Shopping for roller skates can be like creating your own made to order hot sundae. It’s a sweet experience and you can choose all the ingredients. From the wheels, trucks and boots to the shoelaces we give you the option to pick your favorite colors and materials. On the other you can have a fast food kind of experience; just pick the made to order item on the menu and you get it faster than you can _______*. Please fill in the blank with a lighting fast action.
In order to help you take home the perfect pair of roller skates we think it’s best to lay down some ground rules aka teach you how every part of the skate works. Our ready to order roller skates are preassembled with high precision and we do all of the heavy thinking for you. Our indoor skates come with indoor wheels and vice versa and we pair heavier boots with lighter trucks etc…
However, if you want to put together your own roller skates and spend the time to shop for each part this guide is for you!
From The Boot & Beyond: Everything you need to know about roller skates
Just like a shoe, the boot provides all of the comfort, support and protection for your foot. You can even insert your own cushioned soles to make your boot more comfortable. FYI, the boot is made up of outsoles, insoles, tongues, padding and the main boot wrap/shell.
- High top boots are more hot to wear than low tops but they provide more ankle support.
- Low top boots are most often used for speed skating and roller derby.
- A true leather boot will usually be over $100 and synthetic and vinyl boots tend to be under $100.
- Like a couch, true leather breaks in with time and becomes more comfortable. But is also more expensive.
- Cambrelle lined boots with a full grain leather outside are top notch for comfort and breathability. Check out the Riedell 395 Speed Boot as an example.
- Vegan boots such as our Moxi roller skates are made with 100% vegan Clarino ® material which is a synthetic polyurethane coated micro-fiber that looks, feels and acts just like leather.
Ok enough on boots for now. Check out the Riedell Custom Boot guide. You won’t regret it.
The trucks attach to the plate and hold the wheels on a quad skate. A common misconception is that trucks and plates are the same thing. Actually, another name for the plate is a chassis. This is attached to the bottom of your skate and the trucks attach to this. The truck of a roller skate is the piece of metal that the wheel axle passes through. You can tighten or loosen the trucks tension nut to vary the amount of control you want in your pair of skates. But be careful! Too much loosening and you will break the kingpin.
Because the the trucks attach to the plate and hold the wheels you will realize when shopping that the trucks usually come with the plates.
In the world of skating there are two basic types of skating plates; 10 degree and 45 degree. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Most companies derive this number by what angle the kingpin is drilled on. Although there are many manufactures that have developed plates in the past; these two simple designs still represent the industry standard. Aside from 10 degree and 45 degree, we have toe stop or no toe stop, light and heavy plates, adjustable pivots and non-adjustable pivots, rubber or urethane cushions, special mounting, and exotic lightweight materials such as titanium or magnesium.
A 10 degree skating plate is designed to place the skater over the kingpin and cushions, creating a more stable skating feel. This type of plate has also been called a Free-Skating plate as it was one of the original designs and allows a skater to be confident and under control in any skating situation. The truck design on a 10 degree plate is typically a more vertical approach which will help keep a skater more upright, typically a less aggressive setup.
The 45 degree skating plate is designed to place the skater over the pivot pin creating a more aggressive stance and feel. For many years this plate has been referred to as a figure plate as it got its humble beginnings on the skating floor doing figure loops. The truck design on the 45 degree skate is designed with a horizontal approach in relation to the skating floor, typically more sensitive to the skaters movement allowing him or her to change direction faster but still under control.
Nylon and fiberglass are the most common material, but also cost less. Aluminum is the most expensive material, but also the lightest and strongest.
Choosing the right wheels depends on the type of skating you will be doing. Outdoor skaters will need a “softer” wheel to allow for the non-smooth surfaces and an indoor skater will need a harder wheel.
- The hardness/softness of wheels is referred to as durometer.
- Soft wheels are slower and usually for outdoor skating or beginners.
- Narrow small wheels are easier to steer and are best for beginners and skaters that make the fancy turns.
- Wider wheels are more difficult to control but offer more surface area and are great for stability during high speed turns.
- You can have your wheels re-grooved to remove the slick layer of build up but this can usually be done once.
These are complex little fella’s that stick inside the wheels to make you roll. Generally, the higher “rated” the bearing = the better the bearing but here’s a list of some serious stuff to consider:
- ABEC stands for Annular Bearing Engineers’ Committee. This committee determines the ratings for each bearing. The ABEC rating system includes grades 1,3,5,7, and 9. The number determines how much “roll” the bearings have.
- The higher the number, the longer it will take your wheel to stop spinning after you stop pushing.
- You get what you pay for. More expensive bearings are made to last longer and withstand more pressure. These bearings will also give you a well balanced feel on your roller skates.
Were here to help you find your perfect roller skates. Chat with us on our site, drop us an email or give us a call anytime and all the time.