Can you roller skate on concrete? What about asphalt and pavement? Is it safe to take your own roller skates out into the wild concrete jungle?
Can you Roller Skate on Concrete?
Yes, you can skate outdoors on concrete, asphalt and pavement BUT you need to set up your skates for outdoor use before you go. There are also some really important things you need to know before you head outdoors for the first time with your skates.
Roller skating is an fun and calorie incinerating activity that can be enjoyed both indoors and outdoors. While indoor skating at your local indoor rink is super fun, outdoor skating is adds another super fun dimension to your roller skating. Best of all skating outdoors in your local area is FREE. Yes! we LOVE FREE stuff around here!
You can explore paved trails, bike lanes, skate on beach boardwalks, burn lots of calories cruising for hours or hit the local skatepark for some ramp action. Soak up some vitamin D in the sunshine…get some fresh air and a workout too. What’s not to love?!?!?
Many people are unaware that roller skating can be done on different surfaces, including concrete, asphalt, and pavement. With the right equipment and technique, outdoor skating can be just as enjoyable (if not MORE enjoyable) as indoor skating.
First, it is absolutely essential to set up your roller skates for outdoor use. You can turn any pair of roller skates into an outdoor pair of roller skates just by trading out the indoor wheels for outdoor wheels.
What are the best wheels for Rough Surfaces?
I’m currently skating outdoors on uber budget friendly Atom Pulse Outdoor Wheels (which come in EVERY color of the rainbow). There are some slight variations in outdoor wheels based on they will be used BY YOU!
A wheel used for the skate park is going to be slightly different than a wheel that you use cruising on a paved trail. You can read in detail about ALL my outdoor wheel recommendations HERE to find the best choice for your specific situation.
In, fact you may already have outdoor wheels on your skates as many roller skates come stock with outdoor wheels.
How do you know if you have outdoor wheels on your skates?
Look on the side of the wheel. There is usually a hardness number on the side of the wheel followed by the letter “a”. Anything lower than about 85a should be considered an outdoor wheel.
If you don’t see a number or it has long since rubbed off there are some visual and physical indicators of an outdoor wheel to look for.
Outdoor roller skating wheels that are larger and softer than the wheels used for indoor skating. Outdoor wheels generally have a thicker profile that provides a bigger surface area for increased traction and shock absorption (this allows skaters to glide over rough surfaces without feeling every bump in the road).
The wheels are also made of a softer, almost gummy like material that grips better on pavement, making it easier to brake and change direction. When you squeeze them they should feel a bit rubbery.
Do I need protective gear to skate outdoors?
Yes, when roller skating outdoors, it is VERY important to wear the appropriate protective gear (especially beginner skaters & new skaters). Roller skaters should wear a helmet to protect their head from any potential falls or accidents. Elbow pads, knee pads, and wrist guards are also recommended, as they can protect these vulnerable areas from impact and prevent injuries.
When skating on concrete, asphalt, or pavement, it is important to be aware of the surface conditions. Skaters should avoid areas with potholes, cracks, or loose gravel, as these can cause falls or injuries. It is also important to watch out for any obstacles, such as rocks or curbs, and to use caution when skating downhill.
Is skating outdoors different than skating indoors?
It’s a little different, let me explain. It will take MORE energy and effort to skate outdoors because there is more resistance and friction than smooth surfaces (like you find at indoor roller rinks). You may find it more difficult or strenuous. You may find that you tire more easily because it takes way more pushing power.
Skating on concrete, asphalt, or pavement will use the same basic technique as indoor skating. You should start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. You should be slightly bent at the waist. Keep your knees slightly bent. Push off with one foot to begin gliding. Keep your weight evenly distributed, with your arms outstretched for balance.
To stop on quad skates you can use toe stops which can be pressed down onto the ground to slow down or come to a complete stop. Note that your toe stops will wear down more quickly on concrete surfaces.
Toe stops may also come unscrewed and fall off because of aggressive braking on rough surfaces. As a general rule, check all of your skate components before you skate to make sure that everything is secure and attached.
Make sure that you don’t take your outdoor roller skates indoor to the local rink after you’ve skated outside. Dirt and grime builds up while skating outdoors. Trying to skate indoors at a rink with those wheels could be slippery and may cause damage to the skate floor.
Some roller rinks ask to inspect your wheels before entering to make sure they won’t damage the floors. Be sure you clean your outdoor wheels every few weeks if you plan on skating outdoors regularly to remove the build up of dirt and grime. Never skate on wet surfaces as you can slip.
Can I skate on Wet Concrete, Pavement OR asphalt?
Avoid slippery surfaces, puddles, standing water or skating in the rain whenever possible. You don’t want water getting into your steel bearings and causing them to rust. This could cause your bearings to seize up and cause a gnarly fall. Skating on damp concrete, asphalt or pavement can also be very dangerous as you have less grip.
Ideally, any outdoor skate boot would be made of synthetic materials (like vegan leather or vinyl) because skating outdoors can really get your boots dirty and full of grime. If you have suede boots you can still skate outdoors but you might want to use inexpensive boot covers to protect the suede and keep it looking nice.
What’s tHe Difference between OUtdoor Skate Wheels and indoor skate wheels?
Outdoor wheels are soft wheels with more grip for bumpy, rough & hard surfaces like paved trails, parking lots and skate parks. They have a lower durometer rating (or hardness rating) and are usually larger wheels both in diameter and width. You can turn any pair of skates into outdoor skates by replacing the wheels with outdoor roller skate wheels.
Indoor wheels are harder wheels meant for smooth surfaces & indoor surfaces like roller rinks and epoxy floors. They have less grip and more slide which means more straight line speed. Usually indoor wheels are smaller wheels both in diameter and width. Hard wheels are ideal for things like roller derby, speed skating, dancing and tricks. You can turn any pair of skates into indoor skates by replacing the wheels with indoor roller skate wheels.
Make sure that you periodically clean your roller skate wheels and bearing to remove road grease, grime and embedded dirt so they will perform at their best.
Are inline skates better for outdoor skating?
Inline skates are great for cruising long distances and high speeds. Inline skates can also be used at a skate park. Many prefer roller blades when skating outdoors but it’s really just a personal preference.
Quad roller skates are equally as enjoyable, can be used anywhere inline skates are used. You probably won’t see the kind of speeds you see with inline skating. Use what you prefer and what you feel comfortable with. Just make sure you have the right type of wheels for outdoor use.
Where are the best places to skate outdoors?
There are lots of places to skate outside but shoot for the smoothest skating surface you can find (especially if you are at the beginner skill level). Here are some ideas:
-Church Parking Lots (since they are unused most of the week!)
-School Parking lots & Play areas
You can find a complete list of places to skate outdoors HERE.
So can your roller skate on concrete? Yes, roller skating can be done on a rougher surface, including concrete, asphalt, and pavement. To skate outdoors, it is essential to use roller skates fitted with softer wheels (outdoor roller skating wheels) and to wear the appropriate safety gear, including a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, and wrist guards.
Skaters should also be aware of their surroundings and use caution when skating on rough or uneven surfaces (watch out for those sidewalk cracks). Watch out for cars and other pedestrians. With the right equipment and practice, outdoor skating can be a fun and enjoyable way to get some sunshine & exercise.