Rollerblades vs Roller Skates: The Ultimate Guide

Roller skating is a fun activity and sport to be involved in. However, if you are a beginner at roller skating or want to come back to it after a while, you might be confused about what type of skate to use.

Rollerblades vs roller skates, what is the difference?

Rollerblades enable you to go faster that is why they are better for longer distances. You can use roller skates for long-distance, but it will be challenging to keep up.

Initially, roller skates feel more stable and are easier for kids, but rollerblades can be easier for when learning how to skate well.

Different factors will determine the type of skates you should get including your experience, skill level, and the type of skating.

This article will give you more information about the difference between roller skates vs blades.

What Are Roller Skates?

Roller Skates

A roller skate is a boot that is mounted on two trucks, like skateboards, that supports one set of four wheels.

Quad skates look like wheeled regular shoes and the wheels roll smoothly under the trucks, just like how skateboards work.

But what came first quads or skateboards? Quad skates came before skateboards. The technology in skateboards borrowed the trucks from quad skates.

The wheels on a roller skate are arranged in a rectangular way, two wheels on the back and two wheels on the front.

Roller Skate Pros

If you want to do roller disco, roller skates are a perfect choice for you because the base of the wheels is short making them highly maneuverable and perfect for quick spins and tight turns.

The fact that the wheels are placed side by side, means that they are more stable, and you are less likely to fall sideways when standing.

Also, having the brake at the front makes stopping easier compared to having it on the back like how the rollerblades have it.

Roller Skate Cons

While the short wheelbase reduces the chance of falling sideways, it can be unsteady in terms of falling backward or forward.

Also, since the wheels have a small diameter, it can be hard to roll over big cracks or bumpy pavements as well as increase the speed, which is easier with rollerblades.

What Are Rollerblades?


Technically, a rollerblade is a roller skate. Also known as an inline skate, a rollerblade is a skate that has a boot with plenty of ankle support. It sits and rolls on several wheels like a roller skate.

However, the wheels are positioned in a straight line under a frame made of plastic or metal.

Rollerblades have around 2 to 5 wheels on every skate, but most of the inline skates available in the market have 4 wheels like the quad skates. Some rollerblades have three wheels, and they are known as tri-skates.

Rollerblades Pros

The most noticeable advantage of rollerblades is the larger diameter of the wheels. This offers a smoother ride on rough surfaces and makes them faster than roller skates.

The long-wheelbase reduces the chance of falling backward or forwards, making it more stable when moving.

Rollerblades Cons

The long-wheelbase can be an advantage in terms of not falling forward or backward, but there is a thinner area that is in contact with the ground.

This makes it easier to fall sideways either left or right and more unstable when standing still.

Also, the long-wheelbase makes it challenging to maneuver, so it is hard to spin around quickly or make tight turns.

Rollerblades vs Roller Skates: What Is The Difference?

Roller Skates vs Blades

The following are the main differences between roller skates and rollerblades:

Wheel number, arrangement, and attachment

The main difference between a rollerblade and a roller skate is that roller skate has 4 wheels while a pair of rollerblades come with 4, 6, 8, and even 10 wheels.

The number of wheels is not the only noticeable difference, but the wheel shape also has differences.  Inline skate wheels form a straight line under the frame as they stand beside one another, while the quad skate wheels are rectangular.

According to the connection of the wheel to the boot, rollerblade wheels don’t roll under trucks but have plastic or metallic frame that runs parallel to the boot, while roller skates have two skateboard-like trucks that support the two wheels.

Boot flexibility and type

Another distinguishing factor is the boot type. Roller skates’ boots look like the upper of a regular shoe and give enough support to the ankle. It flexes a bit and is quite comfortable.

The rollerblade is comfortable, but they come a little rigid and super supportive.

Tons of support is needed when you are rolling over stubborn pebbles or gravel or when you are jumping over an obstacle on the sidewalk or roadway.

For rollerblade comfort, you define that from the type of rollerblade you want because recreational rollerblades are comfier than speed inline skates.

The speed of skate; what skate is faster?

The wheels of rollerblades are larger than those of roller skates, therefore, they are faster and good for speed skating. If you want to burn your body fat through long-distance skating, inline skates are preferred.

The wheels of quad skates are smaller than inline skate wheels thus not as fast.  Rollerblade wheels have a diameter range of 58mm-65mm while quad has a range of 68mm-110mm range.

The purpose of the skates

People love quads for indoor skating or when players are having a roller derby scrimmage.  The quads are used for playing roller hockey and they shine more in indoor skating. Inline skating is used by most people for outdoor skating.

Few people rollerblade these days as it was something intended after the end of winter ice skating. This is because rollerblades work just the same way as ice skating.

The agility and stability of the skate

Roller skates are more stable than rollerblades. This is when you measure stability by how hard or easy to balance on the skate. If you are a beginner, you will find it easier to stand on and balance the quad skates than inline skates.

The quads skates are more stable when you are skating on a smooth surface at a slow pace.

However, quad skates always try to roll forward or backward without a warning and you might end up falling suddenly.

