Whats up, my hunnies!? Alrighty….you’ve asked for it (at least some of you have 😉 )…so I’m here to answer. Where do I get my skates? And guys, I’m only too eager to share this because, the more, the merrier!!🙌🏽
If you’re with me on Instagram, you know ive reignited an old love of mine – rollerskates! And that shizz honestly makes me so happy, i would wish that kind of feeling on EVERYONE!And it seems my love and craving for rollerskates of all these years since my childhood was not done in a vacuum! There is an entire global community of folk who appreciate the joy and sheer bliss that comes with a pair of rollerskates! And so after years of searching, and apparently a global shortage of stock that came with increased demand over the 2020 lockdown period, the stars aligned and I found not one but TWO local South African places to buy your very own pair from! (there are other places, but these two I found after much shopping around, have great service and value for money, and I’ve had a wonderful personal experience with them!)
BUT WAIT, there’s more! : ) Not only will I share that, but also share some tips how to choose your size (especially wide feet folk, like me, who are not so sure!), what type of skate you’ll have to choose between (flat or heeled), and what to look out for in your skate when choosing. And bonus, where to get some dope ass local, hand made toe caps! ; )
And yes, I AM A BEGINNER skater (loud and proud), but thats also why i feel like I could be helpful; We’re possibly on a very similar journey, and I’ve very likely had similar questions and struggles to you, not so long ago. So from one beginner skater to another… 😉
Lets get to it:
I bought my skates from Mels Skate Shop. Yes, the site is legit, and more than that Mel is just the nicest, and chillest! She’s super busy with orders, but still took my call to confirm my order.
She keeps you up to date with the order – especially when there’s a global wait period, and lets you know when the shipment is about to land or even when pre-orders are open.(so best to sign up to her mailing list)
You wont be sorry, go check out her site here.
Then there’s Origin skates. I didnt buy skates from them, but definitely got some extras from them – brilliant service, quick and painless, and just lovely people (based on the emails).
What’s more, is that both of these stores come backed by the Roller derby girls– with whom i trained with.
(If you’re looking for in person lessons, watch their IG page and stories for more details. Edit: They have paused lessons now in the 3rd wave, until such time it is safer, so keep an eye on their account)
What size should I take:
Back in the day, we were always told to take one size up back in the day, but I’m here to tell ya (in most cases) just take your regular shoe size. If you are a size 6, then size 6 is for your skates too. (I’ve also confirmed this with several other “expert” folk)
The only exceptions I’d say to this is in the Moxi skate, as they use unisex sizes. So you may want to size down about 1 to 1.5 from your regular size. However, always best to check their site for accurate measurments.
What about wider feet?
So after having 5 pregnancies, 4 kids & a suprise genetic condition that came to play since my pregnancies, my feet have grown SO much wider. They’ve gone from She-hulk to Shrek. In other words I’ve now got funky feet that need ALL room! And am always struggling to find shoots that are comfy 😉 As such, I was so afraid that skates would not fit me comfortably anymore. So if this sounds familiar, listen up, I’ve found a measurement trick to help you decide! (see below)
I’ve looked at leather skates, that would stretch and mold to my feet, but the price tag put me off. Maybe one day when Im further down the line in my skating journey I’ll invest in a pair. But if your budget allows, then thats a good option for you for now.
I went for a vegan friendly skate (Rio), as in the materials used will not stretch at all. So i had to be sure the size was spot on. Especially since I was buying online with NO OPTION to try on first.
What I learnt was this measurement that is very helpful in trying to decide:
-Stand with one barefoot on a page, and trace an outline of your foot.
-Measure the widest part of your foot (across that drawing).
-If it measures more than 9.5 cm then many brands of rollerskates suggest you need to size up. Anything else just choose your normal shoe size. (I am exactly 9.47cm across, and took a size 6 in Rio and it fits perfectly.)
So in conclusion: The perfect fit is when the boot is not too loose, and definitely not too long, and your heels should not be slipping once the boot is laced up.
Basically, comfortably tight without any pain.
Heeled or flat boot:
Both type of skates look cool, and I’ve tried both. (I used the flats when training with the Derby girls), and here’s what you need to know to help you choose which one is best suited for you:
Flats are great for stability, and creating speed, real quick , a.k.a power transmission (think roller derby!). BUT with these, generally your stance needs to be adjusted to create the balance. (these took a bit of an adjustment for me on the first day of using them, as I was used to heels and would randomly fall flat on my back, because I was wasn’t used to it.)
Heels. The heels transfer your body weight to the balls of your feet, meaning with this elevated heel, the pressure of your body weight is equally divided. This translates into reduced chances of falls to the back (which are the most dangerous: think coccyx). However, these are not the best when speed is what you’re after and agility (think breakdancing in Jam skating).
What else to look out for:
♥️You’ll want to choose a decent skate that you can change the wheels on, as well as stoppers. And also be able to adjust the height of your stoppers for your skating preference.. (Ps. with those 2 shops I mentioned above, they only sell top drawer skates, so you should never have to worry about this with their merch, but if you buy from other general stores, for safety sake its good to check this)
♥️You’ll want to ensure that when you test the skate by rolling the wheels, using your hands, the wheels spin well enough. (At least 6 rotations with one spin.) And the wheels should spin round about at the same pace. So your skate should allow you to adjust the wheel tightness in this way.
♥️Being able to lean left and right with your feet in your skate should be possible (to “create an edge” – which helps you control direction), however, be sure your skate does NOT lean so far that the boot actually touches the wheels!! I’ve seen cheaper skate brands have this, without the ability to tighten up trucks or the wheels, which is an actual safety hazard as it could make you fall. I almost bought a pair off Amazon at the begining of this year, but after much research and review videos,i saw how much that skate model eventually just caused the skater to fall. ps. Once more, those 2 stores I mentioned above only sell reputable rollerskate brands, so you can rest easy about that!)
Then finally, as a nice to have, I recommend toe caps! Because after all that hard work of selecting your beautiful skates, you’ll want to protect them, and not get damaged. Or maybe like some, you honestly dont mind, and perhaps feel like the scuffs on the boot are just part and parcel of the skate journey. I personally want to keep mine looking fresh! So even though Im usually very much a believer in “show your scars & be proud of them”, I want to protect my skate babies 😉 So I recommend MazzSkates, who is a fellow skater, and hand makes some dope quality toe caps! Check out her IG page and why not give her a follow! I’m all for supporting local, even more so local women who are doing all the things! So if you feel the same above #supportlocal, check her out!
And thats it! Have fun choosing your skates, its all part of this fun skate journey! And ps.if this guide helped you in any way and you got your skates, I would LOVE it if you tagged me in your pix! (Im traxgport on Instagram)
Lastly, as I said, Im just a beginner, so any other pros/experts out there would appreciated your input, or other beginners who’d love to share what helped them, please feel free to drop your pearls of wisdom here!
Ps. Tag me also if you’re doing the 365 days of skate challenge! I’d love to follow your journey – im also on it!
Happy skating! X