Can We Roller Skates Without Stoppers & How?

Why would anyone take their toe stops out of perfectly good rollerskates if stopping is already so difficult?

It all depends on where you’re skating and what type of roller skate you’re doing.

Although some would argue that it isn’t for beginners to remove their toe stops, most people won’t notice the difference if they have never used them.

After you become more comfortable with skating with toe stops, removing them does become trickier.

This blog post will cover what a toe-plug is.

Then, I’ll show you how to use them to make your skating more enjoyable.

roller skates

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, there are many types of toe stops. The most important difference is in the thread type. 5/16″ is also known as bolt-on style. The thicker stem of adjustable toe stops can be screwed in and out to adjust the height from the ground. You can order these in both 5/8″ (also known as imperial – most plates) and metric thread types.

What Are Toe Plugs (Jam Plugs?)?

Jam plugs are very common among skaters who jam skate or do other types of roller skating in which toe stops may get in the way.

These plugs are not intended to slow down or stop roller skates. They are small and can be used to plug the gap where a toe-stop would normally be.

Toe Stops and Plate Damage

Depending on where you roller skate, an adjustable toe stop allows you to adjust how high or low it is. It is up to you to decide how high you should place your toe stop.

However, if it is very low to the ground, ensure enough thread in the housing to prevent damage.

It is very easy to damage the threads of the toe stop or toe stop housing.

We recommend using a little grease to ensure the threads are free to move past each other. Vaseline, or something similar, can be used on your toe stop threads. You only need a small amount of it. you can more damage toe stop threads if they are used incorrectly.

For example, the user drags the threads, which causes them to bang against each other.

The threads on one end of the toe stop housing will eventually become damaged.

However, it will not be visible from the outside. When you need to replace the toe stop, it will be obvious that it is stuck in place.

Try a lighter oil lubricant such as bearing oil. The oil will work through the threads and may require you to leave your toe stop in place for several hours.

If the bearing oil cannot penetrate your toe stop, you can try WD40. It may be possible to remove the toe stop by using WD40. You may need to use a wrench or other tools in this instance to free the toe stop.

However, you may still damage the toe stop housing.

How to Switch From Toe Stops to Toe Plugs

Here’s a suggestion to help you get used to the feeling of not having toe stops.

It is important to have something to protect your floor and plate. Some rinks won’t allow you to skate without a toe plug or toe stop.

  1. you can use toe plugs at any time. However, if your toes are not balanced and you’re trying to perform movements that require toe balance, or your toes are touching the floor, you may need to take your toes out.
  2. Make sure your toe stop stem is as short and straight as possible. A shorter toe stop is recommended for those with regular-length toe stems.
  3. Thinking about the type of skate you use, try to notice how often you use your toe stop without even thinking. Are you using your toe stops as a speed booster? Are you reliant on your toe stop as a way of stopping?
  4. If the answer is yes, you should take out your non-dominant foot and stop and start skating for about 30 minutes. This will allow you to practice a toe balance skill that requires extra angles. Your brain and body will relax if you put your toes back in. By focussing the time on short, concentrated sessions, you will likely remain aware of your no-toe-stops skates!
  5. Alternately, try the above and swap out both toe stoppers for toe plugs. As you gain confidence, you will gradually increase the time you can go without toe stops.
  6. Remember that bending your knees can be your friend!
  7. We recommend that you use your protective gear. Wear wrist guards or knee pads if removing your toe stop for the first time. Although knee pads can restrict cross-motions, they will make you more confident and help your body relax.
  8. Try different types of toe plugs, depending on your confidence level to skate on your feet.
  9. Toe-toe skating is a great way to build muscles in your ankles and lower legs. You can practice this by having your toes in (set higher), as long as you’re skating backwards. You can try to balance your feet by standing up. Then, lift one heel and then the other. You can then start to move or build speed by wiggling your feet (like little backwards lemons). You will stop safely if your toe touches the floor if you have your toes in. After completing the previous steps, you can start to skate backwards using toe plugs.

Pre-Requisite Skills

I suggest you have enough confidence to stop using a method without toe stops.

For example, a plough or T-stop if you plan to use toe pads at your local skate park.

Keep your speed slow if you don’t feel confident.

Types of Toe Plug

  • Discoplugz are hard like toe plugs, so they will slide, but they take up the space of a toe stop. Some people find these useful when making the change from toe stop to toe plug. They are available for plates that take adjustable toe stops in metric and imperial thread types.
  • Fo-mac dance plugs are a plastic material. Fo-mac jam plugs come in various colours and can be larger or smaller. They protect the floor and your plate, so they will scrape if you are skating outdoors. These are mostly available in imperial (5/8″) thread types, however we are working on stocking the fo-mac dance plug for 5/16″ (bolt-on) toe stops too. If you have a metric thread type, you will likely be able to fit a fo-mac toe plug in as the material is soft enough not to damage the toe stop housing. Finding a metric specific toe plug is always better.
  • Jammerz toe plugs are made from hard acrylic and are tiny. They use the minimum amount of material required to plug the toe stop housing effectively and provide plate protection. Jammerz is handcrafted and available in several designs and colours. They have even found a way to install an LED light!
  • Roller Girl Gang toe plugs are available in imperial, metric and bolt-on toe stop types and glow in the dark. We have used compostable and biodegradable materials in all aspects of sourcing the material and packaging (yes, the cellophane bags are compostable).

Conclusion

Keep in mind that you should gradually increase your ankle strength and wear supportive skating if you plan on using your toes a lot. Skating without ankle support is not recommended as you require maximum flexibility. Warm up the ankle joints properly.

There are many methods to learn to skate with toe stoppers or toe plugs. It all depends on your level of confidence. It may take you a few months to feel confident.

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