Quad skates are not as great as inline skates when you are rolling over an obstacle because if your trip on a pebble you can easily knock your noggin when on quads than when blading.

Quads skates are more agile than rollerblades because they sit on trucks. You lean to one side and turn your skates just like when you are skateboarding, therefore, you get more maneuverability from roller skate than when inline skating.

Sharp turns are easier with quads than rollerblades thus it is a better choice for roller dancing.

The ease of stopping and braking system

It is easier to stop quads than inline skates because they feature a braking system on the front and the brake is like a knob and you simply drag your toe in a certain way.

For inline skating, the braking system is located at the back. To stop an inline skate is not a hard thing but it needs a bit of learning but once you are good at that, you can move very fast while retaining your control.

Should I Roller Skate Or Rollerblade?

Are you wondering whether to rollerblade or roller skate? This section will help you understand which skate suits you and your needs:

How Old Are You?

Both roller skate or rollerblade works for young children. Often, roller skates are suitable for younger children because they are more stable, and most children find it easy because they do not go fast.

However, rollerblades can also work for kids, the initial balance may be difficult to get at first, but it can get easy as they whizz.

With inline skates, you can bend so that it turns right or left easier, hence your legs use trial and error to work out how to do it.

For roller skates, you lean on the truck which can be hard to perfect, so they are not always the easier.

For older children and teenagers, it is easier to skate outside with roller blades as they go much faster. Also, the style of the skate and the specific brand matters when buying a skate, so do more research.

I Am Into Personal Fitness

Rollerblades or roller skates can help you to be fitter with enough persistence and routine. However, the speed rollerblades can be easily used in the outdoors, and this makes them a slightly better choice if you are into personal fitness.

This is because you can skate for a long distance with them over outdoor terrain.

I Am Into Simply Having Fun

Either works if you just want to have some fun. If you are lucky to live in cities that have weekend or evening skates such as Copenhagen, New York, or London, try joining one of them for recreational skating. Y

ou can show up without skates and see what everyone is wearing, then decide.

I Am Into Team Sports

Both types of skates will suit you if you are into team sports. Join a roller hockey team near you that normally uses roller blades or roller derby which is popular among women.

I Like To Go Fast And Race

The best choice for you, if you want to go fast, is the inline skates. This is because it helps over long distances, and it is so fast. You can buy speed skates that have larger and slightly harder wheels.

However, if you are a beginner, do not jump straight into speed skating because the chances of you getting injured are high. Try recreational skating first.

I Am Into Individualistic Art And Creative Flair

This is balanced between the two. However, roller skates are used for synchronized and artistic skating, so if this is what you are looking for, go for it.

I Want To Do Tricks

You can do tricks on both the rollerblades and roller skate. However, roller blades are superior because of their maneuverability, and they have a huge range of skates specifically made for this.

Inline skates are commonly used in freestyle skating which involves a series of creative flair and artistic maneuvers.

You can also do great maneuvers using roller skates.

What’s Easier – Roller Skates vs Blades

Generally, it takes an equal amount of dedication to get comfortable in both the rollerblades and roller skates.

Roller skates are more stable, lighter, and number than rollerblades. Also, it is less challenging to balance on roller skates initially.

It is easy to learn both skates. It should take you about one hour to learn how to rollerblade or roller skate forward. And if you are keen enough, you might take about three to four hours in learning how to skate backward on either skate.

Apart from being heavy, the frames of rollerblades flex less adding extra weight to the overall workout, and stopping and turning is slightly harder making rollerblades feel harder than roller skates.

If you want to skate in the outdoors, choose rollerblades, but if you would rather dance or jam indoor buy roller skates.

Which Will Get You Fitter – Rollerblades Vs Roller Skates

Since you can move easily with more speed with inline skates, most recreational skaters use rollerblades for fitness purposes. It is easier to skate or do a marathon for several hours with the inline skates.

However, most people can do this with roller skates, but they have to be good at it to skate for longer distances.

Regarding which gives you better fitness, they are quite similar. You can argue that since roller skating is slightly slower than rollerblading, it could give you a better workout. But it being slower can reduce how long you are going to do it.

Both roller skating and rollerblading burn more calories than brisk walking but burn less than cycling and running.

Both can help you lose weight, and you can add them to your workout routine as a form of aerobic exercise because the body uses every muscle when rolling down roadways and sidewalks.

Why Would You Inline Skate?

The main reason for rollerblading is if you want flexibility in terms of trying out tricks and going fast. For the tricks, purchase freestyle skates instead of recreational ones, as you can easily upgrade the wheels.

This means that you can start with a pair and change the wheels and the style of skating as you become more confident.

Why Would You Roller Skate?

If you like the look and style of roller skates or want to join a roller-skating specific sport like roller derby, or the skates are for a 5-year-old who wants to feel stable and safe when standing, the roller skates are a perfect choice.

Inline Skates Vs Roller Skates Vs Rollerblades: Which Is Best For Beginners?

Inline Skates vs Roller Skates

The traditional high-top roller skates are the best option for beginners. This is because the high-top boot offers additional ankle support, and the quad axles provide balance by distributing the weight of the skater evenly across the base of the skate.

