excellent job of making your feet feel snug and protected without limiting the movement of the skates themselves.
Over the arch of the foot is a 45-degree buckle that locks your heel in place, and above the ankle is a locking cuff. These provide a highly adjustable snug fit around almost any foot shape for sturdy support.
Rollerblade Twister X inline skates are fitted with 80 mm Hydrogen wheels. Among the best on the market, these make it possible to pick up a good speed while maintaining grip, balance and control. Although there’s a bit of slip after it’s been raining, this is no worse than any other model of rollerblade. They’re great on a variety of terrains, including uneven paving, bumps, holes and rough surfaces—even some cobbles.
The wheels are socketed with ILQ-9 bearings manufactured by Twincam—ultrahigh-performance fittings that enable them to spin quickly—and fitted to aluminium frames.
The Rollerblade Twister X inline skates are really responsive. The frames enable tight turns and excellent control, while the wheels allow you to pick up a decent speed, even on rough surfaces. They also feel really secure for tricks and jumps.
GETTING THEM ON AND OFF
Because they’re stiff and sturdy, it can take a bit of practice to get them on and off, but there’s a ‘hexagonal easy entry’ lining to facilitate this. Your feet then slide snugly into a heel lock pocket and the buckles slide and clip easily around your feet. There’s also a loop on the back to help you pull them on and off, which doubles as a carry strap.
A clear plastic outer shell makes the neon yellow liner underneath clearly visible. This looks great, but it also improves your safety on the road. If you feel like a change, you can buy a Twister custom-colour kit, which includes replacement cuffs, laces, buckles, slide plates and all mounting hardware in either red, pink, white or green.
The hard-shell design makes these skates highly durable. The Hydrogen wheels are also known for their ability to withstand frequent use and rough terrain. In addition, many of the features, such as the slider, wheels, bearings and break pad are replaceable.
These skates are delivered in a large cardboard box. They come with a break (easily fit to one of your back wheels using the bolt provided) and spare black laces. There’s also an instruction book and allen key for adjusting and changing the wheels, should you need to.
You should be fine ordering your usual shoe size, but if you prefer to wear thick socks you might want to go one size bigger.
WHY SLICK WILLIE’S?
Whether you’re an experienced skater looking for high-end stunt equipment, a newbie roller disco fanatic in need of retro-style quads or a collector of big kids’ toys, you’ll find everything you need at Slick Willie’s.
Having been in business for over 30 years, Slick Willie’s skate shop is one of the leading retailers of skate-related products. As well as inline skates and rollerblades, they have a huge selection of scooters, skate boards, and 70s-style Penny skateboards, as well as safety equipment, accessories and a wide range of branded skater clothing. They also do rentals and recommend specialist instructors.
Based in London, Slick Willie’s has a reputation for going the extra mile to support the industry, whether that be by organising events and competitions or publishing regular blog posts with information on cutting-edge designs, top skating hangouts, tips for improving your skills and advice on what to buy. To find out more, and for updates on new stock, follow their Facebook page.