"They were the shape of my foot," she said.

"I want them," she said.

But they weren't good enough. They had to be red and black. They had to say "Cherry" on them.

For Dawn Cherry, making a decision about her THIRD pair of skates was not the painstaking weighing of pros and cons that it can be for many of us. She knew which skates would work for her, but as with customs, much care went into the order; once they're made, there's no going back. With the added struggle of facing limitations with respect to everything accompanying the skates due to teeny feet, she still managed to build a POWERHAUS of a skate.

Skates: When you skate in custom Bont Hybrid Carbons, you don't mess around. You put bumpers and toe guards on them because they're ART and you want them to last FOREVER. Bont's rounded shape fit like a slipper and the fact that the base is made out of heat molded carbon makes it feel like every flex of Dawn's foot muscles translates to her wheels. And then she went and put Neon Skates laces on them. 

Plates: Revenge plates have enough flex to deal with the rigidity of the carbon base of her skates and they come in a small enough size to fit on Dawn's skates. Her small (and wide) feet are happy in Bonts, but in terms of quality plates in the right size and that can handle the rounded shape of carbon, the selection is small.

Toe stops: Because her Revenges are a size 4, Dawn can't just toss on any old toe stops. She did use Gumballs, but she experienced wheel bite and had to downsize, which is why she has Rx Toe Stops. In red.  Which are the bomb.

Knee pads: While her toe stops may be dainty, her knee pads are anything but. She sports Deadbolt Grand Slams, because girl loves her knees, with a fetching pic of a switchblade on the caps. She'll get around to changing them, but she likes the badass edge for the mo'.

Wheels and bearings: She also likes the edge that carrying her wheels in old knee socks gives her which house a variety of wheels from Bullets to Reckless Evaders to Envys. As a blocker who relies on serious lateral movement and responsive edges, D.C. prefers a wheel that is the shorter: 59mm height and 32mm width. The wheels she carries around all fit the bill and she pulls out the right one for each surface. She's not super particular about bearings, but Moto Deluxe are her current go to.

Helmet: She's not Reckless about headwear; a hard knock to her soft head has convinced her to Dawn a hockey helmet, specifically a Bauer IMS 7.0 which was designed to prevent concussions. She secretly feels super profresh in it. Her team helmet is a black gloss S-One which make them look way co-ordinated while being super protected.

Mouth guard: She's as careful with her teeth as she is about her head. A tragic slip of hand during a wisdom tooth removal left her mouth half numb. For real. She has no feeling in the bottom left part of her mouth and tongue so there's no boil and bite in that face. It's a dentist special.

Elbows and wrists: Her 187 Killer Slim elbow pads do the job while not being bulky and annoying. And in keeping with the theme, 187 Derby Wrist guards caress her tiny delicate hands.

Cushions: She goes soft in the winter but medium in the summer because the temperature does actually affect her moves. She likes bounce without feeling like she's on a set of marshmallows. Red and Orange Magic Cushions do the trick!

This is what happens when you let employees write your gear profile. But Dawn's cool like that. Like she's cool in her reversible scrimmage tank. But when it comes to playing derby, she's anything but cool. She's serious and the decisions she makes about her gear reflect her need to make sure she's safe, comfortable and in complete control before she wipes you off the track. Speaking as someone who's been on the receiving end of all things Dawn Cherry, I can definitely say, she's chosen (too) well.