My TikTok For You page has a healthy mix of everything from “will it air fry” videos to Taylor Swift Folklore conspiracy theories, but more than anything else, it’s filled with rollerskating videos. I’m serious! And after swiping through some roller-related hashtags for a bit too long one evening, I decided to research the best roller skates on the market and get myself a pair.
I feel like TikTok made skating cool again, and for me, these videos are basically visual ASMR—there’s nothing quite so calming and ultra-satisfying as watching someone skate backwards down the street with more grace than I can manage even while walking forwards. That said, before I dive into my own skating saga, it would be wrong of me not to hype up some of the TikTok stars that got me into skating in the first place.
User Kels McGriff, who goes by @kellllllllllls on both TikTok and Instagram, is one of my faves, and watching her vids makes me feel like I’ve been transported back in time to a hip ’70s roller rink in California. She makes skating look so effortless, she tricks people like me into thinking we can maybe do it, too.
Still, given that I haven’t bladed or skated in any way since I was a kid, I wasn’t sure if even the best roller skates would allow me to master the trend. Would skating be be as easy to pick up as TikTok’s many dances (which, OK, are admittedly also super difficult for me)? As someone who doesn’t have great rhythm and isn’t super athletic, I felt like I’d be a good candidate to test this activity out and really see if it was doable.
Before I could get my own skates, though, I had to learn a thing or two about rollerskating versus rollerblading. As a novice, I’d basically grouped the two together, but it turns out they’re a little different. Rollerskates have four wheels in a box-like shape, while inline skates, aka rollerblades, have four wheels in one straight line. I immediately assumed classic skates would make balancing easier (plus, most TikTokers skate rather than blade), but after being told blading is actually a bit easier, I decided to start there, knowing I could treat myself to some new skates down the line.
Immediately, I knew I wanted to get a pair of Impala skates—they make their products in the dreamiest colorways, and when I saw a sweet baby blue pair on their Instagram, I was sold. Their drops often sell out, so I highly suggest following them on IG and stalking the brand’s site on the reg so you’re in the loop regarding restock updates.
I opted to get the Impala Lightspeed Inline Skates, and honestly, I’m so glad I did. While me charging forward in these blades doesn’t exactly look as ~effortless~ as McGriff or other skaters gliding backwards, I can’t explain how much I’m loving putting these babies to use.
If I thought watching videos of this activity was relaxing, I underestimated how much more satisfying it would be IRL. Yes, there have been a few how-do-I-stop moments, but for the most part, the sensation is so wonderful that I hardly mind.
I originally thought I’d only use my Impala skates while at my family home by the beach, but I ended up bringing them back to my New York City apartment to skate down quiet streets after work and on the weekends. For me to bring something that takes up this much space back to my tiny apartment? That’s proof I’m totally obsessed, and that these are the best roller skates, period.
I doubt you’ll see me posting rollerskating TikToks of my own anytime soon—which is a damn shame, because these Impala skates are just begging to be photographed—but I feel grateful to have found such a relaxing solo activity that gets me outside and active. Plus, now I can totally justify buying some cute bellbottoms to live my ’70s roller diva aesthetic fantasy. Don’t judge me if that was my whole plan all along.