My Favorite Skate

Xsjado JC Rowe!

Update (Oct 14, 2017): Unfortunately, I recently found out that the Xsjado brand is being discontinued. They’re currently only selling their “2.0 Farewell” skates in all sizes. All other models are only available dependent on existing stock (which are being heavily discounted). On the bright side, Doop skates, which are the recreational cousins of Xsjado, are still available.

Back in 2011, I got a pair of skates that was radically different than any other skates I had tried.  Those skates were the Xsjado JC Rowe.  They wrapped around my sneakers so no matter where I skated, I could always “unwrap” them if I needed to be back in sneakers.   As you might guess, this made them extremely practical, and for this and other reasons, they quickly became my favorite skates.

Since then, I’ve gotten other excellent skates — Seba FR-A, Powerslide Hardcore EVO II, and USD Aeon 72 — but my old JC Rowe continues to be my favorite, and a mainstay of my daily skating.[1]

Practical

Although my JC Rowe are aggressive skates [2], I primarily use them to get around town, so they’re customized with bigger 84mm wheels on Rollerblade Fusion 84, 255mm USF Frames.[3]  The fact that Xsjado skates are designed as a combination of a “footwrap”  (sneaker) and a snowboard binding-like boot (that wraps around the footwrap) means you always have your shoes with you. That makes them extremely convenient for running errands, commuting, and traveling.

Comfort

Perhaps due to the fact that I’m in sneakers when riding my Xsjado, I’ve found them to be the most comfortable skates I’ve ever worn.[4]  Also, perhaps due to the wide forefoot binding/buckle that keeps the skates feeling firmly wrapped around my foot, it is the first USF framed skate where the frame has felt laterally balanced under my feet.

Style

How could you not love a skate with these flairs? 🙂

Xsjado JC Rowe's animal spirit

Insole design

Snowboard boot-like binding

About the only thing I could suggest is for them to be lighter.  Mine weigh about 4 lbs 8 oz per skate & foot wrap (size US 8), which is, on average, about a pound heavier than my other skates.  Xsjados also aren’t as precise feeling as specialized, one-piece skates like Hardcore EVO or Aeon, but given the constraints of their sneaker + binding design, I think they’ve made excellent tradeoffs.


Notes

  1. I’ve used my JC Rowe so much over the years, I’ve had to replace various parts multiple times (e.g., buckle, cuff, strap, etc.).  Thankfully, just about all of the parts on a Xsjado are easily serviceable.
  2. For those who want the sneaker-binding combo of an Xsjado skate, but aren’t interested in aggressive skating, I recommend getting Xsjado’s recreational cousins under the Doop brand instead.  Unlike Xsjados, Doop skates come standard with bigger recreational frames and wheels.  Doops also allow lateral frame adjustment, changing size w/o tools, and are a little lighter.
  3. If you can’t find Rollerblade Fusion USF frames being sold separately, another good option are the new Ground Control aluminum free skate USF frames.
  4. Although not required, I recommend using Xsjados with an Xsjado footwrap (i.e., Xsjado’s skate sneakers). Xsjado has tuned their foot wrap with a dense sole, which transmits more of your push/power on each stride.  I’ve tried regular skate sneakers (e.g., Puma) with my Xsjados, and the difference is noticeable.  Non-Xsjado sneakers I’ve tried didn’t lock into the binding perfectly and their squishier soles made striding feel sluggish.  Having said that, if you don’t use an Xsjado footwrap, you can remedy the sluggish response by removing the heel pads.

Note: I do NOT receive any compensation from any skate manufacturers or resellers mentioned in this article.  My recommendations are based solely on my experiences and preferences.