Roller derby is without a doubt one of the most fun sports that are out there.
Whether you have recently joined in on this fun sport or have been doing it for years, you will need to make sure that you are using the best roller derby skates possible.
Knowing what makes a roller derby skate great can be complicated. We have worked this out by looking at how the skates have been made, with what material, and checking out the overall quality of the skate.
Additionally, you will need to think of your performance abilities and goals when you are shopping for new skates.
While there are some amazing skates out there, we still included beginner, budget friendly, and even high performance skates to help you choose the perfect skates to meet your needs.
Here is everything that you need to know in order to find the right skate for you.
Our Rating - 100%
Our choice for the best roller derby skates is the Rock GT-50 Classic roller skates. These are a versatile pair of skates that will work for skaters of all levels. Managing to be both easy-to-use and challenging enough for experienced skaters, these are an excellent choice.
Our Rating - 96%
Our choice for the budget-friendly roller derby skates is the Sure Grip Rebel Fugitive Speed Skates. Don’t let the price fool you, these skates are still covered with high-quality leather and craftsmanship, certain to not disappoint anyone who tries them.
Our Rating - 99%
If you are looking for high-performance roller derby skates, VNLA Total Blackout Roller Skates should check all of your boxes. These are amazing skates that use the newest technology to give you the speed that you are really looking for in a roller derby skate.
10 Best Roller Derby Skates (2023)
We have chosen the top 10 roller derby skates, giving you the full spectrum of derby skates to choose from. We have looked at comfort, performance, and quality to help us narrow them down.
1. Rock GT-50 Classic Roller Skates
Best Roller Derby Skates (Editor’s Choice)
Our choice for the best roller derby skates for beginners are the Rock GT-50 Classic Roller Skates. These skates are incredibly comfortable and you will be able to get started skating in them right away.
Designed with a speed boot, The GT-50 skates have a Deluxe Comfort lining.
The skates come with Rock nylon plates as well as nylon trucks, making them a versatile skate that will work with skaters of all ages an ability levels.
The skates also have Rock ABEC-5 bearings and Rock GT-50 wheels. There is an adjustable Carrera toe stop as well, giving you a lot of options to make sure that they fit well.
They are designed to work for all genders and all ages as well, and come in a lot of different sizes.
Performance-wise, these are excellent skates for all ability levels. Beginners enjoy these skates because they are simple to use, but they have the toughness to work for more intermediate and advanced skaters.
The ABEC-5 bearings are a nice middle-of-the-road as well.
The best thing about these skates is that they are versatile enough for rink skating, jam skating, speeding skating, and, of course, derby skating.
They are a nice all-around skate that will not disappoint.
- Wider fit
- Deluxe Comfort lining
- Adjustable toe stop
- Nylon plates and trucks
- Works for all levels
- We didn’t find any
2. Sure-Grip Rebel Fugitive Speed Skates
If you are looking for more of a skate that works within your budget, check out the Sure-Grip Rebel Fugitive Speed Skates.
These are leather skates that will mold to your feet as you wear them.
When we look at the design, it is important to note that these are 100% leather skates. The tongue is elastic, but the boot itself is leather.
There is also some padding inside of the boot to ensure that your feet will be as comfortable as possible, though there is not as much padding within the boot as other skates have.
The skates are made to be durable and do have a high level of quality, so they should not wear out too quickly.
The performance of the Rebel skates includes their adjustable toe stop that allows you to stop seamlessly.
They call it a reversed kingpin, giving you a lot more control over how your skates move.
The skates also have Sure-Grip Fugitive wheels with 92A hardness, working well for indoors.
The wheels can also always be changed out to make them softer or harder as you need. Finally, there are ABEC-7 bearings to keep your skates moving quickly and smoothly.
- 100% leather boot
- Elastic tongue
- Reversed kingpin
- ABEC-7 bearings
- Not as much padding as you will find with other skates.
3. VNLA Total Blackout Roller Skates
If you are more into high performance roller derby skates, we suggest the VNLA Total Blackout skates.
These are amazing skates that use the newest technology to give you the speed that you are really looking for in a roller derby skate.
The Blackout boot comes with a cushion to provide you with a high level of comfort. There is also a top grain, hand-sorted leather on the outside.
