Aloha City Rollers Roller Derby Equipment Recommendations
Quad skates are required (inline skates are NOT permitted). Quad skates are a low cut
boot, which is more like a sneaker and allows the skater more mobility in their skates.
The Reidell R3 skate is the most popular economically priced starter skate for roller
derby athletes. You can get the stock Reidell R3 for about $120, they come with Radar
Cayman wheels which are good starter wheels. Skates are sold in mens sizes.
Youll want your skates to be snug and comfortable, with no extra room at the heel or
the sides of your toe. There are a wide variety of quad speed skates on the market for
roller derby with prices ranging up to about $1,000. It is best to start off with an
economical pair when you are first training and as you advance in skill you can consider
replacing them with a fancier model. But keep in mind, it is not the skates but the skater
which makes the difference in the skills.
Different wheels are better for different surfaces. The Radar Caymans that are stock
wheels on many skates are 62MM 96A.The harder the wheels the faster you can go, the softer
the wheels the grippier they are to the track. Popular wheels for cement track skating is
Radar Flat Out 62MM 88A or Fugitive Sure Grip 62MM 88A. 62MM is the size and 88A is
Bearings can make a difference in your speed. Each wheel uses 2 sets of bearings so your
two skates use a total of 16 sets of bearings. Some bearings are sealed, some are open and
get dirty faster. Sealed bearings are strongly recommended. Bearings need to be cleaned
and lubed often to perform to their best ability. Bearings can be cleaned with WD40 or
Carburetor cleaner. Some cleaners are flammable and irritating to you, read and follow
safety guidelines. No water based cleaners or water should ever be used to clean bearings,
it will rust them!
Bushings are cushioning in the truck of the skates, like shock absorbers, made from
plastic, rubber or urethane. There are 4 bushings on each skate and they are easy to
change out and inexpensive to replace. Most skates come with a medium density bushing. For
better skate performance heavier skater may benefit from a harder bushing and petite
skaters may benefit from softer bushings. There are "Hop Up" kits of bushings
which are made to have an extra bit of "spring" to them to give the skater a
Since the safest and most frequent falling is to the knees it is a good investment to get
quality knee pads. The 187 Pro Knee Pads are strongly recommended because of the thick
foam padding and larger knee shield. Also recommended are 187 Killer Pro and Smith Scab
Elite. Look for knee pads with replaceable caps. That way when you crack a cap just the
cap can be replaced and not the entire knee pad.
These provide extra cushioning that you wear beneath your knee pads. They reduce impact to
your knees when falling and protect against knee pad slippage. Many of our skaters find
this to be a critical and necessary part of protecting their knees.
For wrist guards Pro Designed, 187 Pros, Pro-Tec Street, Pro-Tec Park or
Triple 8 Street are acceptable. Please note Triple 8 has an 8 ball line of pads
which do not offer the protection needed during scrimmage and bouts.
Elbow pads can slip when you sweat. The Smith Scab Elite elbow pads have extended padding
to reduce slippage and offer excellent protection. Also acceptable are 187 Pros, Pro-Tec
Street, Pro-Tec Park or Triple 8 Street. Please note Triple 8 has an 8 ball
line of pads which do not offer the protection needed during scrimmage and bouts.
Stopping and falling techniques require you to drag your skate toe which will wear it out
if not protected. To protect the toe from wearing out plastic toe caps are easily attached
to the front of the skate. The plastic toe caps last longer and offer better protection
than leather toe guards.
Laces tend to break often so you will need to carry extra pairs of laces 72-inches
Kevlar laces tend to withstand the slides and falls the best.
Mouthguards come in many sizes. You want to find one that fits the shape of your mouth and
is comfortable to wear. You need to be able to talk and drink water with it in and it not
fall out while you are wearing it. We recommend Protech Dent SISU mouthguard which is thin
but very strong. It offers excellent protection while not making your lips stick out.
Helmet Bell helmets are recommended.
Skateboard helmets are what roller derby skaters wear. Try on different styles and pick
what fits your head the best. Some helmets go down lower in the back offering extra spinal
protection. Do take the time to make sure that you have a good fitting helmet. Your helmet
should not wobble, twist or move forward or back.
Many skaters will wear a bandana on their head under their helmet. This helps to absorb
and keep the sweat from running into your eyes while you skate.
