When you are looking for the best roller derby skates or quad speed skates, you will have to think about several factors before you commit to one type of another.
Not only will you need to think about how you will be using the skates, but you should also consider what you need to get out of them.
From the surface you are skating on, to the amount of wear and tear that you will be putting on them, the perfect roller derby skates are out there just waiting for you to slip your feet into them.
Top 10 Best Roller Derby Skates Of 2020
1. Riedell R3 Skates
2. Riedell Dart Ombre
3. Pacer Mach-5
4. VNLA Jam Skates
Quad Speed Skates
5. Moxi Lolly
6. Riedell Dart Quad
7. Candi Girl Sabina
8. Candi Girl Carlin
9. Chicago Skates
10. Moxi Beach Bunny
Freestyle & Dancing
Things To Consider When Choosing Roller Derby Skates
Not every roller derby skate is going to have exactly what you need. In order to be both safe and effective in the rink, you will need to take several factors into consideration, including the wheels, the plates, and the bearings. Having the best roller derby skates will help you improve way faster!
When looking at the wheels on a derby skate, you will need to think about the size, the hardness, and your weight.
Size: The size of your wheels depends on your personal preference, choosing between a diameter of 59 and 62 mm. Another size consideration is the width of the wheel, which can be standard or slim. Standard wheels are 38 mm wide and the most popular. Slim wheels are more agile.
Hardness: Skate manufacturers use a durometer scale to rate the hardness of a wheel. The bigger the number, the harder the wheel. On a slippery indoor floor, you will need a softer wheel that can help you grip the floor better. The hardness rating you will be looking for is between an 88 and a 92A. On a grippy floor, you will need wheels that are between a 93 and a 99A. Most commonly, skaters opt for between a 93 and a 95A in sports arenas because they are a great all-around choice.
If you are an outdoor skater, you will also want a softer wheel to grip the outdoor terrain. They do make wheels that work on both, which is more of a 92 rating.
Weight: Your weight also is a major factor when looking at wheels. If you are a lighter person, you will want a softer wheel, whereas a heavier person would need a harder wheel.
Indoor/ Outdoor/ Hybrid
Indoor Wheels: Indoor skaters will need exclusive indoor wheels which are grippy for better control and are more affordable.
Outdoor Wheels: Rough outdoor terrain will require top quality outdoor wheels which are faster and can handle the rough terrain better. Keep in mind that skate parks will need harder wheels than distance skating activities.
Hybrid Wheels: Hybrid wheels can be used for both indoors and outdoors, making them a versatile option for any surface. They are a great set to begin with while you decide which exclusive indoor/ outdoor sets you want. They are a little more on the grippy side and are slow while used indoors, and are slower when compared to outdoor wheels.
Plates - Aluminium vs Fiberglass vs Nylon
The three primary types of roller skate plates to choose from are aluminum, fiberglass, and nylon.
Aluminum: Aluminum plates are more durable, which is optimal for the contact element of the sport. Aluminum plates are also more responsive, following your movements in the rink. Aluminum can endure more weight and will last longer than other materials.
Fiberglass: Fiberglass is lightweight, a little more affordable than aluminum and has more rigidity than nylon does. It is a great beginner choice for skaters who want a little more strength in their plates. Fiberglass is adequate for skaters who weigh less than 300 pounds.
Nylon: Nylon plates are lightweight and inexpensive. They work as a great beginner plate and work for lighter skaters, but they do offer lower performance abilities. Skaters who weigh over 200 pounds should avoid using nylon.
The bearings on your roller derby skates are what allow you to turn the axle of your wheels. While they are small, they are incredibly important for protection and control. Each wheel has two bearings, meaning you will need eight for each skate. Most skates use 8 mm bearings, but some use 7 mm, so pay attention to your specific skate. Otherwise, you need to look at the tolerance of the bearing using the ABEC scale. Also, if you want to get the best quad speed skates, make sure that they have ABEC 7 or ABEC 9 bearings.
