How To Choose Indoor & Outdoor Roller Derby Skates

Shopping for the right roller derby skates does not have to be complicated, but you do need to get the right pair for you.

Factors such as whether you skate indoors or outdoors, your own size, and how you skate all will go into the decision making process of buying roller derby skates. Do not worry!

We Are Going To Break It Down For You

Wheel Size

To begin with, you will need to think about the types of wheels that you need with your skates. Skates are built to handle certain sizes in certain locations on their holder, so the type of skater that you are will affect the size of wheels you should be looking for in your boot.

The diameter of roller derby wheels is between 59 and 62 millimetres. The size and placement of size can affect your control over the skates, including turning and stopping. Additionally, wheels come in different widths. While the standard roller derby wheels are 38 millimetres wide, some skaters prefer more narrow wheels for more agility on their feet.

Wheel Hardness

The hardness of your wheels will determine whether your wheels were intended to be indoor or outdoor wheels. You need softer wheels on an indoor surface to prevent your skates from slipping out from under you. Outside, you need harder wheels so that they are not immediately destroyed by the hard asphalt or concrete that you might be skating on.

Fortunately, you can change out the wheels for different hardness than they came with. Size has to match what the skates were built with, but you can get wheels that are the hardness that you would like them to be.

Your Weight

Regardless of your size, you want to make sure that your new best roller derby skates will fit you comfortably and work well. Lighter skaters will want harder wheels and generally narrower fits than heavier skaters will. The plates that come with your skates can also be affected by your weight. We will take a look at the difference in plates next.

Skate Plates

You get a lot of choice as far as your skate plates go as well. The three main types of plates are nylon, fibreglass, and aluminum. Nylon plates are the least expensive types of plates that are out there. They work well for beginners and lightweight skaters, but are not great for performance.

Meanwhile, fibreglass plates are lightweight and a little more rigid than the nylon plates are. They cost slightly more than skates with nylon plates do. They can accommodate skaters up to 300 pounds, so they do have more strength than the nylon plates do.

Aluminum plates are, without a doubt, the best type of plate that you can get. They are the most responsive of the plates, they hold more weight than the other materials do, and they are made for performance. Any competitive roller derby skater will want aluminum plates over any other kind.


It is essential that your roller derby boots fit you well, or you are setting yourself up for injury as well as poor performance. Skates normally run smaller than street shoes do, but pay close attention to size charts to make sure that you are getting the right size.

If your boots are too snug, your toes will be pinched, you can damage the bones of your feet, get blisters, and even lose feeling in your feet, eliminating any chance of control. When boots are too large, your feet will slide around in the boots, making impossible to control the boots well and giving you blisters and a bigger risk of an ankle injury.


The padding within the boot of the skate can also help determine the right skates for you. Skates that come with padding typically have harder ankle support. The padding is what separates your ankle from the rigidity of the ankle support. Normally, roller derby skates do not come with padding at all, because they do not have rigid ankle support. The softer skates need to be tied tighter to give you that extra support that the more rigid skates come with.

Try Them On

Finally, if you can, it is important to try the skates on, with your socks, before you really commit to one skate over another. It is so important that they fit well and are made to accommodate your needs as a skater in order for you to be the best you can be.

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