Elite SkateVers

Inline Skates vs Rollerblades: Difference between Inline Skates and Rollerblades!

Getting started in inline skating was all fun until a bit of confusion set in! The thought of trying out this new hobby was exciting until I stumbled upon inline skates and rollerblades. What is the difference between inline skates and rollerblades? I wondered every day. So, I decided to carry out some research!

What is the difference between inline skates and rollerblades? There’s no significant difference between Inline skates and Rollerblades. While Inline skates is the common name for all types of skate brands with wheels in a straight line, rollerblades are a specific type of inline skate produced by the Rollerblades skates brand.

As a complete beginner, it’s never easy to tell the difference. Sadly, even some intermediate skaters still can’t tell the difference.

The good news is, today, you’ll discover all there’s to know about rollerblades and inline skates.

So, without much ado, let’s get to it!

Rollerblades vs Inline skates (What are Inline Skates?)

As I’ve mentioned, inline skates and Rollerblades mean the same thing. Inline skates is a more general term referring to skates designed for outdoor use.

On the other hand, roller blades refer to a specific brand of inline skates produced by rollerblade skates manufacturers. 

Inline skates get this name from their unique wheel and frame design, where the wheels are attached to the frame in a straight line.

Inline skates have either five, four, or three wheels, which vary in size.

In their article, buying guide for skate wheels, Inline skates blog reports a wide range of inline skate wheels based on the type of inline skate. 

The wheels are measured by diameter and stated in millimeters.

According to the report, aggressive inline skates wheels vary between 55 and 59 mm, inline hockey skates at 72-80 mm, recreational inline skates at 70-90 mm, fitness inline skates at 90-110, and inline racing skates at over 110 mm. 

If you want a high speed, wheels of over 85 mm would be a perfect fit. For an average speed, wheels between 81 and 84 mm would work for you.

However, the 76-80 mm would be the real deal if you want to go slower. For children, 60-70 mm wheel sizes will serve them right.

From this explanation, you can already tell the different types of inline skates. Here’s a quick summary for you.

  • Aggressive inline skates – These are mainly used for artistic skating to perform tricks and jumps. These skates have a relatively small wheel size of 55-59 mm. Also, they’re best for street skating, skating over obstacles, or skating in skate parks.
  • Inline hockey skates – As the name suggests, these skates are worn mainly by hockey players and have 72 mm and 80 mm wheel sizes. Nonetheless, you can still use them to skate in a skate park for fun.
  • Inline recreation skates – These skates are designed for recreational skating in skate parks, sports courts, or street skating. They have a wheel diameter of 70-90 mm.
  • Inline fitness skates – Are commonly used for body fitness and recreational skating. They’re the most common inline skates with a 90-110 mm wheel diameter.
  • Inline racing skates – as the name suggests, speed skaters use these skates. They have a large wheel size of over 110 mm with hard wheels.

High-quality Inline Skates

Best Rollerblades for Men, Women, and Children. Check the current price on Inline Skates!

  1. Rollerblade RB Cruiser Inline Skates Mens
  2. Rollerblade Macroblade 90 Inline Skates Womens
  3. Rollerblade Apex Inline Skates Kids

What are Inline Skates Used for?

Inline skates, or rollerblades, are used for various recreational, fitness, and competitive skating activities.

Recreational skating involves leisurely skating on sidewalks, bike paths, or skateparks. In contrast, fitness skating involves using inline skates as a means of exercise to build cardiovascular endurance and improve leg strength.

Competitive skating includes various disciplines, such as inline hockey, speed skating, and figure skating. Inline skates can also be used for transportation as an alternative to walking or biking.

What are the Parts of an Inline Skate/Rollerblades?

Rollerblades and inline skates refer to the same thing. Below is a breakdown of the different rollerblades or inline skate parts. Let’s dive right in.

1. Wheels

Roller blades can either have wheels, four wheels, or three wheels. Five and four wheels are ideal for beginners and intermediate inline skaters, while experienced skaters will find three wheels a good fit. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

The wheels also vary in size. Some are small-sized, others are medium-sized, and others are wide.

The diameter determines what level of skater can use the wheels.

Stability decreases as the diameter increases.

Therefore, wide-diameter wheels are best for experienced skaters.

The smaller or medium diameter will be a good fit if you’re starting.

Based on material composition, you can find two types of wheels—polyurethane (PU) and plastic (PVC).

Polyurethane is sturdier than plastic and has been used to make these wheels since 1973. Thus, you’d want to get the PU wheels for relatively rough terrains.

To top it up, wheel hardness varies from one skate to another and is denoted by the alphabet “A” at the end.

Typical examples are; 80A, 76A, 74A, and 78A. Wheel hardness influences skate functionality since some rollerblades are more convenient on soft surfaces while others are built for tough terrains. 

For example, the 76A wheel is considered soft, while the 74A is considered X-soft. These wheels are fast and comfortable on smooth and rough terrains.