There are leather stitched soles as well. This is really nice to ensure that the skates will mold around your feet to fit like a glove.
The skates are made to be lower cut on the lace flap. This is there to provide you with a good level of flexibility. There is also a reinforced toe.
As these are high performance skates, performance is where we should be looking.
The skates come with the new Backspin Eclipse wheel which is the lightest aluminum hub wheel on the market.
The skates also have a lower center of gravity, so that you can better control of your movement while increasing your overall agility and speed.
The wheels are 95A hardness and are guaranteed to give you a smooth roll.
- Gorilla plates
- Backspin Eclipse Wheel
- Aluminum hub
- Top grain leather boot
- Lower cup on the lace flap
- They are not ideal for beginning skaters
4. Rock GT-50 Cosmic Superfly Speed Skates
Best Roller Derby Skates For Beginners
We have found that the best roller derby skates for beginners are the Rock GT-50 Cosmic Superfly Speed Skates.
These are a versatile kind of skate that will make the newest skaters have a good time getting into the sport.
The design of the Cosmic Superfly skates includes a plush lining that will help with the comfort level of the skates. They also have durable boots and are made from a manmade material.
These skates have a Velcro power strap that helps with the overall fit of the skates.
The fit of these skates is a lot wider than normal skates, so if you have narrow feet, you will need to wear thicker socks.
When we consider the performance of the Cosmic Superfly, we need to keep in mind that these are great for beginning skaters.
They come with the Cosmic Superfly wheels, which are a 90A hardness level. They also are made with Grip-Rite urethane so there is a nice roll that goes with them.
The skates also have ABEC-5 bearings, which are a nice medium-level bearing rating. They are durable bearings as well, so they should not breakdown on you under intense pressure.
- Plush lining
- Wider fit
- Lightweight nylon
- ABEC-5 bearings
- Velcro power strap
- Not as long-lasting as other skates
5. Riedell R3 Cosmic Superfly Speed Skates
One of the most popular roller derby skates out on the market are the Riedell R3 Cosmic Superfly Speed Skates.
These have a high level of quality and durability that makes them a go-to skate for many roller derby skaters.
The design of the R3 Cosmic Superfly includes a boot that is made out of a special grade of vinyl. It is substantially more durable than standard vinyl, so you do not need to worry about it wearing out quickly on you.
The boot’s construction is also very detailed which really shows you more of what Riedell is capable of as a manufacturer.
The boot comes with an adjustable mini round toe some as well as a PowerDyne Thrust Nylon plate, giving you more control and more peace of mind when you are in your skates.
The performance of these skates is enhanced by the high-quality Grip-Rite wheels, known as the Cosmic Superfly Wheels.
They have deep-speed grooves that have a long lifespan. These wheels have 90A hardness, but, as always, you can replace the wheels to be something more appropriate for your needs.
They also come with ABEC-7 bearings, giving you a nice, smooth ride.
- Special grade of vinyl
- Mini round toe stop
- Long lasting
- Deep speed grooves
- Nylon inserts
- We didn’t find any
6. VNLA Anniversary Freestyle Pro Jam Skates
These are high-quality, comfortable skates that have been shown to be a crowd favorite over and over again.
The Anniversary Freestyle skates are designed to have soft padding within the lining and the tongue.
The padding is light, however, so it might not be as much as you will find with other skates. The skates are made using top grain leather as well, so they will hold up very well.
Additionally, the Freestyle skates come with lightweight Gorilla nylon plates that are accented with gold aluminum trucks. The trucks have micro-adjustable lock nut washers.
While you can always change out the wheels, the wheels that come with the Freestyle skates are amazing. They are Backspin Blueprint wheels that are 20% lighter than other wheels on the market. They also give you more grip than other rink wheels.
It is important to remember that while the wheels have a good grip, they are not meant to slow you down. Instead, you can be prepared to be whizzing around the rink in no time.
- Gorilla nylon plates
- Gold aluminum trucks
- Backspin Blueprint wheels
- Diamond jam plugs or adjustable mini toe stops
- Top grain leather
- They do not have a lot of padding
7. VNLA Freestyle Pro Plus Remix Jam Skates
While their name is similar to the other Vanilla skates that we have reviewed, these are definitely a different pair.
Let’s start off with the design of these skates. The Vanilla Freestyle Pro Plus speed skates are made with a soft, new, Italian top grain leather.
