To be quite honest, I was most excited about the quick release trucks as the changing of wheels is such a massive faff, anything to ease that pain would be heavenly.
When I got them out of the lovely zip up bag, my boyfriend did what can only be described as a sex noise upon seeing them. They are a bit like a sports car; all carbon fibre and streamlined. They look mean in all their red and black glory and feel very lightweight and well made.
What is this self mouting system I hear you cry? Basically, the boots have the mounting holes pre-drilled and the plates have special bolts that only require one tool to tighten them. The weird part is that there are only two holes along the centreline of the boot rather than 4 or 6 on either side as with normal plates. But don’t worry, the plates still have the usual holes so you can mount them on other boots!
This method is SO GOOD(albeit a bit fiddly for someone as dextrously challenged as me), you don’t have to worry about centering the plate, you don’t need any special tools and they can be adjusted easily. I did have to take the trucks off to mount them and slice open the fabric covering the bolt head to get the tool in, unlike in the tutorial but still, this was a really easy and stress-free way of mounting plates. The only thing you need to worry about is ensuring both plates are mounted in the same position, you can easily measure the distance from the toe or heel and mark it to get an exact mount.
The quick release trucks aren’t quite as quick as I hoped – the catches are quite spiky so my baby fingers found it painful but I used the handle of the mounting tool to flick them up instead, saving any unnecessary pain. But this still takes a lot less time than unscrewing and screwing nuts on and off.
And obviously, you can’t tighten the non-existent nuts, so if your wheels are a bit loose, you have to put washers on the trucks before putting your wheels on. So unless you have mega wide wheels, you’ve got something else to potentially misplace whilst changing wheels. Not a massive issue but does add a step to this whole quick-release biz. But wheel changing is definitely quickER and more fun!
However, I just *knew* these would not be the skates for me; my football boots are soft and squishy, basically socks with wheels on, and these Chayas are stiff and hard. I also have wide feet and zero ankle flexibility, hence the preference for squishy comfort.
They still felt A LOT more comfortable than my brief encounter with Bonts, I could actually skate in these … just, but they are just too restrictive in the ankle for me.
I decided that I wouldn’t be able to give these skates a fair review so asked my good friend R2Dee2 to review them instead – she wears Bonts so is more accustomed to the carbon fibre stiffness.
Here’s what she thought.
“I was really excited to try these skates. I wear custom bonts at the moment, and whilst I love them, I’ve been looking for a little more ankle support since returning to skating after busting my ankle two years ago.
On first impressions, I was really impressed by the Chaya skates. They are similar to my Bonts in that they have a very sturdy and beautiful carbon sole. For those of you who are new to all of this, people like me advise getting a skate with as hard a sole as possible; it means that all that power you’re pushing through your legs and feet when you skate isn’t getting absorbed by a soft and bouncy sole, but makes it through to the wheels – meaning more roll and control and the lovely feeling that your wheels are at one with your body.
These skates look great – Treble said they reminded her of Darth Vader’s mask, and as a Star Wars nut, that was no bad thing. In fact, it was amazing! They look fantastic, have a great structure and are incredibly light thanks to the sole, materials and light plate. They have a lace cover too, which is great and will no doubt save many a pair of laces!
Changing the wheels was no way as easy as it had been made to look in the online videos, but still took approximately 16 weeks less time than usual. I really liked that they were so easy to change. All 8 of my wheels are the same, but if I wanted to mix it up and try different setups, I wouldn’t be wasting valuable track/dog petting time fiddling with and losing nuts along the way.
I got the skates on, and was delighted with the fit – it was just about spot on and my feet felt snug and protected without being restricted. So far, so good. They were nice to move in and transitions etc were light and again, I felt the power from my feet was making it through to the wheels really nicely.
The toe stops were great and grippy, despite not being as sturdy as my faves, Bionic Big Foots.
The major hurdle for me came when I tried to plow stop. The skates come up awkwardly high on the ankle, which would be fine for me if there was flexibility, but sadly there was none – even when I attacked them with a hot hairdryer and was able to mould them to my ankle.
For me, plow stops are like the one arrow in my quiver, and not being able to use at will is not cool! The height and restrictive ankle sadly meant that all those pro-points of these beautiful skates were eradicated and they went from being a wow, to an if only.
I’d be really interested to hear what other people have done to ensure they get the range of movement in the ankles whilst wearing these skates – if there’s a solution to the problem, I’d be snapping up a pair of these bad boys ASAP!”
Ankle is very stiff & high, fine for mega flexible people, more ankle options needed!
Quite narrow in the foot, not great for wide footed people (Measure your feet before ordering!)
Contain real leather so currently no options for vegans (*see below for explanation)
You need extra washers for mounting wheels
Lightweight & sturdy carbon fibre, great for transferring power & easy footwork
They look like Darth Vader
Quick release truck system still quicker than wheels with nuts
Big, grippy toe stops (although a wider footprint would be better)
Self mounting is SUPER EASY & requires no power tools
Still fairly comfortable, disregarding the ankle area
Fully heat mouldable
*One massive negative point for me personally, is the fact that there is conflicting information – are these vegan? Do these contain leather or not? The Chaya website and the label on the boots says they don’t contain leather but both of the reps I emailed (Kid Block herself) say they contain leather. This is not cool. Apparently they are releasing a fully vegan option in the future (yey!) but this conflicting information is distressing to people who really don’t want to wear leather. Chaya, please put the correct information out there!
EDIT: The Chaya website calls the leather ‘PU nano leather upper’. I was under the incorrect impression that PU means synthetic but it actually means coated leather. However, the label on the boot is still confusing.
If you’re looking at the Chaya Diamond skates as a potential Xmas present, I hope this review helped and if you have any more questions hit me up on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook or leave a comment below.
Treble Maker 909 xx
P.S Keep your eyes peeled for a specific review of the Chaya plates in the new year!