Also, there are both 78A soft and hard wheels. The softer wheels are slower and prone to wear out on rough terrains. The best part is they’re comfortable. 

On the other hand, the hard 78A wheels are fast. The only problem is, they’re not as comfortable as you’d want.

2. Braking System

The braking system is a plastic extension with a rubber material at the back wheel (either right or left).

Most rollerblades have the brake attached to the right skate. However, you’ll not fail to find one with the brake on the left.  

This braking system is ideal for beginners. Some intermediate skaters still use it, though.

After several years of experience, it’s common to see experienced skaters get rid of it.

3. Frame

Inline skate frames are made from two types of materials—plastic, and metal. Choosing the right frame goes a long way in helping with rollerblade longevity.

Metal frames are sturdy and can withstand uneven surfaces. They’re also a good fit for skaters with a high body mass.

4. Bearings

Rollerblade bearings are denoted using the ABEC scale and an odd number. Here’s what I mean; ABEC-1, ABEC-3, ABEC-5, ABEC-7, and ABEC-9.

This scale shows the bearing’s precision. If you see a high number, say ABEC-9, this should immediately tell you the bearing is more accurate.

This enhances performance and makes skating a breeze.

5. Air Ducts

Air ducts are tiny openings at the front end of a rollerblade and are fantastic for enhancing airflow in and out of the skates.

They let in the air, reducing sweating on the feet and preventing insoles’ damping.

6. Safety Buckle

The safety buckle is vital in reinforcing the feet inside the rollerblades.  They also offer more stability and ensure the ankles are comfortable as one skates.

Now that you know there’s no significant difference between inline skates and rollerblades, let’s look into the Rollerblade inline skate brand. Shall we?

Also, check out these amazing socks for Rollerblading on Amazon

Rollerblade Inline Skates Brand

This is the most popular inline skates manufacturer in the world. Amazingly, every company member is a skater explaining why they’re after creating fantastic skates for skaters. 

Most importantly, the company is after changing the world through healthier people, stronger communities, less congestion, less pollution, more fun, and deeper interaction with human and physical life.

History of Rollerblades

In 1980, two Minnesota hockey players, rummaging through a sporting goods retailer, discovered a pair of inline skates and decided this would make for a perfect hockey training device during the off-season.

They refined the skate and began assembling the first Rollerblade® skates in the basement of their parents’ Minneapolis home.

That same year, they founded the company that would become Rollerblade®.

In the early ‘90s, international distribution was first realized by establishing several distributorships.

Also, in 1991 Nordica, a member of the Benetton Group, purchased a 50% stake in the company.

Source; Rollerblades About us page- Rollerblade History

Roller Skates Vs. Rollerblades | What is the difference between inline skates and rollerblades?

Roller skates serve the same purpose as rollerblades or inline skates: roller sports equipment allows people to move around on wheels. But there’s a significant difference between them.

  • Design: Roller skates have two rows of wheels arranged in a straight line, while rollerblades have a single row arranged in a line under the foot.
  • Movement: Roller skates are easier to balance because of their broader base but are less agile than rollerblades. On the other hand, rollerblades are designed for speed and agility, allowing for quick turns and sharp movements.
  • Comfort: Roller skates are more comfortable for long skating periods, as the broader base and softer wheels provide a more forgiving ride. On the other hand, rollerblades can be more strenuous on the feet and ankles due to the narrow base and harder wheels.
  • Use: Roller skates are often used for recreational skating and dancing, while rollerblades are more commonly used for sports such as inline hockey and skating marathons.

Here’s a quick table comparison;

roller skates vs rollerblades

Types of Roller Skates

Rollerblades are known for producing high-quality quad roller skates, Rollerblades, inline speed skates, and other rollerblading accessories.

1. Quad Roller Skates

These are the typical traditional four-wheel skates used by children and adult skaters.

You’ll find quad skates in low-top or high-top skate boots. Try one or two to find one that fits you and suits your preference.

These skates are also best for indoor skating.

2. Rollerblades

Roller blades are the same as inline skates and can be used interchangeably.

The skates consist of a series of wheels in a straight line running from the toes to the heels.

Some have three wheels, others have four wheels, and others have five. 

These skates are best for the outdoors, and there’s a wide variety of them, including; aggressive inline skates, inline hockey skates, inline speed skates, and fitness inline skates.

3. Inline Speed Skates

Inline skates have wider wheels and are used for professional speed skating. Speed skates have three, four, or five wheels like other inline skates.

They’re lightweight and have a short, low cut for easy handling. These skates are best for more experienced skaters and professional speed skaters.

What is Inline Skating?

Inline skating, or rollerblading, is where people wear roller skates with four to five wheels arranged in a straight line rather than in a traditional two-by-two pattern.

Inline skaters push off with their feet to propel themselves forward, using their legs and ankles to steer and control their movement. Inline skating is a popular activity for exercise, recreation, and transportation, and it can be done on various surfaces, including sidewalks, streets, and skate parks.

