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Roller Skating vs Skateboarding: Which One’s Your Jam?

roller skating vs skateboarding
Written by Colin Kint

Roller skating is a beginner’s choice because its easier and safer while it suits all age groups.

On the other hand, skateboarding is trendier among the youth and offers more versatility. to show off a wide range of tricks and stunts.

Get to know more about their differences and see which one suits you best!

Roller Skating vs Skateboarding: How Do They Differ?

Major differences at a glance

Comparing factors  Roller skating  Skateboarding 
Riding Easy Hard
Safety More safe Less safe
Age range suits all age groups  trendier among the youth
Versatility Less versatile More versatile
Axle connection Wheels are supported from both sides by a single wheel per axle Wheels are supported from only one side by an axle connecting two wheels
Stability Less stable More stable
Speed Average speed of roller skates is 8-16 mph Average speed of skateboarding is 5-12 mph
Agility More agile Less agile
Wheels Narrow on the bottom, smaller, and thinner  Rounded and taller
Balancing Hard to balance Easy to balance
Wheel variety Wide range of variety available Less variety available
Tricks and flips Less tricks are available A lot of tricks are available
Tricks hardness Easy Hard
Better place to practice Indoor (tarnished wooden floor, polyurethane-coated surface) Outdoor (roads, skateparks, and most other rough terrains)
Aerobic benefits A lot Not much
Calories burn Burns approximately 600-1000 calories in every hour Burns between 300-420 calories per hour
Stopping With brakes No brakes
Accident probability Lower Higher

Axle connection

  • For roller skates

Roller skate wheels are supported from both sides by a single wheel per axle. The wheels stay connected to your body while you ride. Rollerblades provide more speed and agility.

  • For skateboards

Skateboard wheels are supported from only one side by an axle connecting two wheels. This gives skateboards better stability.


  • For roller skates

roller skates wheels

Roller wheels are a bit narrow on the bottom. They are smaller and thinner. The wheels are attached to the shoes and stay attached to your body as you ride. There is a wide range of variety available when it comes to roller skate wheels.

  • For skateboards

Skateboard wheels

Wheels on skateboards are more rounded and taller. They are attached to the board with a truck underneath. The placement of the wheels makes it easier to balance over a skateboard, even if you are a newcomer.

Different riding techniques

  • For roller skates

Pulling off stunts like flips and jumps are easier on roller skates. If you can balance yourself on the shoes, you’re good to run.

  • For skateboards

Riding a skateboard is a bit tricky. First you have to learn how to balance yourself on the moving board. Then you’ll learn through practice.

The learning process has a few additional steps than roller skating. Once you master your balance, you can do a lot more tricks on skateboards.


  • For roller skates

Roller skating requires a flat floor and a strong object to stand and balance the body when you start. Your blades will move in the same direction as your toes.

Roller skates balancing

Rollerblades work on the lower part of the body and use some core muscles for balancing. That’s why it seems a bit more difficult. With the right practices, balancing your body over rollerblades will become easier.

Here is a tutorial on how you can practice balancing yourself over your roller skate.

  • For skateboards

skateboard balancing

The placement of the wheels makes the skateboard more stable and easier to balance. However, practice will teach you how to stay on top of a board for longer.

Place one foot on the board and the other on the surface to balance yourself. Bend your knees if you need more stability. Use a balance board, if necessary.

Tricks and flips

  • For roller skates

Tricks and flips For roller skates

Performing tricks and flips are considerably easier in roller skating. It’s also easier to learn control and balance on uneven surfaces with roller skates.

Roller skating gives you a lot more control over your feet. Handplants, backflips, and other flips are also easier to do on roller skates.

  • For skateboards

Tricks and flips For skateboards

You’ll be able to do a lot more tricks with a skateboard as well. However, you’ll be needing a bit of training beforehand to ride a skateboard the right way.

Skating surface

  • For roller skates

A tarnished wooden floor is perfect for some speed skating. You will have more fun on a polyurethane-coated surface until you fall.

  • For skateboards

On the flip side, skateboards are purpose-built for roads, skateparks, and most other rough terrains. That is why roller skating indoors and skateboarding outdoors are more fun.

Safety measures

safety measures Skating surface

Both types of skating require protective equipment like helmets, wrist guards, knee pads, and elbow pads.

  • For roller skates

Usually, people use rollerblades at an indoor or outdoor skate park but that doesn’t mean you won’t get hurt if you fall. Don’t neglect safety precautions.

  • For skateboards

You must wear sturdy shoes alongside all other safety gears when you ride a skateboard. Skateboarding in heavy traffic is dangerous. Short-decked skateboards with wide wheels give more stability.

One other thing, don’t try out any kind of wheeled sports in wet weather. Things can turn ugly real quick if the surface is wet and slippery.

