Roller skating is a fun sport and activity to be part of. But, if you want to come back to it after a while or you are just starting, you may be confused about what type of skate you may want to use.
So, rollerblades vs roller skates, what is the difference?
Rollerblades are great for long distances because they allow you to go faster. Roller skates can be used for long-distance, but it can be difficult to keep up.
Roller skates are great for kids and are more stable when starting, but when you want to learn how to skate well, rollerblades are easier.
Choosing the type of skate to purchase depends on certain factors such as your skill level, experience, and style of skating. Read on to learn the main differences between roller skates and blades.
What Are Roller Skates?
A roller skate is a boot-mounted on two trucks, such as skateboards, and it supports a set of four wheels.
Quad skates look like regular shoes with wheels that roll smoothly under the trucks, similar to how skateboards work.
But which one came first skateboards or quads? Skateboards came after quads. The technology used in skateboards made use of the trucks that are used in quad skates, which is an important idea.
In a roller skate, the wheels are arranged in a rectangular manner, two wheels on the front and two wheels on the back.
Roller Skate Pros
Roller skates are the perfect choice if you want to do roller disco because they have a shorter base on the wheels which makes them perfect for tight turns and quick spins and highly maneuverable.
The wheels are less likely to fall sideways when you are standing, and they are more stable because the wheels are placed side by side.
With roller skates, stopping is much easier because the brake is at the front compared to being at the back like in rollerblades.
Also, some people believe that they are good for beginners but having wheels on your feet when starting can always be challenging no matter how they are arranged.
Roller Skate Cons
The short wheelbase can be unsteady in terms of falling forward or backward even though it reduces the chance of falling sideways.
It can be difficult to roll over bumpy pavements or big cracks and even increase speed because the wheels have a small diameter.
What Are Rollerblades?
Rollerblades were mass-produced in the 1980s, but they gained their popularity in the early 90s. A rollerblade is technically a roller skate.
A rollerblade is also known as an inline skate, and it is a boot that offers a lot of ankle support.
Just like a roller skate, a rollerblade sits and rolls on several wheels. But the wheels are positioned under a frame made of metal or plastic in a straight line.
Rollerblades have about 2 to 5 wheels on each skate, but most of them available in the market today have 4 wheels like the quad skates. Tri-skates are rollerblades with three wheels.
The large diameter of the wheels is the most noticeable advantage of rollerblades. This makes them faster than roller skates and provide smoother rides on rough surfaces.
The long-wheelbase makes it more stable when moving as it reduces the chance of falling forward or backward.
Rollerblades are also versatile as they can be used anywhere and on different types of surfaces including roads, parks, and urban spaces. They are great for commuting, fitness, and for having fun.
The long-wheelbase means that only a thinner area is in contact with the ground. This makes it more unstable when standing and easier to fall sideways either to the right or left.
Also, the long-wheelbase makes it hard to make tight turns or quickly spin around and challenging to maneuver.
Roller Skate Vs Rollerblade: What is the Difference?
Listed below are the major differences between rollerblades and roller skates:
Wheel Number, Arrangement, And Attachment
The main difference between a roller skate and a rollerblade is that rollerblades come with 4, 6, 8, or 10 wheels while a roller skate has 4 wheels.
Another noticeable difference is that the wheels of quad skates are arranged rectangularly while those of inline skates make a straight line under the frame.
When it comes to the connection of the wheel to the boot, roller skates have two trucks like a skateboard that supports the wheels while rollerblades have metallic or plastic frames that run parallel to the boot.
Boot Flexibility And Type
Another difference between the two is the type of boot. The boots of roller skates provide enough support to the ankle and look like the upper of regular shoes.
It is quite comfortable and flexes a bit.
Rollerblades are super supportive and comfortable, but they come a little rigid. Plenty of support is when you are rolling over stubborn gravel or pebbles or when you are on the roadway or sidewalk and want to jump over an obstacle.
The comfort of rollerblades is defined by the type you want to use because rollerblades for recreational purposes are more comfortable than speed inline skates.
The Speed Of Skate: Which Skate Is Faster?
Rollerblades are faster and great for speed skating because their wheels are larger than those for roller skates. Inline skates are preferred if you want to burn body fat with long-distance skating.
Quad skates are not fast because their wheels are smaller than those for inline skates.
Quad skates’ wheels have a diameter ranging between 68mm and 110mm while rollerblade wheels have a diameter of between 58mm and 65mm.
The Purpose Of The Skate
Most people love quad skates for a roller derby experience or for indoor skating. Quads shine more in indoor skating and are used for playing roller hockey.
Inline skating is mostly used for outdoor skating. Rollerblades were intended to be used at the end of winter and they work the same way as ice skating.
The Stability And Agility Of The Skate
When you measure stability by how easy or hard it is to balance on a skate, roller skates are more stable than rollerblades.
If you are a beginner, start with roller skates because they are easier to stand on than inline skates.
If you are skating at a slow pace on a smooth surface, quad skates are more stable. However, they can easily roll backward or forward without warning, and you may suddenly fall.
