How to tape up roller skates
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When playing roller derby or speed skating, your quad roller skates will experience severe wear and tear--especially to the toe area of your boots--due to all of the falling and fast stopping the sport necessitates. It is best to check and possibly retape the toes and other portions of your derby skates with duct tape every time you skate to significantly increase the life of your skates and protect the boot material from ripping or breaking down prematurely.
Rip a piece of duct tape from your roll and place it across the toe of your skate. Make sure to do this while wearing your skates, so you can make sure you're not taping your skates too tightly.
Layer pieces of tape horizontally until the toe of your skate is covered. You can cover the bottom couple of laces near the toe of your skate if you want to protect your laces from ripping or shredding. Laces ripping or shredding is common in roller derby because of the fast stops and maneuvers involving the skate's toes and toe stops often required by the game.
Layer pieces of tape vertically over your horizontal taping, reinforcing the tape and better protecting your skate toes.
Place tape on the back heel of your skates; these tend to get worn fast as well.
Place tape over the velcro strap near the top of your laces, if your skates come with a speed strap like most roller derby skates do. The velcro speed strap--the strap that goes over the uppermost laces and keeps the skate tight around your ankle--is vulnerable to wear and can even break off if not properly protected.
Remove strips of tape when the strip begins to wear through, exposing the leather. To remove the tape, gently tug at one end of the tape and pull cautiously, so you do not leave duct tape fibers behind on your skate. Replace the tape with a fresh layer, covering the bare patches of skate.
Duct tape will not completely protect your skates against wear and tear, especially if your skate boots are made of vinyl or some other manmade material instead of leather. You can purchase a leather toe guard from most roller skate supply stores that will vastly increase the life of your skates. It is safe to tape over the leather guard for added protection.
Remove duct tape frequently, as it can damage your skates--especially if you have vinyl skates--if it stays on too long.
Ginger Yapp has been writing professionally since 2006, specializing in travel and film topics. Her work has appeared in such publications as "USA Today" and online at Hotels.com. Yapp also has experience writing and editing for a small California newspaper. She earned her B.A. in film and media studies and has worked as an ESL teacher at an international school.