Quad Skates (4 wheels – no inlines)

You have finally discovered the sport of Roller Derby and have decided you are passionate enough to participate for the long term, purchasing a solid pair of skates will be your first major step. Riedell makes several levels of boots that accommodate many skill levels. If you are new to the sport you may want to start out with the She Devil an entry level inexpensive boot, prices range from $100 and up. Once a boot has been chosen you will need to decide on a plate, SureGrip makes a good solid plate. Wheels and bearings are a personal preference, there are may manufacturers to choose from, most skate shop and online vendors offer packages which include the boot plate, wheels, and bearings.


A properly fitting helmet is arguably the most important piece of safety gear you will invest in. There are two kinds of helmets to choose from; a hard foam lined single impact PSC rated up to 30mph helmet that should be replaced after one hard impact, bicyclists typically wear this type of helmet. The second choice is a multi-impact, or skateboard helmet which is lined with a softer foam and is not rated or certified, this type of helmet would not need to be replaced as often, however, the foam liner breaks down over time and will need to be replaced periodically. Your helmet should fit snug, almost to the point of discomfort. There are many brands to choose from consult your league experts or local skate shop.

Choosing a Helmet by WFTDA.com
Choosing a Helmet by S1 Helmets

Mouth Guards

Mouth guards protect against concussions, the inside of your mouth, and teeth. They are a very important part of the derby skater’s equipment. Our friends over at Impact Mouthguards have a custom mold model that many of our skaters and trainers use and really like. Once you become a member of our brats family, we’ll send you a code you can use for an online discount on these amazing mouthguards.

There are a couple of other different styles to choose from if you choose to forego the custom models. Many skaters use the boil and mold mouth guards such as those made by SISU or Shock Doctor.  You may also have a custom one made by a dentist or buy a nonmolding type typically used by people with braces. This style comes in two options – protection on the top teeth only or top and bottom. Night guards are not acceptable.

Knee Pads

Your knees are important, young girls bodies are still growing and their knees need attention. Make sure that the knee pad fits tight enough so that it will not slide off. Knee pads will compress over time and wear out, you should inspect them regularly for cracks, rips, and exposed rivets. Some good name brands are Pro-Tec, Rector, 187, TSG, and Triple Eight. You can plan on spending $35 to $85 on knee pads.

As with pretty much anything the more you spend the better protection you have. Pro-tec pads are the most basic pads with side coverage. We don’t recommend anything thinner than those.

Shopping for Knee Pads by WFTDA.com

Wrist Guards

Wrist guards are designed to protect your hands and wrist, they absorb impacts to the hand and give support to your wrists. Some guards have splints on the top or bottom and some have splints on both sides. Like all protective gear, your wrist guards need to be sized correctly for optimum support, keep in mind that you will be replacing the wrist guards often so inspect frequently.

Elbow Pads

Elbow pads should fit snuggly just like knee pads. You should treat your elbow pads just as you would knee pads, inspection, care, and maintenance are essential for long-lasting protection.

Additional Protection

Hip Pads

Hip pads protect your hip bones, tailbone, and help to prevent large hematomas. McDavid makes a custom pad that is longer, has a thicker tailbone lining and wraps around to protect the hip bones better. This style was designed for the roller girl at the request of FastGirl Skates in Seattle, www.fastgirlskates.com. Hip pads that have a hard shell are not recommended because they can hurt an opposing skater.


Gladiators are extra padding under the knee pad that are designed to support ligaments, cartilage, and the patella. Additionally, they help keep the knee pad from slipping. The Gladiator is optional and not a required piece of gear.

Other Tools and Items to Have on Hand

Reusable Water Bottle

Recommended Extras for quick fixes and maintenance:

  • Roll of Duct Tape (Repair loose pads, Tape Feet, Etc.)
  • Dry Rag
  • Wet rag in a plastic bag
  • Tools (Adjusting Trucks, Axle nuts, and toe stop. Powerdyne tool by Riedell works well)
  • Spare Bearings, Axle Nuts, Toe stops, Laces, Mouth Guard

Care & Maintenance

You have just invested a good deal of money on equipment so make it last as long as possible by taking proper care of it. Moisture, Metal, and plastic are a bad combination when left to marinate, be sure to remove your gear from your skate bag after practice and bouts to preserve the integrity of your equipment where moisture will occur. It is also recommended to use some kind of bacteria neutralizing agent to keep your gear from getting too pungent.

Helmets, protective gear, and mouth guard can be purchased at many sporting good stores. A good resource is your local skate shop or skate rink, they have experience and good advice for the beginner and novice skater. Please make sure the equipment purchased fits correctly. Additionally, please review the equipment maintenance forms. For more information feel free to email an AJRD Representative for recommendations on purchasing your skates and gear.

Other Information to consider

All-In-One Packs

While at first glance, these look like they could be good deals, we generally tell people to shy away from these because very few people (young or old) fit into the same size for all the different pads.

Which Wheels are right for me?

Wheels are a very personal choice. There is a lot of research that goes into creating wheels and the science of it is fascinating stuff.  There are some great resources out there for helping you decide what will be best for you or your skater. Here are just a couple:

Choosing the Right Wheels by WFTDA.com
What Wheels Are Best? by SinCitySkates.com
Which Wheels Are Best on Which Surface? by SinCitySkates.com