Rollerblades vs Roller Skates – The Ultimate Guide To Roller Skates vs Blades

Getting out there and skating is an incredibly fun and healthy activity. Yet, when it comes to comparing rollerblades vs roller skates, you might find yourself stuck about which type of skate is the right choice for you.

Even though both types of skates are fun, they are not the same thing. Often, the differences are readily ignored by non-skaters, making it much harder to work out the differences.

Rollerblades vs Roller Skates

We have created a guide to help skaters determine what type of skates they would be happiest using.

Part of the differences that you will really want to focus on is what your goals or purpose is as a skater.

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Moxi Beach Bunny Roller Skates

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Fila Legacy Pro 84 Inline Skates

For skaters looking for the best rollerblades that provide the highest level of performance, FILA Legacy Pro 84 Inline skates are a good choice for you. The Air Flow technology in these skates keeps them well ventilated throughout the several hours of skating. The extra layer of padding around the feet provides comfort without the need for thicker socks. 

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Do you want to skate indoors or outdoors? Were you hoping to tackle roller derby or skate on a boardwalk?

Once you know more about why you want to skate and the way you want to skate, this guide will be able to help you walk through the rest.

What Are Rollerblades?

Before we can really hash it out between rollerblades vs roller skates, we need to understand what they are. Rollerblades are also referred to as inline skates.

They have a single frame that runs along the length of the sole with 3 to 5 wheels in a line from toe to heel. Normally, rollerblades have 4 wheels.

Because you have to balance on a line of wheels, most rollerblades have a tall, supportive boot that provides a snug fit. This is to keep your ankles protected as you skate.

The brake in rollerblades is on the back of the frame to help you stop when you need to, but more advanced or serious skaters do not have a brake as it can prevent them from moving the way that they would like to.

The terms rollerblade and inline skate are often used interchangeably. Rollerblade is a brand of inline skates and has simply become the common way to refer to inline skates.

What Are Roller Skates?

Roller skates are not the same thing as rollerblades. Where a rollerblade has all of the wheels in one line, standard roller skates are set up differently. Instead of the one frame, roller skates have two horizontal trucks.

There is one on the toe end and another on the heel end. Each of the trucks has two wheels on the left and right.

There are a lot of different types of boots for roller skates as well. You can find boots at all heights, depending on what you need and what you will be doing with the skates.

The wheels on a roller skate are also smaller than the wheels that you find on rollerblades, but the wheels are also much wider and flatter. They have a brake on the toe normally, but it is often removable when needed.

Pros Of Using Rollerblades

Rollerblades Pros

To be honest, both rollerblades and roller skates have pros and cons. Let’s start by looking at the pros of using roller skates vs blades.

The first pro is if you have a need for speed, rollerblades are the answer. They are notably faster than roller skates are. This has to do with the larger diameter of the wheel, giving you a smoother ride when going over rougher surfaces.

Even if you are not thinking that you are big into speed, if you are thinking that skating might be the answer to get you from one place to another efficiently and much cheaper with gas prices, then rollerblades can help you out.

Rollerblades are also more stable, which some might find surprising. Given the larger wheel size, there is a bigger wheelbase, so you are much less likely to fall backward or forward on rollerblades.

They also have a lot more variety in usage and are more forgiving with changes of location. They easily move from roads to paths without causing a stumble.

Rollerblades work well for commuting to work or school, working out, or are just a nice option to have to get outside and expend some energy.

Pros Of Using Roller Skates

Roller Skate Pros

In the continued battle between rollerblades vs roller skates, you have to know that roller skates can hold their own. Like rollerblades, roller skates have their own pros that should be taken into consideration.

If you are looking more for a skate that helps with fancy footwork, you will want roller skates. They have a shorter wheelbase than the rollerblades do, so they are much easier to maneuver than rollerblades are when it comes to turning, spinning, or pulling off tricks.

So if you have your eye more on a roller disco situation, roller skates are a good option.

Additionally, the wider wheelbase on a roller skate means that you will not likely tip over the side to side. They are also a lot more stable to just stand on since there are balanced wheels in the front and the back of the skate.

It has been reported that roller skates are easier to learn with if you have never skated before, but keep in mind that with either type of skate, you will be moving on top of wheels and have a good risk of slipping and falling down as you get used to the sensation.

Roller Skates vs Rollerblades: What Is The Difference

Roller Skates vs Blades

Which Is Cheaper – Roller Skates vs Blades

If you are wondering if there is a price difference between rollerblades and roller skates, we are sorry to disappoint you.

In general, you can spend just as much on one type of skate as you can for the other. You will get what you paid for.

You do not need to spend a fortune to get a good pair of skates, however. You might not want to get the cheapest skates out there because they are not meant to last and may not work out well in the long run, but you still do not need to go with premium skates right out of the gate.

