What are quad roller skates? How are they different from inline skates (or Rollerblades)? Are they right for you? We’ll talk about the major difference in skate design & the types of skating styles you can achieve with each. Hopefully, after reading this article you’ll nail down the right skate for you.
If you’re looking for a new way to work out, skating could be the perfect option for you. In case you missed it, roller skating is having a bit of a comeback. And for good reason! Skating is an excellent workout engaging multiple muscles in your body at once (and it’s also super fun…no more FML boring gym workouts).
If you’ve never tried roller skating before, now is the time to give it a shot. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy it!
What are Quad Roller Skates?
A quad roller skate is a skate with four wheels (thus the name quad) arranged in two sets. Quad roller skates are the best roller skates for beginners because it provides more stability than inline skates. You can see what quad skates look like in the image below.
Quad roller skates are popular among those who want to learn tricks, roller derby, freestyle, dancing, artistic skating, roller disco and even jam skating because they offer more maneuverability than other types of skates.
Quad roller skates have been around for a LONG TIME and are most popular at an indoor rink BUT they are seeing growing popularity at skate parks too.
I’ve been a LIFE LONG quad skater but have also used inline skates too. I may be biased but I feel that traditional quad skates are the all around best type of skates to own (if you can only own one pair of skates). There are so many directions you can take them once you get the basics down.
Quad roller skates offer great stability for a new skater along with indoor & outdoor options. You can find skate boots with tons different colors & styles. The options to customize & add your personality to quad skates are nearly endless. Just check out some of the beauties we came across below!
Ready to start your search for the perfect roller skate? Check out our in depth review of The Best Roller Skates for Beginners. We cover the best beginner skates in just about every price range.
What are Inline Skates?
Inline skates (or Rollerblades) are roller skates with four larger wheels in a straight line. They are mounted on to a hard sided boot (similar to a downhill ski boot) with a soft inner lining.
This type of skate is often used by commuters for long distances, speed skaters, roller hockey and those who want to do skate park ramps/tricks. There are certainly speed advantages over quad skates with inline skates.
Most inline skates are designed and manufactured with outdoor use in mind. They are excellent for recreational skating on paved paths & boardwalks because of the larger diameter, softer wheels (which absorb bumps & rough surface better). The ankle support is superb and the soft boot inside the inline skate is usually really comfortable fit.
Inline skates can come with some high end components like weight saving carbon fiber mounts & rust busting ceramic ball bearings. These area bit pricey but there are plenty of options at an affordable price.
Inline skating had a huge surge in the United States in the early 90’s but interest has waned considerably since then. For whatever reason the sport is WAY more popular in Europe with inline skating competitions being hosted on the regular. There is still a hard core following here in the US and a lot of us still store a pair of Rollerblades in the garage for a special occasion.
If you’re looking for a fun and versatile way to get around, inline skates rock!
What Makes Quad Skates Good for Beginners?
There are a few things that make quad skates suitable for beginners. First, they have a semi flexible roller skate boot & four wheels that make balancing a heck of a lot easier than inline skates. The learning process is also shorter.
The potential pathways on quads (once you have some experience) is quite large relative to inline skates. The community is larger. The selection and available customization of your quad skates is larger. If cost is a factor, beginner quads are also typically a little bit less expensive than beginner roller blades.
Ready to start the search for your first pair of beginner roller skates? Check out our in depth review of the Best Roller Skates for Beginners.
Quad Skates vs Inline Skates: How do I Decide Which is Right For Me?
There are a few factors to consider when choosing between quad skates and inline skates. One of the most important factors is your skating ability and experience.
Inline skates are typically recommended for those who already have some skating experience (even if it’s just on ice skates,) as they are a tad more challenging to learn. On the other hand, quad skates are better suited for beginners because they are more stable, easier to control and maneuver.
Another factor to consider is the type of terrain you will be skating on. Inline skates are better suited for outdoor skating on rough terrain surfaces (like paved trails & skate parks). The soft wheels have more grip & absorb all the shock.
