Inline vs Quad Skates: Which One Should You Choose?


Written by

Marsh Harrison



Godfrey Rice

inline vs quad skates

Should I choose inline skates or quad skates for roller skating? This is one of the most common questions we get from our skater readers. So, we have put together this inline vs quad skates article!

Both types of skates have their pros and cons, and which one to pick depends on your own skills and preferences. Keep reading to find out about their key differences. By the end, you should be able to settle on one of the two!

Inline vs. Quad Skates

1. What are they

Inline skates


Inline skates are skates with a single line of wheels. Depending on users’ preferences, the number of wheels can range from 2 to 5, with 3 and 4 being the most common option. As they can travel fast, even on rough surfaces, these are ideal for outdoors skating.

Quad skates


Quad skates have a box-like wheel setup, meaning they have two wheels in the front and another two in the back. While they’re suitable for exercise indoors, the 4-wheel roller skates can also be used outside as well.

2. Wheel Setup

Wheel setup & effect on balance

Because of the distinct designs, inline skates have a longer base. In other words, the distance between the front and back wheels of inline skates is larger than that of quad skates. But the wheel plate’s width is larger for quad skates.

The difference in how the wheels are set up for quad skates vs. inline impacts skaters’ balance. Quad skates provide lateral stability, so skaters can easily hold themselves upright. In contrast, inline skates offer length-ways stability, making it less challenging to propel forward.

3. Wheel Width

Wheel width their impact on overcoming small obstacles

The width of wheels on quad skates is wider than that of inline skates. So, there is more surface coming into contact with the ground. This means that when skaters encounter small obstacles, such as rocks, they might be thrown off balance.

Inline skates with slimmer wheels are less likely to suffer from this. When coming into contact with pebbles, inline skates will simply slide to the side to pass them.

The takeaway here is: if you are using quad skates, it will be better to glide on smooth surfaces, like those indoors. For the outdoors, however, inline skates will be preferable.

4. Shell

Shell & effect on ankle support + performance flexibility

Inline and quad skates have different shells. The former’s shell is semi-rigid or rigid, whereas the latter’s tends to be softer and more malleable. This factors into ankle support and performance flexibility.

If you try to bend the shell of roller skates inline vs. quads, you will clearly see the difference. Inline skates, with their stiff nature, help hold your ankles. But they give up the ability to flex and move freely. Quad skates offer the opposite. Hence, you can be more reactive in them.

5. Brake


Quad skates have a toe stop for braking, and it is positioned at the front. In contrast, not all inline skates include one, and if a pair does, it would be at the back–this would be called the heel brake.

So, as a skater, you will need to practice different techniques to pull to a stop. To use the front toe stop, you would have to master turning and placing enough weight forward.

As for the heel brake, you must learn to shift weight to one foot and slightly bend your knees to apply enough pressure onto your heel.

The added requirement of turning and leaning weight to the front can be trickier for beginners. But many first-time skaters on Reddit have shared that they are not as comfortable leaning back on their heels. So, it really narrows down to personal preference.

6. Pros & Cons

Inline Skates
  • Offer lengthwise stability
  • Provide more ankle support
  • Equipped with slim wheel widths that make it easier to avoid small obstacles
  • Can travel at a faster speed
  • Less flexibility for maneuverability and mobility
<strong>Quad Skates</strong>
  • Offer lateral stability
  • Offer more flexibility for maneuverability and mobility
  • Easier to stop
  • Wider wheels that make it easier to stump against small obstacles
  • Provide less ankle support

3 Things to Consider Before Choosing


1. Skating Type

This is an important factor that should be considered when weighing quad and inline skates.

You should choose quad skates if you want to do:

  • Roller derby
  • Artistic roller skating
  • Jam skating
  • Rhythm skating

Go with inline skates if you want to do:

  • Speed roller skating
  • Outdoors aggressive skating
  • Skating as a means of commute

2. Skating Surface

If you plan to roller-skate outdoors, then inline skates are your best bet. As mentioned above, they can easily dodge or pass small obstacles. In contrast, quad skates will get stuck and be forced to stop. This might cause you to fall over, as well.

3. Skating Level & Experience

It is important to determine your skill level and experience to find an appropriate match. If you already have loads of experience, then quad skates’ beginner-friendly features will not matter to you. Instead, you can go straight for inline footwear.

Another minor thing you must consider when buying a pair of skates is your gender. Inline skates women use, for example, are designed with a slimmer profile than men’s. This also applies to quad skates for adults and kids, where the design may differ for males and females.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Which skates are better: inline or quad?

The “better” skates are the one that suits you.

Inline skates are better if:

  • You want to be able to effortlessly propel yourself forward
  • You are afraid that skating over small obstacles will cause you to face plant
  • You mostly skate on rough surfaces or outdoors

Quad skates are ideal if:

  • You are new to skating and have trouble keeping your balance
  • You want to have flexing room and more maneuverability and mobility
  • You mostly skate on smooth surfaces or indoors

Are inline or quad skates better for beginners?

Are quad skates easier than inline skates? For beginners who have no experience in keeping their centers of balance, quad skates would be a better choice.

However, this only applies to indoor skating. As inline skates provide a smoother ride on rough terrains, beginners will be less likely to get intimidated by skating outdoors. Plus, they can always consider going from inline to quad skates later.

What is the difference between rollerblades and inline skates?

Rollerblade is a kind of inline skate—characterized by the single-line wheel setup. In fact, Rollerblade is actually the name of a manufacturing brand whose focus is inline skates.

In other words, rollerblades can be called inline skates, but not all inline skates are rollerblades.

Check this Youtube video on inline vs quad skates for more reference.


So, there you have it! All the essentials to inline vs. quad skates. With their main differences up your sleeves and relevant questions answered, like “Are inline or quad skates easier?” it is possible to make your final call.

Will it be the inline, which offers lengthwise stability and more ankle support, or the quad, which has flexibility for maneuverability and mobility and deals with small obstacles easily? Share with us in the comments down below.

5/5 - (2 votes)

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