Learn how to adjust your skates properly, how to take care of them and ensure a smooth safe ride.
Roller skates are easy to take care of. A regular inspection and a few key adjustments is all you need to get the most out of your skates, and keep them safe and fun for years to come.
The tools we recommend here are for standard North-American roller skates, you may need to adjust for your specific skates.
Vibrations from skating and extended use can cause your stoppers to loosen over time.
Non-adjustable bell type stoppers
These are the toe stoppers usually found on classic tall boot recreational skates and most kids roller skates. To tighten bell toe stoppers simply use the appropriate screwdriver (usually a Phillips or a flat head) and tighten the toe stopper bolt (located in the center of the stopper) as tight as it will go by hand.
Adjustable stoppers with large hex lock nuts and tension washers
These are found on a lot of roller derby skates and medium to high end skates. To tighten those stoppers, simply tighten the large lock nut, located at the base of the toe stop bolt, using a skate tool or 15/16” crescent wrench. You may need to lean your weight into it a bit to tighten those almost as tight as you can. To remove or adjust the height of these stoppers, first loosen the large lock nut then adjust their height, or remove them by unscrewing them fully out of the plate. Once you're done, make sure to tighten the lock nuts back in place, squeezing the tension washers against the plates or they could fall off during use!
Adjustable stoppers with allen key lock-nuts
These are found on most higher end roller skates. To tighten those stoppers simply tighten the allen key lock-nut, located on the side of the plate near the stopper, as tight as your tool comfortably allows by hand. To remove or adjust the height of these stoppers, first loosen the allen-key lock nut then adjust their height, or remove them by unscrewing them fully out of the plate. Once you're done, make sure to tighten the allen-key lock nuts or your stoppers could fall off during use!
PLEASE NOTE that the threaded stem of adjustable stoppers must always be at least 1/2” into your plates. It could otherwise damage your plates, and that damage is not covered by the manufacturer's warranty.
These can also slowly come loose from vibrations. If you change your wheels often your wheel nuts might be getting old, which could cause them to loosen over time. Give your skates a good shake from side to side. If you hear a clinking/chunking noise (the sound of a wheel moving back and forth on its axle), you have a loose wheel nut! Using a skate tool or 1/2” socket wrench, being careful not to push on the bearing with the tool, tighten the loose nut down a tiny bit at a time until the wheel still spins fully freely but has very little play on the axle and is quiet when you shake the skate. If you find that you can screw/unscrew your wheel nuts by hand it means they are old and need to be replaced.
Dirt and dust will eventually accumulate on your boots, plates and wheels. Using a soft, well drained, damp rag wipe down everything starting with your boots, then plates and wheels. Do not let water from the damp rag get near the bearings. This is a great time to inspect your boots for damage, repair any tape and make sure your plates are securely attached to the boot.
Trucks are what makes your skates turn. They are adjusted by tightening/loosening the four 9/16” bolts or hex nuts between the wheels on the underside of your skates. Tighter trucks will feel more stable but less agile and will turn less easily. Deciding how tight to tighten your trucks is a personal choice. The trucks may loosen over time as a result of vibrations and your cushions compressing. It's a good idea to keep an eye on them, and making sure all 4 are set similarly, and the same from one foot to the other. Trucks should not be loose enough for you to be able to wiggle them with just your fingers, nor should they be so tight that you cannot move them at all with full hands on the wheels.
Most modern standard and inverted kingpin plates are adjusted in exactly the same way. The only difference is that standard kingpin plate owners must also make sure that the kingpin lock-nut, located at the base of the kingpin by the plate, is tight against the plate.
adjustable pivot trucks
Some higher end plates come with adjustable pivot trucks. These are a little trickier to adjust properly, please watch this video we made explain the process:
(3) King Pin
(5) Cushion retainers
(6) Truck adjustment hex nut
(2)-(6) Truck Assembly
(7) Bell Toe Stopper
(8) Bell Toe Stopper Bolt
(9) Adjustable Toe Stopper
(10) Adjustable Stopper hex nut and washer
(11) Allen key Lock Nut