Ice Skating vs Rollerblading – Which one is harder?

I often get asked by my readers – Is ice skating easier to learn or rollerblading?

So, today, I’ll be making an in-depth comparison of ice skating vs rollerblading and try to answer this question with some solid facts.

Ice Skating vs Rollerblading

When it comes to the history of both these sports, ice skating dates thousand years back while rollerblading, which is only a few hundred years old, evolved from ice-skating. While there are many similarities between the two, they also have differences as well like the skating surface and the built of the boots.

If you look at the ice skates, they have a blade like bottom which slides on the ice whereas, in rollerblades, there is a line of wheels. Both look very similar though!

But to answer the question which one is easy, I would say rollerblades. The reason is the ease of learning them. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, you can easily learn inline skating.

The main reason as to why they are a better option than ice skating is how well they are made for the recreational purpose and the rigid support they offer for feet and ankles.

Moreover, the wheels of rollerblades extend further to the front and rear and this helps to balance you forward and backwards at the same time. Also, the long wheelbase gives you better control. In case of ice skating the blade, the base is very thin, and it takes quite a while to learn how to balance.

A lot of skaters who have side-to-side stability fears can easily overcome it with rollerblading as the wide wheelbase provides more stability.

As a result of more stability, you will feel more secure and will have the confidence to skate at a good pace.

Here are some more differences between the two different types of skates:


The way you stop is probably the main difference between ice skating and rollerblading. In rollerblading, there is a built-in brake made on the heel that helps you to stop. However, you can also drag your back foot or even turn sharply using your bodyweight to the back.

In ice skating, there is no built-in brake, and you have to maintain your weight more towards the middle of the blades. This way, you can use that particular section of blades to shave the ice nicely and finally stop. It is not easy as it may seem because shifting your weight too much on either side will throw you out of balance and you’ll have a hard fall.


As mentioned above, inline skates have wider wheelbase which offers a good balance and helps you to learn rollerblading easily. Also, rollerblades have multiple locking systems which secure your feet in place and helps build the confidence to skate.

Whereas in ice skating, there is a thin blade underneath your boot and balancing is quite tough. It takes quite a while to master it and to stop is even harder.


Streets, parking lots, sidewalks vs an ice surface. Both the sports have different surfaces. While ice skating is hard to learn but having a separate playground, made only for this purpose makes it safe.

In rollerblading, you can stride on streets or parking lots, but you never know when there is a hole, crack, obstacle or an uneven patch, and you can easily get out of balance and badly injure yourself.

The ice surface is regularly smoothed and cleared, and this makes it safe.

What else?

When it comes to calorie burning, heart rate and respiration, both the sports have same aerobic value. The way you move, stride, do tricks, and other things are pretty much the same and require whole body effort. Ice skating can be done year round since it is indoor whereas rollerblading might be limited in extremely hot weather conditions.

Overall Comfort

Generally speaking, ice skating is done over ice surface, and this gives you a better experience. Your legs and feet have a smooth feel and are not subject to any sudden shocks. Rollerblading is also comfortable but not as much as ice skating. If it is a smooth pavement, no worries but a rough terrain can give a serious toll to your legs and feet. I suggest you read our article about best inline skates brands for more insight!