We often get asked about the best toe stops for roller derby. Here’s some of our top tips for selecting the right kind.
Firstly, there are a few different categories of toe stops – Fixed Bolt, Jam Plugs and Adjustable.
In this blog post, we are talking about the adjustable toe stops found on all roller derby skates as well as some recreational and outdoor skates.
Adjustable toe stops are critical for the sport of roller derby which is why most high quality roller skate plates come fitted with them these days.
This kind of toe stop has a thread that is screwed into the plate and secured with either a lock nut or an allen key.
Adjustable toe stops come in many different shapes and sizes and either a short or regular thread.
What to Look For?
Make sure you look for the right hardness, size and shape for your plate, wheels and purpose.
Indoor toe stops should be bouncy or grippy while outdoor toe stops should be harder and more durable.
Recreational skaters sometimes prefer to keep their toe stops smaller while most roller derby skaters like them big or huge.
If you have a lock nut on your plate (the lock nut secures the toe stop to the plate) you are best suited to a round toe stop like the Gumball or Jupiter.
Skaters with a lock nut plate may find that their toe stop will sometimes move if the lock nut loosens during play. A round toe stop is less likely to get in the way if it does shift mid jam.
If you have an allen key toe stop (tightening the allen key on the side of the plate secures the toe stop to the plate) you can generally choose any shape or size toe stop*.
Once you tighten the allen key the toe stop shouldn’t move which means you can choose cut out shapes like the Superballs or the Bionic Bigfoots.
*There are some exceptions to this rule such as if you have an offset toe stop or if you ride on extra large wheels.
High or Low?
Another question that regularly comes up about toe stops is how high or low you should set them.
There are lots of theories about this however it does come down to personal preference so you should experiment and see what suits you.
For recreational or outdoor skating you might like to have the toe stop screwed up a little higher so that it doesn't clip any loose objects or get in your way.
For roller derby, most skaters will want to have their toe stops out a little more.
As a general rule, you should be able to fit a few fingers (3-4) underneath the back wheels when balanced on your toe stop. In practice, you should feel that you are stable on your toe stops and able to run, turn and transition easily.
HOWEVER! Now this is super important.
The height you can set your toe stops at is also going to depend on your wheel height and your plate BECAUSE you must have at least 6 thread (around 1cm) of the toe stop thread inserted inside the plate.
This is a warning. You can cross thread your plate if you do not have enough of the toe stop stem inserted into the plate. This can ruin your plate completely.
So, you MUST insert enough of the stem inside the plate.
- Larger toe stops give you more balance
- Softer toe stops are more bouncy and good for indoor skating
- Harder toe stops can be more grippy and last longer. Good for outdoor skating
- Most roller derby skaters prefer a regular stem length rather than a short
- Everyone is different! So rather than just doing what everyone else is doing with their toe stops, have a play around and see how you prefer to have them
- Always insert at least 6 thread or 1cm of the toe stop stem inside the plate
- If you really like having your toe stops at a certain point but you don't have enough thread inside the plate then you should consider getting smaller wheels
- Make sure your toe stop stem is greased when inserting it. Dry is bad, just like in life
- To figure out what toe stops are best for you, chat to your team mates and try out a few or drop in store for some help
Best Picks for Adjustable Toe Stops
Most Big and Round
Most Durable Indoors and Outdoors
Now go on and get out there on your new toe stops!