With inline skates you can really build up straight line, high speed which is fun and exhilarating. You can still use them indoors at the local rink but the softer wheels might feel a little sticky (these can be traded out for harder wheels if desired).
Quad skates are usually built from the manufacturer for indoor skating but it’s not difficult to switch over to outdoor wheels & hit the pavement for some outdoor skating.
Finally, what are your skating goals? Exercise & recreation? Learning advanced tricks? Speed? Joining the local roller derby team? This may determine your path more than anything.
So, which type of skate should you choose?
If you are a beginner starting out we recommend starting to learn on quad skates and go from there. On the other hand, if you have some skating experience and your skating goals align better with inline skates- inline may be a better option for you.
Take a look at our info graphic below which lays out the uses for traditional roller skates & inline skates. It may help you make a decision more easily.
Why You Should Start Skating
Skating can be life changing for some people (it’s true I’ve met them!). I have some skate friends who have achieved their healthy, goal weight through skating. I know people who have beat diabetes & depression through skating. I know people who use skating to meet new friends, build relationships & feel a sense of community.
There are plenty of reasons why you should start skating. For one, it’s a mind blowing workout. You build upon what you’ve already learned and learn new skills continually.
Skating builds muscle in your legs, glutes & core. It helps improve your balance, stability and coordination, and it’s a perfect workout for your cardiovascular system.
Not only is skating great for your physical health, but it’s also great for your mental health. It can help reduce stress and anxiety, and it’s a great way to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air.
Skating is an excellent activity for people of all ages…from young kids to adults, the whole family can enjoy it together. It doesn’t cost a lot of extra money once you have the basic equipment.
It’s also a great way to stay active and healthy, and it’s a great way to have some fun. So if you’re looking for a new hobby or a fun, healthy way to spend your time, start skating today!
Indoor Skates vs Outdoor Skates: How do I Decide Which is Right For Me?
If you’re new to skating, the thought of choosing between indoor and outdoor skates can be daunting. So how do you know which type of skate is right for you?
Here are a few things to consider:
Purpose of Skating: The first thing to consider is how do you plan to use your skates for. If you’re mainly just looking for a fun way to get some outdoor exercise, outdoor skates will likely be fine. But if you’re looking to do more serious skating, like competitive skating, speed skating, roller derby or skating in exhibitions, indoor skates are a better choice.
Environment: The environment you plan to skate is also essential to consider. Outdoor skates may be more forgiving if you’re skating outdoors in an area with many pavement cracks or bumps. If you’ll mostly be skating indoors at the local roller rink then indoor skates will be better suited.
I don’t want you to get too boxed in thinking that you HAVE to look specifically for indoor OR outdoor skates because it is fairly easy to change out wheels and skate bearings to make a skate suit what you want to do. Skaters who do both indoor and outdoor skating usually change out wheels based on the skating environment.
What’s The Difference Between Hard Wheels (Indoor) & Soft Wheels (Outdoor)?
There are a few key differences between hard wheels and soft wheels for roller skates. First off- hard wheels tend to be faster and have a longer lifespan than soft wheels. They offer less cushion for bumps and cracks on rough surfaces.
Soft wheels provide a smoother ride and a more comfortable skating experience. Ultimately, the choice between hard wheels and soft wheels comes down to the environment they will be used in.
When deciding between hard or soft wheels you want to look at the durometer rating. This is usually a two digit number followed by a letter.
Lower Number = Softer Wheel Higher Number= Harder Wheel
Here’s a breakdown of the key differences between these two types of wheels:
-Best for Indoor use (like the local skate rink)
-Faster (good for speed skates)
-Prone to bumps and cracks
-Best for Outdoor Use (like pavement & skate parks)
-Smoother ride that absorbs bumps and cracks
-Ideal for those who prefer a more comfortable skating experience
-More grip (sticky, gummy-like wheels grab the pavement)
-May not be as fast or durable as harder wheels
For some people, hybrid wheels are the best wheels if you skate indoor and outdoor fairly regularly.
