Roller derby performance depends as much on your physical ability and training as it does on your equipment. The next question for would-be players is which type of skates to get. And no, you don’t want just any pair of roller skates. Here is some advice on how to choose the right pair of roller derby skates.
Don’t Rely on Standard Skates
The first thing to realize is that the average roller derby skates are going to be short boots over the tall classic boots that you use for skating around the roller rink. For many beginners, it can be a shock just to learn that the inline skates you enjoy wearing are not allowed. Depending on the league, inline skates are permitted for referees.
Make Sure They Fit Right at the Start
New skates must fit correctly when you try them on. They won’t get more comfortable as you use them; they don’t break in like sneakers, though they feel a lot like sneakers. They should fit properly with or else you’ll get blisters. Don’t buy expensive leather boots without padding that fit perfectly and then end up with other issues because you add padding for comfort that causes them to no longer fit right. Yes, expensive leather boots can take some time to break in and become more comfortable, but if they are uncomfortable from the start, it is only a matter of degree.
One good way to avoid making a mistake is trying out different brands, sizes and types of skates by renting them at the rink to find what size and style fits you best.
Understand Your Needs
The best roller derby skates are those that have the features you need at a price you can afford. For example, if you weigh more than 100 kilos (about 200 pounds), you want skates with fiberglass reinforced plates or basic aluminum plates. These are more durable than the cheaper skates that beginners buy. As your weight goes up, the hardness of the wheels also needs to go up.
Nylon plates are cheaper than aluminum plates. Fiberglass reinforced nylon is the next step up in price but shouldn’t even be a concern unless you’ve already made a serious commitment to the sport.
Truck angle is another factor to consider. A greater angle degree gives you more agility, while a lesser angle gives you more stability.
Do Your Research
Bearings on derby skates wear out much faster than those on your average roller skates. Research how often the bearings need to be replaced for each brand of derby skate you’re considering and the difficulty of both cleaning and replacing them. Another issue is wheel ratings. A wheel rating gives you an indication of how hard it is and how well it grips the floor. However, the variability is significant between brands.
A popular way to save money is by borrowing or buying vintage skates. However, the sport requires “derby wheels”. The average set of roller skates has wheels that are slippery compared to derby wheels that have much better grip.
Choosing the right pair of roller skate can make all the difference. Make sure that you follow the tips in this article if you want to dominate your next event.