You might be surprised to hear us, a roller skate retailer, telling our customers to buy second hand skates. But, despite the fact that this cuts into our profit margins, it’s something that we are quite happy to tell people who are shopping on a budget.
Sure, you can buy a new pair of skates for around $100 these days, but we often wonder what the hidden costs of these skates are. Who is making them? How are they so cheap? What are they made from? How long will they last?
When you are starting out, or are a little short on cash, we know it can be tempting to buy the cheapest new option available – especially if you don’t yet know all the intricacies of roller skate components, and why prices vary so much. So, when we are talking to people about buying skates, here are some reasons why we recommend at least looking at second hand or pre-loved options.
You can buy a better setup that will last you longer.
Just like anything you buy, you get what you pay for. Unfortunately, in all of our classes we see new students break parts on their cheaply bought skates all the time. Toe stops snap off, trucks are misaligned, bearings jam and simply sometimes the wheels dont roll. And that’s just a few examples. One way of keeping costs low is using lower quality parts. These students often find themselves needing to upgrade more quickly if they want to progress in their skating. If you end up having to upgrade parts you might find that it was actually cheaper to buy better skates to begin with. Buying second hand will allow you to get a better quality set of skates without a huge increase in price.
You reduce the environmental and social impact of your skating
Just like fast-fashion, some cheaply made roller skates are constructed in factories that have subpar and unethical conditions for workers. Sure, cheap skates might make skating more accessible in privileged societies, but at what cost to those in less privileged places? Not to mention, if your skates break quickly and need to be thrown out, you are contributing to a whole lot of unnecessary waste. Buying a better quality product second hand means you aren’t directly contributing to either of these practices.
You are more likely to keep skating
If your skates are difficult to learn on, or break easily, there is a good chance you won’t enjoy skating as much, and won’t want to keep skating. That’s the exact opposite of what we want to see! That’s why we are happy to tell people to buy second hand if it means they will be using a product that will help them improve and see progress. For example, there is a huge variance even in just the bearings or toe stops that come standard in skates, and that on its own will have an impact on your skating experience.
So, where can you buy second hand skates?
Of course, you won’t always find your dream set of roller skates second hand but you can start by looking in the pre-loved section of our shop, on Ebay, Gumtree, or Facebook groups like ‘Derby Buy/Sell/Swap.’
If your retailer is pushing you towards a set of skates that you aren’t sure really meet your needs, then perhaps they are considering their pockets more than your progress.
All of our RollerFit venues have skate hire options available so you don’t need to rush out and buy skates to get started. Take your time to find the skates that feel right for you!