Inline Skates vs Rollerblades: What’s the Difference?

Inline skates and rollerblades might look similar, but these two pieces of recreational skating equipment have some very distinct differences. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced skater, it’s important to know the difference between inline skates and rollerblades so that you can choose the one that is right for you.

The major differences between inline skates and rollerblades come down to a couple of key attributes: wheels, brakes, boots, frames, and bearings.

In this article, we’ll break down the differences between inline skates and rollerblades so that when it comes time for you to buy some new skates – or blades – you get exactly what you want.

What is Inline Skate

Inline skating is an activity in which participants wear roller skates with four to five wheels arranged in a single-line configuration. Instead of the traditional two-by-two pattern. Inline skaters use their feet and ankles to propel forward and steer while controlling their speed and movements.

It’s a great way to stay active, have fun in the outdoors, and even get from place to place! Not only that but there are many forms of inline skating you can try. If you’re up for a challenge you can try fitness skating or aggressive skating, or if you prefer gameplay then hockey skating may be more your style.

Whether you’re a novice looking for a low-impact activity or an experienced skater looking for thrills and adventure, inline skating has something for everyone!

The History of Inline Skating

The history of inline skating dates back centuries and has seen a lot of exciting developments. Starting as early as 3,000 B.C., with the sport of ice-skating, to 1743 when a London stage actor mentioned inline skates in a performance, and then in 1760 demonstrated the first documented creation of inline skates by John Joseph Merlin.

Over the next 100 years or so, inventors from all over the world improved these designs, and improvements were made. In 1819, the first inline skate was patented and just forty years later in 1863 skates with two axles were developed (roller skating).

It wasn’t until 1980 that we saw a breakthrough in roller sports with the introduction of Ole’s Innovative Sports’ (later known as Rollerblade) design which was no brake for athletes to train for hockey and ice skating. This led to the instant worldwide success of modern inline skating which is still being used today.

The Different Types of Inline Skates

There are a variety of different inline skates to suit your different needs. Whether you’re an aggressive skater, a recreational skater, or even looking for some fitness, there’s an inline skate perfect for you.

Aggressive inline skates have the smallest wheel size at 55-59mm and are great for street skating, performing tricks and jumps, or skating in skate parks.

Inline hockey skates have larger wheels of 72mm to 80mm and are designed mainly for hockey players but still can be used in skate parks too.

If you’re looking for some fun recreational skating then check out inline recreation skates that come with a 70-90mm wheel diameter.

Fitness is important too and you can use inline fitness skates which typically come with a 90-110 mm wheel diameter to keep active and healthy.

And if you’re into speedskating then get yourself some inline racing skates that have huge wheels measuring over 110 mm with hard solid wheels so you can dominate any race track.

What are Inline Skates Used for

Inline skates have many different uses. For recreational use, inline skates help you cruise around on sidewalks, bike paths, or skate parks for fun and leisure. They are also great for fitness skating, giving you a good workout that builds cardiovascular endurance and strengthens your legs.

Inline skaters who are competitive have the opportunity to participate in multiple skating events such as hockey, speed skating, and figure skating. Lastly, they are perfect for transportation purposes – they can provide an eco-friendly way to get around when compared to driving or walking.

No matter what kind of activities you’re looking to do with your inline skates, these versatile pieces of equipment have you covered!

How to Stop Inline Skating with a Brake

Stopping with a brake when inline skating is easy and straightforward to master. To break, squat slightly, shift your weight forward for balance, and then extend one leg so that you press the brake against the ground in front of you.

Once you get this action down, it should be relatively easy for beginners to stop safely on their skates. In addition to using brakes to slow down and stop, experienced skaters often use more advanced techniques such as foot braking or edging. It all depends on what feels most natural and comfortable to you!

What is Rollerblade

Rollerblades are special inline skates that contain one axle within the boot, as well as 3-5 wheels attached to a skate plate and secured with an axle nut.

The boots have a high-top and firmer design which helps to provide more stability while skating. Additionally, there is also a brake located on the back of the right skate as an additional safety measure.

In general, Rollerblades differ from other types of inline skates or quad skates because they are built for speed and agility. They offer better control due to their longer wheelbase and can be used for a variety of activities like hockey, inline skating, or just cruising around town.

The History of Rollerblades

The history of Rollerblades goes back to 1980 when two Minnesota hockey players stumbled upon a pair of inline skates and decided that they would be the perfect device for training during the offseason. From then on, they invested their time and energy into refining this skate and ultimately founding the company that we all now know as Rollerblade®.

By the early ’90s, Rollerblade had started to find international success, with several distributorships being formed and Nordica (a member of the Benetton Group) investing in a 50% stake in the company.

It was these efforts that not only enabled Rollerblade® to gain a massive worldwide following but also changed traditional skating forever as it shifted from traditional roller-skating models to cutting-edge solutions such as inline blades. It is no surprise then why rollerblading remains so popular with skaters today.

Difference Between Inline Skates And Rollerblades

Rollerblades and inline skates are both similar in appearance, with each shoe having 3-5 wheels mounted on a single axle. However, there are some differences between the two that should be noted.

Rollerblades are a type of inline skate originally created by the company Rollerblade in the 1980s and feature a high-top boot and slightly wider wheels compared to those found on inline speed skates. This makes them easier to use when skating for recreational purposes.

Inline speed skates have tall and narrow wheels, between 100mm and 130mm, making them perfect for speed skating. They also have very short low-top boots which come down below the ankle bone and make it easier for competitive speed skaters to really dig in and keep their speeds up while turning corners securely.

What Type of Skates are Best for Beginners

As a beginner, it can be difficult to determine which type of skates to use – inline skate or rollerblade. Ultimately, the choice is based on personal preference. Inline skates are considered better for smooth and recreational skating, while rollerblades are better for more aggressive skating styles, as they provide more control and stability.

Inline skate boots tend to have a low-cut shape that gives maximum comfort. They have a wide wheelbase which offers additional stability and allows you to move freely without worrying about losing balance. On the other hand, Rollerblade skates have a higher cut boot which provides ankle support necessary for tricks and jumps. They also feature a shorter wheelbase and smaller wheels ideal for greater maneuverability while skating.

When deciding what type of skates are best for you as a beginner, weigh up the pros and cons of both inline skating vs rollerblades so that you can make an educated decision on what will work best for your needs!


What’s The Difference Between Inline Skates and Roller Skates?

The main difference between inline and roller skates is the way their wheels are arranged; inline skates have 3-5 wheels in a single line while roller skates follow a design similar to that of car wheels, with two rows of four.

Is Inline Skating Easier Than Roller Skating?

Beginners may find it easier to balance on roller skates, whereas inline skates can offer more agility and maneuverability.

Which is safer? Inline skates or roller skates?

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission found that, when comparing injury rates per 1,000 players, roller skating is actually safer than some other sports.


In conclusion, the choice between inline skating and rollerblading is ultimately up to you. Although there are distinct differences between the two varieties of skates, both offer a fun and entertaining way to get some fresh air, exercise your body and practice your skills.

Joseph E. Bogle

Meet Joseph E. Bogle, the founder and lead writer of, an enthusiast of skating for over a decade. I'm an aggressive skater and certified skating coach, dedicated to sharing his knowledge and passion for skating with others through his blog. With my unique combination of personal experience and professional expertise, is a valuable resource for skaters of all levels, from beginners to advanced athletes.