What Is The Difference Between Roller Skates And Rollerblades?

Those who are new to skating or are considering joining the skating field may be confused about what is the difference between roller skates and rollerblades. If you are one, then you are at the right place.

The two devices may seem similar at first glance, but there are several key differences that set them apart. This blog post provides you with tips on choosing the right type of skating device for you and explaining the significant differences between roller skates and roller blades.

In order to compare roller skates and roller blades, you should know what they are and what they’re used for. So let’s define both the skate first.

What Is Roller Skates?

Roller Skates

Roller skates are shoes with wheels attached to trucks that allow them to roll. Roller skates typically have four wheels, two in front and two in back.

The roller skate boots are constructed of a plastic boot with metal plates connected to the roller skate wheels. Roller skate boots are usually 1.5-3 inches high and come in various colors.

Roller skates are used for roller skating sports such as roller derby, roller hockey, and speed roller skating. Roller skates are also commonly used for roller skating in amusement parks or at roller rinks for roller disco roller skating. But for each of these, there are different types of wheels used with the same roller boots.

Additionally, roller skates are a good choice for young beginners because they feel more stable than other skates due to four balanced wheels.

What Are Rollerblades?


Rollerblades are a brand of roller skates manufactured by the American company Rollerblade, Inc., which had previously released a four-wheel roller skate.

Compared to traditional roller skates, rollerblades have three to five inline wheels (similar to ice skates) and a boot covering the lower leg up to the ankle. Rollerblade shoes have a unique brake at the rear of the boot.

The inline skate boots are made from a heavy-duty plastic and have an adjustable buckle closure and a padded tongue. Rollerblades come in a variety of colors and designs and are mostly used for speed skating, roller derby, roller hockey, and roller skating.

In general, rollerblades work like roller skates, but with inline wheels. This is excellent for commuting long distances at high speed. Also, rollerblades for beginners are not as stable as roller skates, but once you learn to balance, they are easier to use.

What Is The Difference Between Roller Skates And Rollerblades?

Difference Between Roller Skates And Rollerblades

Now that you know what roller skates and rollerblades are, let’s find out what the difference between them is. We will also explain which riding style is best for which skates so that you can make the right choice based on your riding style.

1. Design

The significant difference between roller skates and rollerblades is the wheel placement. Roller skates or quad skates have four wheels, two in front and two at the backside like a rectangle shape, while rollerblades have three to five wheels in an inline shape.

Additionally, roller skates have two trucks that hold the wheels together for rolling. While rollerblades don’t have trucks, instead, they have a metal or plastic frame to keep each wheel in place, and this frame is attached to the boot.

There is no insulation in the roller skates’ uppers, which are made of soft leather or nylon. While the rollerblades uppers are made of thick leather with insulating padding and also a zipper closure for easy access.

2. Flexibility And Comfort

A roller skate is considered to be more flexible than a rollerblade because of its design. It also allows you to roll your foot side to side, making it easier to turn on roller skates.

The newer design of inline rollerblades makes the middle of the boot more rigid than that of traditional rollerblades.

Additionally, roller skates provide more ankle support than rollerblades, but the newer rollerblade boots offer great ankle support and comfort.

The rollerblades boots also come with insulating padding for warmth and comfort. Roller skates do not have insulation and are not waterproof.

However, rollerblades have a special zipper that allows you to quickly get in and out of the boots for transportation and storage.

3. Speed

Roller skates are usually slower than rollerblades. It’s because roller skates have small and heavier wheels that are not as smooth as the wheels of rollerblades.

Also, if you are planning to ride for a long distance, rollerblades are better choice. It’s possible to do long distance skating on roller skates with good speed, but it’s not comparable with rollerblades.

4. Performance

To get high performance on specific riding styles, particular skates are used. Athletes wear roller skates to do certain types of skating like figure skating, freestyle skating, speed skating, or ice hockey. As well as being used for fitness, hockey, speed skating, and recreational purposes, rollerblades are commonly worn by athletes.

5. Which is good for weight loss

If you plan on buying roller skates or rollerblades, you’re on the right track. Both are good for losing weight. When it comes to comparing the two, it gets tricky.

