Scooterlay is audience-supported. When you buy through links on this site, we may earn an affiliate commission that we use for site maintenance. Learn more


Roller Skating vs Ice Skating: What’s Really Best for You?

roller skating vs ice skating
Written by Kevin Gerard

Both roller skating and ice skating are great leisure activities and beneficial in many ways. Roller skating utilizes boots with attached wheels and is usually done over a smooth surface. Ice skating uses shoes with attached blades (made of metal) and is performed on an ice-covered surface.

Wheels or blades? What to choose? Let’s break it down in detail and see who comes out on top.

Roller Skating Vs. Ice Skating Detailed Comparison

Roller skating

Roller skating pros and cons


1. Weight loss

Roller skating is an excellent activity to lose weight and build muscles. The way you move your body aids in toning your legs, glutes, abs, and thighs.

2. Boosts heart health

In the United States, the Heart Association states that roller skating is a great activity to improve the health of your heart since it increases your heart rate.

3. Makes you feel happy

This physical pastime diminishes harmful hormones while increasing the positive endorphins (happy hormones). The happy hormones will improve your concentration, control your mood, and make you feel naturally fantastic with regular roller skating.

4. Prevents joint injury

Roller skating is a low-impact exercise. Your body moves fluidly with no jerky motions, and this aids in reducing damage to the joints.

5. Improves your balance

You need to keep your balance and maintain a steady base when you go roller skating because if you don’t, you will fall. Practice will make you perfect as well as improve your balance significantly.


1. Injuries

Any physical activity can result in injuries; however, it’s more prevalent among beginners. If you want to avoid sprains, strains, and abrasions, proper training and safety gear will help prevent them from occurring.

2. Finding a place to roller skate

It would help if you did some research before strapping on your roller skates and heading out. You will need a safe place for this activity, especially if you are just a beginner.

3. Challenging for beginners

People can make roller skating look easy, but it’s more complicated than it seems. It might take you a while before you are gliding away on a rink or sidewalk. The better you will be at roller skating if you stick with it.

Ice skating

Ice skating pros and cons


1. Better balance

Ice skating improves body coordination and balance. This will help you with your daily activities in life.

2. Stronger body

You use practically every muscle in your body when you ice skate. The gliding movement of the legs helps with flexibility of the joints and increases the strength of abdominal and leg muscles.

3. Cardiovascular health

The exertion of the body while skating has incredible heart benefits. It gets the heart rate up and the blood pumping.

4. Burns a lot of calories

The body works hard while ice skating, burning up to 600 calories during a session. This will lead to weight loss. Also, due to the frigid temperature, the body needs to work harder to keep its core temperature at a reasonable level.


1. Difficult for adult beginners

Training for ice skating usually begins when you are a child. It can be accomplished, but it might be difficult for adults just starting on the ice.

2. Lack of safety gear

Inline skaters usually wear protective gear that includes padding and helmets, but ice skaters do not. The ice’s smooth surface decreases the occurrence of abrasions, but ice skaters tend to suffer more head injuries than other skaters.

3. Breathing problems

Hockey players, figure and other skaters are susceptible to breathing problems. This can happen because you breathe in pollutants and chemicals to maintain the ice rink.

Roller Skating vs Ice Skating: How Do They Differ?

1. Difficulty level

Roller skating

It’s all about learning to move your feet a certain way and maintaining your balance. The more you do this activity, the better you will become.

Ice skating

To become talented at the sport, coaching is usually aimed at children, but that’s not to say adults can’t learn how to ice skate. It might be harder to accomplish than learning the skill when you are younger.


It is easier to learn how to roller skate, especially if you are an adult.

2. Required gear

Roller skating

Protective gear is a good idea if you plan to roller skate outside or are a beginner in the sport. Besides your skates, you should wear light clothing or a skating suit and padding to prevent injury.

Ice skating

Sharp skates are essential for any form of ice skating. Warm and comfortable clothing is also advised. Make sure to hydrate while skating and if you are going to be outdoors, make sure to pack the sunscreen.


Usually, more gear is required in roller skating to prevent injury, especially if you are outdoors. The winner depends on whether you find it a hindrance to wear more protective gear. You usually have minimal safety gear when you ice skate (unless it’s hockey or speed skating).

3. Balance

Roller skating

Balancing is key to being successful at roller skating. Many people practice balancing exercises to help.

Ice skating

The key to balancing while ice skating is to keep low with your feet shoulder-width apart. Standing like this keeps your weight on the balls of your feet, which will help you from falling backward.


