Introduction: Vans Roller Skates

Picture of Vans Roller Skates

It's easy to make your own Vans tennis shoe skates out of an old pair of roller skates. I chose the old school high tops because they have good ankle support and they're just bitchen.

Step 1: Take Apart Old Skates

Picture of Take Apart Old Skates

I found these skates used on craigslist for $25. They were a size 10 and I wear a size 11.5 so I couldn't use the boots. I'll try to sell them back on craigslist for what I paid. It's cheaper to buy used skates rather than buy all the parts new online. You need the plates, 8 wheels and 16 bearings. It gets pretty expensive. I will probably buy some 72 mm Sims Snakes wheels later to make them even more awesome. 

Remove the insole and unscrew the base plates of each skate. You might want to do one at a time so you can use the old skate as a reference when drilling the holes in you Vans.

Step 2: Remove the Vans Insoles

Picture of Remove the Vans Insoles

Reach in and take out the insole. You want the bolts to be under the insole for a more comfortable ride. You'll also want to remove the laces.

Step 3: Align the Plates

Picture of Align the Plates

Put the plate on the bottom of your Vans and align them properly. I put the back of the plate almost at the very back of the heel. The front didn't quite make it to the front of the shoe because my plates are size 10 and my shoes are 11.5. I used a clamp to hold the plates in place while drilled the two holes in the heel, then I installed the bolts and drilled the fronts without the clamp. I had to remove the wheels so the drill would line up with the holes. Removing the trucks is another option to get access to the holes. 

Step 4: Bolt on the Plates

Picture of Bolt on the Plates

After you've drilled the holes, bolt the plates on, re-intall your trucks and wheels, put the insoles back in and lace up the shoes. You're ready to skate! 


*** DJMellow01* (author)2017-07-09

Could I do this same method for rollerblades? Also, could I attach boots or high tops instead of vans or converse.

Ciarra (author)2017-02-10

I will no doubt be making these. I have been I just got back into skating. and I hate the ones you have to rent I the roller rink. thanks

niteiahE (author)2016-09-19

I Always Go Down A Size In Shoes So Im A 6.5y Its A Little Tight Can I Take The Ibsoles Out Without Messing Up The Shoe For More Room

DOE001 (author)2016-06-17

I can't get the sole out cuz I think it's stuck in with some industrial strength glue. Do you think I could drill through that sole and just put an insole on top

deessi_ (author)2014-03-25

if im a size 7 & the plates are from a size 8 do i ave to get a new plate ?

tk1314 (author)deessi_2014-07-01

I don't think you would need a new plate.

vorpal_forklift (author)2013-06-04

Do you think this could be done with shoes that aren't flat, or have better traction on the bottoms/thicker soles than Vans or other skate shoes? Say, work boots? Also, would you have any ideas on how to adapt this for detachable skates?

tk1314 (author)vorpal_forklift2013-06-22

I think shoes with a little bit of a heel are actually better. I plan on adding a heel to these skates. If you look at roller rink skates, they have a heel.

supertoria12 (author)2012-07-27

Would this be possible to do with inline skates?

bamslower (author)supertoria122012-08-24

It would depend on how the wheel things are attached to the boot also you'd have to make the base of the shoes stronger for inlines because of the way your weight is distributed ont other four wheels.

supertoria12 (author)bamslower2012-09-15

Ok, I was wondering because the boots on my old inlines are too small for me and I'd rather attach the skates to a pair of old sneakers than go out and buy brand new ones.

noileum (author)2012-06-18

how did you get the insoles out of your vans?

mine seem glued in using some military grade stuff and don't want to budge

tk1314 (author)noileum2012-06-18

Mine came out easily, a little bit if the insole stayed in the shoe but not much. If you damage the insole while removing it, you can by a Dr. Scholl's insole to replace it. If you go that route, I would look for something that is a little stiff. I plan to put something stiff under the insole anyway.

lwhitehurst (author)2011-12-05

Do the plates need to come from skates that are the EXACT same size as the shoes you are using or can they be smaller? Please email me at


tk1314 (author)lwhitehurst2012-06-18

No, Mine are size 9 skates and size 12 shoes. (sorry about the late reply)

swaggbot (author)2011-11-27

like i already have skates but the boot of mine ripped. can it still work and does it have to e vans only or can i use any shoe i want?

tk1314 (author)swaggbot2011-11-28

You can use almost any shoe. I like high tops best but I've seen low top shoes used as well. I've made them out of Vans, Converse and some other no name shoe.

swaggbot (author)2011-11-27

Hey can i use any shoe or does it have to be vans?

XoXWHITEXoX (author)2011-09-08

My uncle has a pair of boots his dad designed where there is a washer with a notch on the bottom of the boot and when he buys new boots he drills a hole in the heel and has skates (the part his dad designed) that has a pin about (1/2 - 3/4" in diameter) that slides into the washer and he slides a lever over and locks it into place and the front just lips over the sole. When he's done skating takes the plate off and has boots to walk in. He's had these since he wore a size six shoe when he was a kid he's about 43 now. Great build!

kat_the_vamp (author)2011-06-15

WOW ive been pining away for skates n i wanted a pair for my birthday but i never could find any . then i found this n was like AWESOME and went looking for any trucks. i found some today n then realized that you posted this the DAY after my birthday this year :) how awesome are you

snotty (author)2011-06-08

Hey, this is cool!

