Welcome to the exciting world of roller derby! If you're considering joining this fast-paced and exhilarating sport, you've come to the right place. This comprehensive roller derby buying guide will walk you through everything you need to know before diving into the world of roller derby as a hobby.

Roller derby has captured the hearts of many with its unique blend of athleticism, strategy, and camaraderie. It offers a vibrant and inclusive community where people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds come together to skate, compete, and form lasting friendships. Whether you're seeking a thrilling physical challenge or a supportive team environment, roller derby has something to offer everyone.

But before you lace up your skates and hit the track, there are several important factors to consider. Our guide will provide you with the knowledge and guidance you need to start your roller derby journey on the right foot.

We understand that the process of getting started in roller derby can be overwhelming, with numerous options and considerations. That's why we've created this guide to streamline the decision-making process and provide you with valuable insights that will help you make informed choices.

So, get ready to explore the exciting world of roller derby and embark on an adventure that will challenge you both physically and mentally. Let's dive in and discover everything you need to know to get started in this thrilling sport!

Riedell Quad Roller Skates - Dart Ombre Blue/Pink

Luigino Vertigo Q-4/ Pilot Falcon Derby skates Package


When it comes to roller derby, selecting the right pair of roller skates is of utmost importance. There are several factors to consider to ensure that you find the perfect fit for your feet and skating style. First and foremost, determine the type of boot that suits your preferences and needs. High-top boots provide excellent ankle support and stability, making them ideal for beginners or skaters who prefer extra security. Low-top boots, on the other hand, offer increased maneuverability and flexibility, suiting more advanced skaters looking for agility.

Fit is another critical consideration. Ill-fitting skates can lead to discomfort, blisters, and even injury. Take accurate measurements of your feet and refer to the manufacturer's size chart to find the appropriate size. Consider trying on different brands or models to find the best fit, as sizing can vary. Remember, your toes should have some wiggle room, but your feet should not slide inside the boots.

Durability is also vital, as roller derby is a physically demanding sport that puts considerable strain on your equipment. Look for skates made from sturdy materials that can withstand the rigors of intense gameplay. Reinforced stitching and durable construction will ensure that your skates can handle the demands of roller derby.




Achieving proper sizing and fit is paramount when selecting roller skates for roller derby. It directly affects your comfort, performance, and overall skating experience. To ensure an optimal fit, it is essential to consider a few key factors.

Consulting sizing charts provided by the skate manufacturer is an excellent starting point. These charts typically outline the correlation between foot measurements and corresponding skate sizes. Measure your feet accurately, following the manufacturer's instructions, to determine the most appropriate size. Keep in mind that sizing can vary between brands, so it's advisable to check multiple charts if you're considering different brands.

If possible, try on the skates before making a purchase. Many skate shops offer fitting services, allowing you to try various models and sizes to find the perfect match. Trying on skates will help you assess the fit and comfort firsthand, ensuring that the boots hug your feet snugly without being overly tight or causing discomfort. It's beneficial to skate around for a bit during the fitting process to assess how the skates perform and feel in motion.

If you're unsure about sizing or need expert guidance, consider seeking advice from knowledgeable individuals within the roller derby community or skate shop professionals. They can provide valuable insights based on their experience and help you navigate the nuances of skate sizing.

Luigino Vertigo Q-6 Roller Derby Skates Boot


SkateHut Logo ABEC 9 Chrome Steel Rated Bearings - Red (Pack of 16)


In roller derby, smooth movement is essential for speed, agility, and maneuverability. This is where bearings play a crucial role. Bearings are small, circular components that fit inside the wheels and facilitate their rotation. They are responsible for reducing friction and enabling the wheels to spin smoothly.

Understanding the different bearing ratings and types is essential when selecting bearings for your roller skates. Bearings are typically rated using the ABEC (Annular Bearing Engineering Committee) scale, which indicates their precision and performance. The ABEC scale ranges from ABEC-1 (lowest) to ABEC-9 (highest). However, it's important to note that the ABEC rating is not the sole determining factor for roller derby bearings.

In roller derby, where quick acceleration, rapid direction changes, and lateral movements are common, many skaters prefer bearings with a lower ABEC rating, such as ABEC-3 or ABEC-5. These bearings tend to have less precision but offer a smoother roll and are more forgiving in terms of debris or dust on the track. They can handle the demands of aggressive skating and provide the necessary maneuverability.

