Inline vs Quad Skates – Comparing Inline Skates vs Roller 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 vs quad skates.

Inline vs 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 types 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

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

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 fitness 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.

Inline Skates vs Roller Skates: Factors To Consider When Choosing New Skates

Inline Skates vs Roller Skates

The following are the factors that you need to consider when deciding between inline skates vs roller skates:

Your Age

Either roller skates or inline skates can work for a very young child. Since young children need stability, roller skates are suitable for them as they do not go fast, and they are easier for kids.

But inline skates can also work for small children, it can be difficult at first but once they get the balance, it will be easy for them.

For teenagers and older children, skating on inline skates is easier and faster. You can easily bend inline skates so that they turn right and left, and your legs can work on how to do it using trial and error.

Experience Level

For a beginner, it is easy to master the toe-stop brakes of quad skates than heel brakes in inline skates. Roller skates also offer the additional stability that is needed by beginners when learning how to skate.

However, some people start with inline skates. The best thing to do is to try them both at first then decide on which skate is comfortable for you.

You can rent a pair of each at the local rink so that you do not spend so much money before deciding on investing in a pair of skates.  

If you are an experienced and expert skater, the type of skate does not matter because you need to consider other factors such as skating surfaces, type of skating, and the tricks and movements you may want to try.

Type Of Skating You Want To Do

The type of skating you want to do will determine the type of skates you should buy. The following are the different types of skating and their recommended skates:

Roller Derbythis is a popular sport and most players in this sport wear quad roller skates.

Speed roller skatingwhen competing speed skaters wear inline speed skates. This is because they are faster than quads due to the thinness and height of the wheels.

Artistic roller skatingthis type of skating is primarily done on quad roller skates with high-top boots. However, some players use inline skates for this sport. Artistic skating is like figure skating done on ice skates during the Olympics, the only difference is the spins and jumps are done on roller skates.

Roller hockeyserious roller hockey players wear rollerblades when playing the sport and there are specific rollerblades designed just for roller hockey.

Jam skatingjam skating is a cross between breakdancing, dancing, and gymnastics on roller skates. Most jam skaters wear quad roller skates with low-top boots.

Rhythm and shuffle skating – most skaters involved in shuffle and rhythm skating wear quad roller skates with high-top boots.

Learning Curve

You need to remember that both quad and inline skates excel in different domains. The choice depends on the skating environment, level of expertise, and intensity of the desired adventure.

When you are learning how to skate, a good pair of quad skates will get you started, then once you master the balancing and tricks you can switch to inline skates.

You will be comfortable with inline skates after three or four sessions after you have learned how to skate on quad skates.

You can keep the quad skates for some short rink speed skating or a recreational break.

However, some skaters begin with inline skates but may be hard at fast to balance.  You must learn how to balance and control when deciding on what skate to choose.

Your Budget

You should not break your bank when buying any type of skates. If skating is professional work for you then investing in a good pair of skates that is slightly expensive is reasonable.

The price of both quad and inline skates is comparable and there is a very small difference which should not influence your decision.

If you are starting, do not spend that much money on a skate until you are sure you will like the sport.

Once you get a hold of the sport and you are sure that you are in for the long haul, then invest in a skate in the upper end of the price point.

Rollerblades Vs Inline Skates: What Is the Difference?

The name is the main difference between inline skates vs rollerblades. Rollerblades are a specific type of inline skates produced by the Rollerblades skate brand, while inline skates are the common name for all types of skates that have wheels in a straight line.

For a beginner, it is never easy to know the difference because some intermediate skaters can still not tell the difference.

As mentioned, Rollerblades and inline skates are the same, only those inline skates are a more general term that refers to skates designed for outdoor use, while the Rollerblades refer to a specific brand of inline skates produced by the manufacturers of rollerblade skates.

Inline skates have the name of the unique frame and wheel design where the wheels get attached to the frame in a straight line. Inline skates have three wheels, four wheels, or five wheels which vary in size.

The Rollerblade Inline skate’s brand is the most popular inline skate manufacturer in the world that intends to change the world through stronger communities, healthier people, less pollution, less congestion, deep interactions with humans’ physical life, and more fun.

The company’s idea came into mind in 1980, when two Minnesota hockey players, while rummaging through a sporting goods retailer, discovered an inline skate pair and decided that it would be a perfect hockey training device during the off-season.

They then refined the skate and started assembling the first Rollerblade skates at the basement of their parent’s home in Minneapolis. That was the same year they founded the Rollerblade Company.

How To Choose Inline Skates

It is exciting to buy inline skates, but beginners unfamiliar with many choices might find it challenging. Being aware of the type of inline skating will help narrow it. Comfort is important when choosing inline skates.

The following are different types of inline skates: speed, aggressive, hockey, artistic, fitness, recreational, and freestyle.

Soft boots or hard boots are a choice when choosing inline skates. Soft boots are found easily in the marketplace, but hard boots are good for anyone heavier than a child because they give support that heavy people need. It is good to start with good-fitting and comfortable boots.

