Riedell Zone Skates Review

Gliding in Retro Style: Our Review of the Riedell Zone Skates

As recreational skaters who log miles exploring every corner of our neighborhood, we’re always searching for our next stylish and supportive pair of outdoor skates. We want versatile skates that can keep up with anything from leisurely weekend cruises to more fast-paced weekday fitness sessions.

When we discovered Riedell’s Zone skates with their throwback suede boot and customizable setup, we knew we had to try them. We ordered a pair in the supple tan suede to match our vintage aesthetic and eagerly awaited their arrival.

The day finally came to lace up our Zones and take them for an extensive test drive to see how they performed on city streets. After multiple miles rolling over various terrains, we’re ready to break down everything you need to know in this detailed review.

Keep reading for the full scoop on sizing, specs, pros and cons, ideal usage, and overall performance of these retro-inspired outdoor skates.


First Impressions

Fresh out of the box, the Riedell Zone skates make an excellent first impression with their classic styling and quality materials. The supple suede boot provides a perfectly broken-in feel with excellent flexibility right off the bat.

Walking around in the tan suede Zones truly feels like stepping back in time to the golden era of roller skating in the 70s. The retro good looks immediately put a smile on our faces.

We also appreciated that Riedell allows you to customize your Zone setup. Being able to pick our preferred Radar wheels to match our style was a fun bonus.

The 57mm Radar Energies seemed like a versatile size for casual recreational skating. And the lightweight nylon plates promised easy maneuverability. Overall, our first impressions of the Zone skates were extremely positive. The mix of retro style and customization options stood out.


Taking Them for a Spin

Eager to test how the Zones performed outside of the living room, we promptly hit the streets for an extended skate around the neighborhood. Right away we noticed how the plush suede boot cushioned our feet while still providing flexibility.

Pushing off felt smooth and natural as the suede contour perfectly to our feet. The thickness eliminated any rubbing while still allowing full ankle flexion for steering.

Turning corners felt controlled thanks to the supportive padding around the ankles. The 57mm Radar wheels also provided a nice blend of speed and stability.

Hitting some rougher side streets, we did notice that shock traveled up through the nylon plates more than a metal plate would have dampened. But the give of the nylon also enhanced maneuverability.

Overall, we were thrilled that the Zones provided such a comfortable and steady ride around the mixed surfaces of our neighborhood streets. The retro components came together nicely creating versatile performance.

Riedell Zone Skates Review

Pros: What Won Us Over

After breaking in the Zones during countless miles outdoors, here are the key pros that won us over:

  • Cushioned suede uppers – Broke in quickly with zero blisters and excellent flexibility
  • Custom wheel setup – Fun to personalize our skates’ style with Radar wheel colors
  • Retro styling – Gorgeous tan suede looks straight out of the 70’s era of skating
  • Great traction – 57mm outdoor wheels grip well on asphalt and concrete
  • Quick maneuvering – Nylon plates provide a nice balance of flex and control
  • Lightweight feel – Nylon plates keep weight reasonable for quick acceleration
  • Versatile performance – Handled a mix of terrains well during urban recreational skating

For the price point, the Zones provide an impressive balance of comfort, performance, and iconic style. The components came together very nicely.


Cons: Room for Improvement

While the Zone skates won us over in most aspects, we did notice a few negatives to note:

  • Nylon plates are less durable – They flex nicely but are prone to wearing down quicker than metal.
  • Thin ankle padding – More cushioning around the cuffs would enhance comfort.
  • Basic bearings – The ABEC-5 bearings are just okay, upgrading would be ideal.
  • Sizing runs small – We recommend sizing up half a size, especially with thicker socks.
  • Lack of support – Not the most supportive skate for high jumps or intense moves.

Considering the affordable recreational price point, none of the cons were dealbreakers for us. With a bearing upgrade, the Zones make very solid and stylish outdoor cruising skates.


Technical Specs

For those interested in the Zone’s specs, here are the key details:

  • Boot Material: Suede leather
  • Plate: PowerDyne Thrust nylon
  • Wheels: Radar Energy 57mm/78A
  • Bearings: ABEC-5
  • Toe Stop: Bolt-on
  • Sizes: 4-12
  • Colors: Black or tan suede

The Zone’s offers a very versatile setup with the ideal outdoor wheel specs perfect for recreational skating.


Sizing Guidance

Based on our experience, here are some tips on getting an ideal fit in the Zones:

  • Length runs half size small, so consider sizing up
  • Width is true to size if you have average width feet
  • The suede does stretch some over time
  • Size up if you plan to wear thick socks
  • Trying on in-store allows you to get the perfect fit
  • Heat molding can help stretch any tight spots

Going up half a size worked perfectly for us to achieve a comfortably snug fit that broke in nicely. Focus on dialing in the width first.


Ideal Use Cases

After extensive testing, we feel the Zone skates work fantastically for:

  • Outdoor dance/artistic skating – The flexibility helps with basic moves
  • Fitness skating – Great for moderate-paced cardio sessions
  • Casual recreational skating – Ideal for neighborhood and park cruising
  • Boardwalk skating – Smooth wheels excel on flat paved paths
  • Urban skating – Handled well on varying city terrain and surfaces
  • Beginner outdoor skating – Forgiving setup instills confidence

From casual neighborhood cruising to more uptempo fitness skating, the Zones provide versatile performance at a reasonable price point.


Riedell Zone Skates Review – Final Verdict

After many miles of enjoying the supple feel of the suede Zones, we happily rate them 4 out of 5 stars. For outdoor recreational skaters seeking comfort, style, and customization at a reasonable price, they hit the mark.

While the basic bearings and sizing quirks are small flaws, the retro styling and smooth maneuverability of the Zones make them a well-rounded outdoor skate. They provide impressive quality for casual cruising at this very budget-friendly price.

So if a cool 70’s look paired with customizable performance sounds appealing, we’d readily recommend giving the Riedell Zones a spin. Their iconic style and plush comfort will keep you happily rolling mile after mile in vintage vibes!

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Available Colors: Black, Tan
Price: The price is 229$ at Walmart or 335$ from Riedell’s official website
Link to purchase from Riedell’s official website
Link to purchase from Walmart


Here you can find other reviews we have made for outdoor roller skates:

Click on the link to see the best Riedell skates we recommend for every skating category.


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Welcome to Skates of Glory! Join us as we dive into the roller skating world, sharing insights, tips, and inspiration for skaters of all levels. Let's roll together and embrace the skate life!

Oliver Harris
Greetings fellow skater, I'm Oliver Harris!

Hello, I am Oliver Harris, a skilled roller skater with expertise in roller derby and speed skating who brings years of experience and contagious enthusiasm to Skates of Glory.

Emma Moore
Hey there fellow skater, my name is Emma Moore

I am Emma Moore, an accomplished artistic roller skater and professional coach who combines sports psychology with my passion for skating.

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