Roller skating has been an enjoyable form of exercise for decades. Roller skates can be used indoors or outdoors due to their versatility. Depending on the surface, different types of wheels are required for optimal performance and enjoyment.

Some notable differences exist between indoor and outdoor roller skates.

Here are some key differences between indoor and outdoor roller skating:

Indoor Roller Skating

indoor roller skate rink

Indoor roller skating is most commonly done at the roller skating rink, with a hard, smooth surface specifically made for it.

The roller rink floors offer a smoother experience than open-air skating because they can be maintained and cleaned easily.

This skating also requires you to use harder wheels, allowing you to drift faster.

Outdoor Roller Skating

pretty women roller skating outdoor

Outdoor skating is a great way to get outside and enjoy the outdoors while getting a good workout.

Many people wonder if roller skating is a good exercise.

Well, It’s undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable and rewarding activities for exercise and fun.

Before going out on the streets or in your neighborhood, have your outdoor skates. These skates are not the same as indoor ones.

Open-air skaters use softer wheels that offer shock absorption and grip on uneven surfaces.

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These skates will allow you to glide across cracked sidewalks and paved roads without hassle.

Roller skating outside can pose many dangers. Protective gear should be worn, including:

  • Kneepads
  • Elbow pads
  • Wristguards
  • Helmet

One small piece of gravel, and you’re done. Protective gear can help reduce the impact of falls, trips, and bumps.

Differences Between Indoor And Outdoor Roller Skates

man take out roller skate on the grass

These are some of the things that make indoor and outdoor skating different:

Plate Placement

Although plate placement isn’t an important difference, it is convenient. The Skate plate (or the plate that attaches to the boot to the wheels) may be mounted further forward on outdoor skates than on indoor ones.

This unique positioning shifts weight onto your toe, so it doesn’t lift when you come across rocks or other small obstacles.

Although this is not a standard rule for all outdoor skates, it might be something you should consider if you decide to purchase outdoor skates.

Wheel Hardness

The wheels’ hardness is one of the most important aspects to consider. Indoor wheels designed to withstand flat surfaces such as rinks and other smooth surfaces are more difficult than outdoor wheels for flexible, rubbery roller skates.

This allows indoor wheels to roll quickly on the stern, smooth terrain but also leaves them vulnerable to sliding or slipping over uneven or rough terrain.

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On the other hand, The outdoor wheels are softer and have a better grip. These wheels behave almost like memory foam, settling on every irregularity before rolling on.

Skate manufacturers use a durometer shore-hardness scale to determine the wheel’s hardness. The harder the wheel, the higher the number.

Indoor wheels can have hardness levels ranging from 87A up to 1904A. Sticking with wheels with a 90A rating or lower is better.

Size of the Wheel

The wheel’s size is a major factor in how it interacts with the surface you are skating on.

Indoor skating is best done with smaller wheels between 55mm and 60mm in diameter.

A smaller surface area means a shorter roll time. Also, the wheel takes less time to complete a full rotation.

Why is this important?

This allows you to perform quick maneuvers and split-second turns while with other skaters at the rink. Roller skates with wheels between 60mm-70mm are best for outdoor skating.

A longer roll time allows for less maneuverability but provides better absorption on uneven surfaces such as concrete and asphalt.


Outdoor skating is possible with almost any quad-wheel skate. You don’t have to stick with one style; you can adjust the wheels according to the conditions.

If you plan to skate on your street or in your neighborhood, it is a good idea to get outdoor boots with higher tops and an easy-to-clean construction.

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On the other hand, hybrid skate wheels offer all-terrain ground and can be used indoors and outdoors.

These wheels can be a bit slow for indoor use and don’t offer the best outdoors grip.


Indoor and outdoor roller skates are different because of the hardness of the wheels and the location of the plate that attaches the wheels to the boots.

Indoor quad roller skates are made with thinner and harder wheels, with a plate closer to the heel.

Roller skates for outdoor use have wider and softer wheels and a plate closer to the toe.

The primary difference between indoor and outside roller skates is the wheels. Swapping your wheels is simple depending on what type of skating you do.

If you love both styles, you may find it worthwhile to purchase two pairs of skates.

A standard skate boot is fine for occasional outdoor use, but a roller skate made for outdoor use has more durable and rugged materials.

Understanding the differences between these types of skates is important before you make your purchase decision.

You can now rest assured that you are making the right purchase with your newfound knowledge in roller skate design.


My name is Patricia Toh. I was born in the southen of China but I live in Hawaii. I work as a translator. I love skating. But in the future, I’d like to try yoga too."

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