The leather itself is scuff resistant, so you will not need to worry about that affecting them as you break them in.
The skates also use the Vanilla Gorilla plates, which are made with lightweight nylon. There are also red Vanilla Gorilla aluminum trucks, giving you a little glimpse of metal as you skate.
The overall performance of the Freestyle Pro Plus skates is improved by the Backspin Remix Wheels. These have aluminum hubs and are made to last a long time.
The skates also use the Reaction ABEC 9 bearings to give you the best outcome possible. You will get the best payoff with every push that you make, giving you a fast and easy ride. The wheels also have aluminum hubs which will last a lot longer.
- Italian top grain leather
- ABEC-9 bearings
- Backspin Remix Wheels
- Soft shearling on the inside heel and tongue
- Scuff resistant
- We didn’t find any
8. Riedell Blue Streak Sport Pro
This is an excellent brand that always brings with it the highest level of quality, and that is exactly what you will find with the Blue Streak skates.
The design of these skates includes a hybrid boot that is really a mixture of the best boots in other Riedell models.
The combination of a toe box and heel design from various skates has combined to bring you a better-fitting, comfortable boot.
The boot itself is made of Kango leather, molding to your foot as you wear it. You will also get a nylon cinch strap and waxed laces to make the boot more secure around your foot.
The skate has a pretty good level of performance. The skate uses the PowerDyne Reactor Pro, which will increase your overall speed and stability.
The skate offers you an option as far as your wheel goes, but you will need to choose a Radar Presto wheel.
This is a sporty roller derby skate, so you should be able to get some good use and longevity out of it as well.
- Kango leather
- Nylon cinch strap
- Comfortable boot
- PowerDyne Reactor Pro
- Great speed
- The boot does take some time to break in properly
9.VNLA Classic Le Pro Plus Jam Skates
For a roller derby skate that will give you a retro look, check out the Vanilla Classic Le Pro Plus Jam Skates.
This skate is a great combination of an old classic look with all of the modern technology that can improve how you skate.
As we mentioned above, these skates are designed to be retro. This appearance includes top-quality leather, so you can expect these boots to last for a very long time.
The slate also has a Vanilla diamond jam plug, finishing off the look.
The boots are also made to be scuff resistant, so you will not need to worry about wrecking the boot’s fun look.
There are also shearling linings inside of the boot to give you just that added amount of comfort.
Looks aside, these skates also have what you need to be able to perform well out on the rink.
When purchasing these skates, you can choose the level of hardness that you would like, allowing you to get what you need.
The skates also have aluminum hub wheels that will keep you rolling smoothly and quickly, upping your game out on the rink.
- Top-quality leather
- Scuff resistant
- Lightweight Gorilla Nylon plates
- Sturdy aluminum trucks
- Vanilla diamond jam plug
- We didn’t find any
10.VNLA Freestyle Pro Remix Lite Jam Skate
Our final pair of skates that we are going to look at is the Vanilla Freestyle Pro Remix Lite Jam Skates.
This is another great skate from Vanilla and really do give you what you need all in one skate.
To start with, the skates are made with top-grain Italian leather. This means that after the break-in period, the skates will fit your feet snugly.
The skates come with a soft shearling inside of the heel and the tongue, so they will make you so comfortable that you might not want to take them off.
The skates also have the Vanilla Gorilla nylon plates with micro-adjustable lock nut washers. This will allow you to fine-tune the trucks of the skates to allow them to work as best as possible for you.
The performance of the Freestyle Pro Remix Lite skates is excellent. These skates have been made for speed, so they will not disappoint you.
The wheel is 20% lighter than the average roller skate well, so you will not be weighed down by these skates at all.
Finally, the skates come with the ABEC-9 bearings, giving you an excellent amount of spin.
- Vanilla Gorilla nylon plates
- Backspin Remix Lite wheels
- 20% lighter than other wheels
- Velcro overlay lace protector
- Micro-adjustable lock nut washer
- They do have a break-in period
Things To Consider When Choosing Roller Derby Skates
Vinyl vs Leather Boots
One of the most common questions that we have seen when it comes to choosing the right roller derby skate is which material is really the best one.
Between vinyl and leather, it is important to note that both have their places in the world of skating.
