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Roller Skates 101

How to Build A Fully Custom Roller Skate

How to Build A Fully Custom Roller Skate

If you're wondering how to make a roller skate, you have come to the right place to have all your custom DIY roller skate questions answered! Here is an overview of the components needed to build a custom roller skate, an explanation of the different boot options, and what your options are for mounting a skate plate to your preferred boot or shoe.

Components Needed to Build A Custom Roller Skate


Traditional skate boots come in either low-top style or high-top style. Low-top boots are great for those wanting ankle mobility and less weight (typically speed/derby and jam skaters). High-top boots are great for those wanting more structure and sturdiness in the ankle (typically artistic, rhythm and skate park skaters). Shop boots here

Rather than ordering a boot from us, you can also send us a pair of your own shoes or boots to mount! Some popular custom roller skate boot options are Converse high-top sneakers, Vans Sk8-Hi sneakers, or Doc Marten boots.

A note about custom shoe roller skates:

Some things to consider when choosing a shoe for a custom roller skate are the durability of the shoe, the insole, and the outsole of the shoe. You want to make sure to select a shoe that will provide you enough structure and support when pushing off and skating so that you do not get injured. Because holes will need to be drilled through the sole of your shoe, you either need a shoe with insoles that can be removed for mounting, or be able to add insoles into your shoes to cover the mounting bolts. You will also want to check the bottom of your shoes. Are they flat or curved? Ideally you will want shoes that are flat. If your shoes curve up at the toes, note that there will be a gap between the front of the plate and the toe area of the bottom of your shoe. When you step into them and apply weight, this gap should be negligible. Is the bottom of the shoe mostly smooth or textured? Soles that have a lot of texture may not be a good choice, as the bubbles or ridges could hinder the security of the mounted plates.

Some mounting services for custom shoe roller skates include aluminum insoles. We find them to be overkill unless you are planning to skate very aggressively. For this reason, we do not carry aluminum insoles. If you choose to purchase aluminum insoles from somewhere else, you can still use our custom skate mounting service. Just send the insoles along with your shoes and we can include them in your build for an additional cost.

Plates + Trucks:

We offer many plates in different colors, price points, and materials to suit your style and skating needs. Nylon plates such as Sunlite plates are a lightweight skate option (ideal for skaters under 200lbs), and we also offer metal plates (aluminum, magnesium, etc.) which will last you a lifetime and are a great option for skaters over 250lbs.

Shop plates here.


oller skate wheels are designed for either indoor or outdoor use, and 8 wheels are needed for a pair of roller skates. Shop wheels here.

A note about indoor vs. outdoor wheels:
What determines if a wheel is meant for indoor or outdoor (or "hybrid") use is the “hardness” of the wheel. The hardness is indicated by a number followed by the letter “A” after it. The lower the number, the softer the wheel (more grip). The higher the number the harder the wheel (less grip). You will need a softer wheel (85A or under) for outdoor skating and a harder wheel (over 92A or over) for indoor skating. Wheels also come in varying diameter sizes from 40mm to 70mm. The smaller the wheel diameter, the lower your center of gravity and the easier you can maneuver (ideal for rhythm and artistic skating). The larger the wheel diameter, the higher your center of gravity and the more traction you will have (ideal for skating over rough surfaces). 


Bearings go inside of the wheel hubs and are what makes the wheel roll! We sell them in full packs of 16 (2 per wheel are needed). Bearing sizing will either be 8mm or 7mm. The size of your bearings must match the size of the axle on your skate plate (most are 8mm), and contrary to what many people assume, has nothing to do with the wheels.

Bearings are usually chrome or ceramic (lighter, more durable, self-cleaning, and more expensive).

Most bearings have an "ABEC" rating. The ABEC rating system includes grades 1,3,5,7, and 9. The number determines how much "roll" the bearings has. The higher the number, the longer it will take your wheel to stop spinning after you stop pushing.

If you are unsure where to start, and just want an affordable, solid set of bearings, we recommend the Speedmaster ABEC 7 bearings here.

Toe Stops/Plugs:

oe stops will come in two sizes; 5/8” for an adjustable toe stop or 5/16” for fixed (non-adjustable) toe stop. Almost all the plates we sell have housing for adjustable toe stops. However, the Sure-Grip Super-X plates have housing for fixed toe stops, so be sure to order the correct type. You will also want to refer to the toe stop stem length. Stem lengths generally range from 17mm (short) to 30mm (long). Short stops are for more advanced skaters who want clearance for tricks and dance skating, while long stops are better for skaters wanting quick access to their stopper (beginners included).

Skate (or jam) plugs are very popular with advanced skaters who do jam skating or other styles of roller skating where toe stops can get in the way. They are very small and designed to simply plug the hole where a toe stop would normally go (and protect the rink floor). Skate plugs are available in two sizes, so if you are replacing an adjustable toe stop (5/8” size) or a fixed toe stop (5/16” size) make sure to choose the correct roller skate jam plug.

Shop toe stops and skate plugs here.

How To Order A Custom Roller Skate

Now that you know all the components you need for your DIY roller skate (boots/shoes, plates, wheels, bearings ,and stoppers/plugs), it's just a matter of placing your order!


Start by adding your choice of plate to your cart. You can shop all our plates here.

You will see a dropdown menu on the plate listing. 

- Select "I added boots to my order that I want my plates mounted to" if you are ordering boots from us. 

- Select "I am sending shoes/boots that I want my plates mounted to" if you are mailing us your own shoes or boots to mount for you. 

Now, add your plates to your cart.


Add all other components to your cart, excluding any you will be sending us.

Remember, you need to order wheels, bearings and toe stops/plugs unless you already have them and plan on installing them yourself. If you are already sending us your boots/shoes, feel free to throw wheels/bearings/stops or plugs into the shipping box and we will install them for you. 


If you are ordering all your components from us, you can expect your fully assembled roller skates to ship in 3-5 business days (standard shipping).

If you are sending us shoes/boots, we will follow up via email by the next business day with a shipping label. We may request photos of your shoes/boots to ensure they are a good fit for mounting to a plate. 

How To Mount Plates Yourself

If you decide to mount your shoes/boots yourself, make sure you have all the components you need to build your own skates, including those listed above, a proper drill with a 3/16” or #9 drill bit, and mounting hardware. There are many videos on Youtube which will give you step-by-step instructions on how to DIY your very own skates, however this process can take years to perfect, so we highly recommend using a professional mounting service to ensure your skates are safe to skate on and you do not ruin any sneakers in the process if you drill the holes incorrectly.

Mounting hardware

If you plan to mount your plate yourself, you will need mounting hardware. Look no further than Premium Quad Skate Plate Mounting Kit for all the hardware needed.