This Is How I Roll! P3 – Roller Derby Gear Reviews

I’ve gone and done it again. Yes – I switched skates and plates at the start of 2015!

Best. Decision. Ever.

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Credit: Nico Lightfield, Caen

As I’d been playing at a much more competitive level, I decided to really invest in a good quality boot since experiencing size issues with my old boots. The image above is after a year and a half worth of use? Still going strong!

I wanted to invest in a pair of high quality boots that were moldable and comfortable. I tried on various brands of boot, bobbing around the Riedells and Bonts – a popular choice with the Harlots, then I looked into Crazy Skates. There are many mixed reviews on Crazy Skates, most of the talk is about them not being the most attractive things and I didn’t know of anyone with Crazy Skates personally, however both Demanda Riot and Amanda Jammitinya are both advocates of Crazy Skates so they couldn’t be too far off the mark! With some travelling I was able to try on different sizes and the two available ankle cuts to get a feel for what I’d like. Crazy allows you to have two different size skates through the DNA service (for anyone who has one big and one small foot!) and gives you the option of a low ankle “performance” cut and a higher ankle “support” cut. After trying both cuts out, I went for the low ankle performance cut – which is a world away from my old high cut Isis boots! But skating around the store, I felt comfortable in them. My ankles were supported without being restricted and I could get do everything on them I needed to, including getting low!

I chose custom coloured, performance cut Crazy DBX4 DNA boots, I even managed to get hooked up with some additional image embroidery on the side of the boot thanks to Trent at Crazy Skates!

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The day that they arrived – bloody gorgeous!

 

The design and ordering process is fairly quick and easy, I was worried about the waiting time but Crazy managed a turnaround time of around 10 weeks! I placed the order May 4, boots were complete by June 27 and were delivered to Skatehut July 10. Fantastic! Derbystore had the task of mounting my plates and I took them straight to a session to get used to them, finding they performed beautifully during high level training sessions!!

I combined these boots with the Roll Line Killer plate after reading my teammate Louisa’s review and together with the plate this boot makes me feel so much more fluid with my skating technique. I had pretty blue and pink colour tags, with additional embroidery around the boots.

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Freshly mounted, freshly drooled over!

This design and build of the boot pretty much liberates your feet without losing any support or stability which is added to with the Crazy boots actually being pretty lightweight! Even though they are lighter boots, the Crazy DBX4 DNA are amazingly supportive without being restrictive. The design of the boot with all its straps and heat molding capabilities have really allowed me to have a boot which feels as though it has been made specially for my feet, I can really feel a difference when I am skating in these, from laps to hockey stops and from pushing to footwork! The boot is made from a high quality, synthetic microfiber material that is not too dissimilar to leather – but does not stretch like leather does! This is hard wearing, however there are scuff guards on the toe and both the inside and outside of your foot to fully protect the areas which tend to get scratched up on your skates!

The inside workings make for a comfortable boot even with the molded fit, whether blocking or jamming, my feet are not sliding around or gripping, my foot is kept nicely in place which allows me to use all my strength and force efficiently and effectively when skating. The “performance” cut DBX4 allows for more flexibility in the ankle area, with the padded cut sitting just below the ankle bone at a point which is both comfortable and secure.

I particularly like the natural curve in the sole which is designed to follow the natural curve of the human foot. This means you don’t lose power or push from your foot being already in the flat footed extension and instead allows you to really put your foot down to get 100% from your push. Because of this curve, you do need to bear in mind that if you get Crazy boots, you will need some plate blocks! This is to ensure that when your plates are mounted to the boots, you aren’t left with a gap between the plate and sole of the boot which can be dangerous and will decrease your power, push and general maneuverability.

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Pros:
Customisable: The boot can be customised and created in colours available on the DNA design software, pretty much every part of the boot can be colour picked from the sole, to the stitching, to the scuff protectors! Embroidery is also available across the main power strap and the side of the boot – yay for pretty skates!

Ankle cut options: You can have either the low ankle “performance” cut or the high ankle “support” cut with heel lock system making sure everyone can have the cut they prefer

Power straps: These have two power straps, one across the toe box and one across the main bulk of the boot. The main power strap is fairly wide and velcros across from a fixed point which seems to work just fine! The strap across the toe box is a nice addition, working in a loop fashion rather than a fixed point, allowing you to pull the strap tight or keep it wide and loose to suit your natural foot width.

Heat moulding: As a skater with skinny heels and a wide toe box, it’s so useful and comfy to have boots that are made for my feet!

High quality synthetic Microfiber material: not leather so good for any Vegan skaters out there! Also doesn’t stretch like leather so the boot retains its form once molded.

Curved sole: My feet do not feel strapped down and I don’t lose power or push off!

Plastic/rubber bumpers / toe guards: All skates will know that our toes get smashed up something rotten, I used to have Strawberrys & Scream toe guards, however with my Crazy’s I didn’t need them. They have plastic/rubberised toe guards which have taken a beating since I first got these and there is no real damage to these at all! There is also a scuff bumper on the outside edge of the boots which protects those outside edges that tend to get bashed up in falls or by other skaters boots. Skates are kept in great condition AND my toes don’t get hurt when there is incidental contact to them!

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Cons:
Curved sole: This is both a pro and a con, but having this natural curve to the sole means that you will need to purchase these plastic blocks to be mounted with your plate – these do come with Crazy Skates pre made set ups!

Performance cut: I love the fit and feel of the performance cut, but I do feel it would be have been a nice option to have a heel lock system built into this DBX4 performance cut like the DBX3 support cut.

Colours / patterns: There is a good range of colour options available on the design software, but I can definitely image some skaters would love a wider range of colours or even patterns on the material!

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Slip It 4 – Caen – Credit: NSP189 Photography

 

I’ve been skating on Juice since 2014 and I’m still a huge advocate of them, I’m chuffed to have seen so many skaters actually skating on them now!

I still don’t generally mix these wheels as they’re designed to give the extra grip without losing your roll so it negates the need for pushers – however – I have very recently put some on as pushers this Sunday just gone. We had our floor resurfaced and it’s gone from being dreamy to being reminiscent of the iced lake scene in Bambi. I’ve gone from my usual 94a Cosmo wheels to my 98a Java wheels as my 94s were gripping a bit too much when I put any level of brake on. However the Java don’t have quite as much grip as the Martini (due to the difference in design, however the Martini only go up to 96a which still wasn’t quite enough for our newly shined floor!) so I’ve ended up putting pushers on diagonals and it seemed to work during Scrim!

I do own a few sets as since breaking my ankle, I have noticed I’m a little more sensitive to different floors and I have tweaked wankle on the odd occasion due to my wheels being too grippy – I always prefer more slide to grip for general comfort and safety!

I currently own:

  • 86a Java
  • 92a Sapphire Martini (new version)
  • 94a Cosmo Martini (new version)
  • 98a Java

To refresh on these, my previous snap review of some Martinis (the original 93a version)

Wheels : Juice Martini Cosmo 93a

I have struggled to find wheels that work with me and not against me, when I read a blog by Shocker Khan in 2013, on the release of Juice Martini wheels I instantly fell in love with them. At first I wasn’t able to buy them due to an already fresh wheel purchase, however later on I figured I may as well take a leap or I’ll never know! So I did. I couldn’t help myself – a wheel which compressed and worked with your body was an impressive idea, when I found out about them they weren’t readily available in the UK so I had to track some down overseas and have them shipped over. And I was not disappointed!

As soon as I had them in my grasp they felt so well made and different to every other wheel I’d come across. On my skates? Beautiful. The Martini Cosmo wheel is so reactive and allows you to take all the power and energy stored during skating and use it when you need it most. It almost gives you a boost! As a mid sized wheel, it is ideal for anyone who often blocks and jams. As a blocker they give you added strength to your stance and powerbox allowing you to really dig down whether in a wall or giving/taking a hit, as a jammer they react to every lean, every turn, every crossover – the difference they make when you are juking and using quick footwork is unexpectedly incredible!! The best part of the compression of the wheel is that you do not sacrifice your speed for grip. You can continue to skate while the wheel moves with your body to help your stay with (usually) all 8 wheels on the ground!

I am genuinely 100% impressed with this wheel, it really does put a spring in your skate and does everything it says on the pack and more! The only downside? I can’t afford to buy more in the other durometers and versions! The near £60 price tag for just a 4 pack of wheels is fairly steep, I will admit this, however this wheel is worth every penny and more!!

Til next time little blue monsters xx

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