Sure-Grip have been making roller skates for a long time, and the GT-50 is one of their long-running models. It is aimed at beginners and recreational skaters, and has been refined over the years to be a skate that you can trust to perform without any hitches.
Previously it was available in black or white models, and as of last year, it is now also available in grey, making it the only entry-level skate available in that colour.
- Crazy VXi – $169
- Riedell R3 – $215
- Riedell Dart – $179
These skates are aimed at the entry-level adult recreational and beginner derby market. They are most directly comparable to Crazy VXi’s and Riedell’s R3’s.
- Price: $219
- Boot: Synthetic leather (3 colours to choose from)
- Plate: Rock nylon – black
- Trucks: Aluminium
- Toe Stop: Adjustable 43mm wide Carrera (black). Uses a lock not adjusting system.
- Wheels: GT-50 Swirl 62mm x 42mm 92a (black/white swirl)
- Bearings: 8mm Sure-Grip ABEC 5 (608)
- USA owned
- Made in China
At $219, the Sure-Grip GT-50’s are one of the more expensive entry-level skates, but the amount of time that Sure-Grip has put into refining them means that you are getting a skate that (with some upgrades as needed) can take you a long way in your skating.
The boot is synthetic leather, which unfortunately means after a serious skating session you will start to pick up a bit of a sweaty foot smell. However, the GT-50 is about the widest entry level skate on the market. This means if you have a wide foot, it will be more suitable than the other brands. The boot also has quite a thick padding. While this means that it will be more comfortable, it also means that for the boot to fit correctly it may feel a bit firm to start with (the length should be fine though). The reason for this is the padding packs down as you skate, and over time it no longer bounces back and the skate will feel looser. If you start with a good fit, it’s going to get loose, so a firm fit is a must.
To complement the well-padded boot, the tongue is large, wide and soft, making it the most comfortable tongue from any of the entry level skates. The ankle cuff is quite comfortable, as is the velcro strap placement. The skates are reinforced in many places but unfortunately don’t offer a hard outer toe cap, which means toe guards are a must for derby skating or for any skating where you want to protect the toes from scuffs in a fall.
The Sure-Grip GT-50 boot comes in three colours, black, white or grey, giving it the most choices at this price point (the Riedell Dart does have more colours but it is a price point below this one) and uses US men’s sizing.
The ROCK nylon plates are lightweight and have 4 mounting points, which is the norm on entry level skates. Unfortunately the toe of the boot does not sit flush against the top of the plate, so there will be a little bit of lag time when you apply pressure on your toes, for the beginning skater though this is not really an issue and is something that can be found on much higher quality skates as well.
The toe stop mount requires the toe stop be screwed in with a locking nut to hold it in tight. This is not the easiest mounting system to work with, but it does do the job effectively and reduces the risk of breakage under pressure that can be seen in nylon plates using an Allen key locking system.
The ABEC 5 bearings are decent to begin learning on, but as you progress you will no doubt want to swap them out for something that offers better performance. The bearings are shielded on both sides and sealed, so this also means they cannot be effectively cleaned and lubricated. They are designed to work well until they are worn out.
Toe Stops and Wheels
The toe stops and wheels from the various brands at the entry level are all fairly similar. The toe stops are fine for recreational skating but it should be noted that they may mark some surfaces, so you may need to swap them out for something non-marking if you are skating on something like an indoor basketball court. The wheels are fairly hard at 92a, best suited to indoor skating. You could skate them outdoors if you are planning on replacing them anyway, but it will be a rough ride and will reduce the grip of the wheels on indoor surfaces. The 62mm wheels on the competitors.
The GT-50 is a long-running, successful skate from a reputable brand that has been around since the dawn of skating. It is the most comfortable boot at the entry level, and the experience behind it means you are getting a product that will last well (depending on how hard you thrash it of course, after all at the end of the day it is a synthetic boot with a nylon plate). If you have a narrow foot though then this is probably not the skate for you.
Find out more or place an order by clicking the colour you are interested in below: