I really like my new skates, the women’s model of the Rollerblade Spark Pro.
A box arrived mid winter when the days were short, the pavement wet and the season’s snow skiing was at is best. By May, I’d barely gotten the chance to try them out with a decent pair of replacement insoles. (Customizing the foot bed is a standard with me; I get the feeling skate manufacturers expect users to toss away their wimpy stock insoles.)
By the second week of June, I felt sure enough of their performance and comfort to take them to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard where I was signed up to help run a skate tour with Zephyr Adventures.
We guides do a fair bit of skating to check an area’s bike routes and back roads before our customers arrive. I was originally skeptical about the odd-looking asymmetrical lacing on the Spark Pros, known as the Total Wrap system. But no matter what socks I wore, thick or thin, they were consistently comfortable. I was so impressed that I never once used EZeefit ankle booties with them, normally an indispensable comfort aid in all my sports foot wear. After two 25+ mile days that week, I have to say that these are the most comfortably-fitting skates I have ever owned in my 18 years of inlining.
The key to the Total Wrap system, I believe, is its off-center design. Starting from the toes, the lace channel curves away from the big toe knuckle (my bunion!) and then arcs back to front and center at the top. By starting with generously loose laces, evenly tugging the ends results in a uniformly snug and comfy grip across the entire foot, regardless of sock thickness.
With ABEC 7 bearings and 84mm wheels, the Spark Pro could easily deliver years of fun trail and urban skating, from speeding along on the flats to bombing or carving the rolling hills such as the ones we found on the east coast islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. The standard heel brake felt smooth and secure for speed control on the steep, narrow downhills and stopping at street intersections.
As I had hoped when choosing this model from Rollerblade’s 2010 catalog early in the year, I can enthusiastically recommend this skate to any woman who loves to roll for fun and fitness.