Beginner’s question – Quad or Inline Skates?

Many skating lessons often start with a million-dollar question about which type of skates should you buy! Well, the choice of skates can be less perplexing when you know the pros and cons of both inline and quad skates.

So how can we answer the beginner’s question about quad or inline skates? Well, both inline and quad skates have their benefits and are certainly best for different levels of expertise. The choice of skates often depends on the kind of skating you prefer. Many people who are into aggressive inline skating start with inline skates while quad skates are preferable for the amateurs.

Let us dig deep into the different type of skating to figure out the right skates for you. First-time buyers often feel intimidated by the disciplines of skating and the type of skates, which fit the criteria. Therefore, it is essential to get a better insight into the styles, types, and functional requirements of different types of skates for varying skating disciplines.

Quad Skates

Quad skates are the original four-wheel roller skates with two wheels in front and two at the back. They offer a broader base and a wider track, which offers even weight balancing. This formation indeed makes them more stable and likely preferable for the amateurs. Traditional quad skates primarily feature a toe brake or rubber brake at the front.

Quad skates are perfect for artistic or rink skating. Although, you may find some advanced quad skates suitably designed for speed skating. Beginners can easily maneuver quad skates by slightly shifting the body weight. Lean towards right to go right and vice versa. In any case, your skates will not wobble sideways.

Quad skates come in varying boot styles from high, old-school, leather boots to sneaker-style low shoes. The design of these skates puts the least stress over the ankles, and you can quickly change directions without much ado. However, they may not be easy when you try to pick up speed.

Inline Skates

Inline skates or rollerblades are designed according to the skill level. These skates usually have a series of multiple wheels, which are in line with each other. All these wheels are located towards the center of the frame under the boot.

Inline skates are perfect for ice skating and aggressive inline skating. The beginner-friendly models of inline skates primarily have brakes located at the rear. However, you do not find any such brakes in the advanced professional models. Experienced inline skaters develop stopping techniques to regulate speed and halt. These types of skates are excellent for straight-line speed on the road.

High speed may impose a problem on uneven rough surfaces with these skates. Further, they may wobble while changing directions, so you require more balance and control. The boots usually have plastic casings to support the ankles. The inline skates are meant for exercising your muscles and treading in speed.

Which One to Choose – Quad or Inline?

There are no specific rules to choose a particular type of skates, to begin with. However, beginners are advised to start with quad skates due to the additional stability that they offer. With that said, many good skaters also start their skating journey with inline skates. So, the choice is completely personal, based on preferences and comfort.

Quad skates are safer when you begin learning the tricks because:

  • They put less pressure and stress on your ankles and joints. This advantage minimizes the risk of a major ankle injury to a great extent.
  • They are rink-friendly. Quad skates are primarily designed for safe skating in closed premises such as indoors or a paved skating rink. They roll freely on even surfaces and offer manageable straight-line speed to begin. These skates help in gaining confidence, learning balance, practicing agility, and developing control.

The major difference between the type of skates is in the brake mechanism. Beginners often find the toe stop brakes in quad skates easy to master in comparison to the heel brakes in the inline skates. The best answer is to try them both. You can easily rent a pair at your nearby skating rink. Consider the following factors and answer the following questions before finalizing a pair:

  • Where do you often skate; indoors, gym, rink, or outdoors?
  • What kind of surface do you often skate over; wood, concrete, asphalt, or sports court? The type of surface will help you determine the type of wheels your skates require.
  • How easily and comfortably can you balance on your skates? If your balance is good, you can prefer an advanced pair of boots.
  • Do you indulge in any other kind of sport or a specific type of skating? Your interest and experience may dictate the choice for your skates.
  • Does your pair of skates support the balancing and control requirements for your preferable roller sport? For example, freestyle skating will require specially designed equipment while you can perform artistic skating with a pair of basic quad skates.

When do I switch to advanced inline skates?

One thing to remember is that both inline and quad skates excel in different domains. The choice depends on your level of expertise, skating environment, and the intensity of the desired adventure. Pro-tip, pack a pair of both in your arsenal. You may begin with quad skates; but once you master the tricks and nail balancing, the next step is to switch to inline skates.

You may find yourself getting comfortable with inline skates in merely 3-4 sessions. Keep quad skates for some recreational break or short rink speed skating. However, wear inline skates whenever you hit the road. In case you do not want to invest in two pairs, you can use either of them. You can make quad skates easy on the road by getting some road-specific wheels of larger diameter, which are also more durable.

Now, before you get into the jargon of bearings and wheels, remember to focus on balance and control while buying your first pair of skates.

Related Questions

I am a pro ice skater. Can I start my skating lessons with inline skates? Being an ice skater, you already have the necessary skills for roller skating. Also, being a pro, you must be having command over balancing the skates. You can certainly start your roller skating sessions with inline skates. You will find them easy to use and can eventually learn advanced tricks in no time, considering your prior experience with ice skating.

Is roller-skating similar to ice skating? Well, no denial, both ice skating, and roller skating involve the same muscles and require identical skills. So, you can go for the latter if you have experience with the former.

How do I choose the right size of skate for my kid? Children grow fast. Therefore, it is recommended to buy skates that are one size bigger for the kids. However, do not purchase skates bigger than that as they may be uncomfortable, hurt the feet, injure the ankle, and cause blisters due to rubbing and slipping. Also, keep the laces tucked tightly and wear skate socks to manage additional space for better support to the ankle and feet.

How do I decide the boot style for my skates? Rolling skates often come in different boot styles such as low-cut, high-top, or speed skates. Advanced artistic skates often have additional support at the ankles to manage quick jumps and instant spins.

Typical high top skates offer minimal support with a lot of stability. Pick a pair if you are looking for a classic look and feel. You may select one in a different color and style. High top skates are ideal for artistic or rhythm skaters.

Low-cut speed skates provide a comfort fit like your favorite sneakers. They look trendy for outdoor skating. You can easily maneuver the movements, and they are easy on the ankles. These skates are best for jam skating or roller derby where you need more speed and agility.

Do I need to purchase any special gear along with my pair of skates? Roller skating is a game of balancing. Safety indeed comes first when you are a beginner. Therefore, you should always purchase basic safety gear, which includes a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads, irrespective of whether you are skating indoors or outdoors. You should also examine the toe stop, which provides stability and ability to come to a halt.

The toe stops in low-priced skates are useless, not in the proper size, or made up of cheap material. Look for skates with larger toe stops for children. You can even switch the stoppers provided with your skate. Toe stops are designed differently for specific requirements like for skating over a larger surface area or performing blocking maneuvers in extreme sports such as roller derby. Best toe stops often provide a large footprint and eventual break.


My name is Darius. I have started to skate couple years ago in my 20's. From first look it looked pretty difficult to me, but once i learned it i started to love it. Right now i am passionate about inline skating and usually I am skating together with my sister, Rasa. During the years I find out a lot interesting and useful information which i am sharing on this Blog. I hope that you will enjoy my blog same as you enjoy skating!

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