A little over two weeks ago I switched over from my Riedell R3 derby-style skates to a pair of Chicago 805s. I haven’t seen many people write about the Chicago 800/805, so I thought I would share my experience.
The Chicago 800/805 originates from one of the oldest skate manufacturers in the US, the Chicago Roller Skate Company, founded in 1905 by brothers Ralph and Walter Ware. The very definition of “old school,” these skates would fit right in at a 1970s roller rink.
- Good value at around $100
- A solidly constructed skate
- Leather heeled boot
- Polished aluminum plate and trucks
- Wheels and bearings are not great. Replacing those will add to your costs.
- Not very comfortable out of the box. The leather is quite stiff and will take some breaking in.
(Note: I believe the 800 and 805 are identical skates, the 800 sold as a woman’s skate and the 805 a men’s.)
Style is a very personal thing. I like the classic look of the Chicago 800/805s. But if you want something eye-catching and Instagrammable, these are probably not your skates.
You can use these skates for various types of skating, although they are probably best for rhythm and artistic skating. My guess is that these would not be good park skates, but that’s not a style I know much about.
In terms of performance, I’m very happy with my Chicagos. I think that my dance skating has improved because of these skates. My toe spins, dips, and crazy legs all feel easier in my Chicago’s. YMMV.
Overall, if you want a good value, good quality skate that is easy to find at various stores, then you should consider the Chicago 800/805.