Additionally, roller derby bearings are available in different types, including steel and ceramic. Steel bearings are the most common and cost-effective option, providing durability and reliable performance. Ceramic bearings, on the other hand, offer enhanced speed and reduced friction due to their smoother surface and lighter weight. However, ceramic bearings are generally more expensive.


In roller derby, safety is of utmost importance. The fast-paced nature of the sport and the potential for collisions make protective gear a necessity. Ensuring that you have the right protective equipment is crucial for injury prevention and maintaining a safe environment on the track.

Essential protective gear for roller derby includes helmets, mouthguards, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards. Let's dive into each of these components and why they are vital for your safety.

Helmets are the most critical piece of protective gear, as they protect your head from impact and reduce the risk of traumatic brain injuries. Look for helmets specifically designed for roller derby, with certifications such as ASTM or CPSC, to ensure they meet safety standards. Mouthguards protect your teeth and jaw from potential impacts. They also act as shock absorbers, reducing the risk of concussions. Opt for a mouthguard that provides a secure and comfortable fit, allowing you to breathe and speak clearly while offering sufficient protection.

Knee pads are essential for protecting your knees from falls, slides, and impacts. Look for knee pads with durable caps and padding that offer both impact resistance and flexibility, allowing for a full range of motion. Elbow pads are crucial for protecting your elbows from hard impacts and abrasions. Choose elbow pads that provide sufficient coverage and have durable padding to absorb shocks effectively. Wrist guards help prevent wrist injuries by supporting and stabilising your wrists during falls. Look for wrist guards with rigid splints or reinforcement that can withstand impact while still allowing flexibility for skating maneuvers.

When selecting protective gear, prioritise high-quality options that offer adequate protection and comfort. Consider features such as adjustable straps, breathable materials, and durable construction. Properly fitted gear is essential, ensuring that it stays securely in place during gameplay.

Cortex Conform Helmet - Matte Black



When venturing into roller derby, it's important to consider your budget for purchasing gear. While it can be tempting to prioritise cost-effectiveness, it's crucial to remember that quality should take precedence over price. Investing in high-quality gear will not only enhance your roller derby experience but also potentially save you money in the long run.

In roller derby, where physical contact and intense gameplay are common, durability and performance are key. Opting for cheap, low-quality gear may seem like a cost-effective choice initially, but it can result in frequent replacements and compromised safety. Poorly made gear may wear out quickly, leading to unexpected expenses and potential risks.

On the other hand, investing in high-quality gear provides numerous benefits. Quality gear tends to be more durable, constructed with superior materials and craftsmanship. It can withstand the rigors of roller derby and provide long-lasting performance, ultimately saving you money by reducing the frequency of replacements.

Moreover, high-quality gear often offers advanced features and technologies that enhance comfort, fit, and protection. Properly fitting and comfortable gear can significantly improve your performance and overall enjoyment of the sport. Quality gear is designed to provide optimal support, impact absorption, and maneuverability, allowing you to skate with confidence and focus on your skills.

When determining your budget, consider the long-term value of investing in reliable gear. Research different brands and read reviews to find the best options within your price range. It's advisable to allocate more funds to critical items such as helmets, knee pads, and mouthguards, as these are the key components that directly impact your safety.

Remember, roller derby is a physically demanding sport, and your gear is an investment in both your well-being and your performance. By prioritising quality over price, you can ensure that you have gear that will withstand the demands of the sport, enhance your experience, and provide long-term value for your roller derby journey.





    When selecting roller skates for roller derby, it's essential to opt for quad skates rather than inline skates. Quad skates provide better stability, maneuverability, and control on the track. Look for boots that have reinforced ankle support, durable construction, and a snug fit to enhance your performance and minimise the risk of injuries during intense gameplay.


    Roller derby often requires bearings with a lower ABEC rating, such as ABEC-3 or ABEC-5, as they provide a smoother roll and better maneuverability. However, remember that the ABEC rating is not the only factor to consider, and seeking guidance from experienced skaters can be helpful.

    The lifespan of roller skate wheels depends on factors such as usage frequency, skating style, and the quality of the wheels. As a general guideline, consider replacing wheels when they become worn, show signs of significant flat spots, or lose their grip on the track.

    Look for roller derby-specific helmets with certifications like ASTM or CPSC, indicating they meet safety standards. Ensure the helmet fits snugly and comfortably on your head, and consider features such as adjustable straps, ventilation, and impact-absorbing padding.

    For indoor tracks, harder wheels with a durometer rating between 88A and 97A are typically preferred for grip and maneuverability. If you also skate outdoors or on rough surfaces, consider having an additional set of softer wheels with a durometer rating around 78A to 85A.




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