What’s the Difference between Indoor, Outdoor, and Ramp Skating?
If you're not certain about which style of skating is most suitable for you, it could be beneficial to learn about the distinctions between skating in indoor settings, outdoor environments, and skate parks. Furthermore, there are variations between indoor and outdoor skates that may not be immediately evident, including the type of wheels and bearings employed. It's crucial to take note of these differences when selecting the appropriate skates for your requirements.
Although it really boils down to personal preference, it’s suggested to use softer wheels outdoors and harder wheels for indoors. Softer wheels under 90a hardness are preferred for outdoors because it will absorb the shocks of different textured surfaces. When skating indoors, it’s commonly recommended to use a harder wheel as they will last longer and shock absorption is not something considered.
Something you may not have considered to be a distinguishing factor for an indoor vs an outdoor skate is the bearing used for the skates. Slower spinning bearings such as ABEC 5 or ABEC 7 bearings are used indoors. These bearings are used because it is more cost-efficient especially for rentals at indoor rinks and it’s easier to control speed. Outdoor skates will most likely have ABEC 7 or ABEC 9 because the skater wants to get more speed and spin out of their skates. And check our guide "What rollerblades I should buy".
Outdoor Roller Skates
There are different types of skates, outdoor roller skates will vary from person to person and are dependent on the style of skating trying to be achieved or performed. Outdoor skates can be drastically different depending on the style so let’s start off by the most common styles of skating such as aggressive skating and urban skating.
Aggressive skating will require a solid plastic boot or even a carbon boot, mostly anti-rockered frames and, small wheels. An anti-rocker is a frame that consists of the first and last wheel being of the same size and the two middle wheels being slightly smaller and in most cases of a different material. This is because it allows you to maintain a slower pace since you are skating mostly only on the two outer wheels and it also allows there to be an h-block for different style grinds in the center or the two middle wheels.
Urban skates are constructed with a solid plastic boot, similar to aggressive skate setups, but may also include softer components for added comfort. Higher-end urban skates may feature a carbon build for improved responsiveness during skating. Typically, urban skates are equipped with either a flat or rockered wheel/frame setup. A flat setup involves all four wheels having the same point of contact with the surface, while a rockered setup only has two wheels touching the surface at a time. Rockered setups are often preferred by slalom skaters or those looking for greater maneuverability during their skating sessions.
Here you can find a guide about asphalt rollerblade wheels.
There are no restrictions to practicing ramp skating as it can be performed on various types of skate setups. However, beginners are advised to use smaller wheels, such as 76mm or 80mm, for learning ramp or park skating.
This is because smaller wheels provide less speed, making it easier to perform stalling and dropping-in maneuvers on ramps. As skaters gain experience in the skate park, they can then use any wheel size for ramp skating.
Indoor skating has many perks and is often preferred by many. Many skate parks are indoors and are a gem for aggressive skaters who want to skate but can’t due to certain weather conditions or simply because the indoor skate park has distinct platforms, ramps, and boxes that some outdoor parks don’t typically have.
Another reason why indoor skating is preferred by most is the convenience of not having to worry about the outdoor elements such as it being too hot or not being able to skate on a rainy day. Indoor rinks have the flexibility to host parties and events all under one roof and even offer rental skates. The biggest benefit to indoor skating is the simple fact that the surface is always well maintained as opposed to the unpredictable outdoor surfaces with mixed terrain.