Skating on rough roads entails more than merely blading outdoors. It’s riding your rollerblades over insanely rough terrain, over extremely uneven surfaces that overwhelm any wheels smaller than 100mm. Blading overly demanding off-road riding environments necessitates riding the best inline skates for rough roads your budget can accommodate.
Related: Best Inline Skates for Wide Feet
And that’s where I come in.
This post examines 7 rollerblades designed to help skaters enjoy the outdoors without needing to endure extremely uncomfortable vibrations.
Note that none of these blades are suitable for beginner-level skaters. Each of these off-road inline skates has large, soft wheels. That means these rough-road skates are crazy-fast blades that roll super smoothly, even on bad roads.
To safely ride any of these high-performance off-road inline skates, you should have really good rollerblading skills.
Don’t buy any of these speedy options unless you’ve mastered the most complex stopping and turning techniques. I don’t want you breaking your limbs. Or even losing your life. Because you glided too fast on some dirt path and…crashed real bad.
Now, here’s my list of 7 inline skates that let you explore pretty much any kind of terrain. Some of them are pricey, but are they worth it? That’s what these rough-road rollerblades reviews are all about.
- 5 Good Off-road Rollerblades (Reviews&Buying Guide)
- How to Choose the Right Rough-road Inline Skates
- What are Rough-road Inline Skates?
- Rough-road Rollerblades vs. Other Inline Skates
- Rough-road Skates vs. Outdoor Rollerblades
- Consider These 9 Factors When Buying Off-road Rollerblades
- 1. Wheel Size /Wheel Diameter/Wheel Height
- 2. Wheel Hardness, Or Wheel Durometer
- 3. Number of Wheels on the Skate
- 4. Price of the Skate
- 5. Weight of the Inline Skate
- 6. Boot and Wheel Quality
- 7. Comfort and Support
- 8. Frame Build Quality and Length
- 9. Inline Skate Bearings
- Rough-road FAQs
5 Good Off-road Rollerblades (Reviews&Buying Guide)
*Affiliate Links Disclosure: This website participates in the Amazon Associates program. And as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Off-Road Inline Skates Comparison Table[amazon table=”3841″]
1.Rollerblade Maxxum Edge 125 3WD (10.5, Premium & Top Pick)[amazon box=” B07GBXKF9F” title=” Rollerblade Maxxum Edge 125 3WD” description=”Premium-quality off-road rollerblades with 125mm at durometer 85A that make for really smooth rolls over some of the roughest, uneven surfaces ever skated. Features a durable aluminum frame and closure consists of laces, a powerstrap with aluminum ratchets, and a high-quality bucket near the top. Pricey but worth every penny.” button text=”View Price at Amazon” price=” “/]
The Rollerblade Maxxum Edge 125 3WD looks really badass with sharp lines and angles. It’s a solid boot built to take abuse and looks every inch like a premium-quality skate.
Tall 125mm 85A Elite-Performance Hydrogen wheels give these blades incredible off-road skating capabilities. These wheels collaborate with Twincam ILQ9 Classic Plus bearings to have you rolling at 25mph! People will think your skates are electric!
These wheels roll over small and larger obstacles without straining. And at 85A, you won’t experience those joy-killing vibrations. Plus, Hydrogen wheels last.
Well, these aren’t the lightest rough-road skates ever made. But they’re not too bulky either.
The outer hard shell is sturdy and supportive. And the V-cut cuff adds ankle support and forward flex. Plus, the rigid 295mm 3WD extruded aluminum frame makes the boot even more supportive.
The frame is a high-quality metal chassis that should last years. This frame, the soft large wheels, and the included heel shock absorber minimize vibrations. The frame is long enough for stability and short enough for maneuverability.
A premium-quality liner with a mesh that breathes well and large ventilation holes around the toe foster comfort.
A 45-degree powerstrap with aluminum ratchets, traditional laces, and a quick-release buckle at the top keep heels locked in. And the anatomical padding inside the liner further helps improve the fit.
Order your regular shoe size. If between sizes, size down for a snug, supportive fit.
- Sturdy boot construction
- Very large wheels (125mm)
- Extremely good support
- Durable aluminum frame
- Long-lasting Hydrogen wheels
- ABEC 7 bearings
- Not beginner-friendly
- Top metal eyelets hurt inner ankles
- Not cheap
- I’d have expected a BOA system at that price
Jason, my hubby, found breaking in these boots extremely hard. The lace eyelets near the top killed his inner ankles.
To hasten the break-in process, he drilled those irksome eyelets out. But at that price, I’d have expected the boot to have a BOA system.
