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Slalom Cone Skating Forum Discussions about slalom cone skating, high-jump, and other freestyle trick skating. (Note that vert, street, and park skating discussions should be posted in our aggressive skating forum.)

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Old August 4th, 2015, 06:49 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 176
Default Are entry-level slalom skates too expensive?

In the US, freeskates have for the most part started at $200. There are cheaper options now (RB80, PS Metropolis), but those are still ~$170. This isn't a high price tag for an enthusiast, but I've always wondered if the price tag for these skates were a bit daunting for beginners who don't know whether or not they'd want to commit to skating.

Personally, I started learning slalom with a pair of Chinese Rollerfuns, which were significantly cheaper than those options while still being a hard-shelled freeskate. The skates weren't the best, but they were good enough to learn on and held up pretty well as I learned most of the basics of slalom and slides.

Recently, I've been toying with the idea of starting my own online store to sell entry-level freeskate options, and I'm certain that I can offer a quality freeskate for under $150. I'm not sure what the rules regarding advertising on this forum are, but I haven't fully committed to the idea yet and I'm still trying to gauge how much interest there would be in cheaper entry-level freeskates.
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Old August 5th, 2015, 08:22 AM   #2
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Location: Melbourne
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situation is same in AUS and probably the same around the world barring china/korea.

the cheapest freeskates are typically in the range of ~190+, and there is not much anyone can do about it given that a rubbish pair of soft recreational skates in a department store is already 50+

the biggest issue is that the build of a freeskate is much more different to a pair of rental skates, and it is difficult to get a feel of the sport unless you are willing to invest a significant amount of money (compared to other sports) into it. unfortunately, unless the price of the freeskate is significantly cheaper than 150, or if rental boots are built comparable to freeskates in terms of rigidity and ankle support, it would remain difficult to get newcomers into the sport.
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Old August 5th, 2015, 08:03 PM   #3
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The way things are looking, I can probably go significantly lower than 150. I have secondhand experience with low-mid tier skates in China, but not with the really cheap or more expensive models, so I'll have to test them to see how they hold up.

As it stands though, the mid-tier models should still sell at a very competitive price, and they'll hold up just fine for slalom, fsk, slides, jumps, etc. I don't really plan on competing with the $50 rec skate market, because in my opinion those are borderline usable and possibly dangerous. There will always be people who do little research and just buy the cheapest skates on the market, but you can only go so low in price before you're buying garbage. My intent is just to provide a cheaper alternative to Seba FRXs, Rollerblade Twisters, Powerslide Imperials etc. for people to start with, that will last until they learn the basics and can decide whether or not they really want to commit to the sport and buy a higher-end skate.
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Old August 7th, 2015, 02:19 PM   #4
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Location: Highland NY
Posts: 442

Great idea. If you had reasonable prices you could probably even sell in a few stores. Here in NY you can only buy rollerblade twisters at stores (no other slalom skate). I begged a skate shop owner to carry Seba's and he laughed SOOO hard. He was like, "Yeah, we're not going to stock a $400 skate that won't sell." I know at least 3 people that have a pair of Sebas sitting in their closet due to size issues.

I'm a dreamer, but I believe you really could go far and maybe even promote the sport if it were more accessible/affordable. I'd buy a pair straight away.

I've skated slalom (by my lonesome) since the 90's and had no idea anyone else was still doing it until my local (upstate) store stopped selling wheels. Then I had to look for wheels online. That's when I read about a rockered set up and found out people were not only still skating cones, but it evolved into a whole new sport. I Think you might have some good success, also you may open eyes!!!

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Old August 9th, 2015, 04:54 PM   #5
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 91

The only reason you can only buy Rollerblade in most stores is because they have a long standing reputation and relationships with major retail outlets. No one has been in the game longer. They have excellent customer service and are very good with promotions, even in today's half dead skate market. Rollerblades were a fad in the states, but roots were planted and for some, those roots run deep.

