Ice Skating VS Rollerblading

Ice skating and rollerblading both are techniques or recreations of gliding across a surface on skates or skating boots. These sports of skating have been popular for centuries. When it comes to the histories of both of them, the origin of ice skating dates thousands of years back while rollerblading which is a commonly used name for in-line skating evolved from the original ice skating about a hundred years ago.

As rollerblading so closely mimics the original ice skating, it can be a bit confusing to identify the difference between these two, right? However, whether you want to take one of these sports or looking to buy skaters or equipment, you need to know how these two sports differ from each other.

Is Ice Skating Like Rollerblading?

Though there are a few similarities between the two sports, they are not entirely alike. Instead, from the origin to the techniques they differ in all aspects.

Quick Differences Between Ice Skating and Rollerblading:

let’s take a small look at the main differences.

                Ice skating             Rollerblading
OriginThousands of years oldA few hundred years old evolved from ice skating.
SurfaceIcy surfaceHard Surfaces
SpeedComparatively highComparatively low
SkatesIce skates with blades attached to the baseRollerblading skates with wheels attached to the base
Difficulty levelComparatively hard because of the bladesComparatively easy because of the wheels

In this article, I am going to help you know all about ice skating and rollerblading individually. Then I’ll elaborate on the differences between these two. In the end, I’ll answer a few of the most asked questions.

I hope you find this article helpful!

Ice Skating Rollerblading – The Basic

Ice Skating: 

Ice skating, as the name suggests is categorized as a form of recreation or sport that involves gliding around an icy surface, and wearing a pair of specially made ice skates. Ice skating was first introduced as a sport around 1876. Since then, it’s getting more popular day by day. Ice skating is generally performed on frozen lakes, rivers, or other frozen waterways. Nowadays, indoor or outdoor icy tracks are also artificially made for ice skating.

It includes a unique dress code that has a stretching fabric that lets you move with more flexibility. Furthermore, this sport requires specialized ice skates which are a bit different from regular skates. The regular skates come with rollers or wheels attached to their base but the ice skates have thin metal bars or blades that offer a better grip on the icy surface. By maintaining the weight at the center of the blade, one moves freely from one place to another and adopts the art of ice skating.


Rollerblading, which is a very common synonymous name for inline skating is basically an evolved form of ice skating. Inline skating is the sport of skating wearing a pair of skates that have wheels attached to them.  It’s performed on a hard surface like roads, parking lots, etc. The reason why inline skating is so much popular with the name ‘Rollerblading’ is the immense popularity of the brand rollerblade, Inc. which was the first one to introduce people to different types of skating shoes. A street rollerblade has 2 to 5 small wheels in its base in a line and they are much easier to move with. Though now a day many different brands also make inline skating shoes, inline skating is still known to a lot of people by the name of rollerblading.

Rollerblading VS Ice Skating – The Key Differences

Rollerblading and Ice skating both are a form of skating. As rollerblading has just evolved from ice skating, a question may arise in your mind, is ice skating like rollerblading? The answer is no. They are not completely alike, instead, there are many differences between them from the gears to techniques. Let’s take a look and identify these differences!


When it comes to the history of these two sports, ice skating dates back to a thousand years ago around 3000 B.C. whereas rollerblading is just a few hundred years old. Ice skating on naturally frozen surfaces was popular back in the 17th century. But when the artificially frozen rink was introduced in London in 1876, it took ice skating to a whole different level turning it into a major sport.

Then, ice skating kept giving birth to different skating sports among which rollerblading is one. Around 1980, when a company named rollerblading, Inc. started making unique skating shoes with small wheels attached to their base, people started getting attracted to inline skating. Just after that, the company gained so much popularity that since then rollerblading has become another name for inline skating.


One of the main differences is the surface they are performed on. Ice skating is performed on icy surfaces like frozen rivers, lakes, artificially created rinks, etc. The icy surfaces are generally smooth and free of any obstacles. But rollerblading is performed on hard surfaces both indoors and outdoors like footpaths, parking lots, etc. where there are uneven paths, holes, and different obstacles.


Another major difference between these two sports is the type of skates. Ice skates basically have thin metals or blades attached to the base of the shoes. These blades help to keep the grip well and control balance by cutting the ice surface a bit by bit. But the rollerblading shoes come with small wheels arranged in a line or 2 which is less dangerous and easier to move with.


Ice skating includes a unique dress code with a stretching fabric to let you move freely whereas rollerblading doesn’t have such a dress code. But you must wear a helmet while rollerblading.

The Techniques:

Forward moving:

Rollerblades push against the hard surface to create a backward force to move forward but ice skates create the backward force by using the edge of the blade of their skates.


Rollerblading skates have wheels that roll and help the skaters coast whereas ice skaters coast by sliding across the ice which is similar to slipping.


In rollerblading, skaters drag their wheels sideways to create friction and stop, meanwhile in ice skating, good skaters use the edge of the blade to stop moving.


The main difference is speed! As the surface of ice skating is smooth and mostly free of obstacles, it’s a lot easier to create pace and play at a high speed in ice skating which makes it more exciting than rollerblading.

Frequently Ask Questions:

Can I perform ice skating with rollerblading skates?

  • No, as the icy surface is way smoother, ice skates are specially made with blades to help you keep your balance on the track.

Which one is easier?

  • Both sports are easy once you learn, but if I have to choose one, I would say rollerblading. As it’s a bit harder to learn proper grip with ice skates.

So now you know all the difference between ice skating VS rollerblading! I hope you found this article helpful.

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