Equiment Advice

Some equipment available is much more durable, and better suited to the sport of Roller Derby than others, the type of products you need to purchase / obtain to get you started make a huge difference in your skating ability, maneuverability, safety, comfort and durability.



Appropriate joint pads are extremely important, SWS Rockets Roller Derby Girls fall hard, fall a lot, we even fall on purpose, therefore you need to be sure to get a heavy duty set of wrist, elbow, and knee guards that are well padded and bulky enough to stand up to the weight of an adult.
Look for pads, preferably with a sleeve as well as Velcro straps, pads with two Velcro straps alone tend to slip during repetitive falling drills and you will end up with scraps and bruises. Wrist Guard with full palm to wrist protection are advised.
Avoid children’s pads and smaller types with less padding and surface area, such as the knee protection that is just a cap of plastic over the knee. This will not be enough protection in bouts, and while aggressive pads may seem very large at first, you will get used to the size very quickly.



Any Skateboard/Snowboard Helmet will do, as long as there is a chin strap and sufficient protection / foam around the back of your head. Styling, Shape and colour of your helmet is up to you … be brave stick stickers on, write your derby name and number on your helmet, stand out in bouts. Your helmet isn’t just a piece of equipment; it can be created into a work of art! Helmets are available at any local skate shop, or online, some examples below;



The least expensive items you will need, but are very important.
These items can be purchased online or from a skate shop relatively cheaply for as little as $5.
When you first get your skates the wheels and trucks will often be very tight, this is going to make it hard for you to skate, wheels should be able to move freely but without rattling, and trucks should be loose enough to allow a bit of flexibility, rock back and forth gently, this will make a big difference for turns and Drill Training.
Keep your tool on you every time you skate, you may want to adjust them frequently to get a feel for what works best for you, different grounds have different surface areas which makes some simple adjustments may be all that is necessary to make a huge difference in your performance.
If you want to change your bearing you should use a bearing pull tool in order to pull them out as straight as possible to avoid damaging the bearings or your wheels.
You may also want a toe stop wrench to make sure your stops are on tight and stay put.



Tooth protection is incredibly important and requires only a very small investment; you can purchase a mouth guard at any sporting store, or online



This protection is optional, but a good idea for hip and tailbone protection. Crash pads can be found at retailers of snowboarding and mountain biking equipment.
Body armour (motorbike / paintball torso armour / chest plate) may also be used to avoid injury during training and bouts, This is commonly used in Japanese Roller Derby Sport and helps avoid injury such as crack ribs etc. however speed and maneuverability may be impaired if you wear this extra torso protection.



Proper skates will make a huge difference in your ability to skate Roller derby, you should make the best investment possible to insure you will be able to perform well and your skates will last.
SWS Rockets understand that if you are just coming along to a first practice and to check out the sport of Roller Derby, you probably do not want to invest in an expensive pair of skates to begin with,.
Most likely however you will love Roller derby and want to come back, possible upgrade your skates, So below is a rough guideline and some recommendations advising the pro’s and con’s of each type of skate, as well as which skates to avoid, and those that are going to be your best bet once you’ve joined the league.

The cheapest skates available may look better to you price wise, however when it comes to skates you do get what you pay for.
The cheaper the skate = the lower the quality
Our advise on skates for those girls who are sure that derby is for them, and want to get some wheels for a practice as soon as possible is to get reasonably good quality skates to begin with if you do not already own a pair, as this will save you money in the long run.
Note: Skates can always be upgraded in the future, along with quality wheels and bearings, in the meantime the ones you have will see you through training and drills until you are ready or able to purchase a new pair of quads that are going to be great for you and Derby skating!

Now that you know you want to play Roller Derby and you are looking for a comfortable, durable Skating boot, our advise is that the best choice for any skate boot will always be leather, however vinyl models for vegetarians and vegans are available.
SWS Rollers choose leather boots, as leather will break in and mould to the shape of your foot which will make them more comfortable, they will also last much longer than vinyl or the trainer shoe style of skate. Bolt on Plates. A good brand of bearings and a set of wheels will make a big difference in your speed and balance.
Some good Roller Derby Specific Boots can be purchased online (see our links page), you can also purchase similar skates as a package online which comes complete will all pads which save you money… pack contains all equipment needed to get you started in Roller Derby at a discounted Rate.

Avoid over priced suppliers, shop around to make sure you are not paying a huge mark up. There are some big differences in prices of the same products online.



If you buy a cheap pair of skates they will come with a low quality set of wheels and bearings which will slow you down significantly, upgrading will improve your skating instantly.
Good bearings can be purchased from brands such as, like BSB, Bones Reds.
Most replacement bearings will be of better quality than stock bearings in low priced skates. Some bearing are sold in an 8 pack, rather than 16, you need two bearings per wheel so pay attention and make sure you are getting 16 bearings. Ask for bearing oil at your local skate shop or order it online:



Look for a wheel that is quite grippy as most indoor practice spaces tend to be a bit slippery, indoor wheels are larger and wider so it takes fewer rotations to travel the same distance and greater surface area contact for pushing and gaining speed.
Indoor wheels have a wider surface with a squared edge while outdoors have a rounded edge.
Outdoor wheels are softer and give a bit, so you won’t feel all the little bumps, rocks and twigs on outdoor pavement.
If you are going to start with just one set of wheels you should use outdoor wheels, they will grip well on indoor surfaces, and you don’t want to be skating on pavement with your indoor wheels, it will be very bumpy and you will wear them down which will reduce their advantage on indoor surfaces.
Certain wheels have a speed groove in the centre which allows you more speed and grip especially when you are quickly switching directions as the groove creates an extra lip that allows the wheel to re-establish grip more quickly.



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