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All Differences Between Roller Skates and Rollerblades!

Difference Between Roller Skates and Roller Blades
Written by Colin Kint

The main difference between Roller Skates and Roller Blades is the wheel position. Rollerblades have a line of wheels in the middle, and skates have two horizontal tracks. One is located at the heel, the other at the toe.

Rollerblades go faster and are preferred for long-distance rides. Skates are used mostly indoors.

What are Roller Skates?

A roller skate is a binding that goes onto a shoe. They allow you to roll around with wheels. The roller skate was first an ice skate, then the blade was changed for wheels.

After that, the quad roller skate came out, which was four wheels arranged in twos like a car.

What’s a roller skate

What’s to Love About Roller Skates?

Easy maneuverability

The soft roller skate is a good choice if you want to have easy maneuvering for dancing and competitions. Roller skates have adjustable trucks so they can be made more maneuverable, especially on tight turns.

More stable

Rollerskates are great for balance and stability. It allows for a more stable stop with the top brake and the front. The quad skates offer more roll resistance as they have broader wheels.

The adjustable trucks give more directional stability.

Slowing down and stopping is easy

Rollerskates have a toe stop drag which makes stopping easy. All you need to do is balance more weight on one leg so you can drag to slow down to a stop.

Supports sharp turns

Sharp turns can be made at high speed as long as you slow down a little before making the sharp turn.

Fresh designs

Roller skates have many types and designs available. You can custom color the wheels and the shoe itself or the laces.

What are Rollerblades?

Rollerblades have two or five wheels that are in a straight line down the middle of the shoe.

Those used for recreation have a rubber stop that is attached to the back of one or both skates.

What's are Rollerblades

This allows you to slow down before coming to a sudden stop. Just slowly lean back onto the foot of the skate.

What’s to Love About Rollerblades?

Higher speed

The rollerblades can reach high speeds. However, they are harder to learn when just starting out.

You need to first master stability and balance before you can reach high speeds successfully.

Easy on uneven surfaces

All outdoor skates will be able to roll smoothly on different rough surfaces. This includes cracks in concrete, sidewalks, pavements, and asphalt.

Great for lateral leg movements

Using skates is good for lateral leg movements. You can sprint on the skate and get a cardio workout. You can tone the glutes, hamstrings, and thighs.

It is best to differ between sprinting and light skating for 40 seconds each. If this is too hard, you can decrease the time.

Difference between Roller Skates and Roller Blades

Wheel arrangement and amount

A big difference between a blade and a skate is the roller skate has four wheels, and rollerblades can have a minimum of four and a maximum of 10.

In addition, they are organized differently, with quads in a rectangular shape and the rollerblade in a straight line.

Roller skates have trucks to hold the wheels in place and the rollerblades have a frame that houses the wheels.

Boot flexibility

The boot type is another difference. The skates tend to look like a basic shoes but offer plenty of support to your ankle. They are flexible but not stiff.

Rollerblades tend to be more comfortable than skates, and are more supportive.

Fitting and shape

Different brands will have a different shapes of skate. If you fit a k2 well, then the brand is going to be better than the others.


Rollerblade wheels are bigger than skates. This allows them to go faster. Blades are best for speed skating. Quad skates can still gain speed but not as much as blades.

Where are they used

Although there are some indoor uses for rollerblades, they are mostly used for outdoor skating. You can see them indoors in rinks during the time of inline skate roller hockey, which is also known as rink hockey.

On the other hand, roller skates are typically used for indoor skating, especially in roller dancing. Another example of indoor use is a roller derby scrimmage in a roller rink. You will also find them in quad skate roller hockey.


According to how easy or hard balancing on the skate is, roller skates are more stable than rollerblades, especially if you are a newcomer. They will also provide better stability during slow skating time.

The downside is that they tend to roll unwantedly, especially in the forward direction, which can make you experience an unpleasant fall more frequently. They are also not good at rolling over small objects like tiny rocks or pebbles.


Roller skates provide more maneuverability than inline skates because they sit on trucks. You can even lean to one side to turn it like skateboards. Roller skates are preferable for roller dancing as taking sharp turns is also easier on them.

The braking system

Performance or speed skates don’t have brakes at all. You may see brakes on the backside in some models, which is not user-friendly at all. You have to learn to apply it.

On the other hand, roller skates have a frontal braking system under your toe, which is much easier to apply as you just need to move your toe in a specific way.

How does the cost differ?

The cost of blades and skates will depend on the type. If you buy the basic brand of both, they run fairly cheap for $60 a pair.

Buying blades or skates designed for performance and competition will see you paying up to $1000.00.

Where the skates are used

People often use rollerskates to skate indoors. You may see them on footpaths, but they are mostly for inside use. Quad skates are also used when playing roller hockey.

