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QUAD ROLLER SKATE ANATOMY




BOOT

The boot of a skate is usually what initially attracts a roller skate consumer. It could be the color, shape, material, or other design feature. Many roller skates are attractive, but may not be the best. Not all boots are created equal.


First, you have the high-top versus the low-top. Artistic (figure) and rhythm (dance) skaters lean more towards a high-top boot because of the ankle support that it provides. Beginner roller skaters are strongly recommended to first explore the high-top because of this support. You will more often see low-top boots on roller derby skaters, speed skaters, and jam (advanced rhythm) skaters. The low-top design allows for more flexibility in movement.

Beginners — BEWARE of the “Amazon” skate! This doesn’t mean that all the skates you see on Amazon are bad, however you have to recognize the telltale signs of a bad skate boot. Many of these skates have attractive colors and cool designs, but lack durability, support, comfort, and customization abilities. A big indicator of a bad boot is the price point. If the skate is under $70-$80, you may want to do a little more research. Another sign is the brand name. If it isn’t a well-known brand name in the skate world, it might be a bad boot. Top tier brands in the rhythm skating world include Riedell, Sure -Grip, Edea,and VNLA. Other good brands are Impala, Chicago, and Moxi.


TOE STOP

Toe stops are most beneficial for artistic skaters, speed/derby skaters, and beginner rhythm skaters. The large toe stops make it easier to slow down or safely come to a stop due to its proximity to the ground. Some toe stops are adjustable (by height from the ground), while others are fixed. As you get into advanced rhythm and jam skating, you may want to switch out your toe stops for jam plugs. Jam plugs are much smaller and do not touch the ground easily. As a result, a skater can do complicated moves, specially on their two front wheels.


WHEEL

Rhythm/Jam skaters typically use quad skates (two wheels in front and two wheels in the back of each skate), as opposed to inline skates. Wheels are preferred by their wheel hardness and wheel size. Harder wheels are better for smooth indoor surfaces like a roller skating rink. Softer more gummy wheels are better at absorbing the shock on outdoor terrains. As you gain more experience, you will be able to distinguish the level of wheel hardness that is best for you. Larger wheels are good for stability, and smaller wheels are good for agility.


PLATE

The plate connects the boot to the wheels and has functions of its own. Roller skate plates are made of nylon or metal. Nylon plates are lighter in weight and cheaper than metal, but less durable. More aggressive skaters prefer metal plates, as they can endure more high impact moves.


BEARINGS

Bearings rest inside the wheel and helps the wheels spin along the axles of the plate. There are two bearings per wheel — one on the inner side and one on the outer side of the wheel, which total out to 16 bearings needed for a pair of quad skates. They come in two different sizes (7mm and 8mm), based on the size of the axle. Bearings should be regularly cleaned and lubricated for longevity.

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