| Comments ]

Roller derby is finally figuring into the product lineups of quad skate and wheel manufacturers in a big way. Companies like Riedell are coming to see that roller derby is not just a fad and they've been updating their skate offerings accordingly. This fall, Riedell is bringing us a brand new batch of derby specific skates.

Watch for these skates turning up on a track near you. I have a feeling Riedell has just shifted the standard for derby skates the same way they did when they introduced the 265 boot.

Riedell is bringing out two new entry-level track skates that, with plates, wheels and bearings, should both run under $200, along with a new skate for advanced skaters that sits in the $500 price range for a complete setup. These skates join the 265 and the recently released "Divine"; the special-order-only vegan version of the 265 skate, in Riedell's stable of boots designed from the ground up just for roller derby.

Let's take a look at the entry-level skates first.

The Rogue:

The Rogue is also known as the 795, and the boot shape and sleek lace cover definitely call to mind the styling of the 395 boot. In fact, it seems to be an almost identical design, but minus the snug-fit lacing strap, and having substituted the leather sole for a more cost effective synthetic one.

Riedell states the Rogue has a narrow women's fit and softer boot for a comfortable beginner's skate. I anticipate this one being popular with smaller skaters, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it replace the likes of the R3.

The Rogue is scheduled to start shipping at the end of October.

The Derby Vixen:

The Derby Vixen, aka the 165, looks almost like a cross between the shape of the Targa, and the Riedell 125 (She Devil) boot without the full lace-to-toe design. It features a leather cinch strap, a padded collar, and a sick-looking Riedell script logo that covers the entire arch-side surface of the skate.

This skate comes built on Riedell's new Triton extra wide plate, which they state will provide a broader base of support for lateral movements. Forum speculation has it that the Triton is meant to replace the PowerDyne and has offset toe stops, but nothing official from Riedell on the subject yet.

The Derby Vixen is scheduled to start shipping at the end of October.

Now let's look at Riedell's newest boot for intermediate to advanced derby skaters, The Minx, also known as the 965. This skate has stirred up a lot of interest, controversy and comparison to Bont boots in the skate forums, but until it actually arrives in the flesh, er, leather, we won't know what all the fuss is really about.

The Minx:

The Minx's claim to fame is it's female-specific boot design. It's a B width through the heel and a D width through the ball of the foot, to accommodate women's naturally narrower heel ratio. The boot itself calls to mind the shape of the 395, but with a differently styled lace cover and a lowered Achilles area.

The Minx also features a foam-backed micro-fiber lining with a padded collar, and a padded tongue (including the top edge of the tongue). Judging from the photos, it also appears to have a leather sole and an offset lacing setup. It ships fully built up on Riedell's new Triton plate with
Zodiac wheels and Kwik bearings.

The Minx was scheduled to ship in mid-to late September, and the first batch of pre-orders should be arriving to skaters any day now.