Are you confused between indoor and outdoor roller skates? Do you want to purchase a pair of skates but don’t know which ones suit your needs the best?
No worries, earlier at the beginning of my sport, I also had the same confusion. I was also unaware of what’s the difference between indoor and outdoor roller skates, but with time and experience, I learned it in detail.
Let me help you with this article about indoor and outdoor roller skates and compare outdoor vs indoor roller skates so that you don’t have to face the same confusion I had.
Table of Contents
Difference Between Indoor And Outdoor Roller Skates
The main difference between indoor and outdoor roller skates is the type of wheels each skate has. The difference in the wheels also leads to a difference in the skating experience.
Outdoor roller skates have larger and smoother wheels than indoor skaters. Because the larger wheels help you easily roll over small pebbles and cracks on the sidewalk. However, the outdoor skate wheels get damaged more than indoor skate wheels.
Indoor roller skates have smaller and harder wheels than outdoor skaters. It helps you maneuver better and make sharper turns easily. The hard wheels also make less noise on the ground, which is essential in competitions and skating rinks.
Another difference between indoor and outdoor skates is the boot. The difference in the boot is not as significant as the difference in the wheels but better to consider.
Outdoor boots are generally lower cut than indoor boots. This helps in ankle support and keeps your feet comfortable even when you are sweating. The outdoor boots also have more ventilation to keep your feet cool and dry.
Indoor boots are generally higher cut than outdoor boots. This provides more support to your ankles and keeps your feet warm on cold skating rinks. In addition to having less ventilation, indoor boots also keep your feet cold.
You might also find reading the difference between roller skates and rollerblades helpful.
Understand Wheels Hardness
If you want to identify the difference between indoor and outdoor roller skate wheels, the first thing you should look at is the hardness of the wheels.
The hard wheels have a durometer of 85A or higher and are best for indoor skating because they provide good speed and control on slippery surfaces.
The softer wheels have a durometer of 84A or lower and are better for outdoor skating because they provide good grip and shock absorption on the rougher surface.
In short, the hard wheels are best for indoor skating, and the soft wheels are ideal for outdoor skating.
Understand Wheels Size
The next difference between indoor and outdoor roller skates is the size of the wheels.
The wheels on indoor skates are usually smaller than those on outdoor skates.
The smaller wheels are better for indoor skating because they provide more control and maneuverability in tight spaces.
The larger wheels are better for outdoor skating because they provide more speed and stability on the rougher surface.
So this is also an option for you to identify the difference between indoor and outdoor roller skates. Also, read what size roller skates should I buy for better understanding.
Difference In Boot Material
The second difference between indoor and outdoor skates is the boot’s material.
Indoor skate boots are usually made of synthetic leather or vinyl because they need to be light and comfortable.
Outdoor skate boots are usually made of tough materials such as leather or nylon because they need to be durable and weather-resistant.
Hence, if you find the boot to be light and comfortable, it means they are for indoor skating, and if they are tough and weather-resistant, they are for outdoor skating.
Difference In Brake Type
The third difference between indoor and outdoor skates is the type of brake.
Indoor skates usually have a toe stop brake which is activated by pressing the toe of the skate against the ground.
Outdoor skates usually have a heel brake which is activated by pressing the heel of the skate against the ground.
Nevertheless, it is difficult to determine whether a skate is indoor or outdoor just by looking at its breaks since you might occasionally find toes broken on outdoor skates and vice versa. Analyze skates via brakes as well, but do not decide skate type solely based on this.
Difference In Shape
The fourth difference between indoor and outdoor skates is the shape.
Indoor skates are usually low-cut and have a sleek design to provide speed and maneuverability.
Outdoor skates are usually high-cut and have a chunky design to provide stability and comfort.
So far, we’ve seen the difference between indoor and outdoor skates; lets now see the pros and cons of each type:
Pros and Cons of Indoor Roller Skates
- Comparatively safe
- Easy to learn
- Smooth surface
- Best for kids
- Good exercise with fun
- Wheels also last longer
- Quite expensive
- You’ve to share the rink with others
Pros And Cons Of Outdoor Roller Skates
- Can skate anywhere
- Better for fresh air
- Can go at your own pace
- Good exercise
- You’ll face Rough surfaces
- Quite difficult to learn
- Wheels don’t last as long
Can indoor roller skates be used outside?
Yes, but they will not last as long as outdoor roller skates. The wheels on indoor roller skates are harder and make for smooth indoor surfaces like skate rinks. Outdoor roller skates have smooth wheels that can handle rougher outdoor surfaces like sidewalks and streets.
Is there a difference between indoor and outdoor roller skates?
Yes, outdoor roller skates are made to go on any type of surface, while indoor roller skates are only for smooth surfaces. To identify both the skates, you can check their wheel’s hardness. The indoor skate wheels are harder (Above 85A), while the outdoor ones are softer (Under 84A).
What kind of roller skates are best for outdoors?
Both the inline and roller skates can be used for outdoors. Just be sure to go with soft wheels if you are going to use them on rough roads, and for indoor skate rinks, prefer hard wheels. On the other hand, if you’re planning for commuting use on outdoor surfaces, then go for inline skates with soft wheels.
If you’re a beginner and planning to start skating, you might find our guide on how to roller skate for beginners.
The main difference between indoor and outdoor roller skates is the difference in their wheels. Indoor roller skates have harder wheels made for smooth surfaces like skate rinks, while outdoor roller skates have softer wheels that can handle rougher outdoor surfaces like sidewalks and streets.
I hope you can now identify and choose the right pair of roller skates for your needs, whether you’re skating indoors or outdoors! Thanks for reading.
Can I use indoor roller skates outside?
In principle, yes, you could take your indoor roller skates outside. However, from my experience and knowledge in the field, I would strongly advise against it. Indoor skates are engineered with smooth indoor surfaces in mind, making outdoor terrains a tough match. If you opt to use them outside, be prepared to face difficulties when you come across obstacles, no matter how small they might be. Taking indoor roller skates outside may make for a rough ride and can potentially damage the wheels.
How do I know if my roller skates are outdoor?
If you’re trying to determine whether your roller skates are suitable for outdoor use, pay close attention to the wheels. Typically, outdoor skates boast softer wheels (corresponding to a low durometer number). What you’ll see is that the softer wheels are more forgiving to rough and uneven terrains, like sidewalks and asphalt. That being said, there are outdoor wheels designed to be harder for smoother outdoor surfaces, such as skate parks. Essentially, the hardness of the wheels will tell you whether the skates are intended for indoors or outdoors.
How can you tell the difference between outdoor and indoor skates?
The distinction between indoor and outdoor roller skates can be set by the hardness of their wheels. For outdoor usage, wheels that are softer (with hardness under 90a) are the best pick as they can manage the shocks from varying textured surfaces efficiently. In contrast, indoor skating calls for wheels that are harder because they tend to be more durable and shock absorption is less of a concern. So the key differentiating factor between indoor and outdoor roller skates is wheel hardness.
What are indoor skates?
Indoor skates are essentially roller skates outfitted with wheels that have a hardness ranging from 88A to 103A. This harder wheel material is optimal for use in an indoor rink, which offers a flat, smooth surface devoid of typical outdoor obstacles like rocks or cracks. For outdoor roller skating, adults should consider skates whose wheel hardness doesn’t exceed 90A. The higher wheel hardness of indoor skates makes them ideal for the smooth surfaces typically found in skating rinks.
I am Mary, the founder of skatesidea.com. Skating (Roller skates, Inline skates, Rollerblades) is my passion, and I have years of teaching experience in this field. Our vision and mission is to provide you with accurate information on everything related to skates.