Roller Derby Skates 101

2017 means that many people are now looking to try out for teams and join the mad world of roller derby

So lets’ talk about skates, well about kit in general, the kind of kit you need just to get you rolling.

First up, you guessed it, skates. The most crucial thing about derby skates is that they are of the quad variety, no inlines here. You’ll see a wide range of quad skates on the internet and in skate shops, but not all are designed to withstand the rough and tumble of roller derby.  Even skates marketed as ‘derby skates’ aren’t often as durable as you’re lead to believe. 

From experience (both mine and other members of DCRA) there is no need to fork out hundreds of pounds on high end super-duper skates straight away – despite how tempting it may be!  There are plenty of much more reasonably priced packages that will get you through your initial training and through your first few scrims/bouts without you requiring to remortgage your house!

A decent set of start-out skates are usually found in the £100-£140 price range. Many a derby player started out on Riedell R3s or Sure Grip GT-50s. Generally the rule of thumb is slender feet are better suited to the Riedells and wider feet (like mine!) fit better in the GT-50’s There are a couple of cheaper derby skates out there, however, you aren’t able to easily upgrade them as your skills progress unlike the two mentioned above.  The ability to tweak parts of your skate as your skating style develops makes these an investment that would last you well beyond fresh meat.  Don’t forget to make sure you try them on! There’s no point spending all that money on a pair of skates that don’t fit properly.  Skate Asylum are based in Bishop Auckland right on the high street, so it’s really worth while going down to the shop to have a word with Danny to ensure you have the right fit!

Have a look at some different ways to lace up your boots depending if you prefer them to be very tight on your foot arch or if you prefer a slightly more relaxed fitting.

Top Tip:  don’t fall into the US/UK size fiasco.  It can be confusing especially if you are buying from a website but double and triple check that you are ordering the UK size – you can thank me later!

Once you are fully integrated/addicted to all things derby, you may well look to ‘upgrade’ your skate set-up.  But we will talk about this more in a future post….

See you on track!


#4 Clairely Psycho
Durham City Rolling Angels