Why Do Roller Skates Have Heels (Explained)

If you have gone to a roller skating rink, you must have seen people skating wearing heeled roller skates.

You may wonder how people can keep their balance on those heels with wheels. Some tend to lose their balance on elevated heels and get injured. Then, why do roller skates have heels? 

Why Do Roller Skates Have Heels

Interestingly, roller skates have heels so that newbies can balance and maintain their weight. The elevated heels push the weight of a skater on the wheels.

So, there is no risk of falling backward. The skaters also have a lower risk of falling while they turn or spin.

In this article, I will explain why roller skates have heels. There are also flat roller skates. So, I will also tell you which type you should get as your new pair of roller skates.

Why Do Roller Skates Have Heels?

Not all roller skates have heels. Some are flat. Roller skates with heels are mostly used by new skaters and artistic skaters.

Instead of putting all the body weight pressure on the heel of one foot, the roller skates evenly distribute the pressure on the ball of the foot and the skate wheels.

As a result, the skater has very little chance of falling on their back. Falling backward is one of the most dangerous accidents for skaters.

Roller Skates Heels

The heels push the weight forward and balance the body on the skates. The skaters manage to have greater control with practice and learn to be stable on the heels.

Hence, roller skates with heels are the best choice for newbies because it is easier for them to balance their body weight.

Elevated heels are also great for speed, and complex footwork like dancing and figure skating.

However, they are not fit for jam skating. In jam skating, you need to have excellent control of the skates. The heel of the skates does not give that liberty.

Many skaters switch to flat roller skates after they gain some experience. Professional roller skaters use flat skates as they know how to balance their weight on the skates without the support of the heels.

What Are The Advantages Of Heeled Roller Skates?

Why do you think heeled roller skates are so popular? Many people have this misconception that roller skates with heels are made for only women and newbies.

However, it is not true. Heeled skates obviously have some advantages that make them popular among people regardless of age and gender.

Why Roller Skates Have Heels

So, let us know about the advantages of heeled roller skates:

  • If you are just starting to skate, you should wear heeled skates. The heel will balance your weight, and you will not have the risk of falling backward.
  • The heels also support the skaters to stand upright. This way, the skaters do not have to bend their knees. So, newbies learn to balance on the skates much faster.
  • Since there is very little chance of falling backward, skaters do not have to lean forward too much. It also reduces the risk of newbies falling forward for them.
  • The elevated heels of your skates will balance your body weight evenly on the food. The heel of your foot will feel less pressure.
  • Heeled roller skates are the best choice for recreational skating that evolves dancing and agile footwork. They are also convenient for sports where speed is not a big concern.

Disadvantages Of Heeled Roller Skates

Now that you have learned about the advantages of heeled skates, you should also know about the disadvantages. Heeled skates are not always perfect for everyone. Some drawbacks to heeled skates are:

  • Heeled skates are not great for speed. They are not as fast as flat skates. Besides, you can not easily shift your weight to gain speed.
  • These skates are not for professional skate sports like roller derby. Also, they are not the best choice for jam skating. The heels of the skates do not let you move your ankles freely for jam skating.
  • Expert skaters do not like wearing heeled skates because they often can not control them as they want. They find the skates quite basic.

Roller Skates For Beginners With Heels

Advantages Of Flat Skates 

If you think the disadvantages of heeled skates will affect your performance, you can switch to flat skates. Flat skates are popular among experienced skaters. So, let us check some advantages of flat roller skates:

  • Flat skates give you support and stability in sports that require transitions, such as jam Skating and roller derby.
  • These skates are faster than heeled skates. You will have more speed as you have control over where to channel your body pressure.
  • You can also jump much higher with these skates compared to wearing heeled skates. Also, the landing is very balanced.
  • Expert skaters love flat roller skates because the skates are more flexible. Flat skates are suitable for all professional-level sports and competitions.

Disadvantages Of Flat Skates

As you can see, flat roller skates are for more advanced level skating. However, they are also not fit for everyone. The disadvantages of flat roller skates are:

  • Flat roller skates are not always the best choice for newbies. People who start skating for the first time, have poor control over their bodies. So, they can easily fall backward, which is dangerous.
  • Flat roller skates do not provide heel support. Therefore, you have to lean a bit forward wearing these skates.
  • These skates are also not great for dance-based skating where your body needs to be upright, and you have to move your body.

Both heeled and flat roller skates have their advantages and disadvantages. However, what is a disadvantage to one person may be advantageous to another. So, deciding which pair of skates is best for you is a bit confusing.

Heeled Vs. Flat Roller Skates- Which One Should You Get?

When people go to buy their first pair of roller skates, they get confused by seeing flat and heeled roller skates. They have little idea at all about the differences between roller skates.

As a result, they buy new pairs of skates without thinking much about it. Consequently, many of them struggle to learn roller skating because of the wrong skates!

Roller Skates For Beginner Heels

Therefore, it is always best to decide what type of roller skate you want before visiting the store. To make that decision, you must think about your experience of roller skating and your intention of buying them.

Now, if you are going to use roller skaters for the first time in your life, you should get roller skaters with heels.

It is not like you cannot buy flat roller skates. It actually depends on your preference. Hence, you are free to choose whatever you want.

However, newbies, most of the time, do not know how to balance on the skates.

So, when they try to skate on flat skates without prior experience, they tend to fall backward and sideways. It also becomes hard to learn backward movements.

The heeled skates provide you with support by balancing your weight. The heel pushes you forward so you can stand upright.

So, if you are buying skates to skate for the first time, go for the heeled skates. Then, after you gain some experience, buy or rent flat skates for practice.

On the other hand, experienced skaters have the choice to buy either flat skates or elevated skates based on their purpose.

Flat skates are perfect for sports, and heeled skates are best for some recreational skating. Hence, choose the skates that fit your roller skating activities.


Why do roller skates have heels? Well, you have learned that heels are necessary to provide support to newbies in roller skates. Heeled roller skates are as popular as flat roller skates.

So, when you get your first pair of roller skates, make sure they have heels because you may need the support.


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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