In general, vinyl skates will be less expensive than leather skates. This is because it is a manmade material.
Vinyl, unfortunately, does not hold up as well as leather does and it does have a tougher period of breaking in. In some cases, you may never truly be able to break in vinyl skates in order for them to fit around your feet.
Leather is better for molding around your foot, giving you a nice, snug fit. Leather will also hold up better than vinyl because it has more flexibility than vinyl does.
Unfortunately, it is also quite a lot more expensive than vinyl is, so do not invest in a pair of leather boots until you are certain that this is the sport that you want to stick with.
Keep in mind that not all leathers are the same either. Some of the lower-quality might not be much better than vinyl, so pay attention to what you are paying for.
The plates on your roller derby skates can make a huge difference in your skating ability. The least expensive type of plate will be aluminium.
They are less expensive, but as a result, are heavier than other types of plates that you could try.
Aircraft aluminum is better quality than the standard aluminum and is a great alternative. It is thin and light like nylon, but with the durability of an alloy.
The most common material type that is out there is nylon. Nylon provides a lot of flex with your movement, which may mean a lot less power.
They are also not as durable as metal would be, but they are lightweight and generally cost-effective.
Magnesium plates are best-used by skaters who are heavier or harder on their skates. This is a strong alloy that should be able to hold up against rough-wear, but they can be heavy as well.
Heavier plates do provide a higher amount of power transfer than lighter skates do, because you have to do less work with the heavier skates, so that should also factor in when you are considering a certain roller derby skate.
When it comes to the wheels on your roller derby skates, there is a lot to take into consideration. The first thing is the size of the wheel.
You may not have realized that roller derby wheels can come in a variety of sizes, based on need. The diameter of the wheel is measured using millimeters.
Smaller wheels make it much easier to do fine-tuned movement, such as dancing on skates, while large wheels are better for power.
The next consideration that you need to think about is the hardness of the wheel, also known as the durometer.
The durometer of a wheel is measured on an A-scale, ranging from 74A, which is very soft, to 105A, which is very hard. For indoor skating, such as roller derby, you will want to use an indoor wheel.
97A is standard for indoors, but if the surface is slippery, you will want to decrease the rating for a softer wheel.
Meanwhile, outdoor wheels will have a much softer level, because the wheels need to move over hard and uneven ground much more efficiently to move on. This should not affect you in roller derby, however.
If you are thinking of being a speed skater, the wheels that you want will have a high level on the scale, making them harder and much smoother to skate on.
Grippier wheels cannot get the same amount of speed on a smooth surface than a harder and less grippy floor would be.
Bearings are the internal mechanism within skates that allow the wheels to turn. We use the ABEC scale to determine how well the bearings are able to move.
The ABEC scale is a standard that measures the tolerance from a ball bearing. It looks to measure how usable a bearing is and whether it meets their standards for quality.
ABEC has dimensional specifications for its ball bearings so that regardless of who makes the ball bearing, they will all have the same tolerance level and the different design elements will not affect the overall movement of the bearing itself.
The scale is broken down from a level 1 to a level 11, working only in odd numbers.
The lower the number, the less precise the bearing is, so the higher the number, the rounder the bearing is and the more precise it is.
Precision is referring to the ball bearing tolerance, which may not make a lot of sense on the outside.
But really, dimensional tolerance is referring to how close the ball bearing is to meeting the ABEC published size. So, the higher the number, the better the bearing and the more precision that you will get from the skate.
Toe stops are definitely something that will come up when you are shopping for roller derby skates. The toe stop is a stopper in the front of your skate that will allow you to stop when you need to.
Some toe stops are very short and do not look like they would do much, but then the other toe stops are larger. More advanced skaters will often remove a toe stop altogether to get some more speed.
Some skates have adjustable toe stops so you can fine-tune it to best fit your needs, but every skate is different.
After a lot of research, we have chosen the Rock GT-50 Classic Roller Skates as the best roller derby skates. These are the most-versatile skates that we have seen and they are incredibly comfortable.
There are plenty of other amazing roller derby skates out there that might meet your needs better, but we have found that the Rock GT-50 Classic Roller Skates is still our favorite.
If you are looking for something more budget-friendly, check out the Sure-Grip Rebel Fugitive Speed Skates. Remember there are a lot of options, so choose the skate that will be best for you.