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Step Four: Learn About the Brakes

The inline skater slows down and stops by applying a brake that is usually attached to the heel of the boot. The brake consists of a rubber pad that drags on the pavement when the toe is lifted. The skill needed to execute this maneuver is easily learned (especially if taught by an IISA Certified Instructor); however, skate manufacturers have spent much effort developing brake systems that make the process, it is claimed, even simpler. One such system (the Rollerblade ABT or Advanced Braking Technology) allows the skater to activate the brake by bending the knees and sliding the braking foot forward. The pressure against the boot cuff pushes a rod attached to the cuff; which pushes the brake pad down. The advantage of this system is said to be that the wheels of the skate remain in contact with the pavement while the brake is being applied. Another system uses a spring to activate a brake that slows the back two wheels. A third uses a round rubber disk which rotates against the pavement when applied. Its tension is adjustable. Generally, these special braking systems increase the cost of the skates.

Brakes should be able to be switched from the right skate to the left. The brake should be attached to the boot worn on the skater's dominant side. For most, this is the right foot, but about 10 % of the population will need to have the brake installed on the left skate. Do not purchase skates with the brake on the front of the boot. Some skates, like speed skates, do not come with brakes; hockey and aggressive skates usually come with brakes but they are removed when doing specific activities. 

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