Derby is the new black. This sport has grown out of being just an all-girl contact sport to being monumentally popular among both genders today. There’s speed, there’s resistance and a lot of action. And the first thing you need to get in on this train is a pair of A-class derby skates. And that is exactly what we are here to do today! Hello and welcome to our article where we will help you find the best roller derby skates for you today!
Stay with us to find out about what goes into choosing the right pair of derbies, what to look for and whatnot. And we are not done yet. We are also going present to you 10 detailed reviews of our top picks for the best roller derby skates! Interested? Let’s start!
Lets take a quick look at which one we are covering here –
The first pair of skates to make it to our list of the best roller derby skates is the very popular and a cult favorite, the GTX-500 Roller Skates from Pacer.
The GTX-500 Roller Skates have a low to medium-cut boot or upper which allows your ankles maximum flexibility and mobility. It is also made out of lightweight, but sturdy, breathable fabric which keeps your feet feeling fresh and comfortable. Speaking of which, to prevent the never dying culprits of roller blades, blisters and burns, the GTX-500 comes padded around the collars and has a comfort lining to cushion your heels against shocks and impacts. You also have both lace-up and Velcro closures for the ultimate fit. As for the wheels, you get large 65mm x 35mm MACH wheels, with ABEC 1 bearings, which are somewhat soft, making it ideal for indoor use. Having said that, the GTX-500 has interchangeable outdoor wheels which will allow you to use it outdoors as well! Next, you have the polymer plates with fixed toe stops, which can be replaced as well!
Subtle yet high-performance-the GTX-500 is hands down one of the best roller derby skates for beginners!
Now, if you are specifically looking for a pair of outdoor skates, then the Citizen Outdoor Roller Skates is a great place to start.
These derby skates have a high-cut boot which engulf the ankle to give you more stability and control over anything else. It is made from soft synthetic fabric to allow your feet to breathe throughout the game. You also have a lace closure which lets you adjust the perfect, custom fit. For the plates, you have PowerDyne Thrust Nylon with a white bolt-on tow stop fixed to it. As for the wheels, you have 62mm x 32mm wheels and Riedell KwiK ABEC-5.
One thing to note here is that the Citizen skates has relatively softer wheels with a hardness of 85A. This softness gives the wheel its extra grippy and tacky character which makes them perfect for uneven, rough surface. Oh and they are water resistant too! Just what you want out of your outdoor derbies.
The 3rd contender on our list just so happens to be one of the most well-rated and gushed about derby skates from Riedall: the R3 Outdoor Energy Roller Skates.
The R3 Roller Skates give you a low-cut boot or upper, which is great for allowing your ankles the maximum flexibility. The boot itself is made out of a very high quality synthetic fabric which also includes collar padding. Don’t need to worry about those blisters anymore! With dual closures, both lace and Velcro, you can ensure a custom fit and a secure fit. Nothing worse than having to fidget with your skates in the game. As for the plates, you get Riedell PowerDyne Thrust Nylon Plates midi gripper toe stops which are replaceable to your liking. And we can appreciate that. For the wheels, you get 32mm x 62mm Riedell Radar Energy 62 Wheels with ABEC 5 bearings.
And lastly, because they are outdoor derbies, the R3 skates have wheels with a hardness of 78A. Just the right durometer to be able to grip to rough, uneven surfaces outdoors.
If you are looking for a pair of derbies that is a little more heavy-duty and tough-purpose, then look no further then the Chicago Men’s Roller Rink Skates.
The Chicago Men’s Roller Rink Skates, as you can see from the name already, are specifically designed for use in rinks. It has high-cut boot which goes well over the ankles and are therefore super stable. The upper is made out of lightweight and durable fabric and consists of a lace-up closure for adjustable fit. As for the bottom half of the Rink skates, it uses aluminum base plates with adjustable trucks fixed toe stops. Great weight limit and weight distribution!
The urethane wheels are nice and large, and have the perfect combination of hardnes which makes the Rink skates great for use both in and outdoors! Oh and it come with a 30-day warranty as well! Win-win.
Next on our list of the best roller derby skates, we have the Men’s Viper M4 Speed Quad Skate from Roller Derby.
The Viper M4 skates have a low-cut boot with a lace and Velcro closure system. Dual closure is a always a bonus for us. It also has padded collar to ensure a no-blister, no-soreness wearing experience. One thing very noticeable out the Viper M4 is that its wheels a visibly smaller than our previous derbies, It has 58mm Speed Formula Urethane wheels with ABEC 5 bearing.
But don’t underestimate it just yet, Although made for indoors, these guys offers inchangeable wheels which allow you to skate outdoors as well.
