This Is How I Roll! P2 – Roller Derby Gear Reviews

I have changed my skates a little since my last this is how I roll post, and I have gone through three sets of skates in my derby career so far. I really like my current set up and I have seen many ask about reviews and opinions on my wheels and boot – the plate is widely used so I will only pop up a short “I really like these” note. I have posted before to show that I use particular brands and products, however I haven’t actually reviewed the one thing that should really get a review (especially as I can’t actually find a proper review anywhere!) – the Suregrip Isis boot.

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I currently skate on:

  • Suregrip Isis Boot size 6.
  • Suregrip Magnesium Avenger plate.
  • Strawberries and Scream custom “Aloha” toe guards.
  • Crazy Skates Bounce toe stops
  • Juice Wheels.
    I don’t mix these wheels, I generally skate on full set of either 91a or 93a – the 95a and the 86a are if anything goes wrong or are desperately needed!

    • 91a Sapphire Martini wheels
    • 93a Cosmo Martini wheels
    • 95a Appletini Martini wheels
    • 86a Java wheels

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Juice wheels review.

I reviewed these wheels in a separate post, this can be found here.

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Suregrip Isis Boot review.

SureGrip ISIS BOOT ONLY

I originally started roller derby on Riedell R3s. These didn’t agree with me so I changed to Suregrip Rebels – boots which were more forgiving on my somewhat wide feet. In January 2014, the sole of these gave way and I needed to figure out a plan of action fast for a bout taking place February 14th. I had upgraded to Suregrip Magnesium Avenger plates and was pretty happy with these, so my intention was to simply change the boot and mount these plates.

I did quite a bit of research, set a budget and set off to see Craig at the Derbystore. I had read as much as I could and decided that Suregrip Isis was the boot for me, in hindsight I probably should have tried other boots on for comparison but I’m sticking to my guns on this.

My research brought up the lack of width in Reidell boots, the design of many Suregrip derby skates being sized on mens feet rather than womens – at this point Bont and Antiks weren’t even on my radar due to the high price. I wanted a quality boot which wasn’t going to destroy my bank balance! I came across the Suregrip Isis, only a small number of people seemed to have these and the feedback was really positive. A key sticking point was the sizing – the Isis boot appears to have been designed with female shoe sizing in mind allowing a little extra width for those of us with a bit more foot to cater for!

More research into it:

  • Leather boot
  • Leather stitched sole
  • Heel lock system
  • Power strap
  • Wide toe box
  • Narrow heel cup
  • Interior padding
  • Reinforced toe
  • Medium-high cut ankle
  • Made specially with roller derby in mind
  • £170 price tag (@Derbystore)

All the above appealed to me, as a female with fairly skinny ankles and heels but a wider toe area these sounded ideal! So to Sheffield I went.

Craig offered me two sizes to try on, my own shoe size and a size down. I excitedly strapped them on my feet and had a prance around to see how my feet felt in them for toe stop and general weight shifting. Both fitted, though I found my toes to be slightly crushed in the size down and that I had more ability to push off more efficiently in my actually shoe size. I found this an odd result as most are US sizes and we often convert down sizes to meet the UK ones, but I feel this may be more to do with the generally more suitable fit of the boot. I was sold.

So with two weeks of practice before the bout, I had to really cross my fingers! Plates mounted to the new Isis boots and I bought a good supply of blister plasters in preparation for the next few sessions. Upgrading from Suregrip Rebels to Suregrip Isis I could tell the difference in quality straight away, the boot reacted more to my foot and harnessed my movement and power which really translated across into my skating. The higher cut ankle was ideal for me as an ex-figure skater / ex-ice hockey player as it was something I was more used to with my skates and means that my skates feel more in tune with the shape of my feet.

My skinny ankles didn’t have a problem at all with these thanks to the narrow streamlined heel end of the boot and heel lock system which really helps with foot slippage – as the boot really suits my foot shape, the heel lock system isn’t particularly used when I skate, however the option to use it is positive! The wide toe box was ideal and so comfortable for my wider feet, it allowed the boot to mould around my foot shape without restraining and binding my feet together, allowing me a more efficient push off and power transference.