Rollerblades, however, are used for outdoor use. They can be used indoors in rinks, but this has faded out.

Roller Skates vs Rollerblades: Which Is Suited to You?

Roller Skates vs Rollerblades

Your age

Roller skates are better for beginners as they don’t require as many balance skills as blades.

Skates are also better for children as they are more stable and don’t go as fast.

Blades are best for those who have learned the basics of skating.

Achieve personal fitness

Both blades and skates will help you get fit. It is persistence and good habits that will help you get fit.

Rollerblades are preferred as you can skate longer distances without wearing yourself out as fast.

Skates require more leg work, so they are the better choice for building muscle.

Enjoy some fun

If you like recreational skating, then head out with some friends and appreciate skating. Both rollerskates and rollerblades can be just as fun.

Rollerblades are easier to do tricks with, but rollerskates are best for a casual skate with a friend. There is no set rule. Skate with whatever you enjoy the most.

For sports

If you love sports, then you can use either type. Rollerblades are used for roller hockey, and skates are used for derby matches.

For racing and speed lovers

If you are looking to skate fast, then your only choice is rollerblades. They are perfect for fast, long-distance speed skating due to the efficiency of their stride.

Artistic skaters

This one is a little balanced between both blades and skates.

Roller skates are used for synchronized skating, which is more artistic.

Rollerblades are often used to slalom around cones because they have good individual maneuverability.

Perform tricks

Both types of skates can be used for tricks. Rollerblades are preferred for ramps as rollerskates are not as easy to maneuver as the blades. Rollerblades do have better-designed blades for the purpose.

It takes skill and practice to complete tricks in rollerskates as they are not as flexible and easy to use compared to blades.

Roller Skating Or Rollerblading: Is One Easier?

Skate weight

In roller skating, the stake weight is a term used to describe how much pressure is on the wheels before the boards touch the ground. For a wheel to roll, it must have some kind of support from being on a floor or concrete.

In rollerblading, wheels don’t have an obstacle in their path so there is no need for a stake weight. The wheel must be able to move freely and roll with friction.

Roller skating is preferred due to its ease of use and lighter weight compared to other devices such as skis or snowboards.

The flexibility of the frame

Roller skating and rollerblading share a lot of similarities. However, the major difference between the two is that skate frames are less flexible than those of blading frames. This is because of how the skater pads are spaced from each other.

In terms of frame flexibility, roller skating comes out as a clear winner over the practice of rollerblading. Roller skating is more flexible and can be used for a variety of tricks and maneuvers.

On the other hand, rollerblading is more rigid and can only be used for skating over short distances.

At the beginner stage

Both these sports can be difficult for beginners.

Roller skating is a leisurely activity that requires more balance and coordination.

Rollerblading, on the contrary, requires less balance and coordination but is considered to be less flexible than roller skating.

The width of your feet

Roller skating requires a specific skate shoe size because the width of the feet can affect how you can move and control the skates.

For example, if your feet are too wide, bending your knees and keeping your balance during turns might be difficult.

Similarly, the more the foot width is, the better it is for rollerblading. The reason is that there are different types of feet. Some are wider than others.

So, the width of a foot will determine how easy it is to roll.


Some people think roller skating is more suitable for women because it provides more stability.

Other people might say blading is the way to go for men because it’s easier to transition from one foot to the other.

However, some people believe that both of them are just equally good for both genders.


1. How fast roller skating can be learned?

Ans. You need between 5 and 10 rides to get 1-2 hours of rolling with the roller skates.  Learn the basics first, such as accelerate, balance, stop and feel.

2. Does rollerskating or rollerblading help lose weight?

Ans. Rollerskates and rollerblades are both good ways to get fit and lose weight. Any type of skating is a cardiovascular workout. You work up a sweat and work the heart harder, which means you will burn fat. Skating is an effective way to lose weight if you stick to a regular routine.

3. Does roller skating help burn more calories than running?

Ans. Studies conducted at Mayo Clinic show that people that weigh 160 pounds will burn around 900 calories just by skating for one hour. You only lose 584 calories by jogging for the same duration at 3.5mph.

4. Why skate wheels need to be rotated?

Ans. Rotating the wheels of your skates evens out the wear pattern. It will also ensure a smooth ride from the skates. Badly worn wheels can affect skating.

About the author

Colin Kint

I’m a professional skateboarder and have participated in most skateboarding competitions in San Francisco. I believe my innate passion for the sport drove me to pursue my career as a professional skateboarder.

Another reason I’ve got so good at it is because of my relentless practice sessions with my friends. As an environmental activist with an undergraduate law degree, I volunteer in different community awareness programs. I’m also into photography and do most of the photography for this site.

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