Roller Skating vs. Skateboarding: What’s the difference?

Roller skating and skateboarding are very similar activities and also appear to be the same as both of these are associated with shifting while maintaining balance on rotating wheels.

As a result, people often get confused differentiating these two activities. So, the question at hand is, what are the differences between roller skating and skateboarding.

Roller skating requires you to be attached firmly to the roller skates, whereas in the case of skateboarding you don’t need to be attached to the board.

So, starting from their wheels to their skating technique, these two activities differ a lot.

In this article, “Roller skating vs. Skateboarding: What’s the difference?”, I am going to focus on providing you with all the factors that will not only help you understand how these activities are performed but will also give you a clear view on the basic differences between them.

So, I recommend you go through this entire article for a better understanding.

Roller Skating Vs Skateboarding

The similarities between roller skating and skateboarding can create confusion for people who don’t have enough knowledge about these two activities. But there are some clear differences that can help you differentiate between these two easily. Now, I am going to provide you with the differences point by point in a comprehensive manner. 

Differences Regarding Wheels

The wheels in a skateboard are mounted from a solitary side. An axle is used to link the two wheels. Whereas, the rollerblade wheels are upheld from both sides. Each axle contains a single wheel.

A truck supports the skateboard wheels. It helps to keep them level on the ground while they are inline and at critical angles to the ground. These types of differences eventually result in various shapes of rollerblade wheels. A rollerblade wheel typically has a taller, rounded and much narrower bottom.

So, the main difference between these two lies between the wheel’s shape and size as roller skating wheels are thinner than skateboarding wheels. Skateboarding wheels also come in several shapes unlike the wheels of roller skating.

Both the skateboard wheels and the rollerblade wheels are made out of the same materials and also have similar bearings. In terms of stunts and grinding, they maintain a similar shape. But when they are used at high speeds, the difference between them is more visible. Rollerblade wheels become thinner and larger but skateboard wheels become taller and wider.

There’s also a big difference between the hardness of both types of wheels and the durometer used to measure so. Therefore, it is said that the wheels for roller skating and skateboarding is the main factor while differentiating between them.

Rollerblade Wheels 101: A Guide to Types and Sizes

Differences Regarding Riding Technique

Skateboarding can be easily described as rolling and pushing and roller skating is more like walking on wheels. The riding technique in both of them is significantly different.

Balancing in both of them is different as well. To balance on a skateboard, you have to position one foot on the board and the other one on the ground. Bend your knees slightly for stability. Then propel forward till you get to continuous motion. You have to make sure that your speed is manageable. Otherwise, you might fall and hurt yourself.

To balance and start roller skates, firstly you need a flat surface and a sturdy object so that you can stand and balance yourself by holding the object. Balancing rollerblades is comparatively more difficult and trickier.

You have to position your toes facing forward. Cause blades will move according to the direction your toes are facing. Placing hands in a lower position is also required. If you feel like losing balance, you can put your hands on your hips. Bending knees helps to lower the center of gravity.

To stop a skateboard, you have to lean forward and put your dominant foot in the middle of the deck. Then you have to make contact between the board and the ground by applying pressure on the board’s tail. You can initiate an emergency stop by lifting your hand and jumping off the board.

To stop a roller skate, keep your feet closer and bend your knees. Then keep your back foot tilted towards the ground so that the brakes will be in contact with the ground.          

Differences Regarding Safety

When it comes to safety, skateboards and rollerblades have some differences. Wheeled sports like skateboarding and roller skating can be exciting and fun. But they can also become dangerous. If you do not train properly, you can injure yourself badly.

In a study it was found that at least 75.8% of male skaters have been in road accidents while 37.1% have had head injuries. Among the head-injured people, 50.8% were skateboarders, 33.7% were in-line skaters and only 18.8% were roller skaters.

The injuries of the skateboarders were 8 times more critical and severe than the roller skaters. So, we can see that roller skates are safer than skateboards.

Safety measures for skateboard:

  • Protective gear including wrist guards, a helmet, and knee pads, elbow pads.
  • Wearing sturdy shoes while riding.
  • Avoid skateboarding in traffic.
  • Never hold moving vehicles.
  • Use a short-decked skateboard rolling on wide wheels while you are learning.

Safety measures for roller skates:

  • Also requires protective gear such as wrist guards, a helmet, and knee pads, elbow pads.
  • Maintain a speed in which you are fully in control.
  • Taking proper lessons at an indoor or outdoor skate park.
  • Need roller skates that are appropriate for your skill and also athlete’s size.

You can also minimize injuries by maintaining a top physical condition. You can do exercises before and after skateboarding or roller skating. Avoid using headphones while skateboarding. You should avoid wet weather for any sort of wheeled sports to prevent injuries.

Best Protective Gear For Rollerblading

Differences Regarding Ease

Roller skating is easier than skateboarding for new learners. Skateboarding requires lots of courage, dedication, constant practicing, and keenness to learn.

You can’t just pick up a skateboard and start rolling. You’re going to have to do a fair bit of falling before you actually start skateboarding. Roller skating on the other hand is much easier when it comes to balancing. Don’t get me wrong it’s still pretty hard to skate. But at least you’ll be able to glide a bit from the get go.

Watching experienced skaters, you might have the wrong idea about its difficulty. But in reality, you won’t skateboard as smoothly until having a few bruises on your rear end. You will find difficulties controlling them on bumps or sidewalks. Jumping is also tough.

Whereas, dealing with curbs and bumps in roller skating is way easier. Roller skating is just like walking on the road. So, you can move, jump easily with roller skates. But you have to train for stability.

Braking plays a vital part to ensure both safety and ease for a beginner. Roller skates have brakes so that you can break at ease and at any time. Skateboarding also allows you to easily stop. Just put one of your feet down. Thought stopping is just a tad bit more difficult on skates.


In this article, “Roller skating vs. Skateboarding: What’s the difference?”, I have talked about the differences between these two activities as vividly as I could. So, now knowing the positives and setbacks of each you can choose which suits you the best.

I hope this article was able to provide you with all the information you were looking for regarding roller skating and skateboarding. Thanks for stopping by.

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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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