According to research, roller skating for an hour can burn between 200-600 calories, depending on your weight and speed. Rollerblading can also provide the same results for about an hour, depending on your speed and effort.

However, rollerblades are more beneficial for losing weight since they can burn up to 10% more calories than roller skating, but you can still burn 300-600 calories if you roller skates for an hour.

Which is good for children?

For children, both roller skates and rollerblades are equally good. Both of them provide excellent ways to learn the basics of skating with patience because it needs time to shine.

However, rollerblades give you more time and space to feel comfortable and learn to skate at your own pace than roller skates. In addition to their flexible design, roller blades allow you to balance easily when turning.

Which is good for tricks?

You should choose inline skates if you are looking for a skate specifically for tricks. However, you can also use roller skates for tricks. Roller skates, however, are not designed to do tricks, but you can learn to do tricks on them also with some practice.

Which is safe?

Both roller skates and rollerblades are equally safe. But there is a small difference:

Roller Skates: Roller skates have a brake on each wheel, which allows you to stop easily.

Rollerblades: Rollerblades have a larger brake in the back of the boot that allows you to stop with ease.

Roller Skates vs Rollerblades Summing up all the facts, roller skates are good for newbies, children, long distance, or recreational purposes.

In general, rollerblades are better for performance skaters, tricks, speed skating, and fitness.

If you want to learn skating quickly, then rollerblades are the best option. The learning curve for roller skates is steep, while the learning curve for rollerblades is zero.


Are roller skates different from roller blades?

Yes, roller skates and roller blades are both different. In-line skates have 3 to 4 large wheels that form a line and roll forward & backward (like a bicycle). A roller skate has four wheels, two on the front and two on the back.

Is roller skating or roller blading better?

It depends on your riding style and needs. When you want to ride long distances at high speed, perform tricks or play hockey, rollerblades are the best choice. But roller skates can be a good option if you like to spin, cruise around, or play ice hockey.

Is it harder to roller blade or roller skate?

In reality, roller skates are more difficult to learn than rollerblades, despite their appearance of balance and ease of learning. There might be some balancing issues at the beginning, but it’s easy and makes learning faster. If we compare the two, roller skates are harder to learn.


As long as you’ve read this article, I’m sure you’ve seen the differences because they’re so obvious.

I hope you found this article helpful and got a clear answer on what is the difference between roller skates and rollerblades.

Thank you so much for reading, and don’t forget to share with the needy.

Additional Questions

Is it easier to rollerblade or rollerskate?

Rollerskating may appear simpler at initial trials, especially for children, due to its stability. However, mastering rollerblading can be a smoother journey. While you can execute tricks on both, inline skates are typically the preferred equipment.

From personal experience, when children take up skating, they usually gravitate towards rollerskates. They find stability in the pair of wheels set next to each other, and as a result, beginners tend to fall less. However, when they progress to rollerblades, they often find it simpler. The set up of wheels in a straight line in rollerblades adds a fluidity to movement that helps in executing a variety of moves and tricks. This is why most professional skaters prefer inline skates.

Are rollerblades and rollerskates the same thing?

Not really. The dramatic difference lies in the arrangement of wheels; rollerblades have a linear array, whereas rollerskates have a pair of wheels on each side.

While they both serve the similar purpose of skating, when you closely observe, you’ll notice this difference in their structure. Rollerblades have wheels arranged in a single line, making them look like blades, thereby earning their namesake. Rollerskates, on the other hand, have two wheels set side by side. This layout distinction affects how each type of skate moves and turns. As a skating instructor, I’ve seen students adapt and perform differently on both types, and my expertise affirms this stark difference.

Is rollerblading a good workout?

Absolutely! Rollerblading engages a wide range of muscles, notably those in the inner thighs, hips, and glutes that aren’t usually focused on by sagittal plane activities like running, walking or cycling.

In my many years as a physical trainer, rollerblading has consistently emerged as a wonderful workout. When you rollerblade, you are forced to work numerous muscles such as glutes, inner thighs, and hips. Many conventional exercises which focus only on the sagittal plane (front and back orientations), like running, walking, and cycling, often miss targeting these specific muscles. This makes rollerblading a fantastic exercise for a full-body muscle workout.

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