Quad Skates vs Inline Skates (Roller skates vs Roller blades)

When I was first starting out with skating I had a question in mind- Should I start with quad skates or inline skates. As a kid, the inline skates looked cooler to me but my parents started me on quad skates. This has worked in my favour as it made the learning process easier for me.  If you are thinking about roller skates vs roller blades then you should read this article.

Generally, quad skates are better for beginners and inline skates are preferred for outdoor speed skating.

Honestly, you should try out both types of skates before choosing. But there are some things that you should know-

What are Quad Skates?

A quad roller skate is also called the original roller skate. It has four wheels on each skate, two wheels at the front and two wheels at the back. That means that there is a wider track and larger base. This makes them a lot more stable compared to the inline skates.

Traditional quad skates feature a rubber brake or toe brake at the front. This brake is can be quite helpful, especially for the beginners.

Quad skates are standard for rink skating and artistic skating. But with advancement in skate design, it’s also used by some speed skaters.

Beginners feel that they can easily manoeuvre them simply by shifting their body weight. You want to go right, simply lean towards the right and the skates will follow.

  • Quads don’t wobble sideways
  • Put less stress on the ankle
  • Better for quick direction change

What are Inline Skates?

Inline skates are also called “Rollerblades”. In fact, Rollerblade was actually a brand that made inline skates popular. Today, there are hundreds of brands making inline skates for a varying price point and skill level.

These type of skates have multiple wheels inline with each other, placed at the center of the skate frame. Inline skates take inspiration from ice skates that have a blade in the middle of the shoe. These provided a solution to ice skaters to practice even in the warm weather.

Many beginner-friendly inline skates have brake positioned at the rear unlike toe brake in the quads. The professional inline skaters don’t require rear brake as they develop their stopping techniques.

Inline skates are excellent for road use and straight-line speed. They don’t get unstable at high speed due to the rough surfaces.

Quad Skates vs Inline Skates for Beginner

There is no hard and fast rule about what kind of skates a beginner should choose. I will always suggest a beginner to start with quad skates but some extremely good skaters also started on inline skates.

I think it’s easier and safer to learn on quads because:
1) It puts less stress on the ankles. This reduces the risk of ankle injury. There is no point injuring yourself, then waste time on recovery to get back into skating.

2) Oval rink friendly– Most of us start learning on a paved skating rink or indoors. Quad skates roll freely on this kind of surface and the skater feels more confident. Inline skates are good for straight line speed but our priority on the oval rink is more agility and control.

When should you consider switching to Inline Skates?

I wouldn’t say that you should switch to inline skates eventually. That because both quad an inline skate excel in different areas. It’s better to have both of them and pick based on the skating environment.

In my arsenal, I have both quads and inline skates. I started with quads and after gaining experience for 2-3 years, I also got my first pair of inline skates. By this time I was competitive in rink races on quad skates.

Once, you have mastered quad skates, switching to inline skates is quite easy. It took me 3-4 sessions to get completely comfortable with inline skating. Now, I pick quad skated for recreational skating and short rink speed skating. And inline skates are there when I feel like skating on the road.

Don’t worry if you don’t want to buy two types of skates. It is possible to use quad skates on the road and inline skates on the rink. To make quad skates more enjoyable on the road, road-specific wheels available that are larger in diameter and are more durable compared to the rink or artistic wheels.

This video also explains roller skates vs roller blades well: