Rollerblade Twister Edge Rollerblade Review: // Gear Reviews
Here on SkiEssentials.com, we review a lot of skis. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why, but skis aren't the only thing we care about. Recently, at least within the past few years, we've added Rollerblade to our selection of brands. You may have seen our Brand Introduction Article, in which we talked about the history of the company and went over a few skate models. Since then, we've thoroughly expanded the selection of skates on SkiEssentials.com, and we thought it was time to release some full-length review articles and videos. First up, the Twister Edge.
As we talked about in that Brand Introduction, rollerblading, or in-line skating, is a great way to stay fit for skiing during the off-season. It uses similar muscle groups, allows you to work on balance and flexion, and is a whole lot of fun. Rollerblades have come a long way since their heyday back in the 90s. Better designs, better materials, and faster wheels, these new skates are a blast, and the Twister Edge is a great example.
The skate falls into Rollerblade's "Freeskate" category, but it's a versatile skate beyond any categorization. It's designed with urban commuting in mind, which plays into its slick styling, and also provides us with a durable, supportive, full-plastic frame. Right out of the box, the skates scream quality. The plastic on the shell of the boot is very rugged and feels like it could take a beating. The buckle system is intuitive and effective. The skate's frame is made from extruded aluminum and is laterally adjustable to help with those who pronate or supinate. Rollerblade's Hydrogen wheels are more durable, more responsive, and faster than anything you might have used back in the 90s. Even the liner has good attention to detail, an anatomical fit, and small holes along the sole to help increase breathability. At $249, you're getting a lot of skate, that much is clear.
A quick note on fit. There are a couple important things to keep in mind when choosing your skates and the size. The first is it's better to go off your shoe size than to try to match your ski boot size, and you might even want to size up a half size off your shoe size. For example, I use a US size 7.5 running shoe, ski in a 24.5 ski boot, but the 26.0 or US size 8 fits me best in the Twister Edge. If you're buying skates to cross-train for skiing, you might feel like it makes the most sense to go off your ski boot size, but there's no way I'd comfortably fit myself into a 24.5 Twister Edge. The other thing we want to mention about fit is soft boots versus hard-shell boots. A hard-shell skate is going to give you more support and more responsiveness than a soft shell boot. Like a ski boot, however, the plastic may need some custom work. In the Twister Edge, I got a little hot spot on my navicular. This is a spot I often have to tweak in ski boots, but I was somewhat surprised it was so noticeable in the Twister Edge. Spoiler alert: I am going to buy a pair, and my plan is to do a small punch to the shell of the skate in that spot. Essentially what I'm saying is if you want the higher levels of performance, you should at least be aware that the skate could use some custom work to fit best. Could I skate it without the work? Sure can, I spent hours in the Twister Edge and it wasn't outrageously uncomfortable, and I also have a very pointy navicular, so we're not saying you need to do work to it, but you might. If you're okay with a little less support and responsiveness, or just want a skate to use casually and recreationally from time to time, I'd recommend looking at soft boot styles like the Macroblade. Those skates are still a whole lot of fun, but have an easier, more comfortable fit right out of the box.
Alright, that's enough on fit. If you have questions, let us know. The performance of the skate is what we're here for most, right? I know I am. Disclaimer: I have a lot of experience in rollerblades thanks to the fact I was age 4-14 during that 90's decade. Rollerblading was a big influencer in my life, and arguably the biggest reason why I turned to competitive park skiing in my 20's. Being back on skates is an absolute blast, and out of about 10 different models and wheel sizes, the Twister Edge has been my favorite skate. It has a perfect mix of support, speed, and playfulness for me. The support feels a lot like a ski boot. It doesn't come up as high on your shin as a ski boot, but you have a fairly stiff upper-shell to push against. You still get good ankle flexion, but it's not as soft as a skate like the Macroblade and even stiffer than the new Maxxum. Now, the Twister Edge isn't technically part of Rollerblade's Skate to Ski program, but I think it definitely could be. You can mimic carving turns really well, and the boot feels like it has plenty of lateral support when you're doing so. The 4x80 mm wheels are plenty fast for me. I tested its 3WD brother, and had a blast on that too, but found the 4 wheels gave slightly more of a skiing feel. This explains why the new Maxxum 90, a skate specifically designed for the Skate to Ski program, also uses 4 wheels. As a cross-training tool for skiing, I love it.
On the other hand, I also appreciate the playfulness in the Twister Edge. I'm certainly not the skater I used to be, but I found myself wanting to jump over things, do some backwards skating (switch? fakie? Gosh I've been out of the sport too long), and just play. The smaller wheels made me feel a touch more comfortable because of the lower center of gravity. You do sacrifice some speed with the 4x80 mm wheels compared to the 3x110 mm wheels you can get on the Twister, and those that are using it more specifically for commuting or longer-distance skating will likely prefer the bigger wheels, but that's a sacrifice I personally am willing to make. On the same stretch of pavement I was maybe 2 mph slower on the 4-wheel Twister compared to the 3-wheel Twister. The bigger wheels also roll over small bumps more easily, and some of my co-workers who don't have as much experience found that beneficial. It's all a toss-up really, just like skis. You make sacrifices to focus on the performance characteristics that make the most sense for you personally, that's just how these things work.
All in all, if you're at all serious about skating or want a fun skate that you can use anywhere and that can help keep you in shape for skiing, the Twister Edge is a great choice. If you haven't skated in a long time, you'll be blown away by the quality of it. Even when holding a skate in your hand, it's very obvious how far they've come. When you skate it, you'll have your mind blown. As always, let us know if you have any questions about what skate is right for you or what size to choose. We'll be releasing a few more Rollerblade reviews in the coming weeks and months, but we thought the Twister Edge was a great place to start due to its versatility, fun-factor, and the selection we have available on SkiEssentials.com right now. Snag a pair for yourself and get out there and have some fun. It's pretty much impossible to Rollerblade with a frown.