There are two main types of roller skate plates- those made from nylon and those made from metal alloys (aluminum, magnesium or platinum). 

Nylon plates are typically less expensive, but they also tend to be less durable. 

While on the other hand, metal alloy plates are more expensive, but they offer a higher level of performance and durability.

1. Nylon Plates

Roller skates with nylon plates are often less expensive and lighter than those with Metal Alloy. 

A nylon plate can sometimes be referred to as a plastic plate. Nylon plates can flex, which means less power is transferred. 

Nylon plates do not have the ability to flex well when skating certain styles such as stopping or quick takesoffs, so they are not ideal for these styles. 

But some skaters do prefer nylon plates because of their lightweight. If lightweight is your top priority and flex isn’t a concern, look for a nylon plate that is still durable, such as the Sunlite plate that has patented v-bracing and a lifetime warranty.

2. Metal Alloy

In general, aluminum or magnesium plates are preferred by skaters who need a plate that is less likely to break if used frequently, roughly, or by heavier skaters. 

Additionally, alloy plates transfer more power (less flex) than nylon plates.

Usually, cheaper aluminum plates are heavier, which will make smaller skaters skating a little more challenging. 

For high-end metal alloy plates, the weight is similar to that of nylon, but the durability are same as metal plate. 

If you decide to choose metal alloy plate, make sure you choose one made of platinum or magnesium that is lightweight.

3. Axle Size

In general, axles come in two sizes. 7mm (9/32) or 8mm (5/16). 

Due to the widespread availability of 8mm bearings and locknuts, most skates are manufactured with an 8mm axle. 

But some high-end plates, such as Labeda Proline, Sure-Grip Power-Trac, Sure-Grip Snyder, and Roll Line, still use a 7mm axle. 

With 7mm axels, the tolerances are tighter, resulting in less bearing play. Bearings on 8mm axles have a lower tolerance, allowing for more play (or wiggle).

4. Single Action vs Double Action

It is a common feature of roller skate plates to have cushions (sometimes called bushings). Plates can be single-action or double-action.

A single action means there is only one cushion on each kingpin. Double action equals two cushions, one on each side of the truck on the kingpin of the skate plate. 

It is now common for skates to have a double action to give the skater more play (maneuverability) when skating.

Typically, cushions are made of rubber or urethane. The hardness of cushions is measured on an ‘A durometer’ and ranges from 71 to 98. On the scale, 71 is the softer end and 98 is the harder end. 

Now, most skate brands will simply just specify “soft” or “firm” in their listings. 

5. King Pin Angle

In most cases, skate plates are angled at 45 degrees or 10 degrees. Although there are other angles, but these are the most common one. 

Both styles have advantages for different types of skaters. A more elite skater will usually stick with the degree he or she prefers for their style. 

If you are a new skater, you may find it best to use either of the suggestions below, or to experiment with both and see which works best for you.

In 10 degree plates, the kingpin and cushions are located more vertically under the skater, resulting in a more stable ride. Styles like this are definitely the most common.

It has become very popular among roller derby skaters to use 45 degree plates. Cushions are placed almost horizontally, making the skate more responsive to changes in direction. Make it easier and faster to change directions quickly. It is known as cutting in roller derby, and it is used to stop opponents quickly across the track.

6. Adjustable and nonadjustable pivots

Entry level plates usually have rubber or nylon pivot cups and non-adjustable pivots. The theory here is that beginning skaters aren’t at a level where precision pivots would be beneficial. 

An adjustable pivot will allow a skater to change the skate’s geometry without compromising control. 

In order to avoid breaking a pivot pin or kingpin, roller skate technicians must be consulted when adjusting.

A pivot that can be adjusted provides the skater with a precision feeling when skating, as well as more feedback. 

In addition, it will also not wear out as quickly as a rubber or nylon pivot cup.

Author

My name is Patricia Toh. I was born in the southen of China but I live in Hawaii. I work as a translator. I love skating. But in the future, I’d like to try yoga too."

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