Updated: Dec 31, 2019
You will probably be aware that we are passionate about roller skating in all its glorious forms. That means we want everyone to have the best experience possible on eight wheels. In order to do this, we decided to only stock items from the vast array available to us that we feel reflect the best possible quality at the best possible price. So from skates to socks, t-shirts and stickers, wheels, plates and all the other items, you will find our carefully curated collection of goods on offer. We know our taste isn't exactly cheap, and Len and I both skate in Moxi roller skates, made by Riedell, however price point wise, Moxi Lolly skates are a considered to be a mid-priced skate. To get a full set up of boots, plates, wheels, toe stops, laces and even a skate tool for the price, with the build quality that's evident as soon as you pick up this skate, they represent really good value for money. We skate a lot and my first pair of Lolly skates lasted well over 4 years. The superior build quality also means you will be able to execute moves far more easily than with a poorly built roller skate.
However, we recognise that Moxi roller skates are an investment and are something that many people decide to purchase as a reward to themselves, or once they reach a certain milestone or skate-versary. You have to skate on something in the meantime- so what should it be? We looked at a few popular brands that are available in the UK, including Rookie, Impala, Candi Girl (in the UK called Candi Grl) and Chaya. Sure Grip roller skates are currently not available in the UK.
In order to test the skates, we used them at home (kitchen roller dance is so much fun!), at our classes and some had additional testing at our pop-up shop. As I now mostly wear Beach Bunny Moxi roller skates, I know how long it can take to break in a stiffer skate, so really tried to persevere with the wearing of these skates in order to give them time to break in (if required).
Following our trials, (which are ongoing depending on what else becomes available for the UK market,) we felt the clear winner at this price bracket of £100 or less are the Rookie Artistic and Rookie Classic Suede skates.
These are the reasons we like them:
*There is a heel, which we feel supports beginner roller skaters to have a better body position, and will train you to balance in a way that will support your progression.
*The materials used to make the upper are flexible enough to provide an instantly comfortable fit. We have tried and tested many pairs of roller skates around the £100 price point and we can actually skate in the Rookie's compared to other brands. Many brands have a reinforced toe box or are very stiff around the ankle, which will take weeks to break in and cause lots of blisters. We think the discomfort skating in roller skates like this would be enough to put off anyone who is taking up roller skating as a new hobby. In order to make sure we were not being biased to Moxi, we offered visitors to our pop-up shop the opportunity to try the skates we were testing, so we have the opinion of a few people.
*The toe-stop is adjustable, allowing the skater to make the stem longer or shorter according to the user's skill level or needs. Many other roller skates at this price point have bolt on toe stops - they can either be on or off. This also means the toe stop can be upgraded for other toe stops using the same thread size, allowing the wearer to personalise the skate much more than simply changing the laces.
*The materials used to make the plate look similar to more expensive brands, and the plate itself looks a little thicker than other brands at this price point, suggesting it is more durable. In our comparisons, we also found the way the plates are put together very variable, with some brands having very loose trucks. Very few beginner roller skaters would have the knowledge to tighten their trucks so they have more control over their wheels. We feel loose trucks can be really useful to make certain movements easier, however when you are starting out, that lateral movement isn't helpful!
*The wheels are a small cylindrical shape with a slight curve, and at a mid-point durometer which allows the skate to be used comfortably indoors and out. Straight out of the box, we felt the wheels were a little on the tight side and were not roller freely on the suede pair we received, but a quick adjustment with a skate tool sorted that right out. We know some of our adult beginners actually prefer roller skates with 'non-rolly' wheels!
*The size is consistent with UK shoe sizes.
We feel these skates are on the generous size. I wear UK 6.5 (Moxi 8) and found a UK 6 a comfortable fit. Len similarly went down half a size. In comparison, particularly brands made by a non-UK company, the size is easy to get wrong. Rookie roller skates are available in full UK sizes.
Rookie Artistic roller skates - white - UK 3 - UK 8
Rookie Artistic roller skates - black - UK 3 - UK 12
Rookie roller skates classic suede - burgundy - UK 3 - UK 8
In conclusion, we like Rookie roller skates artistic style so much that we upgraded all our hire skates to these during this year, at considerable investment! Roller Girl Gang is supported by Rookie, but we are not sponsored by them. We believe these will better support skaters starting out to have the best experience possible.
We know our friends in other countries recommend different brands. We know Rookie roller skates are only available in the UK. We will leave you to make your own judgement!
Update from Rookie: “Our skates are also available in Europe and some of these stockists ship to the US.”