Skip to content

Skates Get A Makeover!

October 28, 2010

Old Flat-Outs

When I started derby earlier this year, I started off with skates from the local sporting goods store. Those quickly became inadequate. On weekend trip to Houston for a John Mayer concert, made a quick stop to Montrose Skate Shop. He hooked me up with a nice starter pair of skates. I started off with Riedell 126 boot, Powerdyne Triton plate (stock cushions), Qube 8-ball bearings, and Radar Flat-Out wheels (88A). This set up was great, starting out. I was just learning how to skate and stay up, they gave me enough support/grip to build confidence. Since then, I totally wore out my wheels. They had ZERO grip and I was slip and sliding all over the place. I was limiting my speed around corners because I couldn’t stay on my skates otherwise.

I’ve been researching wheels and really skates in general for months now. I’ve learned a lot from If you need any of your skating/derby/equipment questions answered, check them out. There are peeps from all over the world on there that really know what they are talking about! (not all of them though) There is a forum on there that has questions you can ask Doc Sk8, the king of all things derby skate. 🙂


After lots of research online and asking chicas on my league, I made the purchase a couple weeks ago. I ended up buying Atom G-Rods (93A). These have a higher durometer rating (harder urethane) and sport a hollow core. So far I am VERY happy with them. I’ve skated on them 4 times and one bout last weekend. They are a lot faster than the Flat Outs and grip like crazy.

First night I skated on them, I was happy to feel the grip was not a sluggish kind, still rolling very fast. Then I got to the turn… WoW! I have not been that sore in a long time! See, with the old wheels, I had to moderate my speed and do a lot of gliding in the corners to keep from going horizontal (not an ideal derby position). These suckers just stuck to the ground and waited for me to command them to go faster! Well, because of my really lame conditioning, allowing my legs to just chill for a couple seconds on those turns with the flat outs really hit me hard. My legs were screaming at me, “Where is my two second break!?”.

So, yeah, I have some work cut out ahead of me. The good news is that equipment is not hindering my progress, just my muscles. I can work with that, build more strength, endurance. I know its really bad, but I’m already thinking of the next wheels I’ll get. I think I might go up to 98A… not sure yet. Maybe narrow wheels? We’ll see! 😀

Part two of the skate makeover consisted of a somewhat functional yet admittedly vain upgrade. I ordered some toe guards from BabyBitch on Esty. She has a really fantastic design and does custom work. Basically, she has a design that wraps around the entire toe of your skate, then

G-Rods and Custom Toe Guards 😀

goes up functioning almost as a lace cover. I liked this design for a couple reasons. Most toe guards, including my old monkey home made toe guards, will shift at times exposing the toe or side of skate to the floor. Also the old design does pulls on the first few lace loops causing friction and ultimately wearing the laces in that spot to the point of breakage. The new guards connect with laces up higher, close to your racing strap (if you have one). The amount of friction and pull on that area of the laces is minimal. She also makes her toe guards with nice thick leather that is super reinforced in the stitching. These suckers are not going anywhere! As far as the design, she’s really talented. I sent a pic of my helmet and asked if she could do something along the lines of what I already had. She blew me away by creating a simple but cohesive design that was bright, fun, and really spot on! So happy with the workmanship and service. I highly recommend her!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Scarlett Go'Manson permalink
    October 28, 2010 11:06 am

    Wheels, bearings, boots and plate, OH MY! The most important topic of conversation at my house right now!

    I bought my starter skates in June (or they were bought for me for my birthday anyway) – they came with wheels so soft that once I was able to stay upright I felt like I was skating through mud. The boots are, enh, OK but I know won’t last me the rest of the year, but the wheels were seriously holding me back. So I upgraded about 2 months ago now to Atom Low Boys 95A – I wasn’t brave enough to go to 98A I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough grip – and the 95A’s have been genius! I didn’t get the narrow for fear of losing the push surface but I’m seriously considering it next time.

    The other HUGE difference I invested in were my bearings – I kicked the idea of Bones around for a while and decided to go with Bones Reds – for the price they are AH-MAZING! I feel like I’m floating above the floor when I skate now.

    Wheels and bearings – I can’t say enough how different the right set make your derby experience!

    A lot of the ladies (I use that term loosely) that I skate with like Hyper Shaman Speed 93A wheels too. I would say of the girls that have upgraded their wheels this is the most frequently purchased wheels on the team – I think it’s because our equipment manager has a preference for them personally, but the girls all seem to love them. Actually we just gave one of the girls a set for her wedding present, that’s how much she wanted them – not sure the groom appreciated it but she was thrilled!

    I’m looking at new boots, I’m considering Riedell 265’s or 125 RS-1000 (our equipment managers fave as well). Plates are completely foreign to me though…not sure what I’m gonna do about that.

  2. Uila Engel permalink
    January 26, 2011 7:32 pm

    Hi, I dont know much how esty works. but i would love to talk with BabyBitch about ordering toe guards for me, with personalized design. you know where i can contact her?
    please email me if you can! and just put on the subject roller derby and this, so i can know it is you! thank you so much, i loved your blog, i got some real nice information here!

    • October 20, 2011 7:29 am

      So sorry not to reply earlier!! EEKS! I’ve been a bad blogger for a few months. Here is where you can contact her: She’s really nice and fantastic at custom guards. I’m almost ready for new ones, going back to her for sure. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: