Soft or Hard? – A look at skate footwear

by Marta

Wanna know the pros and cons of hard and soft skate boots? Or are you just struggling with decision-making? Then read on. Flammers took a look at skate footwear.

So, you skate! Maybe you have started to look at custom set ups. Maybe you don’t know where to start or you don’t know enough info to get you rolling with your skate build project. Whether you are wanting to tweak an existing set up or build from scratch, we are with you to help that process.

Previously I have discussed park specific wheels in issue #1 of Dog Days magazine and we looked at slide block hardware in issue #2 of the hard copies of this magazine. Check them out in print or you can access some of them here now on this site.

Soft Vs Hard is all about the trainer skate vs roller boot. I’m going to discuss the pros and cons of trainer skates and a harder boot aka roller skate specific. And you can make up your own mind. I have had the pleasure of skating on lots of different styles of skates. Let me pass onto you what I have found so far.

I want to first mention that the item should be safe for use, be of good quality and not have any faults. Always check a product over before skating to make sure it will do the job.

Can I just add here that I watched Nick the Medic skate a pair of sandals this week, just saying?…mind blowing stuff Nick

Positive use of a trainer skate

We’re talking Vans, Dc’s, Adidas and many more… come on they look so COOL.  I skated some black and gold vans and they received so much attention. It was a real conversation starter at the park, especially with skateboarders. They just look great! I set up my first pair of vans as I wanted to have a go at this type of build and it was a lot of fun. The black and gold build is on my youtube if you want to watch.

The cost of a pair of trainers to the cost of a specific roller skate boot is vastly different. It’s good for the wallet and when I built the skates I wasn’t so worried about messing up. I would just wear them as trainers if I got it wrong. I did eventually when I made my latest set up. A bit of strong tape in the bottom and it was fine! For the more fickle/creative skater out there the prospect of a quick boot change of trainers for a fresh look is also worth mentioning. Trainers of course will weigh a lot less than a purpose-built roller skate. A decent pair of trainers can be bought just about anywhere for any budget!

Positive use of a roller skate specific boot

You are possibly aware of all the brands of Roller Boots. If you are completely new to this here is a short list of what’s currently out there. Antik, Bont, Chaya and Moxi. All offer a park specific boot except Antik. But skaters are just skating the Antik in the park anyways.

So, these types of skates have had technology splashed all over them by skate experts. We have heat mouldable boots, heel cup support, soft linings and super strong materials. To name a few of the plus points. The support your foot gets from any one of these skates is not found in anything else. I have heard the term “skating in clouds” so many times. Support and comfort go hand in hand with these well designed items. They look great and last a very long time no matter what you chuck yourself off of! Pretty much all of these skates will have heel cup support. A snug heel lock-in offers the skater needed support to maintain control and it is crucial when it comes to performing powerful tricks and maneuvers.

Some reasons why a trainer skate might not be for you

They don’t last that long. You might get a year or two out of a pair of trainers and that’s if you are taking good care of them. This is a bit of a false economy. If you are on a budget, for the cost of a few pairs of trainers you could have had a park specific boot. There is little or no support for foot, toe and ankle. That is the skater’s choice, however skaters who have injuries in the ankle or leg might not feel confident with a trainer skate. This style of skate is less responsive, because the shoe is softer you might need to compensate the trucks with softer cushions. It should be noted that you will need a metal insole to help secure the boot to the plate.

Some reasons why a roller skate specific boot might not be for you

Yes, they can be hard on the bank balance and some folks just can’t make that stretch. There are places where skate specific items are just not available. They would need to be shipped in and extra customs charges apply. If you are the type of person who likes to mess about with colourways and get all creative then you are limited to laces, wheels and maybe stopper colours or just get crafty on the boot itself if possible. You will have these skates a while.

Thanks for reading! I’m always up for a talk about skating and roller skates so just holla at me.

Words by Sam “Flammers” Kent @flammers10

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