So after destroying my skates last week, I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade.

For a while I’d be fantasy shopping for plates, but without ever having tried on other derby shoes, I needed to go somewhere I could try a few brands and boots to get an idea what I wanted. With that in mind, I headed off to Double Threat Skates in St Pancras.

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If at all interesting, this is my foot dimensions.

My hobbit feet are short and extremely wide*, so I was concerned I’d never find anything that would fit me. The issue would be finding a shoe which wasn’t too tight at the front, and yet was able to hold my heel at the back when I pick up my foot. My Suregrip Gt50s were terrible for this.

(* not quite as hairy as Frodo’s)

After loitering outside nervously for a while, finally I went into Double Threat and Kitty was able to sort me out with a pile of derby boots to work my way through.

After a while we’d ruled out Bonts and Motos, and were down to Reidell 465s, Reidell Blue Streaks, and a pair of Antik AR1’s.

I found the Reidell Blue Streak to be a little tight around the toes, and loose around the heel. The R 645s were similar, but a slightly easier fit.

The Antiks were so different that it was hard to compare against the others. They were unbelievably comfortable due to being stuffed full of padding, which also made them feel a little like space boots. However, it felt as though my foot was able to worm around too much, and my heel lifted up slightly when I picked up my foot. The extra padding in the tongue took some getting used to too, and I could see that it might irritate the top of my foot after a while. However they were truly gorgeous, so I kept trying them on again and again in the hopes that they’d magically fit.

As a last resort, Kitty brought down a set of Crazy skates DBX boots with Venus plates. These were the instant winners. Compared to the others, the Crazy held my foot at the front and the back and was the right balance of rigidity and comfort.

After talking me through the plates, I decided to take a punt with the Venus, which has a slightly higher (20′) kingpin angle than my GT50s. I’m hoping I can use this to get more responsiveness out of my edges, without going to the intimidating extreme of the Suregrip Avenger’s 45′(33′) angle.

Unfortunately, the Crazys needed to be ordered in, so it’ll be a few weeks before I can lay hands on these guys. I’m hoping that by then the guilt of spending so much money on roller skates will have been forgotten, and I can enjoy the “ooh shiny new thing” novelty!

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I stumbled across this sorry looking “Roller rink” on my way to Double Threat. I had all my gear with me, but even I wasn’t tempted to go inside!

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