Sports Rated vs Toy Rated Skates

Sports Rated vs Toy Rated Skates has always mentioned we are not a sports shop or a toy shop. We sell only sports-rated, quality roller skates.

Recently, a customer suggested a pair of "toy rated" products were better than a quality product we stock - and tried to explain the difference between toy and sports products. So, this brief summary highlights to main differences between toy products and skate rated / sports rated equipment to help you with any future roller skate purchase.

Roller Skates are designed to withstand an impact from jumping or falling whilst using your skates. Impact resistance is a key factor when comparing toy vs sports products and is the central theme to longevity and strength. Toy products are cheaper than sports products - often the product is designed to a budget and uses inferior materials when producing the item, often at the detriment of the product and purpose (i.e to go out and enjoy roller skating), as follows:

Skate Chassis - a toy skate chassis is load-rated, meaning the ABS or Nylon plastic chassis is able to withstand a maximum weight. Sports rated products for example the Playmaker Chassis is a glass fibre reinforced product, far superior to a nylon or ABS equivalent. The Playmaker chassis does not have a maximum weight load or, to our recollection in over 30 years selling this product, ever broken.

Skate Axles / Trucks - toy axles are regularly made from inferior plastic, usually ABS or Nylon with a steel rod inserted for strengthening. This has been practiced by many skate brands in the past, including Variflex and Tracco chassis - all of which broke during use. The steel insert is much stronger than the plastic surrounding and subsequently, the steel rod will break through the plastic casing. Sports rated products only use metal hangers/trucks. The metal can be Zinc, Aluminium, or Magnesium and will always withstand an impact while skating without the risk of breaking.

Bearings - toy skates use inferior ABEC bearings and present the risk of bursting/deforming whilst skating. Skating applies lots of sideways/axial movement and bearings without any reinforcement deform when leaning side to side / moving at speed. This is why many skaters slow down when leaning to the side. A skate-rated bearing, for instance, Brites Skate Rated Bearing (SRB) includes a reinforced bearing cage, preventing bearings from deforming when leaning side to side or skating at speed. Skate Rated Bearings are smoother and offer a far superior ride quality.

Wheels - toy-rated skates provide very poor standard wheels. Whilst most roller skate wheels are made from Polyurethane, some wheels are made from less durable plastic materials, often using a much harder wheel reducing the ride quality and comfort. Skate rated products only use Polyurethane for roller skate wheels ranging from 78A for outdoor/recreational wheels) to 103a for indoor/speed skating wheels. Combining a low-cost, poor quality roller skate wheel and bearing offers the user a terrible skate experience, reducing the comfort and enjoyment of roller skating.

Bushings - toy-rated skates offer very low-quality bushings, further reducing the quality comfort ride when roller skating. Bushings are often made from dense plastic, offering the skater a less enjoyable ride. Skate-rated products include rubber bushings for standard skates and the option for higher quality urethane bushings for a more comfortable ride.

Boot material - the construction and quality of the roller skate boot aids skater enjoyment. A toy-rated product will have a synthetic/plastic boot with little padding or support for the toe, heel, and ankle. The shape of the boot will also determine whether it is a comfortable skate experience, for instance, Figure Boots can be difficult for some skaters to adapt to the high heel position, preferring a flatter style boot with a 1cm heel. Skate-rated products offer skaters the opportunity to choose their set-up, ranging from the height of the heel through to the material of the skate boot. All skates should be adequately ventilated to ensure they remain comfortable with a moisture-wicking fabric liner.

Buckles. Roller Skates should not be fitted with buckles. Simple. Buckles are cheap plastic inferior products and not suited for roller skating. Roller Skates should be laced to the ankle (personal preference) and no higher. All skaters have their preference - however, buckles restrict the movement around the ankle, placing additional strain on the lower shin, preventing the user from flexing their feet to roller skate. Buckles are fine for Skiing but definitely not Roller Skating.

Skate Rated Products for Roller Skating

Skate Rated Products e.g. Bearings and Wheels are designed with reinforced components for the purpose of roller skating. As ethical traders with a passion for roller skating, we only stock products that we have tried and tested ourselves and confident the product is suitable for the intended purpose.

You will notice we stock a selected range of wheels, bearings, and skates - all of these products we are confident will serve you well for many years of skating.

It is for these reasons we choose not to stock toy-rated products.