Here’s something for little tots who are princesses at hearts: the Roller Derby Roller Star 350 Girls Roller Skates.
The 350 Girls roller skates have a high-cut boot or upper with a padded collar and tongue to added comfort and protection. You have a lace closure which allows you to custom fit and adjust how snug you want your fit. The Nylon plates of these skates hold weight well and have a fixed toe stop to it. As for the wheels, the Star 350 derbies use a rather small 54mm wheels with Excellerator 608ZB bearings. But that’s just what you want for kids on interest of their safety.
The feature that is however sure to get your little girl swooning for these derbies is the visual appeal. The Star 350 comes made in a combo of white and bright pink. Very lightweight, fun and super cute- the perfect indoor derbies for learners!
Here’s something for the ladies who like their derbies a little more than just pink and cute: the Chicago Women’s Leather Lined Rink Skate.
The Rink Skates from Chicago is definitely a more heavy-duty pair of derbies for the ladies. It has a high-cut upper made out of durable, tough fabric. These derbies have a lace closure for a more custom fit and leather lined for more comfort and body. The rink skates also have an aluminum base plate with adjustable truck and jump bar which makes turning so much smoother and easier. And for the wheels, you get urethane wheels with semi-precision bearings. They are just the right amount hardness which allows you to use the Chicago rink skates both indoors and outdoors!
Last but not least, these derbies come with the Chicago standard 30-way warranty. Not bad at all, right?
The 8th pick on our list of the best roller derby skates is the very popular Star 600 Women’s Quad Skate from Roller Derby.
Star 600 Women’s Quad skates give you a high-cut boot for increased ankle support and stability. It also has a lace-up closure system which lets you control and adjust the fit or your skates to your liking. For comfort and relief from blisters and soreness, the Star 600 comes with a padded lining. It is great for shock and impact absorption too! And finally, for your wheels, you have small 56mm urethane wheels with ABEC 5 bearings. The wheels are definitely on the harder end of the durometer making it most ideal for use on plain, smooth and even surfaces. Perfect for mastering balance without speeding up too fast.
The Roller Derby Star 600 Women’s Quad Skate are soft, subtle and perfect indoor derbies for the ladies!
The next pair of roller derbies to make it to our list is THE thing to get for little girls who are just starting into the game. It is pink; it is girlie and super fun- the Girl’s Trac Star Adjustable Roller Skate from Roller Derby.
The Girl’s Trac derbies have a high-cut boot which is perfect for little learners. It gives them more stability and balance more than speed, which is just what you want. Unlike all our previous derbies, the Trac Star roller skates feature a buckle closure which is easier and faster to out on since you don’t have any laces to tie. The boot is made out of molded shell with hinged cuff and a washable liner, and has a pink stopper.
As for the wheels, you get 54mm Urethane wheels and 608Z Excellerator bearings. Not the fastest wheels out there, but we are cool with that. Make it perfect for learners, in fact.
However the best feature about the Girl’s Trac Star is that it expands in size with the feet of your skater. Not only does this mean comfort, but it also eliminates the need to having to buy a new pair. Win-win.
And the final name to make it to our list of the best roller derby skates is the Boy’s Trac Star Adjustable Roller Skate from Roller Derby!
If you liked the Roler Derby’s Trac Star for girls, then you will definitely like these since they are more or less identical. The Boy’s Trac Star is definitely a more heavy-duty and well-built pair of skates. One look and you know it is made for some tough derby action! It has a high-cut boot which ensures stability and balance of your feet. And much like the Girl’s Trac Star, these derbies also offer a fuss-free buckle closure. As for the wheels, you have 54mm Urethanes with 608Z Excellerator bearings. Perfect for both indoors!
However, once again, the best feature about the Roler Derby Boy’s Trac Star is that is has a shell with hinged cuff which expands with your kid’s growing feet!
Picking the right size of derbies is the first and most important step into selecting the best roller derby skates for yourself.
The common logic is to buy according to your shoe size, which is perfectly find. But we also recommend that you take the width of your feet into consideration. Some people have wide feet which usually end up feeling squeezed even if the size if correct. Also, if you plan to wear your derbies with socks, have long toe nail (which you should not), then opt for half a size up. Always check the size listing for men, women and kids prior to making a purchase. Also make sure that you test and try the derbies beforehand for at least 10 minutes, if you are making an in-store purchase.
Tip: Try and shop for your derbies in the afternoon when your feet are its widest.
