Inline vs Ice Skating: Everything You Need to Know!


Written by

Marsh Harrison



Godfrey Rice

inline vs ice skating

Inline vs ice skating are two incredibly popular sports that both offer a great way to stay in shape and have some fun.

Given how similar these two sports look, some might wonder if doing inline skating will improve their ice skating skills or vice versa.

If you’re also curious about whether the skills are transferable from one sport to another, learn all about their differences in this detailed comparison article here. Just keep reading!

Inline Skating vs. Ice Skating

1. What are they

  • Inline skating

Inline skating, also called rollerblading, is an activity done on skates with a single line of wheels. You can rollerblade both indoors and outdoors on various surfaces, such as roads, pavements, rinks, jogging trails, etc.

  • Ice skating

In contrast, ice skating is done on skates with a single blade. It involves an ice surface, which can be either man-made or natural. Many people ice skate competitively and recreationally. Ice skating can be split into figure skating and speed skating.

2. Venue


The first difference between inline and ice skating is where you skate. The former is made for indoor and outdoor surfaces, such as rinks and streets, respectively. You can skate in man-made parks or sidewalks too. So, in essence, they are quite versatile.

On the other hand, ice skates are designed to only work on ice, so your options are more limited. It won’t be possible for you to put on these skates and hit the streets. As a result, ice skating can be seasonal if there are no ice rinks near you.

3. Stopping


Roller skates are equipped with brakes, while ice skates are not. As such, stopping is different in inline skating and ice skating.

For inline skating, you can choose not to use the built-in brake and instead opt for dragging to a stop. However, you cannot do the same on ice skates.

To halt while ice skating, you must center your weight and dig into the ice using the balls of your feet. Unlike roller blades ice skates require more technique and effort on your half.

4. Balancing


Inline skating like ice skating, relies on balancing. But maintaining balance on the latter is simpler than the former. This is because inline skates have wheels with more surface contacting the ground than ice skates, which have a single blade.

Unless you’re performing tricks, the wheels of inline skates are also on the ground at all times, making it easier to stay stable on them. Moreover, many inline skates are designed with multiple locking systems that help you remain grounded, but ice skates do not have these.

So if you are new to skating, it will probably take more time and effort to learn how to balance on ice skates than on inline skates.

5. Power

In exchange for easy balancing, inline skaters lose over 45% of their propelling force to friction between the wheels and the ground. This loss in power can impact how fast a skater gets fatigued, as they’ll need to push themselves forward more frequently.

6. Pros & Cons

Inline Skating
  • Can be done on most surfaces
  • Can be done all year round
  • Easier to balance
  • Simpler to stop
  • Lose power to friction
Ice Skating
  • Lose less power to friction
  • Does not tire skaters as fast
  • Must be done on an ice surface
  • More challenging to stop and balance

Things to Consider Before Choosing New Skates

1. Inline Skates


There are many subtypes of inline skates. You need to take into account the specific type you want. For instance, the distinguishing point between inline figure skates vs. inline skates is that the former’s wheels are attached to boots for ice skating instead.

Below are a few common types of inline skates:

  • Fitness inline skates
  • Racing inline skates
  • Slalom inline skates
  • Aggressive inline skates
  • Inline skates for figure skaters

For instance, the distinguishing point between inline figure skates vs. inline skates is that the former’s wheels are attached to boots for ice skating instead.

Next, you need to think about the number of wheels and their hardness. More wheels mean their diameter will be smaller, which reduces the speed and maneuverability. However, bigger wheels are harder to balance on, making it more likely for beginners to fall over.

2. Ice Skates


Similarly, there are ice skate sub-types. Below are the most common choices, depending on what you’re using the skate for:

  • Figure skates
  • Hockey skates
  • Racing skates
  • Touring skates
  • Bandy skates

Then, consider your experience level. If you’re a beginner, there are many ice skates out there that are specifically designed to make things a little easier for a novice. In most cases, hockey skates will be the best choice, as they provide enough grip on the ice without sacrificing too much balance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Is inline skating easier than ice skating?

Most people agree that inline skating is easier because it is easier to balance on and stop. Ice skates also do not have a built-in brake or locking mechanisms to help skaters to pull to a stop.

2. Rollerblade vs ice skate: Is rollerblading the same as ice skating?

As described above, inline skating is different from ice skating in many ways. They are considered two distinct activities, regardless of whether they are done as a sport or for leisure. So it’s a “no” to your question, “Is ice skating like rollerblading?”.

Note: Recall that the inline skating definition explains that it is the same as rollerblading.

3. Does inline skating help ice skating?

Yes, absolutely. The skill sets between the two sports are transferable, so if you have prior experience in one skating form, it’ll be easier to pick up the other.

4. Roller skating vs ice skating: Is ice skating like roller skating?

Roller skating uses quad skates, which have four wheels in total. They are lined in a box setup, making balancing easy—this is the distinguishing point between inline vs regular skates. They also have a toe stop, which you can use to effortlessly come to a halt.

On the other hand, ice skating only has a single blade and no built-in brake. This makes ice skating a lot more challenging than roller skating.


Instead of scrolling through the seemingly endless threads of skaters on Reddit, this comparison guide has summed up the essentials of inline vs ice skating for you. By now, I’m certain you’ve learned the answers to your question about these two forms of skating.

Do you have any prior experience with either of these two sports? Which one do you think is better for you? Let us know in the comment below.

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