Padding, like helmets, should be mandatory. Maybe, maybe elbow pads can be foregone, but I never skate without knee pads and wrist guards (and you shouldn't either)! I love Triple Eight's Saver Series. It's not too expensive. I've taken many a spill on gravel, grass, and rogue acorns. My kneepads are pitted and my wrist guards are scuffed, but I have yet to shatter a kneecap or fracture my wrist. Wear your gear, people! (And remember to fall safely). I also use and love the Triple Eight Sweatsaver Helmet. It keeps my melon protected when I inevitably fall, and it comes in matching colorways. —Louryn Strampe
The world of skate wheels is seemingly endless. There are options for indoor or outdoor use, artistic skating, derby skating, speed skating, and more. One everyone should have in their arsenal is a set of light-up wheels. Volcanic makes several kinds, but its Dazzle is my favorite. They're easy to swap out. Once on, all you have to do is roll, and like magic, the internal magnet-and-copper structure powers the LEDs. As long as a wheel is spinning, it'll light up. The wheels are firm and a bit on the small side, but hey, you look like a freaking superhero. Once the pandemic ends and I can visit my local rink, you can bet the Dazzle wheels are coming with me. —Louryn Strampe
There's a bevy of additional gear that, while not necessary, is nice to have. Here are some other items you may want to consider.
Use whatever's around to help you carry your skates and gear from place to place. An old backpack will work just fine. But if you're looking for some other options, the Baboon Go Bag is one of our favorite duffles. We also like the Patagonia Black Hole.
For essentials like your wallet, keys, and phone, bring a fanny pack. We've rounded up our favorites here.
You can wear headphones and skate, but you want to be able to hear cars and other people. I, Louryn, skate with the JBL Clip 3. The built-in carabiner lets me attach it to my belt bag and zoom while listening to Poolside FM—and I can still hear passing cars. The Tribit Stormbox Micro is another good carabiner-equipped wireless speaker.
A skate leash is an investment you won't regret, especially if you switch skating locations a lot. It wrangles your rollers so you can carry them one-handed or thread them through the handle of your duffle bag. There are several options on Etsy too.
At some point you'll need a skate tool. You'll use it to swap out non-adjustable toe stops and change out your wheels. I, Louryn, like this option, but skate tools are all largely similar.
Finally, if you're working up a sweat and dealing with some discomfort, anti-chafe products can be a huge help. I like Hiki's Anti-Chafe Stick. It's unscented, melts down quickly, and doesn't leave residue behind.