Kids’ skates are cheaper in general, but as the quality increases, the price also increases.

It makes no difference if you are looking at rollerblades or roller skates; they both cost about the same amount and will increase in price as the quality of the skate also increases. It is up to you how much you would like to invest in the sport.

Looking At The Boots

So the next question is: is there a difference between the boot types in a rollerblade vs a roller skate. The answer is yes, there is a difference.

Rollerblade boots are made to be supportive. You are balancing on a line of wheels and do not need to roll your ankle as you play and have fun. They are rigid and high enough to keep your foot and ankle in line and supported.

Looking at roller skates, however, there is a lot more variety in the types of boots.

Are Roller Skates Or Blades Easier?

As we mentioned above, it is often thought that roller skates are easier to learn with than rollerblades, but really it depends.

If you have some experience with ice skating, you might find that rollerblading is easier to get the hang of, since your ankles already know how to balance on themselves.

Other skaters might find that roller skates are easier to start with because they have two wheels in the front and two wheels in the back, giving you a better chance of standing.

If you go that route, you will want the most-traditional type of skates which are the high-top, quad, standard roller skates.

The higher boots make it better for ankle support. You also might find that the axles help with balance, though they might not help with movement.

That said, you would still be standing on wheels with a roller skate, which can roll out from under you with very little movement.

You can tighten the wheels so that they cannot roll away from you too much and you can gradually loosen them as you learn to balance better and are less likely to have the wheels slide right out from under you.

Rollerblades are thought of to be harder to balance for beginners, but it can be done. If your target is to learn rollerblading, then you should start with a short and wider wheel, giving you more surface area, but not giving you so much height that you are further off of the ground.

You will also want a high boot that will provide more stability to your ankles.

Which Is Easier For Kids?

If you are thinking more with children in mind, then the answer is going to be the same in the battle between roller skates vs rollerblades.

The traditional roller skate is easier to balance on, so quicker to start out with.

But, children are often more malleable with learning new sports, so the best option here is to simply ask the child which skate they are hoping to learn.

If they are aiming for speed, they can easily achieve this with rollerblades, whereas if they just want to learn to spin and move, you can go with roller skates.

Consider that the entire point of skating is that you should be having fun, so go with what seems the most fun for your child. You don’t need to spend a lot of money and going with skates that are simpler will make things less stressful for everyone.

Which Is The Better Workout?

Getting up and moving your body is incredibly important to your overall mental and physical health. Skating is a great way to get some cardio in and have fun while you do it.

But between rollerblading vs roller skating, which one gives you the better workout? It seems that the answer here is that rollerblading is the better workout.

You will be able to get a lot more momentum with rollerblading and more speed in general, so you will be able to go further for longer, maintaining a constant speed.

You will see a lot more recreational rollerbladers skating for fitness, especially since you can keep it up for a long time.

It is not impossible to pull this off on roller skates, but the difference is that it takes a lot more time to train to be able to do this, whereas with rollerblades, you will be up and moving in no time.

That said, roller skating will of course also burn some calories, but it will not get the same level of speed that you will get from rollerblading.

You could say that because it’s harder to get the momentum needed to really get going that it must be a better workout, but most of that time is spent balancing rather than moving. You will also be less likely to do it for very long when it is harder to get going.

To put it simply: both will burn calories and can get your heart rate up and are easier on your body than other cardio activities, like running.

Can Skating Help You Lose Weight?

A common question that we have seen is whether skating can not only give you a workout but whether it can actually help you lose weight.

Losing weight is a common concern for many people, so this is a valid question.

It has been shown that if a person of around 145 pounds goes roller skating for an hour, they can burn somewhere around 330 calories on average.

If you add in some more speed, it is possible to double the amount of calories lost.

Every muscle is used while roller skating, which is means that it is a complete aerobic exercise. The American Heart Association even stated that rollerblading and skating is an excellent way to get aerobic fitness into your routine.

Doctors have agreed that rollerblading burns almost as many calories as running does, given the speed that you will get out of it. The comparison is if a 130-pound person skates on rollerblades for 30 minutes, they can burn around 215 calories. If they jogged instead for 30 minutes, they could lose around 245 calories.

Skating is also a great way to build up muscle and while that will make you healthier, it is important to remember that muscle weighs more than fat, so depending on how much weight you need to lose, you might come out with a number you didn’t anticipate.

If you are more into roller skating than rollerblading, both types of skating are excellent for your cardiovascular health, so don’t let the hesitation with calories force you into taking up rollerblading.

They are both amazing sports and your goal should be to get out and have some fun, not lose weight.

