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Essential Gear: In-Line Skates

Family Vacations, Summer 1996

Essential Gear: In-Line Skates

What better way to work out the kinks of a road trip than by taking a spin on some black ice far from home? Here are some of the newest models on the market.

The K2 Spinner ($229.95) is the teen skate-rat's dream. Instead of the traditional molded plastic boot, K2 has pioneered the Softboot in-line skate. On the Spinner, the suede upper resembles an Airwalk shoe--very cool and oh-so-comfy. However, an in-line skate is worthless without ankle support, so the Spinner has a hard-plastic heel cuff that swaddles the lower leg and prevents lateral movement. As for the closure system: laces over the instep (looks like a shoe), Velcro across the ankle (anchors the foot into the heel cuff to prevent rubbing), ratchets at the top (tight closure for optimal ankle support).

On the adult high performance end, Tecnica's CT7 ($439) is fast, as in very. A small layer of shock-absorbing, only-the-Tecnica-chemists-know-for-sure material placed between boot and chassis is designed to reduce road vibrations. The aluminum chassis is featherweight but so strong that it refuses to torque (a definite plus at high speeds); the wheelbase is speed-skate long; and the ski boot-inspired closure system, complete with power strap, gives hard-core support. Purists, however, still believe that laces (if tied artfully enough) provide the best support. For them, Tecnica also has the CT5 ($415), with an ingenious speed-lock system; the top hook-and-eye clamps down to hold the laces tight while you finish off the bow.

Copyright 1996, Outside magazine

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