Roller skating Vs Skateboarding: Which one is easier?

When it comes to sports on wheels, the argument between roller skating & skateboarding is old. These two activities are very much identical technically yet very different. Both involve balancing while prevailing on wheels but one on a board and the other in shoes.

In my article, I will make sure to answer the question at hand “What is the basic difference between roller skates & skateboarding?” 

As people often confuse the two, I am going to highlight the difference between how these activities are pulled off. 

Principal Differences Between Skating & Roller Skating

The main difference between Rollerblading and Skateboarding is,  Rollerblading  walks with the wheels, whereas skateboarding requires some controlling skill on a skateboard. 

The names of these sports are pretty self-explanatory. But this isn’t enough to end the debate of Outdoor Skating vs Roller skating. Someone who doesn’t have the least knowledge, they must read this article about roller skates vs. skateboarding. 

Here we have explained the clear differences between these skateboarding & inline skating for your better understanding. A self explained infograph below here. 

Roller Skating vs Skateboarding self-explained Infograph


Differences between rollerblade Wheels & skateboard wheels

The mounting style of the wheels of a skateboard & roller skates is very different. 

Roller skating shoes are also known as Inline skates after the formation of wheels. Inline Roller skates have 2 or 5 wheels arranged in a single line under the boot. The Inline skates’ axle holds these polyurethane wheels, upheld from both sides of the shoes. 

On the other hand, skateboard wheels are in pairs, two pairs on opposite ends of the board. These are attached to the deck with the help of a pair of trucks, affixed on both ends. These trucks keep the wheels straight while the board is crossing rigged and rough ground paths. 

The actual difference rises when we talk about the size and shape of these wheels. most of the best skateboard wheels can be different sizes and flatter for better support. Roller skates are called Roller blades as the wheels have a sharp ending edge. 

You will find varieties in the sizes of Rollerblade wheels. Bigger-sized wheels make you taller from the ground. The thickness of all wheels are the same.

The durability of these wheels is disagreed upon. Skateboard and inline skate wheels & their bearings are made from the same materials. They provide the same bounce and support when you are performing tricks. 

Over time, due to bumpy tracks, highly speedy & longer rides change the wheels’ composition and shape. Skateboard wheels become flattered while the inline skates wheels become thinner due to use.

roller skating vs skateboard wheel difference

Differences in Riding Styles

The basics of riding both roller skating and skateboarding involve balancing yourself on wheels. Sounds alike but it isn’t. The first one involves pushing & rolling while the latter one needs a stable walk on wheels. 

If you have read our article on how to learn skateboarding easily, you might know all the skills of skateboarding. Skating is done with a flat surface under your feet. You keep dominant foot on the deck and the other foot on the ground to push & glide until you gain momentum. 

Performing tricks with the skateboard involves the same basics. Apply the skills once you’ve gained continuous acceleration and lifted your foot on the deck. Here, you bend your knees to balance and direct your weight with the speed.

Roller skating, on the other hand, is a bit easier to learn. The trick to balancing on rollerblades starts with standing in the shoes and holding an object like a wall or something strong. Face your toes in the direction you want to move. 

Knee bending helps reduce gravitational force & spreads the center of gravity proportionally to your weight. Put your hands on your lower back to bring back balance.

The stopping technique of a skateboard can be of two types, emergency landing or reducing speed gradually. To stop urgently, lift your hands and jump off your board. 

Otherwise, put your rear foot on the tail of the deck and drag it in contact with the ground to bring it to stoppage.

To stop a roller skate, you need to tilt the left foot to make the brakes touch the ground and keep your feet closer to be in balance. 


Differences in The Ease Involved

Watching the two games from a distance and assuming the difficulty will give you the wrong ideas. Especially if you are watching the experienced players riding them. Both games involve some falling in the beginning. But roller skating is easier to learn than skateboarding. 

