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Buying Guide

What Is The Difference Between Roller Skate Brands?

What Is The Difference Between Roller Skate Brands?

Riedell, Sure-Grip, Moxi, VNLA...

If you've been skating for awhile, you've probably heard of all of these brands. And you may be wondering what differentiates them all. We're here to explain what each of these brands are known for so you can find the right brand for you!

  • Riedell

Family owned Riedell Roller is located in Red Wing, MN since the late 60s. You can still find this third generation owned and operated business making hand-crafted boots, for both roller skates and ice skates, from only the finest leathers and materials by skilled craftsmen.

Riedell high-top boots commonly come in White or Black. White boots run in Narrow to Standard Width and are in Ladies sizes. Black boots run in Medium Width with a wider toe box and are in Mens sizes. Many of the Riedell packages we create at Roller Skate Nation are unique, because we use a Riedell boot with components from different brands (plate, wheels, etc.) to create a one of a kind skate that will last for years to come! Riedell skates are a perfect match if you’re in the market for either high quality leather skate boots that form to your feet or vinyl that doesn’t break the bank but still offers that quality you’re looking for.

Some of the most popular boots from Riedell are the R3 (synthetic low-top), 111 (synthetic high-top) and 120 (their lowest priced leather high-top). They also recently introduced a colorful new high-top outdoor skate, the Riedell Orbit. For high-end options, the 220 and 297 come in narrow medium and wide widths. Low top boots like the 395 and 595 can be custom ordered in narrow or wide widths for an additional fee.

  • Moxi

The Moxi brand was created in 2008 by Estro Jen “Michelle Steilen” in Long Beach, California. Moxi skates are made and manufactured by Riedell. They exclusively sell skates with high-top boots and cater to skate park skaters and outdoor recreational skaters. Like Riedell, Moxi also offers high quality leather (Lolly and Jack) and vegan vinyl (Beach Bunny and Ivy Jungle) skate options for all skate levels in vibrant colors.

We typically see a lot of beginner/intermediate skaters go the most affordable route and choose the Beach Bunny,  Jungle or Panther skates. Being vinyl and more narrow fitting, it does take some time to break the Beach Bunny and Jungle boots in, so be patient as these soften with some skating love! The Lolly and Jack options have more of a standard fit and are more commonly seen with intermediate/advanced skaters looking for a high-quality suede boot that comes in a variety of colors! Most Moxi skates we receive are completely assembled, but we do offer an exclusive custom option with a Lolly boot and Sunlite plate or Avanti Plate that is assembled in our warehouse. All Moxi skates are made in Men's sizing, so please be aware of this if you are shopping for a Sure-Grip skate.

  • Sure Grip

Compared to the Riedell fit, Sure-Grip boots tend to be on the softer side, making them more comfortable for skaters dealing with feet conditions or for skaters wanting a boot that isn’t stiff. Sure-Grip originally started as a wheel manufacturer in California in the mid-30s, then had their first skate manufactured in 1945, all leading up to the first ever outdoor skate being released in the mid to late 70s known as the, “Jogger”, a running shoe converted to be the outdoor skate. Sure-Grip still resides in California to this day and continue releasing popular skates such as the Fame (vinyl high-top), Boardwalk (suede high-top), and GT-50 (vinyl low-top) skates we all know and love! All Sure-Grip skates are made in Men's sizing, so please be aware of this if you are shopping for a Sure-Grip skate. 

Sure-Grip is also well known for manufacturing many different roller skate plates including the Avanti, Avenger, Competitor, Century and Classic. They also manufacture the high end Snyder artistic/dance plates.

  • VNLA

A relatively new brand, VNLA (Vanilla), has been manufacturing high-end roller skates and skate components since 2005 and is now the premier brand for jam and rhythm skates. The popular VNLA Junior Jam Skates are sure to be seen at any rink, worn by jam skaters tearing up the rink floor. Other lines such as the V-Line and Godfather are more popular with rhythm skaters who need a high-top boot to show off their dance moves. Another common style of skating called JB skating (James Brown skating) is often seen with the Godfather boots as they have the fur lined tongue that easily folds down for flexible maneuverability.

In 2021 VNLA introduced the Parfait line as their first ever Ladies’ outdoor high-top skate which flew off the shelves in weeks. These skates are unique in that customers can mismatch colors, and they are extremely comfortable for skaters with wide feet! They also come with a contour insole that can be added to the boots for skaters with narrow feet.

  • Lenexa

The Lenexa brand previously manufactured children’s skates but have recently introduced affordable and quality skates for adults, such as the MVP (canvas high-top sneaker skates) and the Savanna (high-top vinyl boots with a wider toe box). Savanna skates include an aluminum plate and adjustable toe stop for significantly less than comparable models. 

  • Rio Roller

Rio Roller is a very popular UK brand established in the 90s. The brand is distributed worldwide, however, is exclusively sold in the US by Roller Skate Nation! Rio Roller offers a vegan option for skates in unique and fun designs for skaters wanting something a little different, and they are an affordable option for beginner skaters.