ABEC 1: These are the least expensive bearings and least precise for turning, but are still durable.
ABEC 3: This is a great bearing for beginners or budget skates. They do not work well for speed.
ABEC 5: Better for intermediate skaters, these are usually higher quality.
ABEC 7 & 9: ABEC 9 is the highest rating that you can get, but even the ABEC 7s are great quality, offering you a lot of wheel spin and turning. They are also the most expensive bearings you can buy.
1. Riedell R3 Indoor/Outdoor Roller Derby Skates
The Editor’s Choice for the best roller derby skates you can get are the Riedell R3s. These are versatile skates that are built with safety in mind. They have a snug, low fit around the ankle in order to keep your foot in the boot when skating.
The R3s wheels come with a hardness rating of 93A, which is exactly what you would need to be able to skate both indoors as well as outdoors. They also come with ABEC 5 bearings, which are a nice middle of the road bearing. Ultimately, they are a good choice whether you skate competitively or are skating more casually. They do have nylon plates so they are not a good choice for heavier skaters.
These skates are a great choice for beginners and intermediate skaters, giving you enough speed to learn more manoeuvres, but not so much that you hurt yourself.
2. Riedell Dart Ombre Quad Speed Skates
If you are looking for a higher performance skate, the Riedell Darts are some of the best roller derby skates that you can get. These are made from a vinyl material that is both durable and breathable.
The Darts are made with an aluminum plate, offering you better strength on the rink. Regardless, these skates will work whether you skate competitively or just casually. The 93 A hardness rating means they are soft enough to work on both indoor rinks as well as outdoor. The ABEC 5 bearings that come with them are more of the middle of the road, so you might want to upgrade them if you skate competitively.
Aesthetically, these are fun skates to look at. You will get a lot of colours to choose from, letting you really show off your personality on the rink.
3. Pacer Mach-5 GTX500 Quad Roller Skates
For the perfect quad roller derby skates when you are on a budget, the Pacer Mach-5s might be the right ones for you. These are a great set of beginner skates for those who are just starting out. They would also be a nice choice for children or younger skaters who do not need a higher performance competitive skate, especially since the size range on them is broad.
The ABEC rating on the Mach-5s is 1, meaning that they are the lowest rating you can get. They really do not have the quality needed for more advanced skaters who need precision.
The Mach-5 skates also have polymer nylon plates, so they will not work well for heavier skaters, but they are lightweight. The boot of the skate is also lightweight and comfortable, which is important when you are just getting the feel for quad skating. As an added bonus, the skates come in bright and fun colours.
4. VNLA Mint Jam Skates
Best Quad Speed Skates
If you are more in the market for speed skates, the best quad speed skates that you can get are the VNLA Mint Jam Skates. These have a higher hardness rating of 95 A, which means they are better suited for indoor skating rather than outdoor. These are made to be competitive, with all of the features that you need to be fast and efficient in the rink.
With their low profile toe stops, the toe stop will be out of the way when you need to move your feet quickly or if you are doing tricks. It does have a nylon plate, but it has aluminum trucks, which will give them more durability.
The comfort level on these is pretty high, requiring little to no break in time before you can wear them completely comfortably. They are specifically made to be wicked fast, with amazing ABEC 9 bearings, giving you the best spin and torque possible.
5. Moxi Lolly Fashionable Quad Skates
Fashionable Roller Derby Skates
One of the most fun things about skating is that many brands out there make bright and outrageous colours and designs. The top roller derby skates that come in a range of colours are the Moxi Lolly skates. You can get them in red, yellow, purple, blue, and many other colours as well in a suede material.
The Lolly skates have a comfortable fit and are easy to lace, making them easy to adjust as well. The high quality padded tongue will mean sure that you can get the skates on without a struggle, but still be snug enough to give you the right fit.