You should control your derbies, not the other way. It is therefore very important that you chose to prioritize support and stability over speed. High-cut or heavy boot enclose your ankle, or sometimes even go above it. This may hinder ankle flex but it provides very good balance and stability.
On the other hand, a low-cut or lightweight boot offer excellent flexibility and speed, but it more difficult to balance and may wobble at times
The boot is basically the top half of your derbies. No plates, no wheels, just the “shoe” half of it.
And this component is very important feature to look into if you want to ensure comfort and a longer user life. The first thing you want to make sure is that the boot is made out of a breathable material. This will stop prevent humid buildup and sweat inside while keeping your feet fresher and drier for much longer. Next, look for padding. Around the collar, on the insole, under the tongue. Padding will ensure that you don’t end up with blisters and burns from the derbies. Also check the toe box of your derbies since they can sometimes feel too thin and narrow for your toes.
Tips: You can purchase cushions and spongy insoles separately for your derbies as well.
The wheels of a derby are hands down its most important component. And there a lot of thing that go into selecting the right kind of wheel. Let’s start with the durometer. The durometer is the hardness of a wheel. And the rule of thumb here is that you choose hard wheels for indoors and while softer wheels for outdoors. This is because hard wheels work best on smooth, even and uninterrupted surface while softer wheels, which are rubbery and more grippy, work best on uneven, rougher surfaces.
Tip: Larger wheels cover more area than smaller wheel for the same effort, but add bulk to the overall weight.
Lace-up closure system is bets for people who are looking for the best fit. You can manually adjust and control the fit you your liking. However, they are time and effort consuming to tie.
Velcro closure uses straps to secure your derbies. They aren’t the most reliable since they will often come off and isn’t the best fit, comfort-wise. But Velcro straps are easier and quicker.
Buckle closures are similar to Velcro straps except this is a little bit more reliable and tough. It still, however, doesn’t offer the same adjustability of a lace system.
The plates of your derbies are the components that hold the most of your weight. You want to make sure you buy them well!
The most common type of plates, in derby skates, is made either out of aluminum or nylon. Aluminum plates are hands down more durable and expensive, and preferred by expert users. Nylon plates are inexpensive and lightweight, and hence, flimsy too. Best for learners and tots. They clearly come with their own pros and cons so you best buy according to purpose and person.
Tip: Check the weight limit on the derbies before purchasing. Buying a pair that can’t take on your weight could lead to injuries.
One of the most frustrating things about derbies is when they come without the ability and freedom for replacements and upgrades.
There may be instance when you like the derbies, but could use a different part. Or that your derbies are worn out and you can’t afford a new one. The best roller derby skates will offer you the benefit of being able to change wheels, toe stops, and even plates as you go! It makes what your purchase more versatile, long living and worth every penny.
Tips: Some skates manufacturers will sell replaceable parts on their website or store, only. Always check online before discarding what you think are lifeless derbies!
Answer: Been there, done that. It is perfectly normal to feel discomfort while breaking in to derbies, or any new shoes for that matter. One way to make the process easier is to wear thick socks. Not only will this protect your bare feet from burns and blisters, but it will help “condition” the new derbies to your foot. It will also, to the smallest extent, expand the foot room inside the skates. But the most important tip is to wear it as often as you can!
Answer: You CAN, but you MAY not. Get it? Roller derby is almost always played wearing quad roller skates. You can wear inline for, maybe, an informal game or match or just for fun; but for serious derby training and matches, you need to put on the quads.
Answer: Good point. Derby can be extremely competitive and it can get physically demanding so you want to protect yourself from any possible serious injuries at all times. Your must-have list should include a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, and preferably some protective braces for your teeth.
Answer: There’s no real answer to this since it is all about preference at the end of the day. Some players like a lightweight pair which gives them speed while some like it a little heavy which offers better sense of inertia and overall balance. Lightweight derbies, however, offer better speed and agility. You may want to choose your derbies depending on the role you play in the game.
Answer: Yes, it does. The larger the wheel, the higher the circumference. This means you will be covering for area for the same effort you would otherwise put into skating on rollers with small wheels. However, smaller wheels usually mean less weight to the overall derby skates. And less weight equals more speed.
There is no thrill in the game until you have the right shoes on. And our article today has put forward everything you need to know to be able to identify and select the best roller derby skates out there! And our detailed reviews of the top derby skates are here to cater to your every derby demands. High-cut to low-cut, ladies’ to men’s, outdoors to indoor, basic to fancy; we have it all right here waiting for you! You will not be disappointed and that’s a promise.
That said, here ends our journey to finding the best roller derby skates for you. Thank you for joining us and we hope you don’t leave empty-handed from here today. Good luck this derby season!