When Can I Transition to Inline Skates?
Whenever you feel you’ve mastered the basic skills of balance, turning and gliding comfortably on quads. Hopefully this is just a month or so of consistent practice with quad skates.
What Size Roller Skates Should I Get?
When it comes to roller skating, the size of your roller skates is significant. Therefore, you need to ensure that you get the right size for your feet to be comfortable and enjoy your skating experience.
Every manufacturer will provide a sizing guide that you should study closely. Depending on where the skate is manufactured it could be European sizing, based off of Men’s sizing or some strange scale that you’re completely unaccustomed to. Just because you are a size 7 does not mean that you will be a roller skate size 7.
Unless you are purchasing figure or artistic skates your boots should be a close fit but not snug enough that you will get rubs and blisters. Your heel should not move or slip out of the top of the skate when skating. Think about what kind of socks you will be wearing and try on skates with those socks on to ensure a perfect fit.
What are Parts of a Quad Roller Skate?
There are a few different parts to a quad roller skate but it’s not overly complex to understand. The boot, skate plate, trucks, king pin, wheels, bearings and the toe stops are what you need to familiarize yourself with in the beginning. Take a look at our illustration below to start your familiarization.
What are the different types of Quad Roller Skating?
Artistic Quad Skating
Artistic Quad Skating is a creative and graceful style of skating that is often compared to ice skating (at the professional levels). It’s a competitive form of skating that can include choreographed jumps and spins set to music. The types of roller skates needed to practice and compete on this level are pretty expensive ($600-$800 USD typically). The clothing and coaching can be quite a large expense on top of that.
Dance | Jam & Freestyle Quad Skating
Dance & Freestyle Quad Skating is a type of roller skating that combines dance moves and freestyle elements often performed to music. It is hands down the most popular movement in roller skating today. While there are lots of moves to try (with defined names)…it’s loose, causal & fun. You’ll need a pair of roller skates with some support like the Moxi Beach Bunny Line.
Recreational Indoor Quad (Roller Rink)
Recreational Indoor Quad (Roller Rink) Skating is the most common type of quad skating. It is a the leisurely style of skating you see at in roller rinks.
Outdoor Quad Skating
Outdoor Quad Skating is a style of skating that is done outdoors. You can outdoor skate almost anywhere like sidewalks, tennis courts, parking lots, paved paths, or skate parks. Some skaters create obstacle courses with cones or just work on their freestyle dance moves. You’ll need a pair out outdoor geared roller skates like the Sure Grip Boardwalk Line.
Roller Derby Quad Skating
Roller Derby Quad Skating is an aggressive (but fun) team sport where two teams battle each other for points while skating around an oval. You’ll need a pair of roller derby skates, lotos of safety equipment and some fellow roller skaters to form a team. You’ll need some speed skating quads to start- we like the Riedell Darts.
Speed skating is one of the most exhilarating skating you can imagine. While you can purchase speed skates that are quads they aren’t as fast as inline speed skates which is why most speed skating is on inline skates. Speed skaters race around an oval track, reaching huge speeds!
To be successful at speed skating, you need a lot of strength, endurance and agility but many successful speed skaters move on to Olympic speed skating (on ice). You’ll need some speed skating quads to start- we like the Riedell Darts.
The kind of skates you will ultimately enjoy depends largely on your goals and the skating environment. As with any new activity, it is essential to do your research before buying. Regardless of your skill level make sure you have all the safety equipment like a helmet, knee pads. elbow pads & wrist guards.
Quad roller skates are a great way to get around and have some fun. They provide an enjoyable experience while you’re skating and they can also help improve your overall physical & mental health. If you’ve never tried quad roller skates before you should ABSOLUTELY give them a go. You may be surprised at how much fun you have skating around on four wheels!