Rollerblade Macroblade 80 Rollerblade Review: // Gear Reviews
A couple weeks ago we released our first ever Rollerblade review, focusing on the Twister Edge and Twister Edge X. This week, it's time for another Rollerblade review, the Macroblade 80. The Macroblade 80 is less expensive than the Twister Edge and is more focused on providing recreational and/or entry-level performance. That said, it's still a high quality, performance-oriented skate. A big portion of the SkiEssentials.com staff is new to in-line skating and the Macroblade 80 has emerged as a favorite among those employees. Let's take a look at its features, fit, and talk about performance.
The first thing you'll notice about the Macroblade 80 is its soft boot design. It has an external shell, almost like an exoskeleton, that provides lateral support and performance, but what you're actually sticking your foot into is nice and soft. This makes the skate super comfortable, and really easy to fit. We talked about this quite a bit during the Twister Edge review. That skate is a hard boot design, which makes it a little less comfortable out of the box. Hard shell boots will provide another level of responsiveness and overall performance, but they're often not the best choice for new skaters. The design of the Macroblade 80 is perfect for those looking for a fun, recreational skate as it's going to be quick to put on and you won't have to worry about doing any customization to it in order to make it comfortable. Right out of the box it's going to fit just about any foot shape, and that exo-skeleton design still provides plenty of performance. One of our testers on the Macroblade 80, Bob, has relatively wide feet. According to Bob, it's "super comfortable, especially in the forefoot for someone like me with wider feet and higher insteps. As opposed to plastic boot skates, this one feels like a basketball shoe, but with ankle support."
That ankle support comes from the external shell and the skate's closure system. It's easy to slip your foot into the Macroblade 80, then you can dial in the instep strap and ratchet closure on the cuff to give you the support and fit that works best for you. We found it was really easy to adjust the skate between comfort and performance-based fits. The 45-degree strap really helps keep your heel locked down into the heel pocket of the skate, just like a ski boot. The Macroblade 80 also uses an aluminum frame which is attached directly to the external plastic shell. This gives it really good power transfer and durability. Aluminum frames are stiffer than plastic frames, which not only improves performance, but also makes a skate feel a little bit more stable and easier to balance. Attached to that frame are 4 80 mm wheels. They're not the ultra-high-quality Hydrogen wheels from Rollerblade, but they're still good quality wheels and nice SG5 bearings.
If you're looking for a skate to get outside, get some exercise, and maybe work on your balance and skiing technique, the Macroblade 80 is absolutely perfect. Even our more experienced skaters kept coming back to the Macroblade 80 for it's ease of use and performance. For a lot of our skaters, it was hands-down the most comfortable skate they tried during our testing. Quite a few of our staff have decided to buy a pair, which we think says a lot. Bob, who's relatively new to skating, was most comfortable in the Macroblade 80 out of all the skates he tried. "Very smooth performance and roll. Easily maneuverable and a natural feeling, mostly thanks to the comfy boot." Smooth might be the best word to describe this skate. From the moment you put it on, to gliding strides on smooth pavement, it all feels exceptionally smooth. 80 mm wheels are great for recreational skaters. They're big enough that they roll over obstacles relatively easily, but small enough that your center of gravity is low. Big wheels can be a bit much for new skaters, and those still working on technique and balance. That said, Bob did mention that he thought it was "best for smooth surfaces," and we'd agree with that. Because of the wheel size and the level of skater that's likely going to purchase the Macroblade 80, you should try to stick to smooth pavement without any gravel or cracks.
Overall, if you are looking to get into the sport of in-line skating, or if you're already a skater and just want a comfortable, easy skate, the Macroblade 80 is an excellent choice. It's also a really good value. Maybe you don't want to spend over $200 for higher-end skates, that's just fine, the Macroblade 80 performs at a level that will satisfy a lot of skaters. Our experienced skaters still loved it during our testing. Sure, there are other skates that are faster, stiffer, and more responsive, but we couldn't find anything that matched the blend of comfortable, performance, and ease-of-use of the Macroblade 80.