Ironically, ice skates are the ones that literally use blades, not rollerblades. They can glide on ice because of their metal blades that work well with the cold surface. On the other hand, rollerblades are known for their wheels assembled in a straight line.
The difference between ice skates and rollerblades doesn’t end there, though. Which type of skate is easier to use? Is the latter safer than the former? Let’s settle these once and for all by knowing the pros and cons of ice skating vs rollerblading.
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Ice skating is more difficult than rollerblading.
Admit it — seeing the metal blades of ice skates for the first time makes you want to do a nervous gulp. They look intimidating for a reason, and that’s because they’re indeed harder to master.
The blades are designed to be really thin to avoid scraping ice, the number one cause of friction on that type of surface. Too wide, and you will only make shaved ice on the rink. Kidding aside, you won’t be able to glide flawlessly, of course.
The obvious downside is the hellish task of maintaining your balance with only two metal blades supporting your weight. With constant practice, however, you don’t have to think anymore while gliding. The blades will feel like extended feet.
Meanwhile, the wider base of rollerblades because of the wheel assembly won’t be much of hindrance to your training. It is much easier to balance with wheels. Besides, inline skates have more locking features to perfectly support your feet.
Before we proceed to the next section, here’s a fun fact: ice skates typically don’t have brakes! You will be forced to slightly move your body sideways to let the blades scrape the ice until you stop. Leaning too much is a big no-no. However, as soon as you master the technique, you will surely impress everybody.
When it comes to inline skating, good rollerblades are always equipped with built-in brakes.
Ice skating is safer than rollerblading.
Despite the higher level of difficulty it brings, ice skating is generally safer for skaters. Ice rinks have a smoother surface and zero obstacles.
Since rollerblading is usually done on sidewalks, streets, and parking lots, you’re more likely to hit poles, rails, and other objects no matter how careful you are. That’s because there will always be cracks and holes in areas with heavy foot and vehicle traffic.
The main advantage of ice skating vs rollerblading is the safer environment it requires. Ice rinks are smooth and free of obstructions, unlike the recommended places for rollerblading. However, the latter is easier to master. Balancing yourself on wheels is much easier than trying to stand with thin metal blades.