Is Ice Skating Like Rollerblading?

For those who are experienced ice skaters, you may be wondering, is ice skating like rollerblading?

The truth is, there are many similarities that you may not have known about. Both sports date back hundreds of years, burn plenty of calories, and are also incredibly social sports.

Skating, no matter the surface, is a great exercise to take part in. Both roller skating and rollerblading offer a vast range of sports options for you to try.

Both activities are guaranteed to give you a great workout and plenty of enjoyment. In this article, we compare ice skating and rollerblading to see how similar the two activities are.

If you are new to both sports, you may be wondering what the similarities and differences are in terms of history, activities, benefits, skills, and equipment.

We’re here to help by providing this comprehensive guide.

What Is Ice Skating?

Ice skating is a fun, sociable activity that is popular for many during the winter months. The sport requires wearing a pair of ice skates that glide across a smooth ice surface.

Ice skates are fitted with sharp blades attached to the bottom of the skate to ensure gliding is smooth.

Ice Skating

To protect against injury, ice skating also requires various protective gear, including helmets and pads for the elbows and knees.

There are plenty of options within ice skating, including recreational skating, figure skating, or ice hockey. Each variation requires specific skating techniques and differences in equipment.

What Is Rollerblading?

Rollerblading is also known as inline skating, and it is an increasingly popular outdoor activity.

Rollerblading has a similar motion to ice skating, requiring skaters to glide, however, rollerblades are designed with a set of wheels in a straight line.

Rollerblading requires a good balance of strength, balance, and stability, and this can be tough to achieve for beginners.

Inline Skating

Rollerblading should not be confused with roller skating.

Roller skates adopt the 2×2 wheel design with two wheels in front and two wheels behind, while rollerblades have four wheels in a straight line. This is why rollerblading is also referred to as inline skating.


Compared to ice skating, rollerblading is a relatively new sport. With its origins dating a few hundred years ago.

Ice skating, however, has been around for several thousand years, with the first ice skating known to have taken place in 1000 BC.

Rollerblading became popular in 1980, largely due to the emergence of the Rollerblades company.

Sport Popularity

Rollerblading and ice skating sports are popular but in different ways. The biggest difference is that ice skating sports are at the Olympics while rollerblading sports are not.

Ice skating sports such as ice hockey, speed skating, and figure skating are popular sports in the Winter Olympics, which draw thousands of supporters every four years.

Ice hockey, in particular, is very popular in the USA and Canada and has a global reach thanks to the National Hockey League.

Recreational ice skating also becomes very popular at Christmas time as many towns and cities build public ice rinks for the public to enjoy.

Meanwhile, rollerblading is more popular in places with warmer climates. This is because rollerblading tends to happen more often outdoors rather than indoors.

Rollerblading lacks the global popularity of ice skating because rollerblading sports are not at the Olympics.

Roller And Ice Skating Sports

Roller And Ice Skating Sports

Ice Hockey & Roller Inline Hockey

Ice hockey and roller inline hockey are the two most famous sports associated with rollerblading and ice skating.

The objective of the game is to score more goals than the opposing team, using a stick to shoot a puck in a goal.

Ice skating is played on an ice surface. Each team has six players on the ice at any stage, with one goalkeeper whose job is to keep the puck out of the goal. Five outfield players are tasked with scoring and defending.

Roller inline hockey has the same number of players as ice hockey.

The only difference between the sports is that inline roller hockey players are wearing rollerblades and are playing it on a roller rink surface rather than ice.

Figure Skating

Figure skating is an ice skating sport made famous through its participation in the Winter Olympics.

Figure Skating

In this sport, skaters perform a variety of dance moves, spins, and jumps while gliding across the ice. This is a highly technical sport that takes years to master.

There is no well-known artistic rollerblading and certainly nothing as famous as ice figure skating.

Speed Ice Skating And Speed Inline Skating

For those interested in high-speed skating, you may be aware of speed ice skating and speed inline skating.

These sports see athletes compete over different distances around an oval track on specially designed ice skates or rollerblades.

Speed Ice Skating

Speed Ice Skating uses specially designed ice skates with extra-long blades to ensure the skaters can navigate the corners of the rink.

Similarly, inline speed skating uses specially designed rollerblades with close-fitting shoes and large-size wheels.

Comparisons Between Ice Skating And Rollerblading

Calories Burned

Calories Burned

Rollerblading and ice skating both burn plenty of calories.

On average, rollerbladers will burn between 573 and 1067 calories per session. This reduces slightly for ice skaters who will burn somewhere between 640 and 840 calories in a session.

While these figures are completely dependent on the individual and the nature of the skating exercise, on average rollerblading does burn more calories than ice skating.

The increased intensity and rigor of rollerblading are largely due to the surface, which requires increased push when gliding compared to ice skating.

Muscle Development

Similar to ice skating, rollerblading also helps with muscle development for your entire body.

The vigorous actions of skating support muscle development in all areas, including arms, core, hips, glutes, and leg muscles.

As muscles playing important role in the development of the skeleton system, including the spine. Improving muscles through exercises, such as ice skating or rollerblading, is great for improving your health.

Wheelbase Design And Structure

Roller blades are designed to have a wider wheelbase compared to ice skates.

The rollerblade wheelbase is designed to house two to five wheels, while ice skates have a shorter base designed to hold a metallic blade.

These alignment differences make rollerblades more stable compared to ice skates.

