You can’t roller skate in a buffalo heard, or anywhere else for that matter without some plates on your skates. So what are plates? Why are they so important? Which plates are the right ones for you? All these questions are valid, and we are going to answer them right here!
What and Why
Plates are the things attached to the bottom of your skates that hold your trucks, cushions, wheels, and toe stops. They are one of the most important parts of your roller skate set-up as they are responsible for movement in your skates. How you shift your weight around in your boots is actually shifting your weight around on your plate. This movement is then translated to your cushions and trucks, allowing you to turn, pivot, and hit your edges. That means that choosing the right plate makes an enormous difference in how you skate and progress on your skate journey.
All plates are going to get you rolling but some plates are better suited to certain roller skating disciplines than others. Just remember, not all plates are made equal, and this is signalled in their price point. Unless you’re a park skater, it’s unlikely you’ll need new plates on the regular so think of them as an investment for long-term enjoyment. If you’re lucky to have multiple sets of skates, you can get peak skate performance by curating your set-up for different skate disciplines. If one set of skates is where you’re at, then think about how your plates can give you maximum versatility.
Plates for You
Recreational Skating and RollerFit
Are you a recreational skater or a RollerFit regular? You’ve got your pick of the bunch. Our tip for recreational skaters looking to get new plates is to think about your budget and how much manoeuvrability you want.
Roll-Line Variant M
Despite being on the cheaper end of the plate spectrum, the Variant M plate provides good control and responsiveness. They are lightweight and heavy duty too. Just remember these babies come with 7mm axles so you’ll need to invest in some 7mm bearings if you don’t already have some.
Roll-Line Variant C Freestyle
These plates are a great mid-level option, both in terms of price and performance. If you want increased manoeuvrability but are not quite ready to tackle high-end plate performance, then check the Variant C Freestyle plates out. They deliver good control, are lightweight and are made to last with a strong aluminium alloy construction.
PowerDyne Reactor Pro
The Reactor Pro plates are a popular choice across recreational, dance, roller derby and park skating and for good reason. They offer great stability without being heavy but are also super agile. They have standard 8mm axles and you can adjust your trucks with the pivot pins (ooh fancy).
Let’s be honest, here at RollerFit we think that Roll-Line hardware is next level for quality and feel, so you can’t go wrong with any of their plates. Other honourable mentions for recreational plates go out to the PowerDyne Reactor Neo and Sure-Grip Avanti plates.
Roller Dance and Rhythm Skating
Find your flow with a plate that can help you achieve your dance skating goals. For you groovers out there, how your plate is mounted is just as important as the plate you choose. Many of us RollerFit dancers prefer a short-back mount which means that the plate is set in at 2cm from the front of the skate boot creating a small wheelbase. You can also go for a full-length mount or a slightly shorter mount for versatility. Whatever works for you!
The Mistral is a RollerFit team fave because it’s a high performing plate for under $600. We don’t know about you but when we hear lightweight, seriously durable and coiled spring response system for enhanced performance we say “yes please!” Keep in mind that the Mistral plate has 7mm axles, so you’ll need some 7mm bearings to go with these plates.
If you mean serious business, you should check out another RollerFit team favourite. The Dance plates have a wider angled wheelbase, which means that it lowers the centre of gravity and gives you more stability when shifting and holding your edges. You won’t be disappointed with these, but remember they need 7mm bearings for the axles.
PowerDyne Arius Platinum
The Arius plates are a unique kind of roller skate tech that is suitable for all kinds of skating. We know plenty of people who love it for rhythm skating and roller dancing because it's super lightweight and super customisable with adjustable kingpins and butterfly cushions. You can make this plate as responsive or as stable as you’d like. Experiment and find out!
Our dance plate recommendations are on the exxy end of the price spectrum because we think a higher-quality plate makes a significant difference to your dance experience. However, if our suggestions exceed your budget the Roll-Line Variant M, Sure-Grip Avanti plates, Sure-Grip Avenger, and PowerDyne Reactor plate range are all great options.
Are you a bit of a wild one? If you like to shred at the skate park and in the streets, we don’t think you need a super fancy plate. You want something that can take a bit of impact and something that’s not going to break the bank when you break it. When choosing your plates for park skating think about their compatibility with other park hardware like slide blocks and grind trucks, especially if you’ve already got bits and pieces you want to use.
Contrary to our “not all plates are made equal” talk at the start of this blog, cheap doesn’t necessarily mean bad for park skating. Whilst these plates might be nylon, they’re pretty tough and they won’t make you shed a tear when they break. Being nylon it actually makes these babies super light, which is a bonus when you think about all the additional hardware park skaters load their skates with. Speaking of park hardware, the Probe plates have a decent wheelbase so you can get a good-sized slide block in there and the 10-degree kingpin makes it easier to find some wide trucks that fit. We recommend some ChuffedCore Grind Trucks if you’re looking to get on the wide truck bandwagon.
A popular choice with park skaters, the Avanti plates by Sure-Grip come in two options, Aluminium or Magnesium. The difference between the two mainly revolves around their material construction. The Aluminium is solid, whilst the Magnesium is a hollow design to make them lighter. Both plates are durable and strong, so it depends on your budget. Both models are compatible with an array of wide trucks, but they have a small wheelbase so check for compatibility with your slide blocks.
Powerdyne Reactor Range
Powerdyne Reactor Neo and Reactor Pro plates are also popular choices for park skaters because they are made of an alloy but are not as heavy as the Avanti plates. Something to keep in mind with the Powerdyne plates and park skating is that they are not easily compatible with some wide trucks, but if you’re willing to commit to making the modifications, they will serve you well in the park.
Other special mentions for park skating plates include Powerdyne Thrust and Fuse nylon plates for some cheaper options. If you’re willing to wait a little bit for your plates you could also try and score some Sunlite plates from overseas (sadly we can’t get them in Australia).
So there you have it, plenty of roller skate plate options so you can plate up and get rolling on hardware suited to your style of skating. If you’re still unsure about what plates to choose, what size you need, or you want to go the whole hog and get a whole new custom skate build, get in touch with us to have a chat.