All about toe stops and jam plugs
Toe stops are generally found on the front of both quad skates, while recreational inline skates will have a brake on the back of one skate.
Toe stops are designed to slow down while roller skating. In some styles of skating they will also be used for faster take offs. There are two versions of toe stops, fixed or adjustable.
Fixed or "bolt on" toe stops can come in different shapes and sizes and in many colors. They are always made with a small hole in the center where a bolt or screw is inserted to connect directly to the plate. This hole goes all the way through the bolt on toe stop. They cannot be set at different heights. The opening they use is 5/16”.
Example of a fixed toe stop:
Adjustable toe stops come in a variety of colors and sizes as well. What differs them from a fixed toe stop is they can be set at different heights. They have an attached bolt that screws into the plate. Some stops will offer options for how long the bolt is, so if you have a preference you can choose. The opening they use is 5/8”.
Example of an adjustable toe stop:
Jam plugs are used by skaters who do not need a toe stop. Jam plugs are very popular with skaters who do jam skating or other styles of roller skating where toe stops can get in the way. They are not designed to be used for slowing down or stopping roller skates. They are very small and designed to simply plug the hole where a toe stop would normally go. Most skates have a metal housing for the toe stops to be screwed into, if you do not plug that hole, the metal housing makes contact with a skating rink floor and can cause damage. By using the jam plug it removes the toe stop but protects anything the skate might come in contact with. Jam plugs are available in two sizes, so if you are replacing an adjustable toe stop or a fixed toe stop make sure to choose the correct roller skate jam plug.
Example of roller skate jam plugs: