Can you use roller derby skates outside? The answer is yes. Well, normally it’s a bad idea. This is because roller derby skates are designed to be used indoors on a smooth and level surface.
If used outside, you will not only risk serious injury but that will be bad for your skates too.
However, buying two pairs of separate skates, one for roller derby, and the other one for skating outside can be quite expensive and inconvenient.
Hence, in this guide, I will show you the method to make your roller derby skates usable even outdoors.
So, grab your roller derby skates from the closet and get on with the tutorial.
How are Roller Derby Skates Made?
First, you need to understand all the important components of roller derby skates.
Roller Derby is a sport that’s played indoors in which players play on a flat or an angled track.
A game of roller derby requires:
- Heavy maneuvering
- Good support and balance
So, a pair of roller derby skates are made keeping these requirements in mind.
Roller Derby Wheels
Roller derby is an indoor sport so a pair of indoor wheels are used in roller derby skates. When you go on a smooth surface, you want your wheels to be harder for maximum output. Hence, indoor wheels are used. Indoor wheels are supposed to be harder than normal wheels.
For roller derby sports arenas, people usually go for 93 to 95 A. That’s a sweet middle spot for the wheels. However, you can go softer or harder based on the smoothness of the floor.
Roller Derby Boots
The next important component of roller derby skates is that the boot is not angled. Even though the angle boot provides superior stability, it turns down maneuverability which is a huge aspect of roller derby.
So the boots on roller roller derby skates are usually not angled.
Roller Derby Skates vs Outdoor Skates
Difference in wheels
The biggest difference between roller derby skates and outdoor skates is the wheels.
- Roller derby skates have indoor wheels.
- Outdoor skates have outdoor wheels.
So just by changing the wheels, your roller derby skates will work outside like a charm. All you have to do is follow this tutorial and enjoy skating.
Difference in boots
This one doesn’t matter much but if you’re willing to go all out, then it might be worth it.
- Roller derby skates have harder boots
- Outdoor skates have soft boots with patches that protect the boots from rubbing on the ground.
The outdoors is more rough and jagged than the indoors. Your boots will face much more friction from the ground. So outdoor boots are soft with hard patches all over them to protect the boot from rubbing on the ground.
However, roller derby skates have hard sturdy boots that are not immune to the friction.
How to Change Indoor Wheels to Outdoor Wheels?
The answer is simple; grab a few items and get started.
Equipment You’ll need
You’ll need the following items to convert your roller derby skates into awesome outdoor skates.
- 8 Outdoor Wheels – Outdoor wheels are thicker and softer durometer measurement 78A. A Durometer is an instrument that measures the degree of hardness of material like rubber. They grab the floor making your skates more stable and secure.
- 8 Hybrid Wheels instead of Outdoor wheels – You can also use hybrid wheels instead of outdoor wheels. They are a nice spot between indoor and outdoor wheels hence the term ‘hybrid.’ They give you the necessary stability and without giving up too much speed and maneuverability.
- Allen’s key – This is a tool that’s used to turn bolts or screws in a hexagonal socket. You pretty much need it to do anything to your skates or wheels.
- 16 Bearings – Each wheel uses 2 bearings so you need a total of 16 bearings for 8 wheels. You can either buy these 16 bearings or take out the bearings in your indoor wheels, but it can be quite inconvenient.
Now it’s time to change up your wheels.
Changing the Wheels
Follow the following steps to change your wheels from indoor to outdoor.
- Turn the bolt using the hex key.
- Take out the wheels and keep them aside.
- Get your new outdoor or hybrid wheels.
- Put a pair of bearings in each wheel.
- Put the outdoor wheels into the skate.
- Tighten the bolt using the key, until the wheels spin nicely.
There you go, your roller derby skates are ready to be used outside.
However, if you’re going to turn it up a notch, you can also add toe tops on your skates.
How to add toe tops on your skates
This step is not mandatory. You can definitely get away with skating outside with just changing the wheels.
However, for all those folks out there who are willing to put in the money and effort to make their outdoor skates flawless, it’s time to put toe tops.
Items You’ll Need
You’ll need the following equipment and tools to change the boot.
- Allen’s key – This is to remove the toe stop.
- Toe tops – These can be put on the top of the toes of your boots. It has 3 holes, one goes inside the toe top and the other two are for the shoe laces to keep the toe top in place.
Once you’ve got the items from the store, it’s time for some action.
Putting toe tops on
Do the following steps.
- Use the allen’s key to loosen the screw for the toe stop.
- Remove the toe stop from the skate.
- Put the stem of the toe stop through the bigger hole.
- Use the key to put the toe stop back into your roller skate.
- Remove laces from your skates.
- Put the opposite ends of the lace through the two holes on the toe top.
- Put the lace back into the shoe.
There you go. You have successfully installed toe tops on your roller derby skates. Now your skates are extra durable for outside.
Conclusion – Can You Use Roller Derby Skates Outside?
Roller derby skates are designed for exactly that – roller derby. With their low cut designs allowing for maneuvrability and their wheels which are designed for indoor use.
If you want to use your roller derby skates outside, then you will need to make some adjustments to them to make them suitable. These include, changing the wheels to outdoor wheels and adding toe stops.
I have given you a detailed guide on how you can go about dong this. I hope this helps.
If you would rather buy some outdoor skates, then check out our top picks for outdoor skates here. You can also buy hybrid skates which you can use indoors and outdoors.