Roller skates have attached wheels wider than the thin blade of an ice skate. That makes it easier for you to keep your balance. The winner is roller skating.

4. Maneuvering

Roller skating

If you are roller skating on a smooth surface (like an indoor rink), you should be able to glide along without obstacles.

Ice skating

It requires more ankle and core strength to maneuver while ice skating. However, being talented and adequately trained as a child can result in competition instead of just a leisure activity.


Both activities use similar techniques and muscles, but roller-skating edges out as the winner in this category.

5. Friction

Roller skating

Friction happens when two objects oppose one another, forcing the items to slow down. In roller skating, it’s the wheels against the sidewalk or rink. Inside your roller skate, between the axle and your wheel, there is a device called a bearing. This bearing makes the frictionless and practically non-existent.

Ice skating

Ice skating requires friction to be conquered to move forward on your skates. Your leg muscles push against the metal blade of the skate to drive the skater forward. The skate’s blade will have sufficient friction because it digs into the ice as you move.


In the instance of friction, it’s a draw in this category.

6. Brakes

Roller skating

You will find adjustable and or fixed toe stops on your roller skates. They let you brake and slow down your skates.

Ice skating

There are no brakes or mechanisms that allow you to brake during ice skating. You will need to research techniques on how to stop on ice skates.


Obviously, roller skating takes it for the win.

7. Surface and venue

Roller skating

Roller rinks are usually constructed from concrete or hardwood flooring in an outdoor or indoor venue. Places with concrete floors are preferred amongst roller skaters who perform tricks, spins, and power moves. If you are roller skating outdoors, you need to be aware of obstacles and hazards.

Ice skating

This sport can be achieved in the great outdoors or inside a venue with an ice rink. These rinks can be all-natural or synthetically made.


It depends on where you are skating and your level of expertise in both sports. This one is a tie.

8. Calories burned

Roller skating

A vigorous roller-skating session can burn up to 600 calories for a regular person. If you are a professional, you will likely burn even more calories than that.

Ice skating

On average, you can burn around 650 to 850 calories in an hour of ice skating. The more you ice skate, the more calories you will burn in a week.


Ice skating takes this category. The number of calories burned also depends on what type of skating you are doing.

9. Speed

Roller skating

The speed you can acquire during roller skating varies from 8 miles per hour up to 16 miles per hour. If you are on the low end of the scale, you can probably achieve 1 mile in 7.5 minutes. Speeds will vary depending on your activity. For example, roller derby is a faster-paced activity than casual skating.

Ice skating

Speeds in ice skating activities range depending on what you are doing. Speed skaters (short-track) can exceed speeds over 30 miles per hour, whereas skaters (long-track) can hit over 35 miles per hour.


You can hit very high speeds doing both, but you can go incredibly fast along the ice in ice skating.

10. Risks involved

Roller skating

The standard set of injuries can befall you if you fall during roller skating – scratches, sprains, tears, and bruises. You can minimize these incidents if you wear protective gear.

Ice skating

Injuries can occur quite easily because of the lack of safety gear in sports like figure skating. The typical injuries will occur and breathing problems due to the fact you are inhaling air pollutants from the maintained ice.


There is more cause for concern while ice skating than in roller skating.

Roller Skating vs Ice Skating: What’s Best for You?

It eventually comes down to your preference of activity and what benefits you are doing it for. Are you wanting a low-impact sport or something more intense? Roller skating is an easier activity to start with because you can always graduate to ice skating after learning roller skating techniques.


1. Does roller skating help with ice skating?

Ans. The skills you learn while roller skating can be applied while ice skating. Your posture, turning, and stopping are all positive things to know while doing either activity.

2. Is it harder to roller skate or ice skate?

Ans. Roller skating is easier than ice skating. The wider wheels on a roller skate and the hard-shelled boots aid with balance and stability.

About the author

Kevin Gerard

I started off my career as a mechanical engineer at a scooter manufacturing company back in 2012. I’ve been into kick scooters and swimming since the early years of my life. Over time, I quit the latter for the love of the former and soon started to be recognized as a kick scooter expert!

I wanted to take scooter designing professionally but my family forced me to study engineering. Luckily, I decided to study mechanical engineering! That made way for me to work in the field of kick scooter designing as a core researcher and developer.

I am one of the founding members of Scooterlay and I contribute to the website as the head of the research team. I am currently working on my first book on the basics of kick scooter riding. This is a guide for beginner riders that will soon be published by Warner House Press, Arizona.

Leave a Comment