Freshmeat FAQ

SKATES

Q: Why don't you carry many skates under $100?

Inexpensive or vintage skates that are designed for very recreational usage are not appropriate for roller derby. Some of the skates we carry that are less expensive (around $100 - $170) will only last you a season or so. Skates that are less expensive than that will have an even shorter life in this sport. Roller derby requires very aggressive skating, and we put a lot of stress on our equipment! Not only are inexpensive skates going to be made of lower-quality materials that won't be able to withstand the demands of derby, but they will most likely come equipped with non-adjustable toe stops, slow bearings, plastic trucks, and plastic wheels that won't be well-suited for the sport.

Q: I'm a beginner who is overwhelmed by the choices. Can you tell me what skates are best for me?

We wish we could look into our crystal ball emoji and tell you which skates you should choose! We can use our experience to try to guide you as best as possible, but it will be helpful to your shopping experience if you factor in a couple of things:

How dedicated to roller derby are you at this time?

How excited are you? Are you falling in love, are you already setting goals for the future, and are you working your butt off to become a better skater? Or are you still deciding whether this is the right fit for you? If you are still figuring out your commitment level, then it might be smart to go with a low-to-mid-priced skate or skate package. If you are looking to get a little more out of your equipment and are hoping to skate for more than one season, then you could look at a broader range of skates, including higher-end skates, that will suit your athletic needs!

Will you need a particular fit/boot shape?

Like snowflakes and donuts, no two skate models are exactly alike! The fit can change drastically between boots, even if the boots are made by the same company. It's helpful to know whether you have wide, narrow, or mid feet, along with whether you need more or less ankle support. Try to think of any of the usual "problem areas" (such as bunions) that like to say, "HELLO!" whenever you're shoe shopping.

What is your price range?

Establishing a budget prior to shopping online or coming into one of our stores will really help your shopping experience. Keep in mind that if you skate with a sponsored league, you can get a 10% discount on the skate price! If you purchase your skates as a package with a helmet, along with knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, and a mouth guard (optional) then you get a 15% discount on all of those items! The 10% sponsored league discount cannot be applied on top of the 15% package discount.

» SKATE PACKAGES
» PADS PACKAGES

Q: What size should I get?

Most skates are measured close to men's sizes, but there unfortunately isn't a perfect conversion chart. (We wish there was!) However, have you tried using our sizing charts? They can help guide you to the right size and are a great tool for online shopping... but since they're only two-dimensional, they just can't compare to trying on a pair of skates. A proper-fitting skate should be snug from heel to toe, without cramping or curling your feet. A lot of beginner skates only come in whole sizes, which can make it difficult to obtain a perfect fit. Just keep in mind that the skates will break in and stretch over time, so a skate that is a bit roomy and comfortable out of the box may feel clunky and heavy after some wear.

Q: What does man-made vs. leather mean?

Leather Outside with Leather Lining
  • Top-quality boot with the the maximum amount of durability and longevity.
  • Will break-in very well for comfort and fit.

  • Man-Made Material Outside with Padded Lining
  • This is a comfortable and often very affordable boot with mid-range durability.
  • Will not mold to your feet as naturally as leather.

  • BEARINGS

    Q: What does ABEC mean?

    ABEC stands for Annular Bearing Engineering Council (boooooring) and it is a bearing's "speed" rating.

    The number after "ABEC" is the rating, and a higher number should indicate a higher quality product. (For instance, a bearing rated ABEC-9 should perform better than a bearing rated ABEC-1.) This number is not a representation of how fast the bearings will make you skate, but they do suggest the amount of resistance you might receive or the amount of effort you will need to exert.

  • SCALE: ABEC-1, ABEC-3, ABEC-5, ABEC-7 and ABEC-9. Outside of the ABEC Scale, bearings are Skate-Rated, Swiss, and/or Ceramic.
  • NOTE: Bones Bearings are "skate-rated" and receive consistently better reviews than most bearings rated on the ABEC scale.

  • WHEELS

    Q: What does the number with an "A" following it mean?

    The durometer (or hardness) of a wheel is measured on a scale that is represented by a number followed by an "A." (For example: 92A.) A lower durometer such as 88A suggested that the wheel is softer and more grippy, but also slow. A higher durometer such as 98A suggests that the wheel is harder and more slick, but also fast.

    We would recommend reading our Wheels FAQ for a more detailed guide.

    Q: How do I know if I need a harder or a softer wheel?

    In general, we suggest that new skaters try a wheel that is wide and grippy for stability. 88A 62mm x 44mm wheels are very common on freshie skates. As your skills advance, you may find that you require a harder wheel so that you can get a bit more slide out of your stops, or that you require a lower/narrower wheel for agility and speed. You may also find that wide, grippy wheels are perfect for you! Work hard, keep an open mind, and have fun.

    If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email us at [email protected] or to call our main location at 603.821.1311.

    Happy skating!

    --The Bruised Boutique Skate Shop Staff
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