Urethane wheels are no longer strange to us. Their creation made them a sporting staple. And over the years, these rollers have appeared in several outdoor sports, like skateboarding and roller skating, to name a few.
Let’s explore these disciplines more, skateboard VS roller skates. How are these sports different? Which is more enjoyable? And why are we comparing them?
In this article, we’ll give you a brief background about these sports, see what equipment they have, and what riding experience skaters should expect. From there, you’ll see which of these is worth trying.
Here’s a summary of their features and differences.
|Parameter of Comparison||Skateboard||Roller skates|
|Wheels||Detaches from the skater’s feet; rolls and turns smoothly||Stays on the rider’s feet, runs faster|
|Braking||Through skateboard stopping methods||Toe stops for convenient braking|
|Riding method||Pushing against the ground||Holding on to a stable object before riding|
|Safety||More prone to injuries||Safer than skateboards|
|Ease of ride||More fit for challenging skate rides||Easier and faster to learn|
Table of Contents
Roller skating vs skateboarding: Defined
We know how both sports for outdoors give us fun and help improve our fitness. But let’s understand skateboards and roller skates more.
As we all know, skateboards are one of the mid-20th-century inventions that became a phenomenon over the last few decades.
These are wooden, or sometimes plastic, stepping platforms with bouncy or grippy wheels connected to a pair of alloy trucks. Skateboards work on skate parks, streets, and long trails. Also, they are better than rollerblades for commuting.
Skateboards come in shapes, sizes, and diverse compositions. But what’s sure about these is they fit everyone.
2. Roller skates
When comparing roller skates or rollerblade VS skateboard, the former are more like footwear. These skates look close to a pair of shoes with two wheels in front and another two at the back. Also, beneath the tip of the shoe is a stopper that serves as the user’s brakes.
Like skateboards, roller skates enable riders to get from one place to another. Plus, they offer fun and exciting wheeled rides.
We now have an overview of roller skates VS skateboard and their respective setups. Let us define them on common grounds this time.
1. Wheels and bearings
Are roller skates and skateboards’ wheels and bearings the same?
Two of a roller skate’s wheels sit beneath the rider’s heel while the other two are in front of the arch. Wearing roller skates is like adding height to your shoes, only that they’re more agile.
Like skateboards, roller skate wheels also come from urethane. Not only that, but these wheels also have hardness levels, specifically around 78a to 102a, for better ride quality.
On the other hand, a skateboard’s wheels sit a few inches behind its tail and nose. Essentially, they are more distant from your feet than in a roller skate setup. These rollers also come in varying sizes and hardness levels.
In performance, roller skate wheels roll faster. But skateboard rollers make better turns and smooth runs.
You wear the wheels while using a roller skate. But skateboard rollers detach from your feet when doing tricks.
As for the bearings, roller skates have sixteen while skateboards possess only eight. Their sizes are similar though, with the 608 type being common in both.
There are many ways to stop on a skateboard. But there’s no single part of it specially made for braking. Hence, you had better learn to stop on your skateboard as a skill.
Perhaps, the brakes are one of the most salient aspects of a roller skate. As mentioned, there is a toe stopper below the shoe’s tip. This part is removable, and some users exchange it for jam plugs which do not have braking functions.
What is a roller skate toe stopper like?
Toe stops are rubber pieces attached to a bolt that connects to a roller skate. They’re easy to use, and once skaters point their skates down, the rubber stop grinds against the ground. Eventually, the roller skate slows down.
3. Riding method
What’s the best way to ride a skateboard and roller skate?
The key to balancing and riding a skateboard is bending the knees, and the same is true on a roller skate. This way, skaters find their ground better.
But unlike skateboards, where you begin riding by pushing your back foot against the ground, roller skating calls for you to stabilize yourself by holding on to something stable. By then, you can start skating.
Riding positions also differ between roller skating and skateboarding. With skateboards, your body is facing sideways toward your board’s direction.
On roller skates, you position your toes straight or like a duck to move forward and point the toes inwards towards each other to skate backward.
Like skateboards, roller skates also impose safety risks. But which of the two is more dangerous?
Based on relevant statistics, skateboards are riskier by eight times more than roller skating. While such a claim accounts for head injuries alone, other damages may also exhibit the same trend.
