By Steve Kopitz
What is a Roller Skate Plate?
The traditional skate plate is made of aluminum and is the one you will find on most roller rink rental skates. It is a very strong plate but is also very heavy. Both nylon and aluminum plates have double action trucks, Nylon is slightly lighter, and this will only have a slight difference in the weight of the skates. Aluminum plates are recommended if you are over 200 lbs. The choice of which you use is up to you.
Basic Roller Skate Plate Types
There are two basic types of skating plates, 10 degree and 45 degree, each has its advantages and disadvantages. Most companies derive this number by what angle the kingpin is drilled on, in many cases this kingpin is not drilled on this angles but the standard still stands at 10 degree and 45 degree. Although there are many manufactures that have developed plates in the past; these two simple designs still represent the industry standard.
A 10 degree skating plate is designed to place the skater over the kingpin and cushions, creating a more stable skating feel. This type of plate has also been called a Free-Skating plate as it was one of the original designs and allows a skater to be confident and under control in any skating situation. The truck design on a 10 degree plate is typically a more vertical approach which will help keep a skater more upright, typically a less aggressive setup. Looking back in history we can see many uses of this simple design, probably why it has remained the industry standard in skate design.
The 45 degree skating plate is designed to place the skater over the pivot pin creating a more aggressive stance and feel. For many years this plate has been referred to as a figure plate as it got its humble beginnings on the skating floor doing figure loops. The truck design on the 45 degree skate is designed with a horizontal approach in relation to the skating floor, typically more sensitive to the skaters movement allowing him or her to change direction faster but still under control.
What size should I order?
If you ordered a new plate today, for a standard mount, order the same size as your boots. If you are a half size, I would suggest to order the next size up if you've been skating less than 2 years or still feel beginner or intermediate and a size down if you know that you are an advanced skater with better control.
Why is this? Imagine skating on a plate that extends in front and off the back of your boots. It would feel like you are skating with flippers!
Now imagine a plate that is much too small. Like, all 4 wheels are in between the ball of your foot and your heel. You have barely any control at this point because it is really hard to balance.
Those are the two extremes. Many very advanced skaters prefer a smaller plate so they have more agility, but it doesn't matter that there is less stability to them because they have better control over their skates, because they are skilled.
Sure Grip Plate Size Chart