Inline Skate Stars

Is Ice Skating Like Roller Skating?

Roller skating vs. ice skating? How do they compare? I got you if you’re here wondering about the main differences and similarities between ice skating and roller skating! That’s the reason I’ve put together this guide. So, read on!

Roller skating vs. ice skating? Which one should you choose? Both roller skating and ice skating are fun skating disciplines. They also offer tons of health benefits like an improved cardiovascular system.

But settling on either roller skating or ice skating is often daunting for most people. If you’re torn between roller skating or ice skating, here’s the thing!

The main difference between roller skating vs. ice skating is the skating venue, surface, and seasonality. While roller skating is done on dry asphalt, wood, concrete, and plastic surfaces, ice skating can only be done on icy surfaces like frozen ponds and artificial ice skating rinks.

This is only the scratch on the surface. I cover a ton more in the rest of this guide, and you don’t want to miss out. So, I urge you to keep reading!

What is Roller Skating?

First things first! What is roller skating? Simply put, roller skating is moving on four-wheeled skating shoes. It can be done as a hobby or competitively in championships.

Roller skates are often fitted with four wheels attached to two axles on a roller skate plate. Some people also use roller skating as a means of transport from one destination to another!

What is Ice Skating?

How about ice skating? Simply put, ice skating is moving on steel-blade skating shoes. As the name suggests, you can only go ice skating on an icy surface.

Ice skating can also be done as a hobby or competitively like roller skating.

Roller Skating Vs. Ice Skating Quick Comparison Table

DescriptionRoller SkatingIce Skating
Wheel and blade base designRuns on four plastic or polyurethane wheels attached to two axles on the roller skate plate.Runs on a thin steel blade attached to ice skate boots.
Calories burnedApproximately 497 calories per hour.640-840 calories per hour.
Aerobic benefitsLow impact aerobic exercise; soft on the knees.Low impact aerobic exercise; soft on the knees.
Cardio benefitsHigh impact cardioHigh impact cardio
Skating venue and surfaceIndoor and outdoor rinks, roads, skate parks, sidewalks, bike lanes.Indoor and outdoor rinks ad frozen ponds, lakes, and rivers.
SeasonalityAll year round; indoors during winter; outdoors during summer.Mostly a winter sport; indoors during summer; outdoor and indoors during winter

Roller Skating Vs. Ice Skating Detailed Comparison

Choosing between ice skating and roller skating is a hassle, especially when new to the skating arena. Luckily for you, this shouldn’t be a problem when you have this guide.

Below is a detailed comparison between ice skating and roller skating. Hopefully, this information will enable you to make informed choices. So, let’s get to it!

1. Roller skating and Ice Skating History

Ice skating has been around longer than roller skating. People first skated on ice a thousand years ago on frozen lakes and ponds.

The first ice skates were made from deer or oxen bones. These bones were attached below the ankles to help keep the foot steady when skating. The modern steel blades replaced the bones.

Ice skating took a major turn in the 14th century. The first written reference to ice skating as a sports dates to around this time.

The 14th-century ice skates were made using a scooped metal blade attached to the bottom of the boot.

On the other hand, roller skating was first reported much later in the 18th century. John Joseph Merlin, a Belgian investor, first introduced roller skates in the 18th century.

The modern quad roller skates were introduced in 1863 by James Plimpton.

2. Wheel and Blade Base Design

Roller skates run on four wheels, which is why they’re also commonly known as quad roller skates. The wheels are made of plastic or polyurethane material and are attached to two axles on the boot plate.

Roller skate wheels can be either hard or soft, depending on the environment they’re best suited for. When buying roller skate wheels, ensure you get the right ones for indoor or outdoor skating.

Quad wheels improve stability because they occupy a large surface area. On the other hand, ice skates use a thin steel blade to cut through the ice while skating.

Balancing on ice skates can be daunting, especially for beginners. Also, one requires more skill to know how to push and glide on ice skates.

