Skate Tip: Don’t let the end of summer stop you from having fun!

Summer is winding down, the kids are back in school, and it won’t be long before the seasons change and we’re gearing up for cooler weather. For many outdoor skaters, that means our window of opportunity of starting to close.

Whether you are cruising around the park, hitting the boardwalk, or just rolling with your kids down the street, there’s no easier or more fun way to have fun, enjoy time with family and friends, and stay in shape. And you don’t have to give that up just because summer is gone.

Did you know that you can turn an outdoor skate into a perfect rink skate by simply changing out the wheels?

If you enjoy skating and don’t want to let the weather keep you sidelined, adding a set of indoor wheels will get you rolling right along!

I’ve included links to our three most popular indoor wheels:

Happy Skating!

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Five Things to Know Before You Purchase Roller Skates

Roller skates can seem a bit complicated when you start looking over the manufacturer specifications, sales brochures, and reviews, but they don’t have to be. If you know the terms and what each component does, then choosing your next pair of skates can be a simple process. There are five basic elements that make up a pair of roller skates. Everything else is just cosmetics, design, and performance.

This article covers the basics, but has been written to help you select the roller skates that fit you best. When you are ready for more advanced terms or specifics about a component, just click any one of the article titles below, and it will take you to a more in depth explanation of that component.

If you have any questions that aren’t covered here, or you need any additional help or advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us (link to contact form / person).

The Basics:
Whether you are a first time skater, an old pro returning to the newer technologies available, or parents looking to surprise someone with a new pair of skates, this guide will help you get off to a good start. Don’t let the descriptions get you confused. Every pair of roller skates is just wheels that strap on your feet. The details are a bit more involved, but that’s all explained later. There is also a link to each component that explains it in more detail.

  1. Wheels
  2. Bearings
  3. Trucks
  4. Chassis or Plates
  5. Boots

That is everything that makes a pair of roller skates. So, let’s take a look at each of these five components, and have a quick overview of what each does. This way you’ll know not only what components you’re looking at, but also what is and is not likely to be in your price range. We’re going to take this from the ground up, just like the list above, so take notes or bookmark (link) this page so you can come back to it.

Step One: Wheels
Wheels are basically about durometer (hardness) and shape (size). Hard wheels are faster and typically for indoor skating. Soft wheels are slower and usually for outdoor skating or indoor beginners. Shape basically means size. Narrow small wheels are easier to steer, and are best for beginners or skaters who make lots of fancy turns. Wider wheels are more difficult to control, but offer more surface area and are great for stability in high speed turns.

Step Two: Bearings
Wheel bearings put the roll in your skates. High performance bearings will roll longer, making them ‘feel’ faster. In scientific terms, less energy (push) is required to go farther. Additionally they last longer and offer a higher degree of safety due to their reduced chance of mechanical failure.

Step Three: Trucks
The truck on a roller skate is the ‘T’ shaped piece that bolts onto the plate. It is also the most complex part of the skate. The wheels are attached to it, and when leaning left or right, the truck twists in that direction to accommodate the turn. Single action trucks have only one cushion (shock absorber) and typically sit at a 45 degree angle. They are best for speed skating. Double action trucks are usually at a 10 degree angle, and have two cushions. They are easier to control, and are the most common type (most people skate on these).

Skate trucks are made from either aluminum or a composite of nylon and fiberglass. In most cases aluminum is more expensive, and generally lighter and stronger than nylon.

Step Four: Plates
Plates are what everything except the wheels and wheel bearings attaches to. They are basically just a piece of metal for everything to attach to. The boots go on the top, with the trucks on the bottom, and the wheels and bearings attached to the trucks. The most noticeable difference in plate designs is whether they have a stop (the big rubber brake).

Like skate trucks, plates are also made from either aluminum or nylon and fiberglass, with aluminum typically being the better material.