Another reason why quad roller skates are great for beginners is that you can tighten the wheel if you do not want to roll.

Then you can loosen them slowly as you become more stable and comfortable with the skate.

When starting, inline skates and rollerblades can be difficult to balance. However, if you are set on a rollerblade or an inline skate, choose one that has a wide, short wheel and a high-top boot for more stability.

Inline Skates Vs Rollerblades: What Is The Difference?

Rollerblades are a type of inline skates that have slightly wider wheels and a high-top boot, which makes it easier to skate in them than inline speed skates.

On the other hand, inline speed skates are best for speed and have thin and tall wheels. Also, they have short low-top boots making it easier for competitive skaters to keep their speed up and dig deep when going around corners.

Rollerblades Vs Skates: Which Is Best For Outdoors

The main thing that you need to pay attention to when skating outdoors is the wheels. Wheels are the only difference between outdoor and indoor skates.

This means that you can use the same pair to skate outdoors and indoors if you have an extra set of wheels.

When skating outdoors, you need a softer wheel regardless of whether you are using inline skates, rollerblades, or quad roller skates.

Most rollerblades and inline skates come with softer wheels because the brands assume that they will be used outdoors.

A durometer is used to measure the wheel’s hardness. All wheels are given a hardness rating as a number with the letter A such as 78A. If the number is higher, it means that the wheel is harder.

For outdoor skating on rough concrete and asphalt, you want a wheel with 85A hardness and below. Softer wheels go over small debris easily and ride smoothly on rough surfaces.

Some argue that rollerblades are best for the outdoors because they offer a smaller surface area or better maneuverability so that you can avoid hitting debris.

However, choose the roller skate that you feel most comfortable and stable with. If you are new to skating, a roller skate with outdoor wheels is a perfect option.

If you are an experienced skater, it is up to what you want to do with the skates and your personal preference.

For outdoor hockey players, rollerblades are a good choice. For outdoor speed skaters, inline speed skates are a great option.

As you get good at roller skating, you will begin to see skates as the makeup of their components including boots, wheels, bearings, and plates. You will use the right skate for stability purposes and less injury.

Are The Costs Different?

Roller skates and rollerblades are comparable in price, but the slight price difference should not affect you because you are investing in your lifestyle and enjoyment.

You can get your skates for $60 or less but you should look at skates for around $100, however, kids’ skates will be cheaper.

Nonetheless, if you are looking at the upper end, you will spend a few hundred dollars because some great skates can be $200 and above.

Types Of Roller Sports

The following are the different types of or roller sports you can do with the various skates:

Roller Derby

This is one of the most popular roller-skating sports. Roller derby players usually wear quad roller skates when they are playing roller derby. This sport is played on an oval track.

It was originally for skating demonstration when an out of speed product has been developed and trademarked. It is mainly played by women. Roller derby leagues adopt the guideline and rules of the Men’s Roller Derby or Women Flat Track Derby Association.

Speed Roller Skating

When competing, speed skaters wear inline speed skates. Before the invention of inline skates, skaters used to do speed skating in quad skates. Inline speed skates move faster than roller skates because of the height and the thinness of the wheel.

However, some competitors use the low-top quad roller skates, but most serious speed roller skaters use inline skates. During competitions, rollerblades are not recommended unless it is with your friends outdoor or at the rink.

Artistic Roller Skating

This skating is done in high-top quad roller skates. The majority of the artistic roller skaters do their craft in roller skates, but some competitors do this in special artistic rollerblades.

Most of the well-known artistic skates are made by Sure-Grip and Riedell.

Roller Hockey

This type of roller sport existed long before the invention of inline skating. In many countries across the world, quads were used to play roller hockey. Roller hockey players mostly use rollerblades.

Brands that make popular roller hockey skates are Tour, Bauer, and Mission.

Jam Skating

This is a cross between dancing, break dancing, and gymnastics on roller skates. Jam skating is done using low-top quad roller skates. The most popular jam skates brand is VNLA.

Shuffle And Rhythm Skating

This skating is almost like jam skating because it includes dancing slides and stunts. The most visual characteristic for this is that their boot goes higher covering all ankles.

High-top quad rollers were worn mostly, by old-school shuffle and rhythm skaters.

Final Words

Both rollerblading and roller skating are activities full of fun. While they are similar in some ways, they have a few differences.

Rollerblading involves rolling on 10, 8, 6, or 4 wheels attached to a frame while roller skating is rolling on four wheels that are positioned side by side under a pair of trucks.

Roller skates are most used in indoor skating, but some people use them outdoors. Roller skates have smaller wheels than rollerblades, that is why the latter is a better option for the outdoors.

For a beginner, roller skating is easier because the position of the four wheels makes it a bit more stable. While the rollerblades may not feel stable at the beginning, riding them feels more exciting and easier as you improve your skills.

However, both skates are easy to learn, and you can easily roll forward in either one of them in an hour.

When skating, remember to wear protective gear to protect you from potential injuries.

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