3. Muscle Development

Both roller skating and ice skating work the same body muscles. The primary muscles include;

  • Glute Muscles
  • The Core Muscles
  • Quadriceps Muscles
  • Hamstrings Muscles
  • Adductors Muscles

All forms of skating, including ice skating and roller skating, require energy. Some of this energy is produced in the muscles through anaerobic respiration, while some are produced in the cells.

Anaerobic respiration in the muscles helps ton them down while burning excess muscle fat. Overall, roller skating and ice skating are great for burning muscle fat and muscle development.

4. Aerobic and Cardio Benefits

Roller skating and ice skating are low-impact aerobic exercises, meaning they’re rough on calories but gentle on the joints.

Skating can be intense, depending on your speed and the terrain. This requires a lot of energy to keep your body in motion.

The heart is actively involved in pumping oxygenated blood to energy-producing cells in the body. Overall, this keeps the heart healthy and perfect condition to perform its functions.

According to a Cleveland Clinic study, below are some primary ice skating or roller skating aerobic and cardio benefits!

  • Low chances of developing heart diseases.
  • Regulated cholesterol levels.
  • Improved lung function.
  • Controlled blood sugar levels.

5. Calories Burned when Roller Skating Vs. Ice Skating

Roller skating burns approximately 497 calories per hour, while ice skating burns between 640 and 840. The number of calories burned also depends on the terrain and the body weight.

It’s best to skate longer if you want to burn more calories. But, be careful to avoid overskating because it can hurt your body.

6. Roller Skating Vs. Ice Skating Gear

The basic roller skating gear is a roller skate, while ice skates are the basic ice skating gear. Besides these two, you need to wear protective gear to protect yourself if you fall when skating.

The must-have protective gear for roller skating and ice skating are;

  • Helmets.
  • Elbow pads.
  • Wrist guards.
  • Knee pads.

You can also wear hip pads and shins guards. They may not be very necessary but wearing them doesn’t harm either!

7. Personal Safety

All types of skating can be dangerous. However, one of the primary risks associated with skating is falling. Most skaters, including newbies and pros, occasionally fall for many reasons.

Sometimes the skating surface is rough or wet, making the skates slide. While it’s impossible to avoid some risks, the best you can do is protect yourself by wearing the right protective gear.

The best part is that roller skating and ice skating are low-impact aerobic exercises, so they won’t hurt your knee and other joints.

8. Skating Venue, Surface, and Seasonality

Both roller skating and ice skating can be done indoors and outdoors at a rink. However, roller skating offers more skating venue options. So, you can also skate on the roads, streets, sidewalks, and bike lanes.

Ice skating is special and requires an icy surface. So, you can only ice skate at an indoor ice skating rink or outdoors at a frozen lake, pond, or river.

Ice skating is more seasonal than roller skating. This is because it’s mostly done during the year’s cooler months. On the contrary, roller skating can be done throughout the year stress-free.

9. Skating Techniques

Roller skating and ice skating share basic skating techniques like stops, turn, push and glide, and body posture. This is why it’s easy to switch from ice skating to roller skating once you know the basics.

Both skating disciplines share similar stopping techniques like the t-stop and the plow stop. Other skating techniques include cross-overs, jumps, spins, and quick turns.

Roller derby is closely related to dance figure skating. So, they mostly use the same techniques!

Roller Skating Vs. Ice Skating | Wrapping Up

Roller skating and ice skating are fun skating hobbies. But setting on one to focus on can be a hassle when you don’t know much about roller skating and ice skating.

The primary difference between roller skating and ice skating is the skating venue, surface, and seasonality. Other differences don’t weigh so much!

That’s it! I hope you found this guide helpful!

More Reading>>

Is Ice Skating a Good Workout? Revealed

Does Roller Skating Help with Ice Skating? {7 Unique Ways}

Is Ice Skating Like Roller Skating? | {the Ultimate Comparison}

How Old for Ice Skating? What’s the Best age?

What to Wear Ice Skating Indoors {10 Essential Wears}

Navick Ogutu
Navick Ogutu

Navick is a full-time freelance writer, blogger, and internet marketer. By day, he creates content for multiple sites including Over the weekend, he goes out skating with friends.

Articles: 394