Starting Roller Derby? Find Out The Top 3 Things You Need To Get Rolling

Roller derby is an energetic, technical and strategic sport. Yes, there’s a bit of rough and tumble but there’s a whole lot of skill that goes into it and having the right gear can help you along on your derby journey. So if you’ve started a learn to skate course or fresh meat program with your local roller derby league or maybe you’re just a bit roller derby curious this blog is for you. We’ll be covering what you’ll need to get rolling and protective gear recommendations to keep you safe.

Roller Derby Skates
Traditionally roller derby skates are flat, in that they don’t feature the heel like other retro recreational and artistic style boots do. This is because it’s all about getting down low to go, go, go on the derby track.

For beginner derby skaters looking for a low-cut flat boot, check out the Riedell R3 skates for an affordable but still quality option. If you like the idea of a higher-cut boot for a bit more ankle support that’s already fitted with some high quality hardware, you might like to try the Antik Skyhawk skates.

If you’re just joining your local derby league’s learn to skate program and have no ambition of giving the game a go, you can always opt for a recreational skate that has a heel. For our beginner skate recommendations, you can check out our blog here or go right ahead and shop our beginner skate collection.

Hot tip: Add some toe guards to your new skates to give them a longer life!

Protective Gear
Good quality, heavy duty protection is a must for any roller derby skater. Whether you’re in a learn to skate class or a fresh meat program, you will be learning how to fall onto your pads and will rely on them to fend off any bruises. But really, padding up when you’re learning just makes sense!

Knee pad recommendations from least to most bulky: 187 Fly Knee, S-One Pro Knee Gen 4187 Pro Derby Knee, 187 Pro Knee.

Elbow Pad recommendations from least to most bulky: 187 Elbow, 187 Slim Elbow, 187 Pro Elbow.

Wrist guard recommendations: 187 Derby Wrist, Triple 8 Roller Derby Wrist, Smiths Scab Stabiliser Pro.

Helmet recommendations: S-One Lifer, Triple 8 The Certified SS.

If you’re keeping it casual with a learn to skate program you can go for a protective pad pack to save some money. To keep yourself well protected whilst you learn we recommend sticking to the 187 Six Packs or Moxi x 187 Six Packs as other pad packs are only suited for the occasional light-mid impacts of recreational skating.

Roller Derby Hardware
Roller derby wheels are usually a little bit wider than the wheels used for most other roller skating disciplines. This is because there is a need for more stability and more surface to grip with when you’re zooming around the track. Most derby skates will come with a suitable wheel size for roller derby but on the softer end of the hardness spectrum. If you’re ready to up your skills then you might want to try a harder wheel to start embracing a little bit of slip and slide. Some of our favourite derby wheels are the Sure-Grip Zombie, Radar Halo and Reckless Morph wheels.

Normally we’d say that the size and length of a toe stop is a personal preference thing, but when it comes to roller derby a big, chunky, long stem toe stop is your friend. You’ll be learning how to use those big boys to stop and get around the track. The Gumball toe stops in a long stem are always a favourite amongst derby players.

Wherever you’re at on your roller derby journey we wish you the best of luck and hope you have loads of fun getting involved in a sport and community that is all about creating safe spaces for queer people and women. If you want more time on 8 wheels, because it all adds up to building your confidence, you can always come along to a RollerFit class and get some inspiration from the different kinds of skills we teach.

Want to see our derby recommendations all in one place? Click here.