Rollerblading vs Roller Skating – What’s the Ultimate?

You may be reading this article because you’ve been researching whether you should try rollerblading or roller skating. Continue reading to get a better idea of what to choose.  So, rollerblading vs roller skating, which should you do?

There are various things to think of when trying out either sport, like difficulty, safety, location, and more. 

For example, kids may find roller skating better because they can easily stand and move on quad-wheel skates. 

On the other hand, teens and adults enjoy inline skating, better known as rollerblading, because of the speed. It is fun to skate outdoors because of its agility.

But frankly, there is no significant difference between the two skate sports. They both excel in various aspects, so it depends on whether you prefer them in a specific sense. 

To figure out which is for you, let’s dive into more specific details on the differences between the two. 

rollerblading vs roller skating

Rollerblading vs Roller Skating – What’s The Difference?

Skate sports will mostly need the use of your knees, particularly with it bent to have better balance. 

Aside from the knees, you have to use your stability to be familiar with any wheel movements. 

With that in mind, you need to consider that the learning period for both rollerblading and roller skating is not an overnight thing. You’ll need time to be at ease while moving slowly with your skates.

For instance, roller skates have better balance, so you can learn them and ride slowly. On the other hand, rollerblades are more agile, so it is best for outdoor fun. 

Perhaps, one of the significant differences between the two is their wheels. Their wheels affect the overall performance and visuals of the inline skates.



Navigating with inline skates is more comfortable to do because you can easily switch directions with its wheels. It makes tricks and obstacles more effortless to do because of your control.

It is only possible because the wheels arranged in a narrow line allow the skates to move in and out without lifting your skates. 

As for the brakes, rollerblades have stoppers at the back. It makes stopping look more natural because you have to extend your leg and force your heel on the ground. 

Some people find back brakes easier to deal with instead of the front brakes from the roller skates. However, it is still all up in your choice of brakes whether you like it front or back.

Roller Skating

Roller Skating

Meanwhile, roller skating is an easy sport, to begin with for amateurs in skating. The distribution of the wheels in a roller skate allows better stability for you. 

Roller skating also goes straight, so you have more time to ride slowly and with control. The balance you gain from the wheel’s arrangement makes standing possible. 

So if you want to begin skating, roller skates can be a good stepping stone. They are stable and slow so that you can feel more comfortable. 

This type of skating is best for kids, especially that skating will require strength from your leg muscles for balance. You can avoid straining your legs through roller skating, unlike rollerblading. 

Related Reading: How to stop on rollerblades – Check Them out Here

Better In Stopping: Rollerblading vs Roller Skating?

Rollerblades With Brakes

Rollerblading vs roller skating — both have brakes; therefore, you should learn how to stop while riding them. 

For rollerblading or inline skating, some skates have brakes while some don’t. Stopping is essential not just in performing tricks but also to ensure safety. 

When you have a rollerblade, the brake will most likely be at the back, but there are times that it is in front. For brakes at the rear, your knees will play a vital role in your stopping.

To stop, bend both knees, almost like in a squatting position while leaning forward. It would help if you did it to gain balance. 

Next, extend one leg out where you prefer to put force on. Let the brakes on the back touch the ground until you slow down. 

Since there is already brake, newbies find this movement to be easy to learn. The critical point is to apply force on your heel, stopping almost as naturally as possible. 

Rollerblades Without Brakes

In cases where the inline skates don’t have any brakes, you may expect that stopping will be a little more complex. There’s a particular technique to use so you can smoothly stop. 

So as much as possible, you need to learn the technique of stopping even without a brake. It will save you from so much trouble and accidents. 

To take a stop without the brakes, place one foot behind while dragging it in almost a T-shape or a right angle. Utilize the inside edge of the wheels while you have this position to stop. 

This one is a lot harder to learn because there is no brake. Another factor is that the right angle position of the feet may be a little challenging to achieve. 

It can be challenging to place this perpendicular position while stopping at the same time. You’ll find stopping with a brake to be more convenient at this point. 

Roller Skating

Meanwhile, roller skating typically has a brake in front, which is a little weird at first. But if you figure out the correct way to do it, you will have no problem taking a stop on your skates.

You need to place one foot behind you while letting the brake in front brush against the ground. The position of the brakes makes it a little unnatural to do, but it is a little easy to execute even as beginners. 

The highlight of this brake is to apply the force downwards on your toe while keeping your balance. After a few practices, you can skate more naturally using this technique. 

