14+ Different Types of Roller Skates: A Complete Guide

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This is the Scooter Dojo guide to the different types of roller skates.

If you are looking for a fun way to stay active, enjoy the outdoors, or bring groups of friends together roller skating could be your new favorite hobby. However, choosing the right type of roller skates for your goals can be a tad bit difficult, especially with so many different types available today. From the different styles, designs, varying features, and prices, it’s essential to find the perfect pair of roller skates that suits what you need them for.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the world of roller skating and explore the various types of roller skates available. Whether you need skates for jam skating, figure skating, roller derby, or recreational use like street hockey, we’ve got you covered. We’ll also discuss the different features of roller skate boots and designs to help you make an informed decision.

Different Styles of Roller Skates

If you’re passionate about roller skating, you know that finding the right pair of skates is essential to maximize your enjoyment and performance. Below we dive into more than 14 different styles of roller skates, read carefully or listen to the audio summary provided to find the right skates that meet your specific needs and preferences.

Audio Summary

1. Jam Skates

If you’re into full on partying on wheel and the artistic expression of dance, then jam skates is what you’re looking for. This style of skate is perfect for hip-hop inspired Roll Bounce style skating. When trying to identify a pair of Jam skates look for skates with a low-cut boot (below the ankle), a strap closure (no laces),wide across the front which provides maximum flexibility and range of motion. Lastly, the wheels will most likely be wider and softer polyurethane for a smooth ride.

2. Roller Derby Skates

If you’re looking to get into full contact roller derby, you’ll need a pair of high-performance skates with responsive wheels and reinforced toe caps to handle the impact of the game. It would be wise to choose skates with a mid-cut or high-cut boot for ankle support and stability. A heavy duty front brake stop is also a good idea so you can have more control while scoring points!

3. Figure Skating Skates

If you want to get into roller figure skating, you’ll need a pair of skates designed to be nimble, capable of artistic movement. The ideal pair of skates will feature a stiff boot to provide for increased support. You will also want something that is robust to absorb the abuse and pounding that comes from jumps, spins, and pirouettes.

A classic figure skates meant for ice will have a narrow blade that allows for intricate footwork, the roller skate equivalent has inline frame that deliver similar performance.

4. Roller Hockey Skates

Roller hockey skates have to be designed for speed, agility, and traction. You will want to find skates with sturdy frames and durable wheels that can handle the dynamic movements of the game. Choose skates with a mid-cut boot to enable a wider range of motion and increased speed.

All I can think of when covering roller hockey is that awesome scene in the move D2 The Mighty Ducks šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚

5. Park Skates

Park skates typically have sturdy frames, softer & large wheels, and comfortable boots that offer good ankle support. Look for skates with a mid-cut boot to provide balance, optimal support, and flexibility. Park skates get the job done for cruising on neighborhood streets, skate parks, and other smoothly paved urban areas.

6. Inline Skates

inline skates roller blades

Inline skates, or rollerblades, are a type of skate that have three to five wheels arranged in a single line. The first inline skate was patented in 1760, but it was not until the early 1990s that inline skating became popular. In fact the first time I might have ever saw inline skates was in D2: The Mighty Ducks movie.

Inline skating is a great way to get exercise and have fun. It is also a great way to do tricks and jumps. Many people enjoy inline skating because it is a very artistic form of skating.

7. Quad Skates

One of the great things about quad skates is that they can be used for a variety of different activities. If you’re looking for a leisurely skate around the park, then a basic pair of quad skates will do the trick. But if you’re looking for a more adrenaline-pumping skating experience, then you might want to consider a pair of racing speed skates or the park skates above.

8. Kids Skates

There are many types of skates for kids that are available on the market. So when it comes to choosing the right pair of skates for your child, we think it’s most important to find something that is simple with 4 wheels. For kids who are just starting out, opting for a pair of 4 wheel skates that are affordable is ideal.

9. Racing Skates

Racing skates are designed for speed and are often used in competitive racing. They are typically longer and narrower than other types of skates, which makes them more difficult to control. They also have a lower center of gravity, and larger wheels, either 3 or 4 in total.

The Racing skates will usually be made of carbon fiber or fiberglass, which makes them very lightweight and aerodynamic. The blades on racing skates are also longer and sharper than those on other types of skates, which helps to increase speed.

