We've all been indoor roller skating at the skating rink, whether on a school field trip or with family and friends. And we've done it so much that the thought of outdoor roller skating has become alien to us.

However, from the Eighties to 2021, the sport has evolved a lot. After becoming the hottest outdoor activity 30 years ago, it has turned into an indoor x-games phenomenon.

Wondering what the difference between indoor and outdoor roller skating is? If so, then read on to know how the two differ from each other.

But whether it's indoor skating or outdoor, one thing is sure: putting on your skates and letting go can be quite therapeutic!

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Indoor Roller Skating

A group of people roller skating at an indoor skating rink
Although it isn't necessary, indoor roller skating usually occurs at the roller rink or skating rink, especially during professional competitions. It's a rigid surface carefully designed to meet the needs of indoor skating (Source: Unsplash)

Most indoor roller skating is performed at the roller skating rink, a smooth, hard surface specifically designed for roller skating.

And since the surface can be cleaned and maintained regularly, the roller rink floors provide a lot smoother ride than open-air skating.

Moreover, this skating requires harder wheels, enabling you to drift faster.

Outdoor Roller Skating

A skater tests the surface
Outdoor rolling skating lets people soak in the beauty of nature alongside offering a great way to work out. On the one hand, outdoor skating has many benefits, such as choosing a track to skate on, it also has some drawbacks (Source: Unsplash)

Outdoor skating is one of the best ways to enjoy and appreciate nature while simultaneously getting a workout.

People often wonder whether roller skating is a good exercise or not. Well, it's arguably among the best activities to ensure both fun and exercise.

But before you head off to skate in the street or neighborhood, make sure to have your outdoor skates. These are different from indoor skates.

Wheels used in open-air skating are softer, offering shock absorption and grip on the less-even surfaces you'll find outside.

With a pair of these skates, you'll be able to glide over cracked sidewalks or paved paths without any hassle.

But there are many risks when it comes to roller skating outdoors. Therefore, ensure to wear necessary protective gear; this includes:

  • Kneepads
  • Elbow pads
  • Wrist guards
  • Helmet

One bad patch of gravel on the ground, and you're done for. Hence, wearing protective gear will help soften the blow of any falls, trips, bumps, or scrapes.

Differences Between Indoor And Outdoor Roller Skates

A girl is sitting on a pavement with skates on
Roller skating can be done either on the rink, on-street, or anywhere with wide-open pavements. However, you can't roll over with your indoor skates on an outdoor surface and vice versa. That's because indoor skates differ from outdoor skates in many aspects, such as hardness (87-194A for indoor skates and 90A for outdoor skates (Source: Unsplash)

Here are a few things that differentiate indoor and outdoor skates:

Hardness

One of the most important things that you need to consider is the hardness of the wheels.  For instance, indoor wheels that cater to flat, smooth surfaces like rinks, etc., are harder than flexible, rubbery outdoor roller skate wheels.

This enables indoor wheels to roll quickly over the stern, smooth ground; however, it also makes them vulnerable to sliding and slipping over irregular or rough terrain.

On the other hand, softer and smooth outdoor wheels enjoy impressive grip. They function kind of like memory foam as they settle on each irregularity before rolling on.

Skate manufacturers rely on a durometer shore hardness scale to evaluate wheel hardness. The bigger the number, the harder the wheel.

Most indoor wheels have a hardness ranging from 87A to 1904A. So, on the contrary, it's much better if you stick to wheels with a 90A rating or lower.

Size

Roller skating wheels are available in sizes ranging from 54mm to 84mm, assessed in height.

Where indoor skates size varies from 55 to 60 millimeters, the outdoor wheels are bigger, ranging from 60 to 70 millimeters.

The bigger size of the outdoor skates enables them to absorb shock and glide through bumps more seamlessly than their counterparts.

Considerations

Virtually any type of quad-wheel roller skate accommodates outdoor skating. This means you aren't limited to a single style and can change wheels based on the condition.

However, if you intend to skate in your street or neighborhood, it's better to invest in outdoor boots that generally have higher tops and a rugged, easy to clean construction.

Hybrid roller skate wheels, in contrast, provide an all-terrain ground and can be utilized in both outdoor and indoor environments.

However, these wheels are comparatively slow when used inside and won't provide the best outdoor grip either.

Price

Whether it's indoor roller skates or outdoor roller skates, they won't breach your budget. Nevertheless, you can easily find indoor boots anywhere between $5 and $52; in contrast, outdoor boots will be available between $3 and $42.

For both these skates, manufacturers provide high-quality wheels that can easily cost you around $52-$122. In addition, they can be found in sets of four and eight.

