Updated: Jul 20, 2021
Okay, so you heard about the experience I've had with MY Golden Horse skates and you want to get yourself some (props to you). But which do you get? What are the different truck options? What does the support rating mean? #stressed ... don't worry, my friend. I've got you covered. In this post I'll explain what the tech specs mean so you understand the different options you have when ordering your skates. We will start with the two big differentiating factors between skate sets: the boot support rating and plate options. That will help you determine which skate set you want. Then, I'll cover the various upgrade options you have so you know what to select or if you should buy extra parts.
[Shameless Plug: you can get 10% off any of their products with my code "MEJACKIEC"]
This is the stiffness of the boot. Oftentimes, new skaters overlook this important spec. As an artistic skater this is one of the most important qualities of a boot. Depending on your discipline, the recommended support rating varies. For recreational skaters, stiffer boot can be great. You won't break an ankle! On the other hand, too stiff may be very uncomfortable and could even limit what you can do on skates.
If you have skates already, the chart below may help you understand how Golden Horse compares to skates you have already tried, or at least heard of. If you are totally new and have no idea what any of this means, scroll down and I will guide you.
New recreational skaters typically start at a support rating below 25 for monetary reasons (they are cheaper) and they are arguably more comfortable. I recommend going with something that is at least at a 20. I do not recommend getting anything with a 5-10 rating if you can avoid it. If your budget demands that you buy a cheaper 10-support-rated skate, I won't get mad at you, but know this: if you stick with the sport, you will want to upgrade to a stiffer boot for more control and for safety. I have seen and heard of MANY skaters injuring their ankles doing "easy" tricks while wearing boots that have a 5-10 rating. So, just don't try to learn jumps or one-foot turns in a 5-10 rates boot.
My Golden Horse recommendation to new skaters is to start with a
Street Magic, Diamond, Maven or Noble.
To set expectations, I will say that the Golden Horse boots will soften up a little over time (just like any other boot). :]
Golden Horse offers two types of plates with their skates: Fiber Compound (Plastic) and their Vanguard (Metal) plates... they call them "frames". For a newbie who isn't planning on doing lots of figure skating, the plastic plate is just fine. Especially if you are on a budget. That said, if you plan to skate for years to come, want to do cool tricks that require edges and/or have the budget for it, GET THE VANGUARD. It will be so worth it. The vanguard plate will last longer, give you better control and has click-action which allows you to keep track of your truck adjustments (that's a big deal for figure skaters). Let the decision maker on this factor be:
If you are serious about skating for three or more years and
If your wallet can handle it.
I personally have plastic on two of my Golden Horse skates and I've been wearing them a lot for casual skating, no problemo... Though, I am looking forward to getting either the Noble or the Diamond sets to see how the softer boot feels with the Vanguard plate.
If you know skates, and you are wondering what the kingpin angles are, here you go: The Fiber Compound Plate is at a 6 degree angle and the Vanguard Plate comes at a 16 degree angle.
If you don't know skates, let me explain the angle's significance. Roller skate plates typically have an angle somewhere between 5 and 33 degrees. With a lower angle, you will get more stability at higher speeds and with a higher angle, you will get more agility with turns.
Roller Skate Nation summed it up well in their blog:
"RULE OF THUMB: The more you increase the kingpin angle, the tighter the turning radius, thus giving you quicker response and sharper turns. Skaters who play roller derby often want a plate that responds quickly and turns sharply, so they tend to buy plates with a larger kingpin angle (16 degrees to 33 degrees). Speed skaters and jam skaters typically like stability, especially at higher speeds, so they might want to go with something that doesn’t react as quickly (5 degrees to 16 degrees)."
SELECTING YOUR SET
So, know you understand how to choose a boot (based on support rating) and how to choose a plate (based on your dedication to skating and your budget). Now, put the two together and choose the skate set for you:
NOW TIME TO TALK UPGRADES!
You'll see this upgrade option when you go to order some of the skate sets. If you are order something with a Vanguard plate, it will come with the 360. Do you want the standard pivot pin or the 360 pivot pin? Depends on what you plan on doing. I've tried both and I can confidently say that the 360 pivot pin is much more responsive to edging... Similar to how some cars are more responsive to the steering wheel than others. If you plan on bombing hills or plan on using your skates mostly to cruise around the streets, get the standard. These next lines may be updated in the future, but are my thoughts as of today: If you want to do lots of spins and rhythm skating, the 360 will be more fun.
Bushings are probably the most under rated topic in the world of roller skate gear. If you don't know what bushings are, they are the plastic or rubber pieces located in your truck that control how much and how easily you can press an edge. I have changed lives by recommending bushing upgrades. Whether you get Golden Horse skates or not, you should take a look at your bushings. Fortunately, for the Golden Horse purchaser, all their setts come with decent bushings, but it never hurts to get the "perfect fit".
The perfect fit depends on what kind of skating you do and how much you weigh. In general, the chart below will suffice to get you exactly what you need. However, if are at the edge of the weight limits, you can choose by asking yourself this: Do you prefer edge flexibility (for dancing and spinning) or rigidity (for hill bombing and fast skating)? Softer bushings will give you more flexibility, stiffer will give you more rigidity.
They have a number of wheel options. I am not going to go into depth on wheels here, today. But in sum, if you skate outside, you want high rebound wheels. The higher the durometer rating, the harder the wheels will be. For out door skating, softer wheels are better. For smoother surfaces, harder wheels give you more maneuverability. Size matters also! If you bomb hills and go over a lot of cracks on the streets, you will want to get a larger diameter (just like how an off-roading vehicle has bigger wheels). If you are usually on flatter surfaces and dancing, smaller wheels are better. Golden Horse also offers light up wheels!
There are a lot of factors that go into choosing your skates and I don't take making recommendations lightly. Your experience with your skates determines how long you stay in them, and I hope you stay in them for a long time. So, hopefully this article helps guide you to the right pair. Obviously, I HIGHLY recommend Golden Horse and hope you have another tab open in your browser where you are about to place your order.