Metal Strap-On Skates
The first is one that everyone over the age of 40 will remember.
The strap on skates. These were typically made of a metal plate with
leather straps to bind them over your shoes. They could be adjusted
in length by loosening and tightening the center screw with a
"Skate Key" wrench. They had steel wheels.
Plastic Strap-On Skates
Some earlier skates were made from wood. As the use of plastic
became more widespread in society it became commonplace for plastic
strap ons to be made, often with a caricature of a comic book or
cartoon character on the front.
Of course these types of skates could not be considered anything but
toys. Many skaters got their start on strap ons though.
Artistic Roller Skates
These next quad skates are the most well known type. The "Artistic"
or "Rollerdance" skate. Note the high cuff around the ankle. When
laced up it gives the skater good control for doing spins and jumps.
Also notice the fairly high heel to keep one on your toes for more
maneuverability. The wheelbase length is fairly short, with the front
axles under the ball of the foot and the rear axles under the middle
of the heel. These balance points allow for fancy dance movements.
Speed Skating Quads
Becoming more well known today are the speed quads. They have a very
low cut boot, either just over the ankle bone or just under it, like a sneaker.
The heels are very low, less than a half inch. In the last few years
rollerdancers and "jam skaters" have taken to wearing speed boots because
of the freedom of movement they provide. They're also much more comfortable
for skating long distances in than the high cuff artistic boots.
Low Cut Speed Boots
Ankle High Speed Boots
Speed boot photos courtesy
These next skates first made their appearance back in the 70's and 80's
and are selling like crazy today. Originally called "Jogger Skates" they're
usually referred to today as "Sneaker Skates". They're simply a pair of
running shoes mounted on quad plates. While not up to snuff for competitive
skating the better made models are fine for fitness skating or shuffling
around the roller disco.
Hockey Quad Skates
A sport that's not too well known in North America but is popular in
Europe is Quad Hockey, sometimes called Hardball Hockey. It is played with
a stick resembling a field hockey stick and a hard wooden ball. The skates
are hockey boots mounted on a quad plate.
Aggressive Quad Skates
Aggressive roller skating on quads is making a comeback. It originated
in the 70's when skateboarders skated in empty bowl shaped swimming pools.
Some were also rollerskaters and decided to try their skates out in the
pools. Nowadays the skating is done mostly in skateparks and vert ramps.
about the only North American company selling aggressive quads at the moment.
them in Europe. Aggressive quads use wider than normal trucks for greater
stability when landing and to allow for "grinding moves". They typically
have a "grinding block" attachment on the bottom for sliding along rails
Quad Skates for Jumping Tricks
If you go to France or Senegal you will be sure to see Street quad skaters.
They do all sorts of tricks and jumps and often go racing through traffic.
videos. For these skates they often use basketball shoes mounted on
their plates with an aluminum "sole plate" sandwiched between to stiffen
the bottom of the shoe for better response and control. The front axles
are mounted under the base of the big toe for stability over rough surfaces
and for greater transfer of power when jumping. The rear axles are placed
under the ankle joint for greater maneuverability .
All Terrain Quad Skates
There are a couple more types of very specialized quad roller skates.
One is the all terrain or "Mountain Skate". These feature wide trucks and
very large tractor style wheels (around 4 inches in diameter). They are
used for skating over practically anything that is in your path.
Mike Vail is one of the few practitioners of
Circus Trick Skates
One last type of quad skate with a very specialized purpose is used by
circus skaters who do spins on a small platform 20 to 30 feet in the air,
often with a female skater hanging around their neck. These skates have an
extremely short wheelbase with the rear axle under the heel and the front
axle under the arch of the foot. The short wheelbase allows for a very
tight turning radius when doing spins and also allows the skater to stand
up on the balls of their feet if they start to lose their balance.
Unfortunately I have not been able to find a picture of these type of
skates. If I do I will definitely post it here.
Copyright © Dave VanBelleghem
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