Balancing on a skateboard gives you a harder time than the roller skate. From balancing to gliding, you cannot just pick up the board and start riding. There will be a few falls and bruises involved. Then comes jumping, avoiding hurdles, or controlling the board around sidewalks. All of these need a lot of practice and keenness to learn.

Whereas, in roller skates, riding is more like walking on wheels. You don’t have to stress your cuff muscle to make the board stick to your feet. Jumping and working around curves is a lot easier. 

Any ride, whether mechanical or technical, that features an easy brake, is considered to be rider-safe. Skateboard braking is something you need to learn. To pull a brake, you can jump off the board or drag it, as we described before. In roller skating, there are pre-built brakes for easy access. 

Differences in Safety Measures

Any wheeled sports like cycling, outdoor skating or roller skating are fun & exciting, no doubt about that. But the safety concerns are more when you are not on your feet. 

The differences in safety measures are many between skating & rollerblades. But with practice, when you learn how to fall safely, the dangers are reduced. 

Safety while Skateboarding :

Studies have shown that road accidents consist of at least 76% of sports accidents that involve wheels. Among them, at least 50% were the outcomes of skating.

Skating-related injuries are 8 times more critical than any other injury. A head injury can often turn out to be deadly. However, these can be avoided by proper safety measures taken, which are:

  • Protective gear is a must!  Elbow pads, knee pads, wrist guards – don’t underestimate any of it whether you are in a skating rink or traffic.
  • Helmet cancels out all the head injury risks. Wear it even if you are indoor skating. 
  • Do not get in the way of moving vehicles while on roads. Maintain your lane.
  • Use shoes specially made for skating such as Converse. Professional skateboarders go for shoes made by Nike or Vans etc.
  • As a beginner, learn with wider wheels and shorter decks to gain more balance in your riding. 

check our best skateboard decks article to get product recommendation.

Safety while Roller Skating:

Inline Skating injuries are rare. As rare as 19 in each 100 road accidents are about inline roller skaters. So we can say, inline skates are safer than skateboards when it comes to safety. 

Nevertheless, nothing can replace the safety precautions:

  • Inline skaters must wear knee pads, elbow pads, skateboard helmets and other protective gear just like any skater.
  • Do not speed up too much or out of your control.
  • Take enough lessons in a roller rink before you decide to ride outdoors or in traffic. 
  • Use a pair of quality athlete Inline skating shoes.
  • Make sure your Inline skates are your size and fit you perfectly.


Most frequent questions and answers

What do skaters think of roller skates?

There’s an ongoing assumption among skaters that roller skates are childish and a sport for the kids. That’s because it’s easier to learn it compared to skating. These two shouldn’t be judged based on the difficulty level. Rather judge them based on who finds more affluence in any of them.

Is roller skating safer than skateboarding?

Yes. Roller skating is safer than skateboarding. As the safety measures to be taken are simpler, it makes it easier for in line skaters to adapt their skating skills on a rollerblade earlier than on the board.

Is roller skating easier than skateboarding?

As we discussed earlier, roller skating is easier to learn as well as to perform riding tricks with than skateboarding. The risks of falling and getting injured on a roller skates are lesser. Nonetheless, with the right protective equipment , all skating-related injuries can be overcome. So the beginners can be fearless in their endeavors & push themselves to their limits.

Which skates are better for young children?

Young children are mostly beginners who need to overcome their fear of falling. For that reason, a support system is what they need. Quad skates can be the perfect choice for young children. These are roller skates with two by two configured wheels for better stability. You can also dance or jam in them.

Wrap Up

In this article, we tried to highlight all the factors responsible for the differences between Roller skates & skateboarding as vividly as possible for ease in your decision making. Go through all the benefits of roller skating & skateboarding as well as the drawbacks of each to make up your mind.

Once you leap, remember to be patient and stick to your choice. Do not give up easily. Keep practicing and you will surely get a grip on the techniques. 


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