Brake or no brakes. Heel brakes are good to start with because it is great to learn how to stop on inline skates. This is good for safe skating.

Different brands, sizes, and models of skate feel on the feet are important. Therefore, putting on skates in the feet before purchase is important.

How To Choose Roller Skates

Roller skates are designed for dancing, disco, normal skating, and fitness. Roller skates are also known as Quad skates.

They are round skates designed with a wide base plate to provide good stability and suit skaters of all ages. If you are looking for the best roller skates for wide feet, there are a few good options on the market.

Roller skates are seen as classic because they were first on the market. They are also fashionable and can be used for transportation and trips while others are for discos and dancing.

The following are components to look for when choosing roller skate:

Wheels Roller skates have four wheels in pairs, making them stable to stand on. A first-time buyer can decide if you want soft or hard wheels. Wheel hardness is specified by a durometer scale of 0-100A. The closer it gets to 100A, the harder the roller skate wheels are. Hard wheels have a longer lifespan but less shock absorption and grip, while soft wheels have a short lifespan but better grip and shock absorption.

Bearings Do not focus on the bearing when buying your skates because it is rare to reach a speed high enough to affect the ABEC rating but treat your bearings well to ensure the quad skates perform their best by voiding sand, dirt, moisture, and water.

Size – Choosing the right size can be tricky because, for some, it means choosing the same size as their shoe and others have to go a size up to get the right fit. What is important is getting a skate that has a firm fit around the fit without being too loose or too tight. First-time buyers should consider going one size up from your regular shoe.

Trucks and plates – roller skates have a plate and a truck underneath. Most plates are made of nylon for lightweight and trucks are of aluminum for strength. They are designed with cushions underneath that can be replaced to your liking.

Other components to look into are toe stops, hard boots, and soft boots.

The Most Popular Inline Skate Brands

The following are some of the most popular skates for inline skates:

Rollerblade is the first company to worldwide skate contribution. Rollerblading is traced back to this company which introduced the sport to millions.

SEBA is another brand that was launched in 2005. This company focuses on creating well-performing skates that offer maximum control. This company is well known for its freestyle and freeride range of skates. Their skates are good for skaters who want to do many things on their skates.

Powerslide is out on social media creating great content all the time. They launched their product line in 1997 and have been learning to develop their skates. With improving innovation, they recently released the trinity mount for a more stable and lower center of gravity skating.

Other great brands include USD, K2, Roces, and Bauer. This list shows the mix of how long a brand has survived producing a high-quality product and its focus on a great performance.

The Most Popular Roller Skate Brands

This industry of skates has not found its glory recently, but rather is a legacy built over 100 years ago.  Over the years, brands have come forward to reveal their potential of producing the best. The following are a few top brands of skates:

Roller Derby is one of the best brands of roller skates. It was founded in 1936 by Oscar Seltzer and has been giving out the best in the market.

Riedell Shoes. Inc is another brand that has been there since 1974 and was launched with a full-fledged process of figure skates, roller, speed, and inline skates.

Sure-Grip International took the initiative in 1936 to give the skate giant. They introduced revolutionizing wheels in the industry.

Chicago skate was founded by the Ware brothers of Chicago and have managed to form a standard in quad roller skate production.

Other brands include C7, Moxi Roller skates, Antik, Vanilla, and Crazy. Every brand works in creating an impression in the minds of the skaters.

Do I Have To Use Inline Skates If I Want To Skate Outdoors?

Inline skates are popular for outdoor skating because it allows a skater to go faster with less effort.  They are great for outdoor skating, especially if skating on asphalt, rough roads, sidewalks, or trails.

They are preferred if you want to go fast on rough surfaces or go for long distances.

There are two types of inline skates: indoor inline skates and outdoor inline skates. The main difference between indoor and outdoor inline skates is the wheel.

Indoor skating involves skaters gliding across smooth, hard, and clean surfaces. This is the reason indoor skate wheels are from hard materials.

For outdoor skating, the surfaces are filled with dirt, cracks, and rocks and are not smooth, therefore, they are made from rubber and their wheels are malleable because they need to absorb shocks generated from uneven terrain.

The wheel size of the outdoor inline skates is bigger than indoor inline skates to allow the skater to roll over uneven surfaces easily with less effort.

Roller Skates Vs Inline Skates: Which One Is More Similar To Ice Skating?

Inline skating and Ice skating are both techniques for gliding across a surface on skates. These sports have been there for centuries. Ice skating resembles inline skating in locomotion and mechanics.

The main difference is the skating surfaces because Inline skating is done on dry asphalt surfaces while Ice skating is done on icy surfaces. Inline skating evolved from Ice skating.

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.

Frequently Asked 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.


Hi there, my name is Tom and I have been roller & inline skating since I was a little kid. Learning the sport at such an early age allowed to me gain a lot of experience and try different types of skates. It took me a lot of trial and error to learn some of the roller skating tricks so I decided to share my journey with you guys!

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