Makes me wonder though. You see, there is a common injury that results from wearing platform footwear. It's a little bone in your foot that gets busted when your platform shoe tips over. I wonder if some ankle support is in order here. Sorry to be a party pooper. Maybe we should just live dangerously lest we die of boredom :)

tk1314 (author)snotty2011-06-08

Skating is not safe. If you're afraid of injuries, don't make these skates or even buy pre-made skates.

BobMarleyFan (author)2011-06-08

REALLY STUPID QUESTION: I don't know if it matters, but, do I have to use vans?

tk1314 (author)BobMarleyFan2011-06-08

The other two skates I made (see the photos) were Converse and some unknown brand of shoe. You can make them out of whatever you want. I prefer to use high tops, but I've seen people with low top shoes too. I used Vans only because I like the style.

billhorvath (author)2011-06-07

I wonder if you could attach the plates with VHB tape or industrial-strength epoxy? That would obviate the whole bolting issue.

kenny70 (author)2011-06-05

Would this work with inline skates

tk1314 (author)kenny702011-06-05

I'm not sure how the inline skates attach to the boots. Give it a try and make an Instructable.

beeedy (author)tk13142011-06-05

Suregrip actually sells an inline plate designed to be mounted on skate boots so with some slight modification it could be mounted to shoes. keep in mind though that with blades/inlines you want as much ankle support as you can get, and most shoes simply don't offer a lot of ankle support so your shoe choice will be key with these.

beeedy (author)2011-06-05

I've actually built quiet a few pairs of shoe-skates before and this is an awesome instructable! one suggestion however is to build a wooden sole for your shoes, especially with such narrow plates. It will help make the sharp turns and severe leaning a lot more comfortable because with such a floppy sole you will be able to feel the plates. also you won't have as high a chance of the sole of your shoe ripping out!

greatpanda (author)beeedy2011-06-05

I was wondering about that...

beeedy (author)greatpanda2011-06-05

Yea it works great! just remove the insole of the shoe and trace it on to either 1/8" or 1/4" plywood and cut it out, sand down areas so it fits nicely into shoe and then redrill your holes through the wood. Then see if your local rink will be willing to give/sell you a pair of skate insoles for on top of the wood (just a piece of felt actually) and slip them in on top of the wood soles! and tada! If inserting a wooden sole your not gonna wanna start with tight fitting shoes however so if your shoes were tight to begin with I would not recommend doing this. if the shoes fit perfect or were a little big this would work perfect then!

Attached is a picture of one of my skates that I made, only difference is I bought all parts new rather then buying a used skate.

tk1314 (author)beeedy2011-06-05

I like your checkers. Cool skates. You can remove the insole and put the wooden insole in, drill the holes for the bolts and put the original insoles back after you've mounted them. I think I will try that with a thin cutting board as "Spokehedz" suggested. If I do, I'll post the results here.

beeedy (author)tk13142011-06-05

Yeah that is also a possibility, keep in mind though that most shoe insoles are actually pretty thick, and with the addition of the piece of wood the shoes will most likely no longer fit correctly, hence the thin felt insoles. Tell us how yours go though!

tk1314 (author)beeedy2011-06-05

I'm going to give it a try. The front bolts have a plate that keeps it from pulling through the sole (you can see the "U" shaped thing in my pictures). The heel is a problem. So far only one of the three skates I've made have pulled through the heel. I fixed it with washers.

Spokehedz (author)beeedy2011-06-05

You can also use a plastic cutting board from Walmart for $3.

tk1314 (author)Spokehedz2011-06-05

good idea

imatoymaker (author)2011-06-05

Very cool! I did that about 25 years ago with a set of Converse high tops. I was the envy of the skate rink. Took a few rounds to get used to the floating on air feeling. Plus I didn't feel as worn out after the session. Got to say though I like the Vans better.

What I did to bolt the shoes to the plate was to use flat head bolts and fender washers on the inside. I had to trim the fender washers so that they would not lay on each other or rub against the sides. I also made a counter sink dimple in the washer by using an extra flat head bolt inserting it through the washer and setting on something with a hole that the flat head could pass though and then hammering on it to dimple the washer until the flat head was flush with the washer without distorting the bolt head. This may take some trial and error.

For the outside I used a standard flat washer and poly lock nuts. The poly locks work better than a lock washer because you can adjust how much compression you have on the sole of the tennis shoe without distorting it or fear of it coming loose at an inconvenient time.

Thanks for the pleasant memories. I have been inspired. Now to go make some new ones.

tk1314 (author)imatoymaker2011-06-05

I made a pair of skates out of converse for my girlfriend's daughter. Now all the kids want them. I'll post a picture here. Washers definitely help. One of the skates I made had thin soles and the bolts pulled through at the heel. I didn't have any washers so I drilled holes in a few dimes and it did the trick. Converse have much thinner soles than Vans.

BtheBike (author)2011-06-05

i have on those exact ol' school suede Vans now =)

pdub77 (author)2011-06-05


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