Hockey World Blog

Alkali RPD Shift+ Roller Hockey Skate Review

In just a few short years, Alkali has emerged as one of the leading roller hockey gear manufacturers with a full line of gear for roller players, ranging from skates and pants to gloves, sticks and more. At Hockey World Blog, we’ve been eagerly watching Alkali carve a niche in the roller space and were excited to get a pair of the company’s new RPD Shift+ roller hockey skates to test out.

Inline-Warehouse-Alkali-RPD-Shift+-Roller-Hockey-SkateDesign & Construction

The Alkali RPD Shift+ roller hockey skates come in just behind the company’s flagship model, the RPD Max+ roller hockey skates, but still feature many of the top-end elements of the RPD Max+. The RPD Shift+ features Alkali’s new top of the line boot with a Purlyn quarter package construction that’s light weight and fully heat moldable while still providing stiffness for skating power and is more impact resistant than ever before.

Made for the elite level player, the skate also boasts a CNC extruded aluminum Movement chassis specifically designed to work with the full lightweight composite outsole. For enhanced comfort, the RPD Shift+ features Alkali’s new Activ Wick liner that is hydrophobic and moisture wicking. The three-piece, 9mm Pro White Felt Tongue uses integrated high-density foams that conform to an individual’s feet during the heat molding process.

The outsole has a small cut out that allows the second wheel from the toe to recess into it, effectively lowering the overall center of gravity for enhanced stability, control and aggressive cornering. The skate comes stock with a straight set-up of Labeda Dynasty wheels with Labeda Swiss Lite bearings to create a powerful mix of grip, speed and roll.


Fit has been somewhat of an issue with these skates—but let me explain. Alkali’s website doesn’t offer much in terms of how to size their skates compared to your shoe size, which is a shame—their website should be the best resource for that type of information. Regardless, I initially went off of Inline Warehouse’s general recommendation that Alkali skates fit 1.5 sizes smaller than your shoe. This is not the case with Alkali’s current skate line. If you have a 9.5 shoe size or smaller, go one full size smaller on your skates. For a 10 or larger shoe size, move 1/2 size down.

After baking the skates, my big toe rubs slightly against the edge of the toe box—which is essentially how a skate should fit. What ends up happening—and this is especially true thanks to the aggressive stance of the Shift+ skates—is that your foot ends up sliding back into the heel pocket while you’re skating. When I’m out on the rink, my toes don’t touch the toe cap at all.

I ended up baking the skates twice. Alkali directs you to a YouTube video to learn how to effectively bake their skates. In the video, the host tells you to essentially stand straight up while the boot is molding to your foot—which is what I did the first time around. However, because of the aggressive stance of the skate, I don’t think my first bake really created an effective fit for my forefoot. This prompted me to re-bake the skates, but this time I really leaned forward much more while the skates for cooling to make sure that I created ample space for my forefoot. This seemed to work much better.

I also made an additional modification: I took the thicker Alkali insert out of the skates and swapped in a much thinner Mission insert. Not only did this create more room for my foot in the boot, but it lowered my foot to help eliminate lace bite.

Unfortunately, these modifications were necessary in my situation because the skates are essentially a half size too small. I’m confident that all of these issues would have been avoided had I ordered skates one size less than my shoe size instead of 1.5 sizes down. Plus, since making modifications to rectify any sizing issues, I’m very pleased with how these skates baked and how they fit now.


The more I used these skates, the more I liked them.

The biggest hurdle for me personally was going to a straight wheel set-up after using a hi-lo combination for so long, but teammates have commented that I am much faster with the Alkali skates. I attribute much of this to the solid boot construction and the Purlyn quarter package. When I push off with the Shift+ skates, I can really feel the power transfer from my legs, through the skates and down to the floor to generate a better stride and more speed.

The strong boot also improved my confidence to cut and corner harder and quicker. This was one of those situations where I didn’t know what I was missing until I tried these skates. I’ve used other high-end skates and have never really had the confidence in cutting and cornering that the Shift+ skates give me.

Another feature that I absolutely love is the Activ Wick liner. After a long skate, the worst feeling is to pull your foot out from the boot and have your socks covered in sweat. Because of the Activ Wick liner, I don’t have any issues—my feet come out of my boots virtually moisture-free. This is especially nice in the winter when I’m leaving the rink and don’t have to worry about wet feet freezing in the cold. This is definitely one strong feature for the Alkali skates.


After nearly a dozen skates over the past several weeks, these skates look flawless. I don’t even see so much as a loose stitch on them, let alone any scratches or scuff marks. The chassis are in pristine condition and look brand new. The Shift+ roller hockey skates are incredibly well constructed and meant to last for the long haul.

One thing I was concerned about initially with these skates was the Labeda Dynasty wheels. Frankly, I’ve had bad experienced with Labedas in the past, mostly with them losing grip and cracking quickly. Further fueling my paranoia was the fact that these skates come stock with X-Soft wheels, when, according to Labeda’s guidelines, I should be using 78A wheels. But these wheels have held up so well that they may have restored my faith in the performance of Labeda wheels. The wheels show no signs of cracking, they took roughly a game to break in, but since then have been a great asset for these skates.

Overall Impressions

I’ll say it again: The more I use these skates, the more I like them. There was a bit of a break-in period and I had some fit issues, but I’m confident that those issues would not exist if I had gotten the right size from the get-go. The strong build and Purlyn quarter panel construction work together to provide more skating power and the ability to cut and corner quickly and efficiently, and the Activ Wick technology leaves my feet virtually moisture-free after a hard skate. I’ve talked to teammates before who have a “skates are skates” attitude, but the Alkali Shift+ roller hockey skates definitely illustrate that a higher investment can lead to better performance. If you’re not willing to splurge for the $649 Alkali Max+ skates, but still want top-end performance, the Shift+ roller hockey skates will provide exactly that for a lower price.

Click here to head to Inline Warehouse and pick up a pair of the Alkali Shift+ roller hockey skates.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.