When I first started skating indoors I was so daunted by the slipperiness of the floor, I didn’t give a thought to how my toe stops would interact with the surface. However, after just a few sessions I found that I was using my toe stops loads, especially for starting off from standing in order to build up momentum. I assumed that toe stops were toe stops, and the only thing that really mattered was the distance they sat from the boot. That was until I tried someone else’s toe stops. Going back to my stock ones afterwards was horrible – they felt altogether the wrong size, shape and stickiness to stop me smoothly and reliably every time.
I have Suregrip Rebel boots. The standard Carrera toe-stops aren’t super-rubbish or anything, I think it’s more that the new SureGrip RXs are just really good. They stop me perfectly every time (where user error is not involved!) They don’t stick and jolt me forwards like my old ones did, and the size of them makes them easy to walk on (though the curved surface takes a little getting used to). They seem hard-wearing too – they’ve been on my skates now for about three months (skating at least 4 hours indoors each week) and the logo is still just about visible, suggesting that they have tons of life left in them.
I haven’t ever tried Gumball Stops (they apparently don’t fit on Suregrip Probe plates) but I hear the RXs are the equivalent of Gumballs for Suregrips. Pretty much everyone in my old league had the Riedell/Gumball or the Antik/Gumball combo and almost everyone I spoke to said they were the best they’d ever tried. Without trying Gumballs myself I can’t compare them with the RXs, but one thing I would definitely recommend to all fellow newbies is to try different toe stops, because it’s made a huge difference to my skating (and the ability to land a derby stop!)