So you want to get involved with Roller Derby – if your dream is to become a referee or a player within a league there’s a bit of investment with kit.
Which is why here at DRD we have loaner kit for your first 4 weeks of our Intake to make Roller Derby more accessible for everyone!
But we can’t say enough how much owning your own kit – that you can adjust the set-up on – can make a difference to finding your skating style.
Here’s our quick guide on what kit you’ll need and some handy links as well!
Helmets, or noggin protectors, are one of the most important feature of any kit bag. If you invest in a good helmet you’re really investing in the lifespan of your derby career.
Concussion is not something to be laughed about, and buying second hand helmets is really not recommended.
A basic helmet will get you started, but advice from our members would be invest early on. Most of our league members wear an S-One which come in a range of colours, sizes and styles suitable for Roller Derby – and if you’re super fancy you can even get one with a visor!
Some stores will also offer group discounts, so if you get started with loaner kit then do a group order together with a bunch of other newbies from an Intake you may get a nice deal!
Usually we get our Helmet (and other kit) needs from Double-threat Skates, The Manchester Skate Shop or Skate Britain (hit the links in the side bar!)
You can also get a cheaper brand but we find that most members buy cheap and in the long run spend more because within a few months they need to upgrade their kit.
Other brands we love are TSG and Bauer.
The protection you need for Roller Derby also includes; Knees, Elbows and Wrists. Most of these you can get in some decent starter pack sets, and most Elbows and wrists will last a long time. Some of our members are still wearing their original elbow pads!
The one thing we’d recommend upgrading (if you can) are Knee pads.
Knees are super important and knee damage is not fun and can cause problems later on, knee taps and knee based stops/safety falls are a big feature of the minimum skills program.
We’re not trying to sugar coat it, Roller Derby is a contact sport. Sometimes even Refs can get caught off guard so regardless of what role you fancy invest in decent protective gear early on to save your body later on!
Brands we recommend are 187, S-one and TSG
Another protector of concussion is your mouth guard. We don’t just wear them to look fancy.
Most of the Derby community wear Sisu these days, although a number of players have dental moulded ones which are made specifically for your mouth.
Both options are great because you can talk, and drink, whilst wearing them. A boil and bite guard that you can get from any sports shop will do the job too, but if you want comfort (and less drooling!) Sisu is an excellent choice.
Lastly, but the reason why we wear all of the above, are skates.
Skates come in many shapes, styles and brands and much like Cinderella’s glass slipper you’ll know when you find the right one.
The best thing you can do is go and try them on. A lot of members, because of the location of skate shops, have spent time in other members skates to get a feel for the boot before committing to their purchase. Double threat regularly run pop-up events in the north now and the Manchester skate shop is only a couple of hours drive – but we’d 100% recommend you don’t just buy your skates online without trying some on first!
Usually people reccomend R3s from Riedell as an entry level derby skate because of the price point and they’re hardy. But they don’t work for everyone, and other brands are producing entry level boots now that are options for new skaters.
Just don’t buy Rio Rollers, they aren’t derby specific and don’t have all the adjustable features you need to get a good skate set-up.