Should you buy protective gear?

Yes. Understandably, if you just spent good money in a good pair of skates, you are not too eager to buy a whole set of protective gear, but sometimes, you have to pay for safety. You might think, "I'm just learning, I'll be going slow, I won't be doing tricks or any speed skating. However, the time when we need the most protection is when we are just starting to skate. What a paradox.

A set of protective gear consists of: wrist guards, elbow and knee pads, and a helmet.

Inline Skates Protective GearYou will undoubtedly use the wrist guards the most. How fast you're skating really doesn't matter. If you fall, the first thing out in front of you (or behind you) will be your hands. Even when you know how to fall, the hands come out first before you roll with the rest of your body. The wrist guards are really not uncomfortable, so using them is not cumbersome. It's worth it to avoid a wrist fracture or badly scraping your hands.

The piece that people tend to use less and less after they learn to skate well, is the helmet.
But using it can and will save your life in the unlikely event of a bad fall, and that can happen on your very first times skating, when there is a big chance of you falling backwards, so, I wouldn't skip this piece.

Of intermediate importance are the knee and elbow pads. Note that the knee pads are used far more than the elbow pads.

To buy protective gear or not is a personal choice. Nobody is planning to fall, but realistically, no one that's learning to skate has not suffered at least one fall. A fall can happen at any time, and not necessarily when you are moving or being a daredevil. A friend of mine, who's been skating for years, recently fell when standing behind his car putting stuff in the trunk before going to the path, and broke his arm. It happens, an accident is an accident.

If you cannot afford the best protective gear, you should at least get a basic set. If the most economical gear at a skate shop is still at the top of your budget (though you can always get them online a lot cheaper), as a very, very last resort get a set from a toy store. Better wear something than nothing at all!

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