Socks & Tights
Derby players often wear long socks and/or tights. This is to give added protection to the
skin on the shins and thighs in the case of getting accidentally kicked in the shins or
sliding on your thigh when falling.
Round Toe Stop vs. Square Stop
Your skates will most likely come with a square toe stop. Some people like this stop, some
people find it twists too much providing inconsistent performance and can cause tripping.
Some people prefer a thicker round toe stop which keeps the same shape even when
it twists for a more reliable performance.
Your skates will come with a basic skate tool but it is a good investment to get a
skateboard tool kit. Some wheels are deeper than others and the basic skate tool will not
work with them.
Cleaning and Skate Maintenance
When your wheels are dirty the bearings wear and do not perform to their capability.
You will need to remove the bearings from the wheels to do a full bearing cleaning at
least once a month if not once a week depending on how fast you want to be. Between
cleanings, speed lube can be added to the bearings to maintain your wheel speed. 3 in 1
and other household oil lubricants will also work to keep your bearings lubed. WD40 can be
used to clean but is not a good lubricant. Do not use grease. Clean non mechanical
parts of your skates with mild soap and water. Do not let water sit in or on metal parts
of your skates. Bearings need to be cleaned and lubed often to perform to their best
ability. Bearings can be cleaned with WD40 or Carburetor cleaner. Some cleaners are
flammable and irritating to you, read and follow safety guidelines. No water based
cleaners or water should ever be used to clean bearings, it will rust them!
Duct tape is a derby players best friend. If your skates or protective padding start to
wear holes you can do a repair with duct tape. Tape is also great for covering laces
during bouts to ensure your laces wont get scraped and break during the bout. A
generous layer of duct tape is often added to the toe area of skates to help protect the
boot from wearing a hole in it when the toe gets dragged on the ground. You can also add
leather toe guards or plastic toe caps to your skates to help protect it. Walmart and Home
Depot have a nice selection of duct tape.
Sports Drinks and Water
You will work hard at practice and bouts causing you to lose water and important
electrolytes from your body. Try to drink 1-2 bottles of sports drink prior to going to
practice or bouts to hydrate your body. Then bring sports drinks with you to practice and
bouts to replenish your body. Water can also be used to rehydrate but water does not have
the extra electrolytes of sports drinks. Per studies performed by the AmericanCollege of
Athletics it is recommended to drink cold water or sports drinks when exercising as cold
beverages are absorbed by the body more quickly than room temperature or warm beverages.
Keep the Stink Off Your Equipment
Lysol disinfectant spray is good to spray on equipment after each use. Equipment should
also be allowed to air out after each use to dry off. Air dry them- do not use the dryer,
the dryer will ruin them.
Use Efferdent or other denture cleaner to clean your mouth guard.
Washing Your Gear
If your elbow pads, knee pads, and wrist guards get too stinky they can be washed. It is
safe to wash them in your washing machine with laundry detergent. You can also hand wash
them in the sink with detergent. Vinegar, baking soda, or Pinesol can be added along with
the laundry detergent for extra help with odor removal.
DO NOT USE THE DRYER! Air dry your pads after washing them. It usually takes 1-2 days to
Do NOT Store Your Gear In Your Car
Your car and it's trunk can get very hot. If you leave your gear in your car for an
extended period of time it can cause the glue holding your skates together to become soft
and when you wear them the boot will come off the plate making them unusable. It is best
to store your gear in your home or garage where it will not be exposed to excessive
temperatures. You should also air out your gear after each use to avoid accelerated
deterioration and help cut down on the stink. The grommets on your skates and pads will
rust due to your sweat, airing them out will help prolong the life of your gear.
Where to get Roller Derby Skates and Gear
On Oahu the Bike Factory in Waipahu & Honolulu usually carries safety gear. Any store
that sells skate board equipment may have roller derby quality pads, helmets, and wrist
guards in stock. Sports Authority has pads and helmets but do not purchase skates there.
Some of the MANY online store that sell derby skates and gear:
www.wickedkatewear.com use coupon code
ALOHACITYROLLERS FOR 10% off order
Ebay and Craigslist are great places to look for gear hardly used by people who tried
derby but didn't stick with it.
There is a Facebook group called Roller Derby Recyclables where derby people post up
stuff they want to sell at www.facebook.com/groups.255019874522491/