One reason why it was a passing fad is because many people were on cheap arse crappy equipment and, as a result,had a bad experience.

I don't think you can beat what is already available.

Inlinewarehouse, established 1994, has affordable skates as well as top quality equipment. They ship anywhere and always offer 15% off and price matching. Follow the links below to see why you probably can't compete.

The only way to start a skate shop is to develop a following in your niche of skating, push out something new, or muscle in with shear buying power. It doesn't sound like you can do any of the above. I don't want to knock you down, just share insight.

I do applaud your desire to grow the sport and improve accessibility. It sounds like you truly love skating and want others to have the same opportunity to enjoy what you have enjoyed. Making a buck of something you live&love is always nice, but it may tough for you to compete.

In the aggressive market we have deep loyalties to certain product lines, crews, and purveyors.
In the speedskate market, we have certain well known 800 pound gorrillas that dominate sales and nothing is inexpensive that is worth buying.
In the fitness realm, most people stateside do some internet research, buy what they can afford that looks good and hasn't been hated on in reviews.

The products are out there for all skaters at all price points. You just have to find them.
I guarantee you that the stores you dream of selling at have been approached by Rollerblade in an attempt to sell their Bladerunner named line of inexpensive, good quality, intro level skates.

Most of the no name china freight crap isn't even safe. Junk bearings, chunking wheels, and no comfort or reliability.

Here are the links to skates that are available at better prices than you are speaking of. They are better quality than you are speaking of. They are also being sold by a company with deep roots and the skills to match.

Men's fitness skates with many affordable options:

Women's Fitness Skates with many affordable options:

Kids fitness skates with many affordable options:

If you truly want to grow the sport...Go skate and talk to people about it and it's benefits while you are out doing it.

You mentioned that you learned on Chinese rollerfuns, anyone can learn to skate on a cheap pair of fitness skates or cheap aggressive skates and then buy in when they get better.
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Old August 9th, 2015, 11:16 PM   #6
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Posts: 176

I'm not going to be selling fitness skates, my plan is to sell hard-shelled short-framed freeskates. The cheapest options on inlinewarehosue that fits that description are Powerslide Imperials ($169), Rollerblade RB80s ($169), and possibly Roces Venis ($160).

In my opinion, soft-shelled fitness skates are an outdated design that excels at only one niche: long-distance fitness skating. Soft-shelled boots are designed for comfort, not performance. It's basic physics that a more rigid boot will provide better energy transfer, so a hard-shelled freeskate will outperform a fitness skate in all areas aside from comfort, and it's not as though freeskates are uncomfortable. Crocs are more comfortable than sneakers, but what would you want to wear for running or any other physical activity?

Having a pair of fitness skates will especially hinder you if you're trying to learn slalom skating, and fitness skates aren't particularly well suited for jumps or slides either. From my experiences skating in France/China, where inline skating is significantly more popular than the US, I've seen that most people who regularly go street skating opt for a freeskate rather than a rec/fitness skate.

I'm quite familiar with crappy Chinese skates; I owned a pair which broke within two weeks. I've learned a lot since then, and I have no intention to sell shoddy products. I have four years of experience as part of a skating club at a Chinese university which saw roughly 100 new pairs of freeskates being bought by beginners every year. I've done my research on which Chinese brands are reputable enough to put their name on a product that won't easily break.

I also didn't learn how to skate on Rollerfuns, I learned first on Roller Derby Neutrons, then K2s. The Rollerfuns are just what I started learning slalom and slides on. They weren't great skates and they were hideous to boot, but they worked, they lasted long enough to learn the basics, they were cheap, and they were miles better than any pair of Bladerunners. My K2s were 4x more expensive than those Rollerfuns, and by far the most comfortable pair of skates I've ever worn, but given the choice today I'd go with the Rollerfuns because they're more maneuverable and they'll turn exactly when I want them to turn.
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