One of the downsides of racing skates is that they are not very versatile. They are not well suited for doing anything else other than flying down hills. No skating on rough or uneven surfaces, or freestyle skating, or indoor skating. Racing skates are also more expensive than all the other types of skates.

10. Aggressive Inline Skates

Aggressive Inline skates are probably the black sheep of the action sports world because the tricks can sometimes look easy but they aren’t at all! If you’re thinking about getting into aggressive inline skating, then you’ll want a pair of skates that feature small wheels between 54-64mm in size, the wheels will also be very hard between 86-95A.

These skates will also have a frame that caters to your riding style if you want to do more grinding tricks then you’ll opt for a wider frame, or for higher speeds and maneuverability you’ll opt for a traditional style frame system.

11. Low Top Skates

Low top skates are one of the most popular variety of skate styles. They’re perfect for outdoor leisure skating and are often used in roller derby competitions. Low top skates are available in a variety of designs and colors, so you can choose the perfect pair for your skating style.

12. High Top Skates

If you’re looking for a classic, old-school look for your artistic skates, high top skates are the way to go. These skates have a high boot that covers the ankle, which provides support and stability while you’re skating. High top skates also have a sleek, streamlined look that will make you stand out on the rink.

There are a few different styles of high top skates, so you can choose the one that best fits your skating style. If you’re a beginner, you might want to choose a pair of high top skates with a softer boot. This will make it easier to break in your skates and will provide more comfort as you’re learning to skate.

13. Adjustable Skates

A pair of adjustable skates is a great idea for young kids who are just getting into roller skating. The reason is because kids grow out of shoes at a rapid pace, that means they’ll also grow out of their skates. However, with adjustable roller skates they can keep one pair of skates over many years.

These skates can be adjusted to fit different foot shapes and sizes. Noteworthy is that adjustable skates are available as inline skates and 4 wheel quad skates.

14. Heely Skates

Heelys are a type of shoe with a small wheel in the heel, allowing the wearer to roll along instead of walking. Heelys come in a variety of sizes, colors, and styles. Some feature multiple wheels, while others have just one. The most common type has two wheels, one in each heel. Most Heelys have a toe brake, which is used to stop the wheels from rolling. Heelys are a lot of fun, but they do require some practice to master. Once you get the hang of them, you’ll be able to roll around with ease.

Quad Roller Skates vs. Inline Skates

When it comes to choosing roller skates, one of the most significant decisions you will make is whether to go with quad roller skates or inline skates. Quad skates, also known as “traditional skates,” have four wheels arranged in a square formation. They offer more stability and while maintaining their maneuverability, making them a great choice for beginners or those looking for a more chill riding experience.

Inline skates, also known as “rollerblades,” have a line of wheels that are arranged similar to an ice skate blade. They are superior for speed and performance over 4 wheel quad skates, making rollerblades ideal for racing, fitness skating, and other high-intensity activities like roller hockey.

However, their in-line design makes them hard to learn and balance on, requiring a bit more practice to get comfortable.

Understanding Roller Skate Designs and Features

As you’ve seen so far, when it comes to roller skates, there are so many different designs and styles to choose from. Whether you’re into speed skating, artistic skating, or recreational skating, there’s a pair of roller skates that fits your interests. Before you decide on which type of roller skate you want take into consideration the following features.

Wheel Types

One of the most important components of roller skates is the wheels. Different types of wheels cater to different skating styles and terrains. For example, indoor skates typically have harder wheels to allow for more agility and control, while outdoor skates have softer wheels to absorb shock and provide better traction on uneven surfaces.

Boot Designs

The design of the skate boot also plays a crucial role in overall performance. Different boots offer varying levels of ankle support to provide stability during high-impact movements. For example, quad roller skates often have high-top boots that offer more ankle support, making them ideal for beginners or those who are more prone to ankle injuries. On the other hand, inline skates typically have low-cut boots that offer more freedom of movement and better agility for more advanced skaters.

Additional Features

Roller skate manufacturers often include additional features to enhance the overall skating experience. For example, some skates are designed to be more aerodynamic for faster speeds, while others have cool finishes and graphics to showcase your personal style. Some skates are also equipped with features like toe stops, brake systems, and frame types to enhance control or performance.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Skates

different types of roller skates indoor vs outdoor skates

In addition to design features, roller skates are also categorized as either indoor or outdoor skates. Indoor skates are designed for use on indoor rinks and typically have harder wheels and thinner bearings for better control and agility. Outdoor skates, on the other hand, have softer, larger wheels and thicker bearings to absorb shock and provide better traction on bumpy or rough terrain.