The 100% full leather material (apologies to vegan skaters, unfortunately this boot is not currently manufactured with synthetic materials) is strong and durable, with only a bit of stitching being caught whilst playing – none of this has been structural damage and the boot is still going a year on with very little wear and tear whatsoever! Though with them being leather they do require a longer breaking in period than most synthetic boots, you can Google and find more information on how to break them in and tips and tricks from many experienced skaters which I personally used and found a shorter breaking in period. Within two weeks of use, heating, moulding and stretching I was able to wear these in a bout with no pain or hindrance! (Just a rather rotten cold.)

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These are over one year old now and I skate on them three+ times a week. They are ridiculously durable and I have found them to be highly reliable and reactive to your movements. The Isis design offers a more suitable fit to female derby skaters with medium-wide feet that are after a good quality boot without breaking the bank.

All in all, my honest opinion is that the Suregrip Isis is an outrageously underrated boot. With many skaters amassing around brands such as Bont and Antik like many did with Atom wheels, this boot has been pretty much ignored and hidden away from the spotlight.

Crazy Bounce Toe Stops review.

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Gumballs were my go to toe stop. Until I tried these. I had read a fantastic review by Shocker Khan and I loved the idea of a toe stop that compressed more and harnessed your down force to help and improve your up and go force! I’d highly recommend clicking her link through as I full 100% echo her thoughts on these! These have been specifically designed for agility and short stopping distance, making light work of toe stop work and really helping you dig down when driving on them.

These currently seem to retail at around the £19 mark (@Double Threat Skates) – only £2 more than Gumballs!

  • Made from super high rebound rubber compound
  • Non-marking
  • Hard wearing and long lasting

The use of these stops seem to be picking up across the UK, they are currently listed as “Sold out! AGAIN!” on Double Threat Skates website amongst many other stores who have also sold out!

Suregrip Magnesium Avenger plate.

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I went from a nylon probe plate to these Mag Avenger plates, the difference was instantaneous! The ability to change the setup with the DA45 trucks and pivot points was fantastic, I have always been quite a lateral skater who uses edges a lot (thank you twirly figure skating time!) so to have a plate under me that really reacted to my edge work was fantastic. I had a play around and watched a few Youtube videos on setting them up in different ways, I did replace the original purple cushions with slightly softer yellow cushions for the plates to better transfer weight and moves. My plates are somewhere in between the standard and short forward mounting positions. I have a slightly shorter plate and it is placed more towards the front, however my axles and trucks are still underneath my weighting points – and I will let it be known… the times that I fall over it is probably 80% falling forwards and 20% backwards! This means that my agility and transitioning abilities are reached due to how my weight is transferred over this placement, I can dig in when plowing and I have not noticed any downsides at all to this mounting!

The first time I did my 27/5 with these plates I actually cramped up. I did not realise how hard I had been pushing on the nylon probe plates to get around and hit my 28-29 laps. The Mag Avenger plates made pushing almost effortless and allowed more stability and really helped me to transfer my weight when digging down when blocking and really helped my juking and transitioning when jamming.

So there you have it! That is how I currently roll!!

Til next time little blue monsters xx

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One Reply to “This Is How I Roll! P2 – Roller Derby Gear Reviews”

  1. you bought the isis for all of the reasons that i did. i even went as far to stalk girls that were sponsored by sure-grip and skating in it to ask their opinion before i bought it. lucky you, you got to try it on before i did. i got it. skated, skated some more, skated even more. i hated it. nothing i could do made me hate it less, aside from chopping off about 3 inches off the top and hacking up the ridiculously long tongue. i actually had rub marks and bruises on my shins where the tongues rubbed. i hate that damn boot, and i hated even more that i had to practically give it away when i finally accepted that it wasn’t going to work for me. i’m glad it worked for you. THIS IS WHY PEOPLE NEED TO TRY ON SKATES BEFORE THEY BUY THEM. lol. i’m so jelly they worked for you, cause damn, they were nice quality and sweet looking.

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