The Lollys also show you that you do not need to sacrifice quality for fashion. They come with ABEC 7 steel ball bearings that will minimalize friction and leave you with a fast and smooth ride. Because of how fast they are, amateur skaters will need to make sure that they know how to stop before committing to the Lolly skates.
6. Riedell Dart Quad Speed Roller Skates
Riedell is a skate brand known to make great quad skates and the Dart skates are no exception. The Darts are a great beginner pair of roller skates. The ABEC 5 ball bearings are a good middle-of-the-road bearing, making them adequate for beginners and intermediate skaters.
The wheels that come with the skates have a hardness rating of 93 A, making them a versatile pair of skates that can be used either inside or outside. The boot is made out of a softer man-made material that will reduce the amount of time that it takes to break them in.
The Darts are designed for narrower feet so skaters with wide feet will ultimately find these uncomfortable, especially since the material will not have much in the way of stretch. The midi gripper toe stops on the Darts will ensure that you have control over when you would like to stop as well.
7. Candi Grl Sabina Artistic Roller Skates
For a more traditional boot height, the right choice for you might be the Candi Grl Sabina skates. These skates come in a wide array of colours, letting you choose the perfect ones to suit your personality.
Most speed skates come with a lower boot in order to give you the control that derby skaters are after. These are high boots, which is the traditional roller skate choice. They may not be the best competitive skates for this reason, but are really freestyle skates, which are meant more for recreation and less for competition.
Nonetheless, the Sabinas have a padded lining and reliable ankle support, ensuring that you will not roll your ankle. The faux leather that they are made out of looks nice, but also does not require the break in time that leather does.
The wheels that come with them are specifically made to be both outdoor and indoor skates.
8. Candi Girl Carlin Artistic Roller Derby Skates
Another pair of the most fashionable roller derby skates is the Candi Girl Carlin skates. These skates are made with pop colour brushed suede with embossing, ensuring that you will have the most eye-catching skates out on the rink. It also has a soft suede lining on the inside.
The tongue is extra padded for the ultimate level of comfort. The suede leather also will be soft around your feet, gradually molding to the point that they will fit your feet like a glove. They do have a high top boot, which means that they are better suited for recreational and freestyle skating rather than competitive skating.
One of the best features of these skates are the aluminum trucks and aluminum chassis, ensuring that these skates will stay with you for a long time. The aluminum is also lightweight and makes for great control for turning, cruising, tricks, and dancing.
9. Chicago Men’s Roller Rink Skates
If you are looking for a skate specifically designed for men, the Chicago skates might be just what you are looking for. Their classic look is specifically designed after the skates that were popular in rinks for decades.
The Chicago skates are made from manmade materials and are made with a controlled high top. This is for more freestyle and recreational skating and not made for competitive skating. The urethane wheels hold up well against the normal wear and tear from skating.
These are a nice pair of skates for beginning or casual skaters, but more experienced skaters might want to update the wheels, laces, and the bearings as time goes on. They are made to be worn both indoors and outdoors, but the wheels do have a softer rating so they might be best outside. They have been approved for indoor use, but make sure that the floor can accommodate them.
10. Moxi Beach Bunny Fashionable Roller Skates
Freestyle & Dancing Roller Skates
The last pair of roller skates that we are going to take a look at are the Beach Bunny skates by Moxi. These are fun high top skates that are designed for freestyle or dancing rather than roller derby.
The Beach Bunny skates are made with man-made vinyl material as well as a Dri-Lex lining material. They are traditional high top skates, designed to give the smoothest ride possible. They are built with a high, snug fit with extra ankle padding and strong ankle support.
These skates come with ABEC 5 steel ball bearings which are a great middle road, giving you enough torque to turn and dance with ease while not being the highest rating possible, making them cost effective. The bearings will reduce friction and give you a nice, smooth ride. The PowerDyne adjustable black toe stopper is not only designed to be replaceable, but also to have a long life.