Nonetheless, whether you are roller skating or skateboarding, pieces of safety gear are still necessary.
Roller skates and skateboards do not use electric power to work. But just because they are manual equipment does not mean their speeds depend solely on how the rider pushes. So, which is faster, a roller skate or a skateboard?
For the record, regular skateboards run at an average speed of 5-12 mph. Of course, the numbers increase significantly in the case of e-skateboards.
Contrarily, and as mentioned, roller skates are faster. The average speed rollerblades have are around 8-16 mph.
6. Ease of ride
Of course, the learning curve is a distinguishing factor between skateboards and roller skates. It’s not what skateboarders think of roller skaters, but here’s our take on this aspect.
Despite challenges in balancing, roller skates are faster to learn. They allow you to maximize your body’s movements because no matter how much you move, the skate doesn’t detach from your feet.
Subsequently, you can maneuver over road obstacles better and more conveniently with a roller skate.
Contrastingly, skateboards will challenge your agility. You will work on curbs, ledges, rails, ramps, and obstacles on the streets. It may sound discouraging, but you won’t improve unless you get a bruise.
Prices of Skateboards and Roller Skates
Here are a few products to help you gauge the prices of roller skates and skateboards.
- Kryptonics Locker Boards Complete Skateboard – $27.35
- Element Seal Skateboard Complete – $55
- Santa Cruz Complete Skateboard – $98.96
2. Roller skates
- Roller Derby Track Star – $36.08
- Xudrez Cowhide Roller Skates – $49.99
- Moxi Skates Rainbow Rider – $115
Pros and Cons
Certainly, skateboards and roller skates have their spotlight. But that doesn’t disregard a few of their drawbacks. Let’s get into each one.
Pros and cons of skateboards
- Ability to make snappy turns
- Perfect for the streets and parks
- More tricks to learn and enjoy
- More dangerous than roller skates
Pros and cons of roller skating
- Easier to stand on
- A better learning curve, especially for beginners
- Safer than skateboards
- Doesn’t suit sharp or smooth turns
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is better, skateboard or roller skates?
Now, it all boils down to one decision. But with various aspects setting advantages and downsides for skateboards and roller skates, let’s highlight some of their best features.
Roller skates are best for beginner skaters and people who want to tone their muscles better. They are easy to use and don’t impose as many safety issues as skateboards.
On the other hand, skateboards are healthy for a rider’s mental state. Skaters get to jive with other skateboard users and find new friends. Also, skateboards are ideal transportation buddies.
Which is more difficult, skateboarding or roller skating?
As mentioned, roller skates are easier to use. While many people are into more thrilling stunts, others on Reddit say they still prefer smooth and less taxing rides.
Note that in a rollerblades VS longboard discussion, this aspect could differ. It may not always be skateboards being the most challenging.
Are rollerblades or skateboards faster?
Roller skates are faster by around four miles per hour than skateboards. But we know that with speed comes precaution. So, remember that it’s not always about how fast you go.
Which is better for beginners?
Roller skates are better for beginners. Why? Here are a few reasons making roller skating easier than skateboarding.
- Roller skates are easy to learn.
- Roller skating is significantly less dangerous than skateboarding.
- Braking is more seamless on them than on skateboards.
Is roller skating harder than rollerblading?
Essentially, roller skating has the upper hand when it comes to beginners. Why? Because the wheels secure all sides of their feet. Hence, they can push without shaking left or right.
Roller blades are a bit more challenging because of the wheel placement. But they allow riders to maneuver and turn better.
Roller skating and skateboarding are two different sports. They might have similarities in a few aspects, but they differ in execution. So, we’ll always have positive and negative takeaways in a skateboard VS roller skates argument.
Skateboards are for tricks, parks, and the streets, while roller skates are for fast rides and beginner skating. But no matter which one you pick, you’ll surely get the best rides of your life.
After all, it’s a matter of preference. Hence, never neglect the things we’ve discussed to help you decide.
Hi, I am Charles Harris. I opened this site to write as much as I can about my biggest passion – skateboarding!
I started as a clumsy yet passionate rookie 10 years ago to now a still passionate yet much better skateboarder! But I have to tell you, the whole journey has always been fun and rewarding, indeed not without hardship.