When you are rolling over an obstacle roller skates are not the best compared to rollerblades because you can easily knock your nogging if you trip on a pebble.
Since quad skates sit on trucks, they are more agile than rollerblades. You turn your skate by leaning on one side just like in skateboarding, hence, you get more maneuverability in quad skates than rollerblades.
Quads are the best choice for roller dancing because sharp turns are easier with them than rollerblades.
The Ease Of Braking And Stopping System
It is easier to stop roller skates than rollerblades because their braking system is at the front and the brake is like a knob that is can be dragged in a certain way by the toe to make it stop.
The braking system of inline skating is located at the back. It is not hard to stop an inline skate, but it needs more training and once you are good at it, you can move fast and still retain your control.
Should I Roller Skates or Rollerblades?
Are you wondering whether you should roller skate or rollerblade? This section will help you understand and decide which skate suits you and your preferences:
How Old Are You?
Both rollerblades and roller skates work for very young children. Roller skates work for children because they do not go fast and are more stable.
Also, rollerblades are great for children even though getting the initial balance can be challenging but it gets easy with practice.
You can bend with inline skates so that it turns left or right easily, hence your legs work out how to use it through trial and error.
You lean on the truck with roller skates which can be challenging to perfect, therefore, they are not always easier.
It is easier to skate outside with rollerblades for teenagers and older children because they are much faster.
When buying a skate, the specific brand and style of the skate matters, so do your research to ensure that you get the best skate for your needs.
I Am Into Personal Fitness
Both roller skates and rollerblades can help you be fitter with enough routine and persistence.
But since speed rollerblades can be used in the outdoors easily, it makes them a slightly better option for people into fitness.
This is because the outdoor terrain allows you to skate for a longer distance.
I Am Into Team Sports
If you are into team sports, both types of skates are a good option.
Join roller derby which is popular among women or a roller hockey team that uses roller blades.
I Am Into Simply Having Fun
If you just want to have some fun, you can use the rollerblades of roller skates.
If you live in cities that do evening or weekend skating such as London, New York, or Copenhagen, try joining the recreation skating groups that you can find.
For the first time, you can show up without any skates and then assess which type of skates people are using.
I Like To Go Fast And Race
If you want to go faster, inline skates are the best option for you. This is because since it is so fast, you can easily skate over long distances. You can buy speed skates with slightly harder and larger wheels.
However, do not start with speed skating if you are a beginner because you will easily get injured, try recreational skating first.
I Am Into The Creative Flair And Individualistic Art
For creative flair and individualistic art, both roller skates and rollerblades work. But roller skates are a great option for artistic and synchronized skating, so go for it if this is what you are looking for.
I Want To Do Tricks
You can do tricks on both roller skates and rollerblades. However, because of their maneuverability, rollerblades rule the ramp, and they have a variety of skates made specifically for this.
Roller skates are mostly used in freestyle skating which involves a series of artistic maneuvers and creative flair, but you can also do great maneuvers with them.
What Is Easier – Roller Skates vs Rollerblades?
In general, to get comfortable in both roller skates and rollerblades takes an equal amount of dedication.
Roller skates are lighter and more stable than rollerblades. It is also less challenging to balance while on roller skates.
Nevertheless, it is easier to learn both skates and can take you about an hour learning to roller skate or rollerblade forward and around four hours learning to roller skate or roller blade backward when keen enough.
The rollerblades frames flex less and are heavy, thus, adding extra weight to the overall workout making the turning and stopping slightly more difficult than with roller skates.
Buy roller skates if you want to dance or jam indoors, but for an outdoor experience, rollerblades are the best.
Which One Gets You Fitter- Roller Blades vs Roller Skates?
Moving faster is easier with inline skates; therefore, recreational skaters prefer rollerblades for fitness purposes. One can do a marathon or skate longer time with the rollerblades.
Although most people go for a workout with roller skates, they need to be good at it for longer distances.
They are similar regarding which gives better fitness. However, one can argue that since roller skating is slower than rollerblading, it offers a better workout, but the slowness can reduce the time you are doing it.
Rollerblading and roller skating burns fewer calories than running or cycling but burn more calories than brisk walking. Therefore, both come to help when you want to lose weight.
You can add these skates as your aerobic exercises because when you are rolling down sidewalks or roadways, your body uses every muscle.
Why Would You Inline Skate?
Inline skating is great if you want flexibility when trying out the trick and when going fast.
When trying out tricks, go for the freestyle skates instead of the ones for recreation because you can easily upgrade the wheels.
Therefore, you can keep changing the wheels and skating style as your confidence grow.
Why Would You Roller Skate?
Roller skates are a perfect choice if you want to join a roller skating-specific sport or if you like the style and look of roller skates.
It can also be a good choice if you have a 5-year-old who wants to feel safe and stable when standing.
Inline Skates vs Roller Skates vs Rollerblades- Which Is Best For Beginners?
High-top traditional roller skates are the best option for beginners because they offer additional ankle support while its quad-axle distributes the skate weight evenly across the skate’s base, thus providing balance.
