It's Derby Season! How can we help?

Posted by Kirsten Slade on

A pair of black roller derby skates, with colourful laces, orange and yellow wheels and a purple toe stop

With Team New Zealand trials this weekend, there’s no doubt that roller derby season is upon us! We’ve definitely noticed an uptick in queries about skate maintenance, equipment upgrades, and derby specific skates!We thought we’d share some recent comms with our customers to give you an idea as to the scope of our work:

I need new derby skates…because I’m on a budget, I wondered if you folks would be able to switch up some skates/plates for me if I send them to the shop?”

Of course we’re gonna do that for our rad customer! Generally speaking you can remount a boot about three times and as long as a plate is solid, we can remount it over and over again. It’s not uncommon to upgrade or swap plates between boots, especially as skaters build their skills and become more discerning about their gear and what it can do for them on the track. Once we receive the boots and plates from our customer, we’ll have a little korero with them regarding their *mounting preferences, and whether or not they’ll need any upgrades to components showing wear and tear. Depending on how busy the workbench is, it will take anywhere from 2 to 7 days for us to get their skates back to them.

I've signed up for a learn to skate class - might do a derby learner class afterwards… As this is something new I'm trying I don't want too expensive a pair.”

This customer is going to be able to come up to the shop for a fitting - an ideal situation. We take walk-ins during our shop hours, but we LOVE it when customers make appointments. We can’t predict how busy we’ll be on any given day, but with an appointment, we can pull skates for you in advance, and give you the one-on-one attention you need.

“I’d need a pair of skates for roller derby. My friend has some Darts and I like the look of them - do you have them in my size? My sneakers are a 42.”

Darlings, we are going to ask you to measure your feet. We can’t let you out on the track in skates that fit like your favourite sneakers. Happily, once we received this customer’s measurements, we were able to confirm that the skates they were after were going to be a good fit for their narrower foot. Sometimes, we’ve needed to steer a customer away from the skates they initially wanted. We don’t just pop skates in a box and send them out because you asked for them. We want you to have the best skating experience possible, and if your slender foot is shifting from side to side in a wider boot, or you’re giving yourself a bunion cramming yourself into a boot that’s uncomfortably narrow, we haven’t really done our job properly. So, we take it slow. If we notice it’s your first online order, and no one in the shop has chatted with you about sizing, we reach out to confirm your needs.

“We are putting in a funding application to purchase new hire skates for our league.

The majority of our stock is old and getting to the point where they can no longer be repaired…”

Our roller derby leagues around the country know that cost can be a barrier to someone starting the sport. Luckily, there are a variety of grants available to help sports clubs purchase skates and/or safety gear. We can help you with purchase orders and quotes to accompany your applications, and can work with you to help your league get the most bang for their buck. If you are building a hire fleet from scratch, we can also help you with working out sizing distribution, and show you different options to accommodate your budget.

A pair of roller derby skates, with red wheels and blue and white toe stops.

Would you be able to look at my current skates and tell me what you think?  About, for example, where the plate is mounted. And if the boot is the right size? Or if the cushions need replacing.  I haven't taken apart the trucks and things, to clean it, because I've been afraid of not knowing how to put it back right!  And I don't know if the pins are adjusted right, anyway.  Is understanding the plate something you could help me with?  And do you offer maintenance and cleaning of skates?”

Uh, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes - did we miss a yes? We can help with all that - and it’s one of our favourite things to do. We can take care of the maintenance for you, or we talk you through it to where you will feel comfortable taking care of it yourself. Either way, we’ve got the tools, and the know-how so you can roll confidently on skates that are in optimal condition. Please note, we have a wide range of parts in the shop, but they aren’t on our website because unless you know exactly what you are looking for, it’s easy to do something like order the correct diameter of screw, but the wrong thread size for example.

What about custom builds?
It’s an involved process, building someone’s skates from scratch and with all the options available, we’ll write up a separate post so you’ve got everything you need to know before dreaming up your perfect set-up!

We hope our efforts are making it a little easier for skaters around the country to get into the right pair of skates. Sizing from afar is always a bit of a challenge, but we’ve been lucky enough to travel to events around the country - always a great opportunity to see you in action, and to grab your details for our database - so when you are ready for upgraded boots, or a new helmet, we already know what size you are.

* Some of you are probably thinking, “mounting preferences? I have a choice? Sounds intimidating - I don’t even know what that means!” Don’t worry, we’re more than happy to talk you through all that.