Step Five: Boots
Boot is essentially the ‘shoe’. It is the part that actually goes on your feet. The material of the boot will be leather or synthetic (vinyl). Leather is more comfortable and durable, while vinyl will cost less. Tall boots will generally be for more traditional or artistic skating styles, while low boots will be for speed or track skating.

In summary, there are many different roller skates to choose from. The one that is best for you will be a combination of your skill level, design preferences, and of course budget. By knowing what each piece does, you’ll be better prepared to select a combination suited to your own personal needs. Have fun, and don’t forget to

Chassis, Plates, and Holding It All Together

This is probably the least difficult part of the entire skate assembly to describe. The roller skate plates are a piece of metal or nylon and fiberglass that the boot attaches to on the top and everything else attaches to on the bottom. Outside of that, there are only a few differences, which we will discuss below.

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First, the construction material should be considered. Nylon and fiberglass are the most common material, but also cost less. Aluminum is the most expensive material, but also the lightest and strongest.

Second, the stops are either there, or they aren’t. This basically means you have a big rubber brake, or you don’t have a big rubber brake. There are only really two kinds of brakes.

  • The non-adjustable bell style stoppers are somewhat old school, and they require weekly tightening at a minimum. While these are also the least expensive sort of stops, they are also guaranteed to loosen up, and can cause you to get hurt if you don’t pay attention.
  • The adjustable stoppers, which are the newer type. These don’t usually shake loose from vibration like the non-adjustable stops do.  As a result they are relatively low maintenance. The only thing you really need to do with these is just adjust the height to a setting you are comfortable with.

Obviously if there are not stops, then you don’t have to worry about these issues. The only thing you’ll need to worry about is stopping – or landing if you already started skating and are only just now reading this.

Also, some roller skate plates are adjustable, and in some cases, there are even different theories and schools of thought as to how the plates are set up. For example, some speed skaters will get plates that are actually smaller than the standard size for a particular boot, but this is in the lands of expert theory, and best left to our specialists.

However you decide to skate, consider that there is a wealth of information and option available to you. We are here to help with every step along the way, making sure you don’t fall. If you do, we’ll catch you. Just send us an email. It’s what we do.

Roller Skate Nation Photo Contest Winners

Roller Skate Nation recently hosted a photo contest on Facebook and Google+. Check out some of our best submissions and feel free to comment. Thanks to all those that participated!

1st Place 
Tiffany Howard

CAPTION: Pacesetters My daughter, a munchin in The Wiz Skate Show 2013!!!

Runner-Ups
Lusea Griffiths

Sarah Hexapus Deathriage

Martina Cordova

Lindsay Wright Brian

Boots, Shoes, and Being Fashionable While You Skate

Fashion and skating are not something everyone considers. Many people who skate only do so part time, and are not aware of the many options available in skate fashion. To be sure, everyone has seen the neon colored wheels, or colorful trucks, and even colored boots, but did you know that there is an entire world of roller skate fashion when it comes to the uppers?

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Skate uppers (the boot, or shoe) can be as different and varied as any shoe store in the world offers. In fact, if you have an idea for a particular style of boot, it exists. If it doesn’t exist, no problem, there are experts who can custom make any style of boot or shoe you desire. With that in mind, you can actually get the style skates you want. If you want several styles, you can also do that. There are just a few things to consider when looking over the basics of boots.

First, your own personal preference of leather or synthetic material (vinyl) needs to be considered. While leather is more comfortable and durable, it does require care, and is more expensive. Vinyl is less expensive, but if you only plan to wear your skates occasionally, or just for fashion purposes (pumpkin skates for Halloween, as an example), then vinyl might be just fine for you. Likewise, if you are considering your first skate purchase, and just want to get a feel for it, then vinyl might also be a good choice.

Second is the actual style. Some prefer a boot cut, while others will prefer more of a shoe style. It really depends on your own personal preference more than anything else, though there are slight advantages certain styles provide if you are into speed or other specialty types of skating. There is also the consideration of laces or straps for securing your skates. Laces take longer to secure, but they provide a much more snug fit.

