For any new skaters or someone considering starting derby, one of the most daunting aspects is buying all the gear. I'm not going to lie: it's expensive. In fact, it's really expensive. And if you can't come up with the $300 for skates and pads up-front somehow, you probably don't have the funds to play this sport.
The good news is that you can start small and upgrade later, but it's possible that you'll end up spending more in the long run. I've only been really skating since December 2010, but I've replaced every single thing except for the outer shell of my helmet.
Everyone has different preferences. Height, weight, skating surface, skill level, derby position and other things factor in. As a 5'4", 165-pound who has been skating a year in an indoor rink and hoping to jam/pivot, here's what I'm working with now:
-Riedell 265 Boots
-Sunlite nylon plates
-Bones Reds Ceramic bearings
-4 Atom Stroker wheels
-4 Atom Stinger wheels
-Gumball toe stops
-Killer 187 Pro knee pads, knee gaskets, wrist guards and elbow pads
-Triple 8 helmet
-Prodent mouth guard
Supposedly the jump bars help to offset the strength lost by not having aluminum plates. The ceramic bearings are incredible, but pricey—my super-supportive husband bought them for me for Christmas and gave them to me early. The original padding in my helmet wore out but I hadn't hit my head on anything, so I replaced the padding rather than the whole helmet. The insoles that come in the 265 boots aren't that comfortable, so I recommend replacing them with some sport insoles and still wearing thick socks.
If there are any other skaters out there who wear hearing aids, buy Ear Gear. They are pretty much the best thing ever, and I'd pay $50 a pair if I had to. I'm glad I don't have to, but they're that worth it to keep my hearing aids dry enough during a three-hour practice that they still work.
Want to really be horrified? Tally up about how much you've spent on derby in the past year.
$20 (toe stops)
$20 (mouth guard)
Approximately $700 on gear in 12 months
Because my knees are bad, it looks like I'm going to replace my knee pads and gaskets about every nine months. Wrist guards and elbow pads seem to last about a year. The more you pay for skates and bearings, the longer they last. Don't be like me—don't lose your mouth guard and water bottle every few months.
What gear do you swear by?