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Types Of Roller skates

Both indoor roller skates and outdoor ones are further divided into different kinds of stakes. Therefore, to ensure convenience and optimum comfort, you must choose the ideal type.

In addition to that, your experience and skill level will also determine the skates you need.

Nonetheless, with the sport https://www.superprof.com/blog/roller-skating-popularity/, you should know about the different types available to you. Here are three different sorts of roller skates:

Quad Skates

This roller skate is one of the most popular among all skates available. It's a conventional skate that many people used at some point in the past or continue to use. It has two axles with two rear and two front wheels, quite similar to the car.

Its wheels are secured using axle nuts. Although many quad skates are available in high-top boots, you can still find low-top boots easily.

If you're a beginner, you must choose quad skates, whether outdoor or indoor, no matter where you're skating.

These skates are comfortable to wear and provide better balance. But if you seek something speedy, then quad skates are not for you!

Rollerblades

Primarily, rollerblades are synonymous with inline speed skates because of how the wheels are aligned. Rollerblades are skating boots with only one axle, the size of the skate.

Unlike quad roller boots with two axles and two wheels per axle, roller blades consist of three to five wheels.

Like quad skates, its wheels are also secured by axle nuts. Plus, they have a brake in the rear wheel to help provide a smooth halt.

Lastly, most rollerblades are available in high-top skates!

Inline Skates

People who love to skate fast should purchase inline speed skates. Many competitive skaters use these skates, so unlike quad roller skates, inline skates aren't fit for beginners.

They're more appropriate for high-performance skating. So, if you're not a fan of zipping around, avoid buying these.

These roller skates have just one axle and 3-4 wheels connected with the help of axle nuts. Moreover, inline skates are available in low-cut models for easier maneuverability.

Roller skating Vs. Rollerblading

Many people don't know the difference between roller skating and rollerblading. Many of them even believe they're the same as indoor skating and outdoor skating. Are they? Let's find out!

One of the significant differences between rollerblading and roller skating is how the wheels are arranged, much like outdoor and indoor skates. This affects how smooth they are where they can glide.

Additionally, roller skates have four wheels – two in the rear and two in the front – backed by two long axles. Its wheels are thicker and provide enough room for a rubber break in the middle.

On the other hand, just like roller skates, rollerblades also have four wheels. However, the difference is they're aligned together in one row.

Unlike roller skates, its brakes are placed in the rear. Additionally, rollerblades have thinner wheels, providing lesser stability than their counterpart.

Moreover, roller skates are effective at jam skating, roller derby, etc., whereas rollerblades are suitable for roller hockey, speed skating, etc.

So technically, rollerblading is similar to outdoor skating, while roller skating is similar to indoor skating!

Indoor Roller Skating Vs. Outdoor Roller Skating: Advantages And Disadvantages

There's no argument about which type is better, whether outdoor or indoor roller skating. Both have their strengths and weaknesses based on the rider's preferences.

Here's a list of advantages and disadvantages of indoor and outdoor roller skating:

Indoor Skating

  • Better for quad skates; however, not for inline speed skates
  • The well-maintained and cleaned skating surface
  • Ideally suited for doubles routines, skate dancing, and more
  • You don't have to worry about the weather
  • In case you're injured, there's help available
  • Lots of conveniences such as seating areas, refreshments, lounges, gaming areas, etc

Outdoor Skating

  • Better for inline speed skating, and not for quads
  • You'll have several skating surface choices to choose from
  • Ideal for speed skating, performing tricks, and distance skating
  • Unlike indoor skating, where you'll have no weather problem, bad weather may stop you from roller skating
  • No emergency assistance is available
  • You have to carry your water and snacks as well

Outdoor skating can take a hefty toll on your skates. Granted that outdoor models are made to weather the conditions, a plastic-built shoe can only take so much.

For example, the humidity in the air or puddles you glide through can lead to premature rusted hardware or bearing seizure.

Moreover, if your skates aren't properly cleaned and maintained, they may deteriorate faster, causing them to become brittle and rusty.

Nevertheless, the feeling you'll get when you skate outdoors is unmatched. It is unlike any experience in the skating rink, which does feel restrictive at times.

Roller Skating Near Me

Do you want to learn how to roller skate? If so, then join Superprof roller skating classes in your hometown.

They have some of the best roller skating tutors in your area. And each one has the experience of teaching skating from the basic to the advanced levels, adhering to professional roller skating rules.

Why wait anymore when you can enroll yourself in Superprof roller skating lessons and skate like a pro either at the skating rink, in your neighborhood, or street!

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