Overall, it’s a premium rough-road worth every penny. I voted it the best off-road skate available at Amazon.
2.LIKU Performance 125 3WD Inline Skates (8.5 US Men, 9.5 US Women)[amazon box=” B07VP1R1SN ” title=” LIKU Women’s Performance Skate” description=”Affordable inline skates for uneven surfaces and bad roads with 125mm wheels at durometer 85A with motorbike-like spokes. Looks really good and offers an aluminum frame, but as build quality, it’s a sub-$200 skate and not a $300+ boot.” button_text=”See More at Amazon” price=” “/]
The LIKU Performance is a nice-looking unisex rough-road skate with 125mm wheels. And with a durometer rating of 85A, you’ll easily conquer small rocks, cracks on asphalt, gravel, and more.
Unlike the Rollerblade Maxxum Edge, the LIKU’s wheels boast fast ABEC 7 bearings. But speed-wise, the LIKU doesn’t necessarily outrun the Maxxum Edge.
Also, the boot offers a supportive aluminum frame. As for the outer boot, it’s all plastic, just like the Maxxum Edge.
The hard plastic shell provides good support, as does the high-cuff. Enough support to help you make consistently powerful strides.
One reviewer didn’t like the quality of the plastic, though. The person felt it was cheap plastic. However, the person didn’t say their boot disintegrated quickly.
I don’t own these LIKU skates, though. And that’s mainly because I’m an intermediate-level skater and this would be too much boot for my skating ability.
But a friend recently let me test this boot.
Skating on these boots requires really good balance. I laced up and closed the powerstrap and top buckle. Then, I stood up, ready to roll.
And I took off, — like a rocket! These guys are insanely fast. That’s why I rolled around uncontrollably and finally fell…safely.
I wonder how advanced skaters ride such fast blades. Fit? Buy your regular sneaker shoe size. Don’t size up if your foot measurement lies between sizes.
Measure your feet in centimeters and use the LIKU size chart below.
- Very tall, soft wheels
- Aluminum frame
- Fits true to size
- Attractive appearance
- The outer hard shell could be better quality
Overall, a nice-looking boot that’s affordable and performs well even on rough, uneven surfaces.
3.5th Element ST-110 3-Wheeled Rough-road Skates (8 U.S. Men)[amazon box=” B07GXRFYTK ” title=”5th Element ST-110 3-Wheeled Rough-road Skates (8 US Men)” description=”A versatile mid-range skate for navigating city streets as well as bad roads and rough pavements, and other rough sidewalks. But with 110 wheels, these may not be the best option for rolling over unbeaten paths.” button_text=”See More at Amazon” price=” “/]
This boot has an urban contemporary look. But unlike the LIKU and Rollerblade Maxxum, the Fifth Element ST-110 rollerblades features 110mm wheels with ABEC 7 bearings.
These durometer 84A wheels are pretty soft, which means they deliver smooth rolls on rough and uneven surfaces.
The aluminum frame is short enough for weaving your way through smooth and rough busy city streets. But street and sidewalk skating isn’t the only outdoor environment where these boots shine.
Want to explore the woods? This boot’s 110mm wheels won’t disappoint you when it comes to gliding over hard-packed trails.
However, you shouldn’t expect these wheels to climb over roots and other overly challenging obstacles. Throw such demanding environments at either the Maxxum or LIKU.
Also, the skate’s polyurethane wheels aren’t the best quality. They wear pretty fast even when used for mainly skating relatively smooth surfaces. So, you’ll want to invest in a better set of wheels for skating rough terrains.
This skate has a highly supportive plastic shell and a high cuff. However, the blades aren’t super comfortable. The odds are that the right skate will squeeze your ankles real bad, causing blisters.
You’ll likely end up spending more money on a decent pair of 110mm rubber wheels. You may also need to buy well-padded gel sleeves for your ankles. Plus, breathability could be improved.
Sizing? This boot runs small. Size up.
The closure consists of laces, then a powerstrap with a metal ratchet, and finally a plastic cuff buckle. This closure system works as expected.
- Reasonable pricing
- Durable metal frame
- A solid closure system
- Versatile: urban skating & off+road skating
- Supportive outer shell
- An upper-level skate for cheap
- ABEC 7 bearings
- Wheels not big enough for the toughest terrains
- Runs small
- Uncomfortable and pinches the ankles
- The wheels wear fast
- Breathability could be better
- Wheels not big enough for the toughest terrains
Overall, the 5th Element is a decent versatile boot with a reasonable price. But you’ll have to spend more to make the boot wearable.
