Roller Skates or Roller Blades for Kids? How to Decide?

Skating is not only an incredibly fun sport but also a strengthening exercise for the motor skill development of kids. Children of every age group enjoy rolling in the streets on a pair of skates. If your children are just starting to learn skating, you can make it even more fun by skating with them. On the upper side, it also provides a better sense of safety to your kids. Now, when it comes to the safety and comfort of our kids, we as parents are mostly skeptical about the type of skates to choose.

Roller skates or rollerblades? Which one will be better for our cuddly kiddiewinks? And how to decide which one to buy for our kids? Well, these are common disputes raising in the head of every parent who plans to buy the very first pair of skates for their little one. Primarily, you can choose between two types of kids’ skates, that are quad-wheel roller skates and rollerblades. You can find a wide variety of skates in the market featuring adjustable size and utmost ankle support making them suitable for children.

However, buying a new pair of skates requires you to consider many factors. The article explains how you can choose the right pair of skates or rollerblades for your little ones. But first, let’s figure out how roller skates differ from rollerblades?

Rollerblades or roller skates, how they differ and which one to choose for kids?

Rollerblades and roller skates have many similar characteristics yet differ from one another in several other aspects like the wheel types, muscles they influence, and turning/stopping techniques. The wheels on both roller skates and rollerblades are made up of PU rubber or polyurethane as opposed to plastic. The wheels made of rubber are always a better choice for kids since they provide a more desirable surface grip in comparison to plastic wheels. Also, the kid’s skates are designed to provide good ankle support to ensure better stability and optimal control. Here are some features in which the two types of skates may differ [source]:

  • Wheels – One of the primary differences between the roller skates and rollerblades is the placement of wheels on the skate frame. The wheels on the roller skates are arranged at the corners with two being in front and the other two in back. The arrangement is quite similar to the placement of tires that you often observe in a quad-wheel vehicle like a car. This placement of wheels makes it easier to maintain balance for the beginners. On the downside, it reduces speed and hampers agility. Rollerblades have all their wheels arranged in a single row like the ones you may find in the ice skates. Furthermore, the wheels are not as wide. Obviously, the beginners may find it trickier to learn and difficult to maneuver, but when it comes to the thrill of the sport, every effort seems well worth it.
  • Muscles Used – Rollerblades and roller skates target a different set of muscles because of the noticeable differences in their balancing levels and maneuverability. Rollerblades exert more pressure on the legs and hence provide a better workout for the fitness freaks. Rollerblades primarily target the muscles of calves, thighs, buttocks, and abdomen. They also provide a good cardiovascular workout. On the other hand, roller skates are easier on the muscles. They provide more of a leisurely exercise at an optimum pace. Rushing your rollerblades at a slow pace may require more skills and efforts.
  • Turning and Stopping techniques – Since the wheels of the rollerblades and roller skates are aligned differently, both require different techniques to turn and stop. You can make sharp, rigorous turns on your rollerblades at a fairly high speed. Taking a turn on a roller skate will require you to make wider turns, and slow down your speed before you make an attempt to take a sharp turn. Again, it is easier to stand and stop on roller skates for beginners. Learning to stop on rollerblades, in turn, requires practice and skill.

So, if your kids favor speed, the narrow wheels of the rollerblades will provide less surface contact and hence less roll resistance. They are lightweight and require less maintenance. You can also perceive rollerblades as a summer alternative to practice ice skating skills if your kids are into ice skating [source].

Rollerskates are more promising for stability and balance. A toe stop at the front of the skate is a far easy mechanism to learn to stop and hit the break. Quad skates offer better roll resistance because of their broader wheels. That also keeps speed in check for your budding skaters. The trucks underneath the quad skates allow you to adjust their hardness. In other words, by adjusting the trucks, you can either make the skates more maneuverable to take easy turns or tighter to ensure more directional stability.

Most parents prefer size-adjustable skates for their growing children. You can easily adjust the size of these skates by sliding the boot back and forth or by pressing a button. However, if you select non-size-adjustable skates, you should always refer to the size guide provided with the product. As a rule of thumb, it is advisable to choose one size larger than the normal shoe-size of your kid unless stated otherwise.

Also you might want to check Best Rollerblades For Kids

Factors to Consider While Choosing a Pair of Skates for Kids

Once you have decided on the type of skates you need to buy for your kids, the next thing is to look for a decent pair of skates available in the market. Now, buying the very first pair of skates for your kids can be daunting. There are too many brands to choose from and a whole range of features to check out for. And then there are these classic confusions regarding quality and price. While you are dealing with are these mind-boggling questions in your head, you should remember that spending a penny on a good pair of skates will eventually add a positive outcome to the overall skating experience of your kids. Here are some of the must-have features that you should check in the roller skates or rollerblades [source]:

  • Make sure they are adjustable. Kids often grow really fast. If you buy an adjustable pair of skates that fit the feet of your kids now, you can get most out of them as your kids grow with time. Most adjustable skates account for 4 adjustable sizes and come in several size ranges.
  • Check if they have replaceable parts. Kids are often mischievous. So, considering that they will keep their skates intact over a period of time is a myth. You may need to replace a broken brake, a missing bolt, or a misplaced buckle. There is certainly no point in buying a pair of skates if you cannot replace these tiny parts. The most common parts of the skates that often require replacement are the brakes, straps, and buckles. Certainly, you cannot allow your kids to use their skates without any of these important safety features. So, if you have purchased a pair of skates for which fixing or replacing a part is not possible, you will end buying a new one every time.
  • Always pick a quality brand. Never compromise on quality and comfort in terms of kids skates. Quality brands often keep comfort as a primary design consideration and manufacture skates using high-quality lining, padded heel area, and durable extra padding around the boot collar to ensure maximum support. These features provide your kids with a more comfortable and fulfilling skating experience.
  • Keep a check on the weight of the skates. Never purchase skates that are too heavy in weight. Again, make sure that the construction and structure of the skate have not been compromised to keep the weight down. Cheaper skates may save you a few bucks but will not ensure quality and can never provide a great skating experience. So, analyze the pair of skates well before you finalize one for your picknies.

Our Best Rollerblade pick for kids: 2pm Sports Vinal Kids Rollerblades

Related Questions

Kindly advise on best roller skates for beginners/kids. Traditional high-top quad roller skates are always good to start with for kids and beginners. High-top boots provide better ankle support and quad-wheels ensure proper balance until your kids master the basics of balancing, standing, and stopping on skates.

Which type of skates – rollerblades or roller skates, are better for the outdoors? You can use any of them for skating outdoors. However, both provide a different level of maneuverability, comfort, and speed. Experienced skaters often prefer rollerblades, however, if you are just starting out, a pair of roller skates will do better for you.


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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