Are you wondering whether it’s time to invest in a new set of skates but want something a bit more catered to you and your skate style? Well, it might be time to get a pair of custom built skates.
It's Sophie (@soapyprosciutto) from RollerFit HQ here to talk all things custom skate builds with you. I’m going to give you a bit of background about why I chose to get custom skates, how I knew it was time, and how I chose what bits and pieces I wanted to go together to make my dream skates.
Why custom skates?
You might be thinking, why would I need to create my own custom skates, I can roll in anything. Whilst you are correct on the roll part my friend, creating custom skates can help you progress on your skate journey. Different kinds of boots, plates, wheels and other skate parts are better suited to particular roller skate disciplines than others.
I knew it was time for my first set of custom skates about a year or so into my skate journey. I was wearing some Moxi Jungle skates and the beginner-intermediate level plate just wasn’t offering me the ability to hit my edges deeply and I was starting to shred them up in the skate park. For my custom set-up, I wanted something versatile for park skating, roller dance and RollerFit. I opted for some Moxi Vegan Jack 1 boots with a Powerdyne Reactor Pro plate mounted to the full length of the boots. I added on some skate park wheels, slide blocks and had toe stops and plugs to change between so I could roll any way I liked. Upgrading to a higher quality plate made a massive difference to my dance skating and doing the more advanced skills we try in RollerFit classes and the boots were able to stand up to the test of park skating. I literally loved these skates to death, the boots gave out eventually but the hardware could be used again.
I’ve got a few different custom set-ups now so I can have the best skating experience for each of the skate disciplines I consistently practise; park, dance and RollerFit. These days I'm Chuffed Pro Boot obsessed but the hardware for each one of my set-ups is very different but it’s not difficult to switch between them, they are my babies and I love them all equally. I know it sounds like I have a lot of skates, and I do! I’m very fortunate to have a career in roller skating, working for RollerFit full-time and being sponsored by Chuffed Skates. I know roller skating isn’t the most accessible activity, but saving up for custom skates can make a huge difference to your skating. Skate boots are durable and can last for years, and the plate will more often than not still be intact and performing beautifully long after you decide you want to mix it up and try something else (park skating is an exception to this). It’s an investment, but a good one!
What makes up a custom skate?
To build a custom set-up you’re going to need to choose the basic parts of the roller skate. When making these choices it is important to keep in mind what features are best suited to your preferred skate discipline and what budget you have to work with. Hot tip: do your research and ask other skaters what they like!
Boot only options are higher quality than the boots that come with complete skates. They can cost more than a complete skate, but you need to remember they are handmade, longer lasting, durable and have more support than a regular complete skate boot.
The biggest difference between the boot only options in the Australian market is the stiffness of the boots. Here’s a list of the most common boot only options from the least to most stiff and the style of skating they suit best:
- Moxi Lolly Boot - recreational, dance, RollerFit
- Chuffed Pro Boot – recreational, park, dance, RollerFit
- Moxi Jack 1 – recreational, park, dance, RollerFit
- Chuffed Jade Hannah Pro Boot – recreational, park, dance, RollerFit
- Riedell 336 Boot - recreational, park, dance, RollerFit
- Moxi Jack 2 – recreational, park, dance, RollerFit
- Riedell 3200 - recreational, park, dance, RollerFit, artistic
- Edea Roller Boots – artistic skating, dance, RollerFit (if you like a super stiff boot)
If you need help to get your sizing right, we have a handy blog that helps you choose the right size skate for you or you can always pop in store and one of our RollerFit shop staff will be more than happy to help you out.
A plate is the part of your skate that connects your boots to your trucks, wheels and other hardware that gets you moving. Plates are arguably the most crucial decision to make in your custom set-up as they control your movement and how they are mounted can make a big difference. Before choosing a plate you need to decide what kind of skating your custom skate build will be for or whether you’re looking to create something versatile. For a comprehensive list of recommendations of plates for different skating disciplines check out our blog on plates over here.
Once you’ve chosen your plate you need to choose how you want it mounted. Mounting refers to the installation and placement of the plate on your boots. There are a few different mounts that suit different skate styles:
- Standard or full-length mount – plate matches the full length of the outsole, providing a long wheelbase for stability. Common mount for park skating, artistic, trail skating etc.
- Artistic / dance mount – plate is mounted flush at the heel and 1 centimetre in from the front of the boot, providing a slightly shorter wheelbase for spins and rotational movements. Common mount for artistic skating or beginner plus/intermediate roller dance.
- Short-back mount – plate is mounted flush or 5mm in at the heel and 2cm in from the front of the boot for a short wheelbase. Common for roller dance and rhythm skating, the downside is that you probably won’t like using a toe stop with this mount so it will be the plug life for you.
To complete your dream skate set-up you also might want to think about getting some additional hardware, or you can repurpose parts from other skates or your skate kit.
Just like plates and boots, different kinds of wheels are better suited to different kinds of skating. Only, with wheels, there’s a bit more personal preference that comes into play. Recreational skaters and RollerFitters, the world of wheels is open to you. Things to consider are whether you like a harder indoor wheel, a softer outdoor wheel or a hybrid wheel. Roller dance and rhythm skating calls for a wheel with a hard edge. By that I mean the sides of the wheels are straight and meet the riding surface of the wheel with a sharp 90-degree-ish edge so you can hit and hold your edges better. Park skaters you’re going to be on the lookout for a hard or hybrid wheel, preferably with a conical or rounded edge to reduce the chance of wheel bite. The general rule when it comes to park wheels is the smaller the wheel the better it is for street and the bigger the wheel the better it is for big ramps, bowls and vert. Here at RollerFit we are always testing new wheels and letting you know about them so check out our other blogs for our wheel recommendations.
When it comes to bearings, there’s nothing quite like a fresh ride. You don’t need super flashy expensive bearings to get a smooth roll, although the more expensive the bearings the more durable they are and less cleaning is required. Just make sure you get the right size bearings!
Some plates come with toe stops, but in the event yours do not, a fresh set of toe stops may be necessary. There are loads of fun colours and shapes to choose from now. Hey, maybe you’re even living that no-toe-stop life, which means some fresh toe plugs will be needed to protect your plates.
For the park skaters out there, you’re probably wanting to add on some slide blocks and maybe even some wide trucks. Just make sure they are compatible with your plate choice and you choose the correct size blocks to fit in between your kingpins.
Most plates come with cushions and cushion caps, but not all do. If your plate of choice is cushionless, think about whether you’re looking for lots of movement or more stability. For the former, you’ll be wanting some soft-medium hardness cushions and for the latter, you’ll be looking for some medium-hard cushions. Don’t forget that cushions come in different shapes too so make sure you have the correct shape cushion caps to accompany your fresh cushions. If you want more cushion talk, check out this blog.
How do I get my own custom skates?
If you’re keen on getting your own custom skate set-up RollerFit can help you out! Choose your boots, plates and any additional hardware you want and measure your feet for sizing. You can add all of the goodies to your cart along with our mounting service if you’d like us to sort that out for you too.
If you need some advice about anything to do with building your dream custom skates, send us a message and our staff can steer you in the right direction. Our staff come from different skating backgrounds and have the experience to help you get your custom set-up right. You can always visit us in store at the RollerFit Studio and Skate Shop to chat in person too.
I hope your dream custom skates bring you lots of skate joy!