Choosing the right Toe Stops

Which Toe Stop should I choose?

To pick the best toe stop for you there are a number of questions to answer.

Which stem diameter does my plate need?

This is the most important question. Toe Stop stems come in a number of different varieties. The stem diameter usually comes in two types:

Bolt on Toe Stops

5/16 or "Bolt-on" Toe Stops have a narrower stem and usually fit rollerskates that use a "bolt-on" style of toe stop, such as Impala Quad Skates.

Adjustable Toe Stops

5/8 or "Adjustable" toe stops have a wider stem. Usually this type of toe stop is accompanied by either a washer and toe stop to keep the toe stop in place. Or some plates use a "toe stop screw" which screws in at the front of the plate along side the toe stop to keep it in place.

Which toe stop thread does my plate use?

The thread of the toe stop refers to the concentric circles that run the length of the stem and come in two different types which is important to understand the distinction of if you want to avoid damage to your toe stop, plate or both. In can be really difficult to identify which thread your toe stop or plate uses, so if you can't find it online check in with your local skate shop and they should be able to help you. If you are trying to put a new toe stop in and it is resisting then it could be that you are trying to put in the wrong thread. It could also be dirt and grit on either the toe stop or inside the plate's toe stop insert. If after a clean your toe stop does not screw in relatively easily then you likely have the wrong thread.

Imperial Thread

"Imperial" threaded plates and toe stops are generally those used by many American brands of plates.

Metric Thread

"Metric" threaded plates and toe stops are generally those used by European brands of plates and toe stops.

For gear heads among us the difference between the metric and imperial threads are the thread angle and the pitch.

What is the difference between a toe stop and a jam/dance plug?

Toe Stops are generally larger and are designed specifically for stopping you. These types will always sit closer to the ground allowing easier use when trying to connect with the floor to stop or spin.

Jam or Dance Plugs are more commonly found in roller dance where skaters want to be able to spin on their front axles, lifting heels, and avoiding any chance that their stops will "bite" into the floor, stopping the rotation.

Should I use a Short or a Long Stem Toe Stop

If you choose a short stem toe stop you will likely need to screw the toe stop high into the plate, often running flush with the plate itself. This is great if you want your toe stops to sit as high as possible.

Long stem toe stops give you more flexibility to play with the height you want your toe stop to sit at. One thing to bear in mind is that often with long stem toe stops it is not possible to screw them all the way to flush with the plate without the toe stop thread pushing into the outsole (underside) of the boot itself.

What kind of material are toe stops / jam plugs made out of?

Toe Stops can be made out of a number of different materials, but are usually urethane rubber or plastic. Plastic plugs will slide and have far less bounce to rubber stops and tend to wear down faster.

Not all rubber toe stops are created equal as manufacturers develop their own compounds which can change the feel and performance of the toe stop. Some toe stops are designed for greater stopping power, some for a greater bounce, and some again for durability and long life. Rubber toe stops generally wear down slower than plastic and remain "usable" for a longer period of time.

Do I need to worry about the material of the toe stop stem?

Usually toe stop stems are made out of a metallic substance, which can often be harder than the metal used in the manufacture of the plate, specifically with higher end plates which use a lighter material. This is why it is important to take care to select the right toe stop. Using the incorrect thread in your plate is often more likely to damage the plate than it is to damage the stem of the toe stop, although most common is that it will damage both.

Some toe stops, usually jam plugs, may be made with a stem of the same material as the plug itself. For example, some rubber or plastic jam plugs will also have a rubber/plastic stem. These types of stems are far less likely to damage the thread of your plate and so some manufactures claim that their plugs can be used in both metric and imperial plates as the thread of the plug will mold to the thread of the plate upon installation.

In order to save on weight there are some toe stops which use a hollow stem design. In our experience this does not impact the integrity of the toe stop and is not seen to be the place where the toe stop breaks or fails.

What shape of toe stop should I get?

Toe stops come in a wide variety of shapes and designs. Some designed are more functional while others tend themselves towards the aesthetic. Some shapes, such as a star shape are less designed for an even response when stopping and can modify the feel of the stop or spin depending on the orientation of the toe stop.

Many toe stops use a circular design which means regardless of the orientation of the toe stop it should feel the same. Over time, these toe stops can wear down just like any other toe stop and this will change the shape and feel of the stop over time.

Some toe stops use and angled surface to increase the surface area contact with the floor when putting the toe stop on the ground. For these toe stops as well as toe stops that don't have a circular design it is a good idea to understand the correct orientation and try to maintain that orientation.

Is there anything I can do if I have put the wrong threaded toe stop in my plate?

It's a pretty tricky business to recover from incorrect toe stop usage. If it's not a metal stem toe stop you should be ok, but if you've incorrectly installed a metal stem toe stop your options are pretty limited. Damage to the toe stop's stem will unlikely be recoverable, but there is one last option you can try in order to recover the thread on your plate. Using a tool called a "tap" you can re-create the interior thread of your plate's toe stop hole. Your local skate shop may have these tools available, but you are far more likely to find these available in a metal shop or somewhere similar. We recommend having this done by a professional or someone experienced rather than trying to do it yourself.

Be sure to use the correct thread tap for your plate - 5/8 or 5/16, Imperial or Matric.