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3 Types of Rollerblades for Kids

A group of kids rollerblading outdoors.

There is a lot to buying rollerblades for kids, as there are different types for different needs. Rollerblades for any age are constructed and designed according to what they will be used for. Some types will be used for everyday use and enjoyment, while others will be used for competitive purposes.

When buying for children, safety features are always at the top of the list before athletic needs. Learn more about the different types of rollerblades for kids here.

Different Kinds of Rollerblades

Little boy rollerblading in the park.

There are two different options when it comes to roller athletics for children. There are quad skates and rollerblades. Quad skates are the old-fashioned type of roller skates where there are four wheels on the skates, earning the skate the name “quad” skate.

These skates are more commonly known as roller skates, whereas the other kind of skate rolls on a line of wheels. These skates are known as inline skates or rollerblades.

Many experts will say that roller skates or quad skates are the best skates to start children on. However, inline skates or roller blades can be very safe for children when the right pair is purchased. To purchase the right kind of rollerblade for children, you will need to take both their preferences and their motivation in mind.

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Roller Skates Versus Rollerblades

When adults are purchasing rollerblades or roller skates for children, safety is the first thing in mind. However, you want to get the pair that they will like, and that will best match their needs for the skate to begin with.

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Quad skates or roller skates have four wheels on each skate, with two wheels in front of each other on the skate. Inline skates will have three or four wheels on them in a line, to match the line of sharp blades on an ice skate. Roller skates will help newbies to the sport stand up straighter on the skate, but rollerblades can be just as safe. Practice is all that is needed for rollerblades to be used successfully by children.

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Ice skates are no different. Children’s ice skates often come with more blade coverage on the blade. You may want to start your child on quad skates to get accustomed to what it feels like to roll on the skate. Or, you may want to just put them on a rollerblade and train them to practice and learn them well.

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One reason that inline skates can be difficult for children at first is that their legs are not as developed as those of adults. They will not have the strength of an adult in the ankles and legs when it comes to rollerblading. Practice will build this strength. However, safety protection is a must.

The child is destined to fall on rollerblades, as even experienced adults will on occasion. If your child has experience skating on ice already, they have a little more strength and experience here to work with. Even without experience, if the child wants to learn how to skate on rollerblades, it builds confidence to give them the opportunity to put their athletic bravado to work.

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How to Choose Rollerblade Sizes for Kids

Little boy and girl wearing rollerblades.

When you are choosing rollerblades for kids, you want to be careful about your sizing. To start, children are going to outgrow or wear out their rollerblades faster than an adult will. It is recommended that you purchase rollerblades that are slightly larger than the child’s shoe size. A good rule of thumb is to go a one-half size up.

Buying rollerblades that are too large for children will hurt them. Larger skates will harm a child’s ankles and feet when skating. So one size larger than their own shoe size might be one size too large. Too loose a rollerblade and the size difference could cause blisters.

In many cases, parents will purchase larger skates or rollerblades and have their children wear heavier socks to accommodate the size differences. Try not to do that. You will still have to buy rollerblades when they grow because they will be accustomed to skating this way, and, it won’t help them build the leg and ankle strength they need when learning to rollerblade.

Benefits of Rollerblades

A group of kids rollerblading on the road.

When choosing rollerblades over roller skates, there are a number of benefits to keep in mind. One is that the wheels on roller skates are frequently made of plastic, while the wheels on rollerblades are made of rubber. Rubber wheels are better for skating as they provide a strong grip on the road, and on most surfaces when compared to roller skates.

The ergonomics that go into rollerblades provide speed benefits over quad skates. That is because this narrow line of rollers does not have as much surface to make contact with and the skate can roll faster. There is also less resistance on the pavement than there is with wheels rolling by the fours.

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Rollerblades are typically more lightweight than roller skates as well. Even when made of plastic, they have a lighter speed to them than roller skates that are made of rubber, leather, or other materials.

Other benefits that come with rollerblading are the physical and mental benefits. This is a sport that can be competitive, even more than roller skating. Rollerblading builds confidence and athletic ability, and also makes for great exercise.

It is good for the heart, for any age of skater, as it is an excellent cardiovascular activity that can be a lot of fun. Kids love it because it is a liberating way to get outside and move in an exciting way that shows off new talents and skills of theirs.

Types of Rollerblades

Adjustable Rollerblades

Little girl putting on rollerblades.

Adjustable rollerblades are a cost-effective way of purchasing the right size, without having to worry about making the same expense every year. In some cases, adults or parents need to purchase rollerblades twice a year if their child is in a growth spurt. The right adjustable skate can be worn in three sizes, and sometimes more.

This is not a case where the boot is adjusted, but rather the boot position. A button or other device on the boot allows you to slide the boot when you need to increase the size. An advantage of adjustable rollerblades is not just sizing and savings, but the child has a longer time to break them in.

Inline Skates

Closeup of inline skates.

Inline skates are rollerblades that are meant for the sport. These come in all sizes and are typically made with a harder outer shell, and a liner underneath. Many are built with sturdy frames with the wheel count being from three to four wheels. These are very stable skates.

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Inline skates can also be used for speed skating, which is another level of rollerblading that makes the competition rise. These are higher-performance roller blades that work for performance and for the nature of the sport. These aren’t always going to be used for serious athletics or competition, and can be just as useful and fun when rollerblading is a hobby.

The inline skates that are one size only are high-quality rollerblades that will make every blading experience fun.

Wheel Sizes

Closeup of rollerblades wheels.

The size of the wheel in your child’s rollerblade is going to be as important as whether or not it is adjustable. Wheel sizes vary because the various sizes play a role in performance.

Smaller wheels are ideal for beginners, and for beginners, 72 mm to 80 mm wheel sizes are the recommended size. You will find a lot of adjustable rollerblades with this size of wheels. The smaller wheels will make for an easier time learning the art of balance and staying upright for first-timers.

The larger wheels in the 80 mm to 100 mm range are great-sized wheels for beginners and intermediate skaters. These will give a little more traction and offer slightly more confidence when it comes to picking up speed on the roads and sidewalks. The larger wheels are better for the more advanced skater.

Large wheels that run closer to 100 mm are excellent wheels for terrain off of the sidewalk or with more serious moves in skating. If your child wants to work on slaloms or skate rinks, they may be interested in moving up in wheel size. Larger sizes of rollerblades are also excellent choices for marathons and competitions.

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If your child wants to compete in marathons or competitions in urban centers, they may, however, be more suited for smaller wheels. The higher-level fitness for older ages may prefer the larger wheels in the 90 mm to 100 mm range.

More advanced skaters are going to be looking for wheels that get closer to 110 mm. Where smaller wheels offer a little more flexibility, larger wheels will result in more energy transferring between every movement when blading.

How to Know Your Child is Ready to Rollerblade

Little boy wearing rollerblades resting on the track field.

Rollerblade is a tempting sport and it looks like a lot of fun because it is. Kids love to do it because it is a very liberating activity. But is your child ready?

It is not a good idea to put rollerblades on your child unless they are ready. You want them to be both physically and mentally ready for this sport.

Pay attention to your child’s overall stamina and strength levels. No doubt they want to run all over the world in a day and rollerblading is an excellent sport for that. They still need ankle strength, and patience, to be able to handle this activity. Balance is important as well.

Pay attention to your child’s coordination in every physical activity they participate in.  All of these factors will play into how ready your child is for rollerblading.

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