Inline skating can be done individually or in groups, and there are many different styles of skating, including fitness, aggressive, and hockey. Inline skating is a fun and low-impact way to get exercise and enjoy the outdoors.

How to Choose Inline Skates for Beginners

Inline skating is a great way to stay fit, improve balance and coordination, and have fun outdoors. However, choosing the right pair of inline skates can be challenging, especially for beginners. I’ve compiled this inline skates buying guide to help you make informed decisions.

  1. Determine Your Skill Level: Before buying a pair of inline skates, it’s essential to determine your skill level. Are you a beginner, intermediate, or advanced skater? Knowing your skill level will help you choose the right skates to match your needs and goals.
  2. Consider Your Skating Style: Different skates are designed for different skating styles. For example, fitness skates are designed for recreational skating and are suitable for beginners, whereas aggressive skates are designed for stunts and tricks and are more suited for advanced skaters. Determine your skating style before purchasing skates to ensure you get the right type.
  3. Choose the Right Fit: Choosing the right size and fit is crucial when buying inline skates. Ill-fitting skates can cause discomfort, blisters, and even injuries. Measure your foot and try on different pairs of skates to find the perfect fit. A good pair of inline skates should feel snug but not too tight and provide good ankle support.
  4. Look for Quality Components: Inline skates comprise various components, including the boot, frame, wheels, and bearings. Look for quality components made from durable materials that can withstand wear and tear. High-quality components also provide better performance and ensure a smooth skating experience.
  5. Consider the Wheels: The wheels are an essential part of inline skates as they determine speed, grip, and maneuverability. For beginners, wheels with a larger diameter provide more stability and are more forgiving. Choose a wheel hardness appropriate for your skill level and the type of terrain you will be skating on.
  6. Think About Your Budget: Inline skates come in different price ranges, and it’s essential to consider your budget when buying a pair. Remember that higher-priced skates usually have better quality components and provide better performance. However, if you’re a beginner, you may not need the most expensive skates.
  7. Consider Additional Features: Inline skates come with various additional features, including braking systems, ventilation, and lacing systems. Consider the additional features that are important to you.

Difference Between Inline Skates and Rollerblades | FAQs

    What are the Best Inline Skates for Streets?

    The best inline skates for streets have larger wheels (90mm and above), as they offer better speed and control on uneven surfaces. Skates with durable boots and a strong frame are also recommended. Some of the best inline skates for streets include Rollerblade Twister Edge, Powerslide Next, and K2 Unnatural.

    What is an inline skater?

    An inline skater is a person who uses inline skates, which are a type of roller skate that has wheels arranged in a line rather than in a square pattern. Inline skaters use their skates for various activities like fitness, recreation, and sports.

    What is the difference between inline skates and roller skates?

    The main difference between inline skates and roller skates is the arrangement of the wheels. Inline skates have wheels arranged in a line, while roller skates have wheels arranged in a square pattern. Inline skates offer better speed and maneuverability, while roller skates offer better stability and are easier to learn for beginners.

    Are inline skates the same as rollerblades?

    The term “rollerblade” is a brand name often used interchangeably with “inline skate.” Therefore, technically speaking, inline skates and rollerblades are the same things. However, other brands also produce inline skates, and not all inline skates are Rollerblade brand skates.

    What is the difference between rollerblades and roller skates?

    As mentioned earlier, “rollerblade” is often used interchangeably with “inline skate.” However, roller skates have a different wheel arrangement than inline skates. Roller skates have wheels arranged in a square pattern, while inline skates have wheels arranged in a line. Additionally, roller skates are typically used for recreational activities, while inline skates can be used for fitness, recreation, and sports.

    What are rollerblades?

    Rollerblades are a brand of inline skates first introduced in the 1980s by the company Rollerblade, Inc. Today, the term “Rollerblades” is often used to refer to any inline skate. Still, it specifically refers to the original inline skates produced by Rollerblade, Inc.

    Roller Blades vs Inline Skates | Difference Between Roller Skates and Roller blades (Final thoughts)

    What’s the difference between inline skates and rollerblades? This is often confused by most beginner and intermediate skaters.

    What’s the difference between inline skates and rollerblades? There’s no significant difference between inline skates and rollerblades. However, the key difference is while inline skates are the common name for all types of skates with wheels in a straight line, rollerblades are a specific type of inline skate produced by the Rollerblades skates brand.

    I hope you’ll find this article helpful. Happy rollerblading!

    Related posts

    Inline Skating Brands | Best Brands for Rollerblading

    Is Rollerblading a Good Exercise for Weight loss?

    10 Health Benefits of Rollerblading | New Research

    Rollerblading Vs. Running | the Ultimate Comparison

    Rollerblading Vs. Roller skating | the Definitive Comparison

    Navick Ogutu
    Navick Ogutu

    Navick Ogutu is the author at Elite SkateVers and writes about skating. He is the founder and CEO OF Elite SkateVers adn goes skating with friends over the weekend. Contact as to learn how Elite SkateVers can help you learn how to skate fast or improve your skating skills.

    Articles: 391