Quad roller skates are great for beginners because the wheels can be tightened if you do not want to roll and loosen them slowly when you get more comfortable and stable with them.
In the beginning, the rollerblades or inline skates can be challenging to balance but if you are set on it choose the one with a short and wide wheel with a high-top boot for greater stability.
Inline Skates Vs Rollerblades: What Is the Difference?
Rollerblades are Inline skates with slightly wider wheels and a high-top boot making skating in them easier than it is with inline speed skates.
Inline speed skates are okay for speed because they have tall and thin wheels with short low-top boots for competitive skaters to dig deep when going around the corners and to keep up their speed.
Rollerblades vs Skates: Which Is Best for Outdoors?
When outdoor skating, you need to pay attention to the wheels. The only difference between indoor and outdoor skates is the wheels.
This shows that the same skate pair can be used for both indoor and outdoor, with an extra set of wheels.
You need a softer wheel for outdoor skating for either rollerblade, inline skating, or quad roller skates.
A lot of inline skates and rollerblades come with softer wheels because brands assume they are for outdoor skating.
The hardness of the wheel is measured using a Durometer. The hardness rating is given to the wheel as a number with the letter A such as 75A.
The higher the number, the harder the wheel. If you are skating on asphalt or rough concrete, you need a wheel with 85A and below. Soft wheels ride smoothly and go over small debris easily.
Another argument why rollerblades are best for outdoor is because they offer better maneuverability and small surface area so you can easily avoid hitting debris.
It is recommended to choose the roller skate that you are comfortable with. New skaters should go for roller skates with outdoor wheels.
For experienced skaters, it depends on your personal preference or what you want to do with the skate, for example, Rollerblades for outdoor hockey players are a good choice and inline skates for outdoor speed skaters are a great option.
As you get better at roller skating, skates will look be a makeup of their components such as wheels, boots, and plates. Therefore, you will get the right skate for less injury and stability purposes.
Is There A Difference In Costs?
Prices are comparable for rollerblades and roller skates though a slight difference should not affect you because it is an investment for your enjoyment and lifestyle.
Skates can cost $60 or less but those which cost around $100 are better but kids’ skates are cheaper. However, if you are aiming at the upper end, a few hundred dollars will give you great skates.
Types Of Roller Sports
The following are different types of roller sports:
This is one of the most common sports in roller skating. Normally, players use roller skates when playing roller derby. Roller derby is played on an oval track.
Originally, roller derby was for skating demonstrations when an out of speed product has been trademarked and developed. Women mainly play this sport.
The leagues of roller derby adopt the rules and guidelines of the Women Flat Track Derby Association or Men’s Roller Derby.
Speed Roller Skating
During the competition, speed skaters use inline speed skates. Skaters used to speed skate in quad skates before the invention of inline skates.
Due to height and the thinness of the wheel, inline speed skates move faster than roller skates and speed roller skaters prefer using inline skates but some competitors use the low-top quad roller skates.
Rollerblades are not recommended for competitions but only when you are with your friends at the rink or outdoor.
Artistic Roller Skating
This type of roller sport is done with high-top quad roller skates. Most artistic roller skaters perform their crafts in roller skates; however, some skaters do it in special artistic rollerblades.
The most famous artistic skates are made by Sure-Grip and Riedell companies.
This roller sport existed even before the invention of inline skating therefore, most countries use quads to play roller hockey.
However, most players use rollerblades. Popular brands that make rollerblades for roller hockey are Tour, Mission, and Bauer.
This type of roller sport is a cross between break dancing, dancing, and gymnastics on roller skates.
This sport is done using low-top quad roller skates. The most popular brand for jam skates is VNLA.
Shuffle And Rhythm Skating
This sport is almost like jam skating because it has dancing slides and stunts.
The most distinct feature about this is that their boot is high, covering the ankle. Mostly, top-quad rollers have been worn by the rhythm skaters and old-school shuffle.
Roller skating and rollerblading are both fun activities to be involved in, whether by yourself or with family and friends. Both have some differences but also have similarities in certain ways.
Roller skating involves rolling on four wheels positioned side by side under a pair of trucks while rollerblading includes rolling on 4,6,8, or 10 wheels attached to a frame.
Roller skates are mostly used in indoor skating with some people using them for an outdoor experience.
They have smaller wheels than rollerblades, the reason why rollerblading is good for the outdoors.
For a starter, it is easier to roller skate because the position of the wheels makes it more stable.
Rollerblading may not feel stable at the start but gets easier and more exciting as your skills improve.
Nevertheless, both skates are easy to learn because you can easily roll forward in either of them within an hour.
If your goal is to roll faster, consider getting yourself rollerblades. But if you want to do acrobatic maneuvers, a pair of roller skates will serve you better.
Remember to wear your protective gear while skating to protect yourself from potential injuries and accidents that may occur especially when you are starting.
Hey there, my name is Tommy and I have to admit that rollerblading and roller skating are in my blood. I have been skating since I was seven years old and I have tried many different roller skates during my skating career.
I hope my knowledge and passion for rollerblading and skating comes across and that you’ll find the product reviews insightful.