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Roller Derby Forum Discussions about banked-track and flat-track roller derby events, teams, skaters, and training methods.

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Old December 10th, 2015, 02:19 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 2
Default Help! What skates do I choose!?

I have been skating on my R3's for about a year now and it's time for an upgrade. My R3's have stretched, causing some severe discomfort, possibly even causing the tendonitis that has developed in one of my feet.
So I've been doing lots of research on what new skates to get and there's just so much to choose from. Does anyone know of any good derby stores in Ontario (preferably not too far from Guelph) that has a good selection of different skates to try on?
It's hard to find really informative reviews. So right now I'm really debating between Luigino Q4's, Crazy DBX, and Bont Quad racers (open to other suggestions). I am a pretty light skater (120lbs), and I jam quite a bit, so I want something light, but also something really secure to hold my feet in. Due to the tendonitis I can't tie my skates too tight, which causes my heel to slip a lot, so I need something that will really hold my heel in.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old December 10th, 2015, 06:57 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: KY USA
Posts: 2,361

Getting a good fit is tough. Due to the specialized nature of skates and the wide variety of human feet the normal process of trying on until it fits like street shoes is difficult. Add in that skates need to fit MUCH better than street shoes to avoid blisters, hotspots and other foot problems.

If you can find a dealer to assist their advise can easily be worth the slight additional cost over building yourself. There are several builders on here that can help. Just be aware that shops generally have one or two lines that they do more business with and will tend to steer you to those products. That is not necessarily a bad thing.

I'm very happy with my Bonts and their longstanding familiarity with heat molding technology tends to make me a believer in their product. It is amazing to me the price point at which they are able to produce very advanced skating products.

On my Bonts the laces mostly serve to keep my foot from leaving the footbed. Very different from conventional boots like R3s where the laces play a major part in fit. The heat molding process alleviates a lot of break in time and the stretching that has happened to your R3s. Unlike old school boots you get the fit quickly and it stays that way until the boot fails.

Remember your new skates will take some getting used to. You may think you made a horrible mistake. Banish those thoughts until you have at least 12-16 hours on your new skates.

Good luck with your search!

Common wisdom is anything but...
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Old December 11th, 2015, 02:51 PM   #3
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Location: Pittsburg, Kansas
Posts: 518

So Many Choices!

As a skate shop owner, I have tried most skate products on the market. The good news is that you can be successful in almost any skates you get. You will adapt to them as your skate skills improve. If You like the skates that you buy, then they were the right choice.

In my opinion, the top priority in buying new skates is to get boots that fit well. My favorite boots happen to be among the least expensive on the market. Below are comments about boots I have recently used:

Bont Quad racer leather - Molds perfectly to my foot, super comfy, super light. No heel (good for me, most prefer some heel). I love these for comfort and speed skating/ sessions. My toes took a beating in these for derby. I still wear my 2009 quad racers regularly, but rarely for derby.

Bont Hybrid Leather - thicker leather than quad racer, not as soft and supple. Has a small heel built in. Great boot, but I prefer the quad racer for comfort and other boots for foot protection.

Reidell 595 - long break in time before comfortable. Classic speed boot and heel cinch works great for me. I still have a pair from the 1980s. Love them after they are well broken in.

Reidell 265 - this was "THE" derby boot for a long time. Padded interior breaks down and fit changes. I don't like the rubber soles, but this is a longtime derby choice for many great skaters.

Luigino Q4 and Q6 - very supportive boot and moldable for good fit. To me, these kind of skate like a stiff inline boot. I think they tear up everybody's ankles, must break in with EZ fit footies. Break in is the main complaint I hear. Great boot, but I am not man enough to deal with the painful break in period around the ankles.

Antik - These were surprisingly comfy. Sizing is strange so make sure to try before you buy. Very padded boot. Great for those facing a lot of heel slippage. The taller boot keeps heel in. To me, it just felt "squishy" which I didn't like. Great product, just not for me.

Jackson Vantage/ Competitor - narrow fit. I actually really like these skates and sell a ton of them to newer skaters. I don't know why they aren't more popular.

Vanilla Renegade - good price point boot. Comfy but very padded. They stretch out fast. also very heavy. wide fit.

Vanilla Brass knuckles - I rarely recommend this boot. nice wide fit. People seem happy with these at first, but the velcro on the lace protector goes bad and then the thing flops all over. It is a fine boot, but most people don't keep them very long.

Roller Derby Elite - I wanted to hate these. I don't. They were comfortable out of the box, provide great protection for my toes. These are honestly my favorite boots for derby. I can skate in just about anything I want and I choose these... they are inexpensive, too. They happen to fit my feet perfectly. I have abused mine for over 2 years.

What I want to try: Reidell Blue streaks in a custom size to fit my feet. It looks like the perfect derby boot. However, they just don't fit me and I am too damned cheap to buy them. I am not a Reidell dealer, so I don't get any special pricing.

Crazy - never tried 'em.

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Old December 11th, 2015, 04:58 PM   #4
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Great review Gorilla.
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Old December 14th, 2015, 10:36 PM   #5
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 138
Default Boots

Just a thought, but if you mostly jam and just skate/dance why not find a pair of shoes or boots you love dancing in and get them mounted to a pair of plates you like? It can be the best of both worlds. But if you are going with purpose built boots, I cannot say anything negative about the Riedell 1065 and 195 boots. The 1065 is heat moldable. And the 195 might be one of the best skate boots ever, in my opinion. Not wanting to start an argument, but my 12yr old nephew has been skating the Brass Knuckle by Vanilla for almost a year without issue. Very comfortable and he jams, shuffles, does some rhythm and is generally hard on them. Maybe he got lucky with his pair, but no issues. But I cannot be happier with the skates I have built myself with several pairs of Vans( I'm a super Vans junkie) and plates I have. Extremely comfortable and you can be sure they will be original. Best of luck in whatever you decide.
Riedell 1065 Labeda Proline Oust MOC 9 Airrr
Wheels Change Constantly
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Old December 15th, 2015, 02:53 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the help : ) Really informative!
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Old December 18th, 2015, 04:25 AM   #7
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Location: San Antonio Tx
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The boot is key. I am about to finish my 5th year on my Bont Quad Racers. Probably one of the best items I have ever owned, lifetime. (Really LOVE my 2011 VW Golf TDI too, diesel emissions be damned )

Whatever plate and wheels you end up with, the boot is the only part of the skate that touches your body, and is therefore critical for good skating. I suggest a Bont QR, regular leather. Not the thick. Get a good toe guard, and use tape to help protect the boot from abrasions.
Don't let people live in your head rent free. ~princessfluffhead~ BontQRL/InvaderDA45: Seba-FRX: Alkali CA9
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Old December 23rd, 2015, 03:03 AM   #8
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After trying most boots I am still the biggest fan of Bonts, after that Chesters and believe it or not the Vanilla Brass Knuckle.

Bonts have always fit me straight out of the box so I am pretty lucky and only heat molded them once just for play.

The guys above are all over this, if you can get to a dealer and try some on you are in a much better position
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