4.K2 Men’s Trio 100 Inline Skates (Gateway into Speed Skating)[amazon box=” B084SDQD1Y” title=”K2 Men’s LT 100 Trio Inline Skate” description=”Features 100m 90A wheels with ILQ7 bearings and a brake for smooth, controlled rides. A comfy softboot that performs better on rough surfaces than do regular recreational skates because its wheels are significantly taller. Metal frame and closure includes speed lacing, a Velcro powerstrap, and a cuff buckle.” button_text=”See More at Amazon” price=” “/]
Unlike the others above, the Trio LT 100 skates are softboots and offer a little more comfort.
The outer plastic shell provides lateral support to a relatively breathable softboot. While support is good, this boot isn’t as supportive as the others above.
Plus, the skate doesn’t take abuse very well. They’re ideal for casual or recreational riding. But at least, you won’t trip on small rocks and cracks.
The high-cuffs are supportive, but the ankle area feels too stiff. The skates gave me blisters at first. Afterward, I could skate for hours without pain.
This boot’s 100m wheels roll nicely on smooth and not-so-smooth pavements. As for skating rough surfaces, these wheels perform moderately well.
The 90A wheels aren’t too hard, but they don’t absorb vibrations very well.
The ILQ-7 bearings are moderately fast. Also, the right skate has a brake to make stopping easier. This skate suits beginners and intermediate-level skaters pursuing fitness. Think of this skate as an entry-level option into the world of speed skating.
The boot is easy to take on and off. Speed lacing, a Velcro powerstrap, and a buckle with a solid ratchet help create a snug fit. But I’d have preferred powerstraps with a ratchet instead of Velcro powerstraps.
Perhaps these Velcro straps are the reason some reviewers couldn’t lock in their heels securely enough.
Softboots are stretchy, and I suggest you don’t size up.
- Comfortable and looks nice
- Beginner-friendly (has a brake)
- A stretchy Softboot design for comfort
- Moderately good support
- Wheels roll nicely and moderately fast
- Speed lacing
- Not too expensive
- May squeeze your ankles at first
- Cheaper softboots can be had
- Not the best for very bad roads
Overall, the k2 LT 100 inline skate is a decent outdoor recreation boot for beginner and intermediate skaters looking to grow into speed skating
The EPIC 125mm Engage is another all-terrain hard-shell boot that offers great support. The black and gold boot looks majestic right out of the box.
It’s a super-solid hard-shell boot that offers great lateral support, and a high cuff provides even more support. But some users reported getting their inner ankles pinched.
But the best feature is the 125mm replaceable wheels. No obstacle on rough, bad roads can defeat these tall wheels.
Well-lubed ABEC 7 bearings power these wheels, but the bearings my husband received had a poor spin. But after swapping in better bearings using the provided tool, all these skates wanted to do was roll!
The M-shaped gold-polished aircraft-grade aluminum frame sits pretty high above the ground. Tall enough that my hubby managed to fit a golf ball underneath.
But a higher frame means less stability — it’s not a beginner skate.
The hard outer shell features a couple air circulation vents to keep things nice and cool inside. And the liner inside helps a little.
But the liner doesn’t seem to be of great quality; the interiors aren’t super comfortable. You’ll sweat a little when riding through hot, sunny days.
Buy your usual size even though some reviewers say these skates run a size small.
Laces, powerstraps, and cuff buckles with gold-polished ratchets help customize the fit.
- An indomitable all-terrain inline skate
- Lubed ABEC 7 bearings
- Great pricing
- Looks super cute and shiny
- Allen key to swap out wheels
- Great for long distance skating
- Not for beginners
- May pinch your ankles
- Bearings don’t spin very well
- Interior not very comfortable
Overall, you’re getting a bad-roads skate with top-skate performance capabilities on the cheap.
6. Rollerblade Macroblade 100 3WD Fitness Skates (8, Decent Fitness Skates)[amazon box=” B08BXP1JGJ ” title=” Rollerblade Macroblade 100 3WD Men’s Adult Fitness Inline Skate” description=”Boasts 125mm 86A wheels with speedy ABEC 7 bearings so you can conquer the roughest dirt tracks.Features a relatively short aluminum frame that makes for good maneuverability. The skates have tall wheels with a plastic core. ” button_text=”View Price at Amazon” price=” “/]
The Rollerblade Macroblade 100 3WD is another tall adult fitness inline skate for men with 100mm 85A wheels. These wheels are quite soft. And that makes them absorb rough-road impacts well.
They’re called Rollerblade Supreme wheels from Rollerblade. The SG9 bearings inside the wheels are quite fast, too. The wheels feature a hard-plastic core, which means they’re strong and don’t deform that easily.