Skating StyleBest Wheel TypeBest Boot Type
Speed SkatingLow-profile, hard wheelsLow-cut, lightweight boots
Freestyle SkatingHard, high-rebound wheelsHigh-top, supportive boots
Recreational SkatingSoft, larger wheelsComfortable, versatile boots
Skate Park SkatingSoft, larger wheelsDurable, thick-shelled boots

Choosing Your Perfect Pair of Roller Skates

First, consider your skill level. If you’re a beginner, you may want to opt for a more affordable pair of skates until you gain more experience. Meanwhile, advanced skaters may want to invest in higher-end skates that cater to their specific needs.

Another important factor to consider is price. While expensive skates may offer more advanced features, they may not be necessary if you’re just starting out. Similarly, cheaper skates may be more suitable if you’re on a tight budget.

A proper fit is essential for both comfort and performance. Make sure to measure your feet and choose skates that match your size. It’s also a good idea to try on different brands and styles to see which ones feel the most comfortable.

Comfort is key when it comes to roller skates. Look for skates with features that enhance comfort, such as padded boots and breathable materials. Additionally, consider the type of activity you’ll be using the skates for, as certain styles may be more comfortable for specific types of skating.

Finally, performance is a crucial aspect to consider when choosing roller skates. Look for skates with features that align with your goals, whether it’s speed, agility, or impact resistance. Additionally, consider the surface you’ll be skating on and choose skates with appropriate wheels and frames.


What are the different types of roller skates?

There are various types of roller skates available to suit different activities, including jam skating, roller derby, figure skating, roller hockey, and park skating. Each type has specific features and designs tailored to the unique demands of the sport or activity.

What is the difference between quad roller skates and inline skates?

Quad roller skates have four wheels arranged in a square pattern, providing stability and maneuverability. Inline skates, on the other hand, have a single line of wheels, offering more speed and better performance for certain activities. The choice between the two depends on personal preference and the specific activity you plan to engage in.

What should I consider when choosing roller skates?

When choosing roller skates, it’s important to consider the design and features that suit your skating style and preferences. Factors such as wheel type, boot design, speed, ankle support, and the type of surface you’ll be skating on all play a role in finding the perfect pair of skates.

What are speed skates and what makes them unique?

Speed skates are specifically designed for racing and high-speed performance. They feature low-profile wheels and an aerodynamic design that allows skaters to reach faster speeds and cover longer distances. They offer a thrilling experience for competitive racers and those seeking a faster skating experience.

What are jam skates and rhythm skates used for?

Jam skates, also known as rhythm skates, are designed for jam skating, which combines dance, freestyle moves, and artistic movements on roller skates. These skates have features that allow for smooth footwork, spins, and tricks, making them ideal for jam skaters who want to express their creativity on the roller rink.

Can I use roller skates outdoors?

Yes, there are roller skates specifically designed for outdoor use. These skates are built to withstand rougher surfaces like streets, parks, and trails, with durable wheels and sturdy frames. Outdoor skates offer a smooth and enjoyable ride even on uneven or challenging terrains.

What are roller derby skates used for?

Roller derby skates are designed for the intense and physically demanding sport of roller derby. These skates prioritize speed, agility, and impact resistance, with features like reinforced toe caps and responsive wheels. Roller derby skates are designed to handle the challenges and demands of the high-contact sport.

How do I choose the right pair of roller skates?

When choosing roller skates, consider factors such as your skill level, budget, fit, comfort, and performance requirements. It’s important to try on different skates, consider the type of skating you’ll be doing, and ensure a proper fit for optimal safety and enjoyment on the rink or skating surface.

Summary of Different Types of Roller Skates

Key Takeaways:

  • The world of roller skating offers different types of roller skates to suit your specific needs.
  • From jam skating to roller derby, there’s a type of roller skate for every sport.
  • Understanding the differences between quad and inline skates can help you make an informed decision.
  • Proper ankle support is crucial when choosing roller skates.
  • Outdoor skates are designed to withstand rougher surfaces like streets and parks.

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