Roller Derby Boots - Buying Guide
If you're building your own derby skate setup from scratch, the boot is probably *the* most
essential part of the package to get absolutely spot-on.
An ill-fitting boot will never serve you well. If it's too small, too big, too wide or too narrow, it will
cause you pain and affect performance. Your boot must react perfectly with your plate in order
to get the most out of your skate and, to do this, your feet need to be in just the right position to
keep control. Not cramped up, not swimming around. Just right.
How do I get the right size?
Easy - MEASURE YOUR FOOT. Then look at the size guide for that particular item. If it's not on
the product page, a simple Google search should find the goods. Then buy the correct size for
that particular skate.
Better yet, if you can afford a custom skate (Bont, Antik, Riedell, Crazy), you can get absolutely
the right size for your foot. Precision = Profit.
Do you have a wide or narrow foot?
Certain brands can cater to specific needs. Riedell, for example, are known to have a narrow
fitting, while Suregrip are wider.
Ideally, a skate should be a SNUG fit. Not so tight that they cause you pain, but tight enough
that you can feel that the skate is supporting your foot across its length and width. A skate that's
too wide or long will be difficult to maneuver, while a skate that's too short or narrow will simply
be too painful to enjoy.
How high do you like the cut of a boot?
To clarify, there are no 'high leg' derby boots which will reach your calves, and you shouldn't
buy a boot of that shape to wear at derby training. The lack of ankle flexibility makes derby drills
extremely difficult and potentially very unsafe. Skaters that are new to derby often worry about
derby skates being low-cut, thinking that their ankles will be vulnerable to twists and breaks. The
opposite is true - Flexibility in your lower body makes you far less likely to become injured.
Unfortunately, if your foot is in a high leg skate and you get caught in the wrong position, you'll
be stuck there. When that happens, something's gotta give. That ﾓsomethingﾔ will be your fibula.
ﾓOuchﾔ would be an understatement.
Pretty much every derby skate, for this reason, will have a low-cut ankle, with the notable
exception of Antik boots. Antiks have a higher ankle than most, but care has been taken to
ensure that the fabric is flexible. So, you can enjoy a little extra support without the associated
Do you want a leather or synthetic boot?
This is a fairly obvious question for vegans, but not quite so for the rest of us.
The ﾓobviousﾔ (and often incorrect) assumption is that synthetic materials are cheap and nasty.
That's not necessarily true.
On a lower quality skate (let's say, a setup less than ﾣ200), leather is probably going to be a
stronger option, as well as a more comfortable one. However, the game completely changes
with higher-end products.
Carbon and microfibre boots are specifically made to be both sturdy and light, often trumping
leather on both counts and providing unrivalled comfort. Brands like Bont and Crazy Skates are
known to be at the forefront of synthetic boot technologies and are always worth a look.