Third, and probably most important, is the actual comfort. If you won’t be comfortable, then you probably aren’t going to skate much. If you don’t skate much, then what is the point of having skates? So get something comfortable.

Think of it like this – the average video game is about $50, and most people who play games will buy at least six per year. At that rate you could get one really nice pair of skates each year. Since you don’t wear them every day, they’ll last a long time if you take care of them. Besides, it’s hard to put a price on looking good.

Before we go, there are also hard plastic skates that are not unlike ski boots, but they are usually the sort of thing children wear. They haven’t been discussed in this article for that reason. If you would like to learn more about this type of skate, just send us a quick email and we’ll take care of you.

Infographic- History of Roller Skating

Roller Skate Nation’s Infographic on the history of Roller Skating!

Check it out now…
http://www.rollerskatenation.com/the-history-of-roller-skates_a/362.htm

Derby Your Way To Health!

When Regina Frazer put on her first pair of derby skates, little did she know that she would one day be on Cnn.com for all the world to see. Yet that is exactly what has happened!

Regina joined the Fairbanks Rollergirls in 2009 to give her something to do in the harsh Alaskan climate.Soon Regina was better known by her derby name, saBOBtage. She was well loved by her teammates and soon held leadership positions on her team. In 2011, she was voted to be co-captain of the team. It was then that she decided that to be a good example, she needed to be an athletic leader as well.

When Regina Frazer started the team she weighed 260 pounds and could barely skate 25 laps. Through both roller derby and a complete overhaul of her diet, she has gone from a size 22 to an 8. She can also easily skate 100 laps! So, one might say that it is completely possible to derby your way to health!

Skating News of the Day

Doctors are using Roller Skates to help more patients! Dr.’s are coming up with creative ways to reach and care for all their patients – they are roller skating from patient to patient and building to building.


(Photo Source:chinanews)

With more and more hospitals increasing their size, some up to 20% larger than before, Dr.’s have issues reaching or simply getting to all patients in a timely manner. In the past most Dr.’s would run from building to building to care for all patients but the new trend is to strap on your roller skates and skate to the next building. Dr.’s found skating to be less exhausting than running all day. Cardiac Physicians seem the most affected by the hospitals expansion as they have many urgent consultations they must be at throughout their day.

Dr.’s in Shanghai and around the world are skating around their hospitals and advise more and more to do the same.

Article Source: People’s Daily Online

The first Derby bout of the season!

I had the privileged of going to my hometown Derby leagues first bout for the season. It was between the Muscogee Roller Girls and the Marietta Derby Darlins.

The bout was at the Gr8 Sk8 skating rink in Phenix City, AL.


The bout was very fun and entertaining. I talked to a couple of the derby players after the event and one of their main concerns at each bout was if the audience was engaged. From what I could tell, they put on a pretty good show.

Give Me Some Sugar – Wheels that Is!

Sugar wheels first rolled onto the scene back in 2008 when they staked their claim as the first hybrid wheels for derby skaters. Now, they are adding to their lineup with two new wheels in the sugar line-up. The original sugar wheels you have come to know in love are here to stay but their new partners the Sweet & Low and Equalizer are ready to introduce themselves.

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Sugar
These white wheels are identified by their sky blue band and white hub. This hybrid wheel measures 62mm by 44 mm, making them the full-sized hybrids with serious performance.

Sweet & Low
Fall in love with the fast roll and sticky grip the Sweet & Low hybrid wheel offers. These pretty pink wheels measure 58mm x 38mm, making them low to the ground for maximum speed and control. Add them to your skates and be amazed by how these sweet little gems hug the turns

Equalizer

These blue wheels take sweet to a whole new level. They measure 62mm by 38mm, combining the best of the other two wheels in the lineup. These wheels can handle it all, rough outdoor surfaces and super-slick indoor rinks.