How Do Inline Skates Work?

When you visit various inline skate reviews, you’ll realize that there are rollerblades of different kinds. However, despite their diversity, the core inline skate parts[Parts of An Inline Skate] remain the same.

As simple as they look, many people don’t understand the science behind the operation of inline skates. For example, setting it rolling, navigating turns, accelerating, and braking still baffles many people.

So here are the basic principles on how inline skates operates:

Basic Principles on How Inline Skates Operates

At the very basics, the skater’s body shape and mass influence two key factors; momentum and amount of air resistance. The design of the rollerblade also comes into play.

Rolling Off From Rest

At rest, the force you exert downwards is equal and opposite to the reaction of the surface. All the wheels at that moment make contact with the ground.

So to pull off from rest, you have to exert some force through the leg muscle. At the same time, you must shift your center of gravity over the same leg and push it. While doing so, thrust forward the remaining leg.

The frame transmits the energy to the wheels. The wheels on the ground experiences frictional force opposite to the force applied by the skater.

To overcome the frictional force (sliding) inline skates employ ball bearings. The bearings ensure that the wheel hub doesn’t make direct contact with the wheel axle. With the sliding frictional force overcome, the inline skate roles on wheels forward.

Continuing in Motion

For you to remain in motion, you must continue to exert force via one leg muscle, leaning over the same leg and thrusting forward the remaining leg. But you’ll need to alternate doing so from one leg to the other.

The amount of force and thrust you apply on the legs and body type determines how fast the inline skate can go[How Fast do Inline Skates Go]. For that reason, your physical fitness and air resistance matter.

Coming to a Stop

For you to slow down and eventually come to a standstill, the rubber pad at the heel comes to your aid. So you have to tilt the rollerblade’s heel so as to engage the rubber to the ground.

When the rubber skids on the ground, the sliding friction opposes the forward motion. That means the mechanical energy is transformed into heat energy. In the end, it comes to a stop.


As you have probably noticed, the frictional force and position of the center of gravity of your body matter in the operation of inline skates. Though it may sound complicated, with practice rollerblading[ How To Rollerblade] is very simple.