Beginners may therefore find rollerblading quicker to get accustomed to compared to ice skating.

Aerobic Benefits

Depending on how you use your Rollerblades or ice skates, they can be used for both low-aerobic or high-aerobic sports.

For example, roller hockey and ice hockey players engage in high-impact aerobic exercise with high pressure on the body joints.

Recreational rollerbladers or ice skaters engage in low aerobic exercise with gentle impact on body joints.

Inline Skates Skills

As both sports require full-body movements, they can be intensive and require a lot of energy to maintain the motions.

As your body works hard, your heart pumps oxygenated blood to every blood cell muscle, tissue, and organ in the body.

Research has shown that rollerblading and ice skating lead to good aerobic benefits. These include.

  • Reduction of heart disease development
  • Better control of blood cholesterol
  • Improved lung functioning
  • Control of blood sugar


The gear required for ice skating and rollerblading is pretty similar, with a few subtle differences.

Both sports require protective gear such as knee pads, wrist guards, elbow pads, and a helmet. These equipment pieces are recommended for your protection while skating.

Skating glasses and hit pads can be used, but these are not mandatory. Particularly for recreational skating, fitness, or urban skating.

The obvious difference in equipment is the pair of skates you’ll use. For rollerblading, a pair of inline skates are required, while ice skating needs a pair of ice skates.

Low-cost inline skates are typically cheaper than low-cost ice skates. You can expect to pay as little as $25 for a pair of inline skates, while the price will increase to about $50 for basic ice skates.

While this difference is not huge, it does confirm that rollerblading has a lower entry barrier for participating compared to ice skating.


Many ask whether rollerblading is easier than ice skating. This is largely dependent on the technique and skill level of the individual.

However, most people will say that rollerblading is easier on average. This is due to the wider wheelbase, which adds extra stability compared to ice skates.

For any skating, mastering balance and good body posture are essential. As rollerblades offer greater stability, it is much easier for beginners to master this compared to ice skating.

Another key skill that needs to be developed is the ability to stop your rollerblade or ice skate.

This is easily achieved in rollerblades as they are built with a heel brake system which makes it easy for beginners to control their speed.

There is no such system included in the design of ice skates, meaning additional techniques are required to brake.


In terms of speed, ice skating is a faster sport compared to rollerblading.

Ice skaters can reach a speed of 30 to 50 kilometers an hour on average. For rollerbladers, this is much lower, at an average of 12 to 25 kilometers an hour.

Why is this? The surface plays a significant role in determining the speed of the skating. Ice skaters using an ice rink have no obstruction on the surface and limited friction. This allows ice skaters to generate high speeds.

While rollerbladers frequently encounter concrete or asphalt surfaces, which are fairly rough and will contain many debris and obstacles.

Rollerblading also tends to take place in public environments where there are plenty of passing pedestrians or motorized vehicles. All of these obstructions lead to rollerbladers typically generating lower speeds.

If you’re new to skating and want an adrenaline fix, ice skating may be preferable as it generates higher speeds.

Cardio Benefits

As previously mentioned, ice skating and rollerblading are great aerobic exercises. Therefore, they will have a positive effect on your cardiovascular health.

Due to the variety of environments in which rollerblading can take place, you will have greater options in terms of highly intense cardiovascular workouts using rollerblades compared to ice skates.

If you are interested in high-intensity rollerblading workouts, there are plenty available online, or consult your local gym or leisure facility.


If you’re motivated to take up ice skating or rollerblading as a recreational low, intense exercise, either option presents limited harm.

Even if you have bad knees, both sports will serve you well.

Comparing the two, ice skating is generally regarded as safer compared to rollerblading. This is due to ice skating taking place in a controlled environment in an ice rink.

The same cannot be said for rollerblading, which often takes place on pavements and roads where there’s oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

If you want to take up rollerblading, beginners should participate in the sport in skate parks rather than on the open road. This will improve overall safety and minimize risk.


Ice skating and rollerblading can both take place indoors or outdoors according to your personal preference.

The most common place to ice skate is in an indoor ice rink which is available all year round. If you live in a place where there are harsh winters and local lakes or reservoirs freeze over, then these provide good outdoor ice skating options.

If you wish to skate outdoors in natural environments, you should consult local experts as to whether it is safe to do so on a local lake or reservoir.

It can be very dangerous and sometimes fatal if the ice is not sufficiently thick.

However, winter ice rinks are commonly built for the public to enjoy ice skating in a safe environment.

Outdoor rollerblading is considerably safer compared to outdoor ice skating. There should be plenty of local facilities available, including urban roads, skate parks, sports parks, and trails.


Rollerblading offers a variety of surface options compared to ice skating. You can switch between tarmac, asphalt, or even off-road with rollerblading. However, ice skating can only be done on ice.

For some experienced ice skaters, this may be limiting and you may want to try skating on a diverse range of surfaces.

Final Words

Hopefully, this article has given you all the essential information you need to know about ice skating and rollerblading.

We can conclude that while there are some differences between the surfaces and equipment used for ice skating, there are many similarities between in technique between ice skating and rollerblading.

Both sports offer great cardiovascular aerobic fitness and are also very sociable. Both activities offer a wide range of sports, from hockey to speed skating, and can be low-cost for beginners.

Ice skating is probably better known and has a longer history compared to rollerblading.

However, rollerblading is certainly an increasingly popular activity. If you are new to both activities, we recommend giving both a try and let you work out which you prefer.

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