Truck Angle And Cushions
The truck angle of your skates is one of the major determining factors in how agile your skates are. The range of truck angles can go from 10 to 45 degrees, which is a huge range.
The lower the truck angle is, the more stable your skates will be, whereas a higher angle means that you will have more agile skates. Newer skaters should look for a lower truck rating until they have mastered their skating skills.
There are cushions on your trucks, which also factor into how agile your quad skates are. Hard cushions are the default that manufacturers go for. They are more stable but they are rigid, making it harder to manoeuvre with them. Luckily, cushions can be changed out for softer ones with better reaction abilities.
Skates come with two cushions per skate. The two types of cushions are cone and barrel. Cone cushions are more agile, but if you would like to have better turning abilities, you will need a barrel cushion in the back as well as a cone in the front.
Derby Quad Skates Toe Stop
Toe stops are essential for stopping on your roller derby skates. Most skaters opt for a stop in the front, but some do prefer a back brake or even both.
You can get toe stops with either a long stem or a short stem. The stem on your toe stop will determine how much you can lift up your foot. Long stems are usually matched with large wheels, where short stems are with smaller wheels. You will know that you have the right length if you can fit three fingers between the rear wheel and the ground when you lift the skate up to the toe stop.
Roller Derby Skates Boots
Roller derby skates include boots that are shorter on the ankle than the more traditional roller skate. This is because you will get more movement and performance from a lower cut boot. When shopping for a roller derby boot, you will need to look at both sizing and padding.
Getting the size right on your skates is essential for both your comfort and your safety. If your skates are too small, your toes will pinch and you will experience pain. If they are too large, your feet will slip around, leading to rolled ankles or blisters.
When you look around at the different skate options, you will notice that they offer either padding or no padding. Whether you want padding is a personal preference.
- With Padding: Padded skates are normally more rigid with the ankle support. The padding makes them more comfortable to put on and wear. The fit is often compared to that of a running shoe.
- Without Padding: Traditionally, roller derby skates do not have any padding. Instead they have a softer ankle support. You need to size these tightly since they will stretch as you break them in, which can cause blistering.
Breaking Intro Your New Skates
Whether you need to break in your new roller derby skates depends on the type of material that they are made out of. Leather skates will need to be bought snug and over time they will stretch out. Leather skates will always have a break-in period. Vinyl skates usually do not stretch out as you wear them and do not have the same break in time.
How Is Roller Derby Played
Roller derby is a contact sport that is normally played on an indoor rink. There are two teams of up to 15 players in the rink during a game and there are usually two 30 minute periods that account for the game.
The goal of the game is to have the “jammer” person on the team have more laps than the “jammer” on the other team. The jammer is the only team member who scores points. The other players will block and protect the jammers, trying to keep your team’s jammer clear while stopping the other jammer.
This is why having both speed and control on your skates is essential in roller derby.
Hockey Quad Skates
Quad hockey is another type of field or roller hockey, where the players wear skates with two wheels in front and two in back rather than inline skating where the wheels are in a single row.
On quad skates, roller hockey is played in countries all over the world, just like inline hockey.
Ultimately, you need to think about what you really need to get from your roller skates. If you are a roller derby player, the amount of experience and competitiveness that you have and the amount of time you will spend in this sport will be a major factor in the type of skates that you want to get.
A beginning roller derby skater can get by with ABEC 1 bearings and nylon plates, but if you are a jammer, or hope to be one, you will need aluminum plates and an ABEC 5 or ABEC 7 rating to give you the speed and control that you need.
If you are looking for roller derby skates, the best ones that you can get are the Riedell R3 skates. If you are more in the market for fun freestyle skates, you will be better off with Candi or Moxi skates. Think about what you need to do with your skates and you will be able to find the best roller derby skates for you.
Hey there, my name is Shawn and I’m a semi-professional hockey player. I’m also the founder and chief editor here at Hockey Pursuits. I love playing hockey and helping players improve their game and that’s why I decided to start this blog.