Skating Outdoors

When you think about rollerblades, an image of people in sportswear or swimwear out on a boardwalk easily comes to mind, so clearly, rollerblades are generally worn outside.

But, if you would like to skate outside, you do not have to go with only rollerblades.

Roller skates can also be worn outside. It has little to do with the type of skate that you are using and everything to do with the wheel of your skate. When you skate outside, you will want to go with a softer wheel that will be able to adapt to the changing terrain smoothly.

Softer wheels can be purchased for both rollerblades and roller skates.

Meanwhile, if you are hoping to skate indoors, the same rule applies. You will want a harder wheel if you are skating indoors on a rink rather than a softer wheel.

Wheels are super easier to change out because you will inevitably wear down your wheels over time, especially if you are skating often.

Generally, rollerblades come with roller wheels because the assumption is you will be outside, but you can change the wheels to match your needs.

Sports With Roller Skates

Roller Skate Sports

There are a couple of different sports that use either rollerblades or roller skates to participate in. Looking at these sports might make it easier for you to decide the right skate for you, once you know what you can do on them.

Roller Derby

Without a doubt, the best-known and best-loved sport that involves skates is roller derby. It is one of the most, if not the most-popular skating sport out there.

To participate in roller derby, you will need to wear the classic roller skate. Derby does require certain types of roller skates in order to be effective on your team, so if you are starting up, ask the league what they require.

You might even need skates without a brake so it doesn’t get in your way.

Roller Hockey

Since roller hockey is just hockey on skates, it makes more sense that the sport uses rollerblades. With the wheels in one line, it resembles hockey closer than the roller skates do.

It also allows the speed that you need in order to effectively move around the rink. Roller hockey can be played either outdoors or indoors, depending on where you are.

Roller Dancing

Roller dancing also falls under sports on skates. It is much like ice dancing, but skaters tend to prefer rollers skates versus rollerblades for roller dancing.

This has to do with the movement that you can do on the wheels, is easier and more fluid on roller skates vs rollerblades.

Also under this category is artistic skating, shuffle skating, and rhythm skating, all of which require the standard quad skates.

Normally, you would want to have a higher-top boot with these as well to give you extra ankle support.

Jam Skating

Jam skating is an amazing and fun sport. It is a combination of gymnastics, dancing, and even break dancing – but on roller skates.

It is usually done with the low-top roller skates, because they are easier to use to pull off the tricks.

What Looks Cooler?

It is ok to be honest here. Sometimes the draw to the sport of skating is simply how people who do it look. Skating along the boardwalk definitely can look cool. Roller derby, likewise, is also incredibly cool.

So, if you are debating between skates based more on the location and image of skating, then you will need to go in that direction.

Rollerblades are definitely faster and will be seen more often when you are out on a boardwalk. And, of course, roller derby uses the more traditional roller skate.

Roller skates do seem to come in a wider variety of colors. This is because they are often used as a way to demonstrate self-expression.

Some of the brighter colors can give the impression that you are a fun and vibrant person.

Rollerblades do have some brands or models that have some color variety, but it is most often an accent color, with the boot itself being black. Occasionally, you will see rollerblades in a bright color, but this is not commonplace.

Braking or Stopping

Let’s look at how easy it is to stop yourself with rollerblades vs roller skates. If you are skating at top speed and asking yourself how in the world you are going to stop yourself, you have a problem.

You will have to stop skating eventually, so it does matter what your options are.

Looking at roller skates, they have a brake normally right in the front of the skate. It resembles a doorknob. In order to stop on a roller skate, you only have to drag your toe and you should find yourself slowing down rather quickly.

Taking a look at the rollerblade brake, you will see that it is in the back of the skate, rather than the front. Beginning rollerblades should come with a brake, but if you are looking at speed skates or performance skates, you might see them without.

People often remove them anyway, meaning you will have to work on the movement that is required in order to get you to stop, without relying on a brake to help you.

Therefore, as a beginner, roller skates might seem a lot less scary, since the brake is easily usable. You are likely to require a little more learning with a rollerblade as far as stopping goes and it will serve you to learn to stop without using the brake at all.

Bottom Line

To break it down, both rollerblading and roller skating have their pros and cons.

It all comes down to what you would like to do with or on your skates. Either type will take a little bit to really get the hang of and both look really great on.

Rollerblades have three to five wheels in a line that runs from your toe to your heel and will also have a high, supportive boot. Roller skates will have four wheels on two different axles.

The axles are located under the ball of the foot and the heel. The height of the boot will depend on what you are using your roller skates for, but you can get them either high or low-top.

Remember that rollerblades are great for speed and commuting. Meanwhile, roller skates are better for dancing or jamming. There is no right answer to which type of skate is better and you are likely to have a good time on both.


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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