by Mel @troubleon8wheels
Here is the first of some long-awaited review about the WIFA boots, from Austrian ice skate manufacturer. WIFA (wee-fah) have been manufacturing ice skates in Vienna since 1920, and due to popular demand, have moved into creating a new line of gorgeous roller skate boots.
Their website is very helpful, with plenty of information about the different boot models available as well as a number of size guides. Just make sure you select the one for roller boots.
Since we got their boots in to trial in late summer 2021, we have had a couple more orders from them. WIFA are a lovely company to deal with and Roller Girl Gang were the first UK shop to import them.
The folks who have tried WIFA boots on have been very complimentary about them, and I have mounted a good few of them and sent them off to excited new owners.
Upon first handling the boot, I was struck by how different companies interpret 'level of support' for feet differently. For example, as an ice boot manufacturer, WIFA are used to making very hard leather boots, that will protect ankles should a skater fall on the ice. Anything less than solid would be perceived as 'very soft support' or 'no support' to the ankle. Conversely, to a skater who is used to a trainer skate that has no real foot or ankle padding or support, a WIFA suede boot could feel almost constrictive. These boots have a great level of support built in, and in my view, plug the gap between the Moxi Lolly and Moxi Jack boot. Even once you have chosen the rest of the build, they will still only be the price of a Moxi Lolly skate.
Things I liked:
The boot is incredibly light, yet supportive. I think this is due to the plywood stacked heel, or possibly the leather sole.
The sole has a little flex.
There are a good range of colours.
The amount of support is good. Having started my journey of high top roller skate boots with Moxi Lolly skates (which after the low cut hockey boots I used for roller derby, felt really different), I now skate in Moxi Jack boots. These are super supportive boots, with a lot of extra reinforcement in the heel, toe, arch, ankle and in fact, the whole boot. The padding is thick and shaped to support different parts of the foot, but over years of wear, due to the material and construction, the boots become much softer. The WIFA boot is much slimmer to begin with, but remember that the amount of padding is all relative. WIFA consider their Street Suede boot to be 'very light support', however, they are still stiffer than the Moxi Lolly. WIFA come from an ice boot background (which are very stiff!) so it is less surprising they consider this boot to be light support. The Street Suede boot feels similar to the Luna or Moonlight skate with level of support.
The Street Deluxe boot is a stiffer and thicker layer of nubuck, so over time, I would expect this boot to hold its shape for longer. The Street Xtreme is an even more reinforced version of the Street Deluxe, and one that I expect to be fairly similar to the Jack boot. The Deluxe model is somewhere between the Jack boot and the Luna skate.
Sizing is standard European sizes. So far, our experience of fitting the WIFA boots in store has shown that your usual UK size should fit.
The inside of the boot is lined with soft leather. This allows your foot to breathe, even when you wear the boots for long periods.
The 'cheek' feature on the boot may not be to everyone's taste, but I like that it is distinctive to WIFA. It is there an an anti-wrinkle feature. Some professional level Riedell boots also do not crease; however this is due to the extra padding on the inside of the boot, as well as they very stiff outer leather layer.
The price is amazing! For a coloured boot, that is made in the EU using sustainable materials, with the level of support offered, it's pretty much unbeatable. Price of good at the moment is going up, due to issues with sourcing materials, and higher shipping costs. We do our best to absorb these costs as much as we can, but ultimately we are a small business. Even with an increase in price of the WIFA boots, we think they offer very good value for money.
Things that could be challenging:
The heel is stacked ply, which makes the boot very, very light, however does need a nice sharp drill bit to go through. The heel is also a little narrower than Riedell boots, so the mounting bolts will likely need to go in at an angle, in order to ensure you don't drill into the lining inside.
The sole has a little flex. If mounting a nylon plate, which also has a little flex, there may be issues with the boot sitting flat. My suggestion would be to mount an aluminium plate.
Currently, they are only available in suede and nubuck leather. There are no plant-based options.
There will never be enough cushioning in the sole for me. I always add my own innersoles!
The width is a standard/medium 'C' fitting. Although we think folks with wider feet will still be able to wear these, by sizing up one size and loosening the laces.
Size range is from UK3.5 - 10. Other sizes may be possible to make, on a custom basis.
If we build your dream skate that includes a WIFA boot, it becomes non-returnable, as we consider it to be a custom. If you choose the wrong size, you are stuck with skates that don't properly fit. If you try Moxi Lolly skates at home and they don't fit, they can simply be returned for a different size, as you purchased the complete skate. The way to get around this would be for us to send you just to boot to try on, so you know it fits, before we build the skate. Sure it is a little more to-ing and fro-ing, but that's surely better than having your new gorgeous skates arrive and you realise they don't fit?
WIFA boots offer great value and better carbon footprint than many manufacturers. You can have a properly custom skate at a fraction of the cost compared to other customs.
Right now, we are taking pre-orders for WIFA boots. We have been told by WIFA to order soon for Spring 2022 delivery. We apologise that that is a little vague, but in our experience, we rarely have to wait more than 4-6 weeks for them to arrive into store. If you don't want to wait that long for your WIFA's, then drop us a line email@example.com and tell us the size you are after. We will let you know the colours we have in stock in your size.
Updated prices (as of 1st February 2022):
RGG Customs with WIFA boots
We have been really busy selecting WIFA boots, plates, wheels and bearings to create some mouthwatering skate packages. These are all unique builds - we will never build the same skate twice for our custom collection! We've even discounted the full skate package to offer the best value we can.
Available in sizes EU37 / UK 4 - EU 42 / UK 8