Is Roller Derby Expensive?

This blog post will cover the question ‘How much does roller derby cost?’ 

The cost of Roller Derby when you're new to the sport and looking at your first purchases, where do you start....? Is Roller Derby going to be Expensive? The initial requirement to purchase is pretty much the same across all sports when you start playing. Ultimately, if you are a novice the first thing you'll need to do is go out and buy some equipment so you can get rolling! A life lesson that was instilled in me from an early age from my parents was "buy cheap buy twice". This very much applies when buying your initial set up. The market is flooded with an abundance of choice, everything from budget equipment all the way up to the latest state of the art designs and innovations. This can make the prospect of buying equipment quite daunting as it is easy to get lost and find yourself asking "Where do I start?" and "How do I know if this will be any good for me?".

Try Before You Buy

The world of roller derby is a fantastic community and whatever league you skate in I am confident that your new teammates will give you an opportunity to try on their skates, pads, helmets, etc. I would highly recommend this as getting a feel for the product before you buy is hugely important. Being able to test whatever you will potentially buy in the environment you will be using the product makes a huge difference. On top of this, you have the wisdom of your teammates who can explain what worked for them when they started out. There's also lots of content online in the form of reviews and a whole host of information on products. Do your homework and read up on this. Although, I would say don't get too bogged down in some of the detail as you can definitely pick out what is most relevant and what you find really useful. 

A life lesson that was instilled in me from an early age from my parents was "buy cheap, buy twice".

Roller Derby Shops

There is also a whole host of roller derby shops out there, stocked with lots of gear and equipment that you can look at and try on first-hand. The people working in these stores are usually roller derby players so can offer a great insight into the products and help give you relevant guidance on the equipment you are interested in. I will add that it is really important that you take all opinions with a pinch of salt as what you require will be very unique to you. Really make the effort to try on and ensure the product fits right and feels good. 

Don’t Be A Cheapskate

As I stated early, I personally wouldn't recommend purchasing products at the very bottom end of the pricing spectrum, again to quote an old saying - "You get what you pay for" That doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune on all your new gear, for me, Bont represents incredibly good value for money. The quality of the product and the innovation, as well as the design research that has gone into every piece of equipment, is genuinely second to none. Spending that little bit extra will reward you tenfold, saving a few pennies vs improved comfort / superior build quality/longevity and greater design weighs in hugely in favor of spending that little bit extra. 

What happens if I Purchase Cheap Skates

By cheap skates, I am talking about skates that are under $150. Think about it. For a skate manufacturer to make a boot, a plate, 8 wheels, and 16 bearings and sell it all for under $150 they are going to need to use some very average materials. More than likely you are going to end up with a boot that doesn’t last very long, bearings packed with grease that will be hard to spin and wheels as hard as rocks. 

My 3 Tips To Choosing The Right Roller Derby Skates and Equipment

To give a bit more context to the above positives to spending a little bit more money, I have broken this down into 3 clear points;

  1. Comfort - never underestimate the significance of having equipment that fits correctly and feels good. Especially when buying a new boot, absolute comfort means your focus is always on the game and not any foot rubbing or your heel slipping out of position. Your foot will spend a lot of time in the skate you choose to purchase so be smart and make the right long-term decision.
  1. Superior build quality and longevity - buying roller derby skates and equipment that are well made and will still be in good condition months down the line is really important. Nobody wants to be buying new skates and equipment every few months, roller derby as a sport can be very hard-wearing on kit. It is worth that extra investment on a piece of equipment that delivers on longevity of life span and that will hold up over the test of time.
  1. The Design of the Product - buying a well-designed roller derby skates and equipment will not only improve your game but it will potentially help you make improvements to technique and your overall skating (especially so with boots, plates, wheels, and anything involved in the skate) Bont, as a company, has always been right at the forefront of innovation and that is instantly recognized in all of the product range on offer. So much time and money are invested in all of the equipment that is developed, so you have 100% peace of mind that what you are buying is absolute quality.

Cheap Roller Derby Skates

There will always be bargain products that offer you a start to your roller derby career that are a cost-saving and short-term solution. Ultimately, if you do pick price over the quality of the equipment you run the risk of the product letting you down and wearing out or breaking. Not only that but you may well hinder your own performance as you are not giving yourself the best possible start in the sport. Everything from your skating technique to your stability is affected by the products that you choose to roll with. Making a decision to spend that little bit extra on your roller derby skates and equipment that is 100% suited to you will pay off in the long run big time, not only that but you will find you fall in love with Roller Derby even more! 

 title-is-roller-derby-expensiveMy roller derby skates

There is no way of getting away from the fact that if you want the best possible start in roller derby you will need to spend some money but before you do spend any of your hard-earned cash... spend something that is priceless! Spend time, this really is crucial and I can't express this enough. Investing time in independently researching the equipment/products you are interested in is so important. Even more important is actually testing and trying the skates and equipment out, the vital time you spend doing so will be crucial in finding the right product for you! 

My Roller Derby Skate Recommendation

If you are getting into Roller Derby, I would highly recommend the Bont Prostar Roller Derby Skate. Bont is famous for boots so you know that the boot is going to be outstanding. The Prostar is fully heat moldable so you can mold it to your foot. The base is made of fiberglass which is unheard of in a skate at this price. The toe has nice protection and it is long-lasting. The wheels are actually very good for this price point and the wheels were developed in co-operation with Bont’s professional inline racing team and they come with light racing oil out of the box so you don’t need to clean them out to get them rolling. All for just $189. 

Bont Prostar

Bont Prostar Roller Derby Skate


To summarise, spend both time and money wisely, extensively test and research any product before you are ready to buy! Once you are committed and you know you are buying the right product, I guarantee you won't look back, your own personal development and love sport will grow immensely.

About the Author

Thomas Banks skates for Southern Discomfort, London. Previously he was a founding member of Lincolnshire Rolling Thunder and represented them for over 8 years. Banks represented England in the last 3 MRDA World Cups and played in the last 2 World Cup finals (2016 and 2018). He competed at the MRDA champs with Lincolnshire in 2018, winning 2 of 3 games. MVP at the Men's European Cup in 2018. Team Bont QuadStar since 2019. 
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