If you’ve been doing your research about roller skates you’ve probably seen that skates can come with 2 different kinds of toe stops, bolt-on and adjustable. So, what’s the difference? Which one is better? Can you change them? Can you get toe plugs for roller dance? We are here to answer all these questions and more about toe stops and plugs.
Bolt-On Toe Stops and Plugs
Bolt-on toe stops are common on cheaper skates and can come in lots of fun shapes and colours these days. Essentially, a bolt-on is a toe-stop that has a hole in the centre of the stopping surface for a bolt to slide through, the toe stop is then secured to the plate of your roller skate by screwing the toe stop bolt into the plate.
Bolt-on toe stops are made of a urethane compound, some might be grippy and others might be more slippery. Regardless of this, all bolt-on toe stops share the same downfall, they cannot be adjusted. The angle of the bolt housing in your plate determines how your toe stop sits on your skates. Often this angle is a bit awkward for easy access, but like all skate skills it just takes time to adjust to this. We recommend regularly rotating your bolt-on toe stops to even out the wear.
Not all bolt-on toe stops are the same, different skate brands and different plates use different size bolts with different threading (the diagonal, spiral, teeth-like texture on the bolt and bolt housing). If you need new bolt-on toe stops or plugs make sure to find out if they are going to be compatible with your skates and make sure to hold on to your original bolt as many new bolt-on replacement toe stops don’t come with a bolt these days.
A common question we get from roller skaters with bolt-on toe stops is whether or not they can get toe plugs for roller dance. The answer is, you sure can! There’s a few different options out there and here at RollerFit we have expanded our Toe Plug line up to include a bolt-on option. Check them out over here!
Adjustable Toe Stops and Plugs
An adjustable toe stop can come in loads of different colours and shapes, but basically, an adjustable toe stop has a urethane compound for the stopping surface and this urethane has a thick embedded screw/bolt. Along with the main part of the toe stop you will have either a washer and nut that helps secure the toe stop in place once you’ve screwed it into the toe stop housing or you might have a toe stop screw that tightens the nose of the plate to secure the toe stop in place. In the case of toe plugs, those little buds just screw on in without the washer/nut or they can still be secured with the toe stop screw if your plate has one of those.
Adjustable toe stops are the preferred toe stop option because the height of the toe stop can be adjusted to suit your personal preference. Adjustable toe stops also sit at a friendlier angle and have a more useful surface to stop, slide, jump and walk on.
Not all adjustable toe stops are made from the same kind of urethane, they can be grippy or slippery, soft or hard. They can also have different stem lengths, long/standard or short. By having different length options you can cater your toe stop arrangement to suit your preferences. If you don’t know what you like, experiment!
Another big difference you can find in adjustable toe stops is the threading. You can have either Imperial (the most common e.g any Chuffed, Moxi, Chaya, Sure-Grip, Riedell, Powerdyne skates and plates) or Metric (eg. Roll-Line plates). Make sure to double-check you’re getting the correct threading for your replacement toe stops or plugs.
So there you have it, the lowdown on bolt-on and adjustable toe stops and plugs. We've got plenty of toe stop and toe plug options available in store and online at the RollerFit Shop. If we haven’t quite answered all your toe stop and toe plug related questions in this blog, send us a message and we’ll be more than happy to answer them. Happy skating!