Ease of skating

  • For roller skates

Roller skating is easier for beginners. With them, you’ll be able to learn how to balance your body over wheels quickly and after that you are free to cruise around your neighborhood.

However, jumping or controlling your rollerblades on bumps or sidewalks is going to be harder. Roller skating is walking over wheels, you always have to be cautious.

  • For skateboards

On the other hand, skateboarding offers more stability but less speed. It will be harder for the newbies to learn balancing over a board that is always moving.

Once you learn to control the moving board beneath you, you’ll have a fun experience performing tricks or cruising around the area.

Don’t forget that both roller skating and skateboarding take lots of courage, continuous practicing, and dedication to learn.


  • For roller skates

You have to learn how to stop regardless of what you are riding. Roller skates have brakes so you can stop at ease and at any time. The process just needs a bit of time and practice.

Here is a tutorial on how to stop safely with rollerblades on.

  • For skateboards

Skateboards also allow you to stop easily with just one foot down. Stopping is just a bit more difficult on skates than it is on rollerblades.

You can check out the tutorial on the basics of stopping a skateboard.

Aerobic benefits

Skateboarding is mainly focused on the lower body but rollerskating offers more aerobic benefits with a full-body workout routine.

According to research by the Cleveland Clinic, aerobic benefits that you get from both types help control your blood sugar and saturated fat count within the body and improve your lung/heart health. That is why both of them are good choices.

Burn calories

  • For roller skates

According to Harvard Medical School, a person burns approximately 600-1000 calories in every hour of rollerblading.

If you’re looking for a fun way to burn excess body calories, try roller skating.

  • For skateboards

On the other hand, the same person burns between 300-420 calories per hour in skateboarding. Skateboarding is more a fun activity than it is a method for burning body fat.

Muscle development

  • For roller skates

Muscle development for roller skates

To develop your body muscles, you need to work on all your body parts like hand, feet, abdomen, and back. Rollerblading can help you here. Roller skating is a full-body exercise.

  • For skateboards

Muscle development For skateboards

On the contrary, If you want to develop particular core muscles like hips, legs and glutes then you are free to choose any of them. Skateboarding and rollerblading both work with the lower part of the body.


Here, roller skates take the cake. If you are looking to go fast, It will be best to choose roller skating. Skateboards may be stable but they are slower.

On a flat surface, the average speed of roller skates is 8-16 mph whereas the average speed of skateboarding is 5-12 mph.


Both roller skating and skateboarding require minimum skills to master the full range of movements.

However, roller skating is more beginner-friendly as the probability of serious injuries is a little lower in roller skating.

Pros & Cons of Roller Skating and Skateboarding

Roller skating pros

  • Easy to stop using breaks
  • lower possibility of accidents
  • Suitable for all age groups
  • Easy for commuting over short distances

Roller skating cons

  • Fewer variations in tricks and riding styles
  • In an emergency, it is difficult to break free immediately
  • You’ll need to carry more stuffs around than skateboarding essentials
  • No way to jump with your blades

Skateboarding pros

  • A wide range of tricks and jumps
  • More comfortable and easier than roller skating
  • Emergency stopping is comparatively easier
  • Beginner friendly

Skateboarding Cons

  • No brakes on the board
  • The probability of accidents is higher
  • Board moves opposite of your direction
  • Requires more energy and effort

Skateboarding vs Roller Skating: Which One’s Easier?

Finding balance

Skateboards are comparatively easy to balance. The placement of the wheels keeps the board steady and distributes the weight evenly.

On the contrary, You’ll need to constantly stay on the move while you ride rollerblades. Keeping balance may seem easy but mastering balance on wheels is a bit tougher.

Jumps and turns

When it comes to maneuvering over an uneven surface, skateboarding is more challenging. That’s why Skateboarding is considered as an extreme sport.

On the other hand, it is significantly easy to roller skate even on bumpy surfaces. Taking turns is also easier with roller skates, but jumping is harder.

Doing stoppie

If you are a beginner, doing stoppies will be difficult on both of them. Don’t forget to take safety measures beforehand.

You can use brakes to control the speed of the roller skates but there are no brakes on stake boards.

That’s why we recommend you learn how to stop. Put one foot down on the right time to slow your speed. Give it a few practice runs and you’ll be ready to rock.

Should I Try Roller Skating or Skateboarding?

If you are a beginner then we recommend that you choose roller skating. Roller skating is easier, safer and suitable for all age groups.

Roller skates are also faster than skateboards. If you want to develop your muscles, roller skating will be the full body workout you have been looking for.

This may be true that rollerblading is slipping beyond mainstream entertainment slowly but it still is a very fun activity to do.

On the other hand, skateboarding is trendier among youth and offers more versatility. You can show off a wide range of tricks and stunts on these boards.

Skateboarding also comes with higher risk of serious injuries. If you don’t want to visit the ER regularly, we recommend you wear proper safety equipment.

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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