Generally, rollerblading and roller skating requires learning how to stop. It doesn’t matter whether the brakes are in front or if there are no brakes; you still need to know.

Depending on you, either of the two may take a little longer to master. But as you practice, you will slowly improve and stop naturally. 

Riskier: Rollerblading or Roller Skating?

You may think of skating as a high-risk sport, but in fact, none of them are hazardous. Although there is research on injuries about them, both have similar risk levels. 


According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), only 4 out of 1000 inline skaters incurred severe injuries from the sport. 

Compared to other sports like basketball and soccer, rollerblading is way lower than them. However, rollerblading is a little more dangerous compared to swimming and tennis. 

For the severe injuries, most of them are wrist injuries. 24.2% of the cases result in wrist injuries, while lower arm injuries are 13.5%, and elbow with 7.6%. 

The best way to avoid more wrist injuries and other injuries, for that matter, is wearing wrist guards and other protective gear. 

Roller Skating

In another study, evidence found that most roller skating injuries are from rinks. 23% of the injuries are in the wrist, 20% are in the shoulders, 15% in the elbows, and 12% on the ankles. 

The result can be a whole lot different if there are other locations to consider. As for this one, the proportion of injuries is dependent on the skating rink location. 

Most obstacles are in rinks, so accidents are highly likely to occur here. This factor may affect the percentage of injuries acquired from the sport. 

But don’t be scared! Just because there are risks, it doesn’t mean that these sports are hazardous. 

Rollerblading and roller skating lies in the middle and is not as risky as other popular sports. It is normal to get a few scratches here and there, but you can avoid any serious injury.  

Best Played In: Indoors or Outdoors?

You can play rollerblading and roller skating either indoors or outdoors. However, there are cases where certain circumstances will favor one of them. 

For rollerblading, it is best to apply the agility of the skates outdoors for faster traveling. The alignment of the wheels allows better control of direction, making it ideal for outdoor use. 

Still, the overall design of the inline skates will determine how appropriate it is for the outdoors. For example, if the wheels of the skates are too close, pebbles may be trapped in between and cause you to trip.

However, the tiny gap between the wheels also allows you to avoid any small objects in the way. Generally, the wheel alignment of rollerblades is ideal for outside rides. 

Meanwhile, roller skates are best for indoor fun. You may notice a few discos that feature roller skates. They were famous back in the 1860s until people opened rinks for roller skating. 

It is also easy to glide with roller skates because the wheels have less friction with larger wheels. You can also use it outside because fast traveling is also vital. 

Despite being a famous indoor skate sport, roller skating is also popular outdoors. There are more people using roller skates because it is easy and fast to skate. 

Final Decision: Rollerblading vs Roller Skating?

Now that you know how these two sports are in different criteria, it all boils down to your preference. The final choice still depends on your taste and situation. 

Also, you can determine which is the best one depending on how you will use the sports or why you will do it. 

And if you are ready to learn either of them, remember that both have different learning periods, but there is not much of a significant difference. 

If you are young or want your kids to try skating, the best option is to learn roller skating first. It helps them to learn how to stand up and keep their balance. 

However, it does not mean that children cannot skate with rollerblades. It is just that maintaining balance in rollerblades is a little challenging.

Leg muscles are critical in rollerblading; therefore, children with not fully developed leg muscles may find it difficult to stand straight. 

Still, kids can enjoy rollerblading as it is also popular among them. You need to make sure that they wear their protective equipment in any case. 

For a more leisurely ride, I recommend rollerblading because they have smooth speed. But you may also want to try roller skating before it because you can get used to the speed. 

On another note, the physical appearance of the skates may also affect your decision. You may either prefer the quad wheels with a left and right distribution or narrow aligned wheels. 

Although both skates are lovely to try, rollerblades are a great choice because of their agility and efficiency that you can use daily. 

Related Reading: How To Roller Skate – Check Them out Here

Questions You May Ask

Which One Is Better For Kids? 

Children around the age of 7 should try learning roller skates first. It gives them a great foundation in learning how to balance. 

Additionally, you can prevent any mishaps from happening because the kid’s leg muscles may not be firm enough to glide with a rollerblade. 

They can always gradually start learning rollerblades when they are teenagers. 

Is It Difficult To Try Rollerblading?

Anyone can learn to rollerblade. It still relies on the time and effort to practice.

Rollerblading may seem like an intimidating and dangerous sport, but once you start, you will realize that it is not that bad at all.