But you can’t expect 100m wheels to demonstrate the same performance level as 125mm wheels of the same duro.100m wheels roll over smooth and semi-terrible surfaces pretty well. But these wheels struggle a little when going over bigger rocks and cracks.
Like the K2 Men’s LT100 Trio, the Rollerblade Macroblade 100 3WD features a softboot design. That means they’re reasonably comfortable. The outer shell and cuff offer decent leg and foot support.
The boot looks like a typical athletic shoe, and its mesh upper promotes breathability. And there’s decent padding inside the boot plus nice padding on the tongue.
The rigid 274mm 3WD Twinblade aluminum frame carries weight well. And this chassis doesn’t sit too high. The frame isn’t long, which boosts maneuverability.
These are beginner-focused boots — they have a removable brake on the right skate. My husband’s package even included a tool to move the brake to the other skate.
The closure features three parts: speed laces, a hook-and-loop powerstrap, and a cuff buckle with an aluminum ratchet.
Creating a snug fit with the heel securely locked in isn’t hard with this closure system.
Order your regular shoe size. These run true to size. Follow the size Rollerblade Macroblade 100 3WD size chart below. Measure your foot length in centimeters.
Rollerblade Macroblade Men’s Fitness Rollerblades Size Chart
|Measured Foot Length (in cm)||Suggested Size (US)|
- Reasonably breathable boot
- Comfy & supportive
- Rigid aluminum frame
- Considerably large wheels
- Wheel-swapping tool included
- Made by a superior skate brand
- Fast bearings
- Runs true to size
- Speed laces
- Cored wheels
- Many cheaper beginner-level skates
- Not the best choice for extremely rough surfaces
- Not everyone loves safron yellow skates
Overall, it’s a good softboot for cruising outdoors on various kinds of surfaces. For the price, you get pretty decent value.
But cheaper beginner skates that cost 50% less exist. Unfortunately, their wheels are 80mm or even smaller in diameter.
7.Rollerblade Microblade Free 3WD (2-5, Kid’s Adjustable Skates)[amazon box=” B07W1VNQCT” title=” Rollerblade Microblade Free 3WD (Kid’s Adjustable Skates)” description=”Kids’ performance inline skates with 76mm wheels at duro 80A and moderately fast SG3 bearings. Fortunately, the frame can accommodate wheels as large as 80mm. Most importantly, these are size-adjustable skates that can be expanded to accommodate fast-growing feet. Affordable, too, though not the cheapest. ” button_text=”View Price at Amazon” price=” “/]
With 76mm 80A wheels, these are mainly indoor skates and won’t work well on rough surfaces. But the frame does let you upgrade to larger wheels so your child can skate outdoors as well. Unfortunately, the frame integrates into the outer shell and isn’t removable.
You can swap those wheels out for 80mm wheels as soon as your child starts wanting to enjoy the outdoors.
80mm wheels may not be the perfect wheels for the crappiest concrete pavements. But your little tyke shouldn’t have trouble skating sidewalks and moderately uneven surfaces.
However, when it comes to going out for mountain adventures with your little loved one, 80mm wheels won’t be much help for them.
It’s a softboot, and it’s comfortable enough for young, soft feet. The padding inside is good, and the level of support your kid gets is acceptable.
A hard cap protects the toe from damage, promoting longevity. Also, this skate is easy to put on and off. I also like that there are no laces to tie up.
Instead, there’s a kid-friendly Velcro strap/powerstrap as well as a cuff buckle. Pretty much any kid who can ride an inline skate can strap on this boot in no time.
And the best part? The Rollerblade Free 3WD adjustable inline skate offers size adjustability. The product in the picture above offers expandability from size 2 to size 5.
That means you won’t need to buy new blades every 3 months. You’ll save money. Simply press the button near the toe and voila’, a bigger skate size for your kid!
One more thing: this skate holds up well to regular use. Your child gets to practice as hard as they can so they can graduate to taller, faster skaters down the road. Unless you end up with a defective product, this boot should last.
- Frame allows upgrading to larger wheels
- Moderately fast SG3 bearings
- Decent support
- Hassle-free closure system
- Offers size adjustability
- Well-padded and comfy
- Comes with indoor wheels (76mm)
- Cheaper kids’ recreational skates available
- Frame can’t be replaced
Overall, this is a good size-adjustable kids’ skate that also allows you to swap in bigger wheels for outdoor use. The price point makes sense, but it could be lower.
How to Choose the Right Rough-road Inline Skates
First things first:
What are Rough-road Inline Skates?
Rough-road inline skates are a type of rollerblades with remarkably large wheels which make them roll insanely fast. Since these blades sit rather high off the ground, they roll over cracks, debris, twigs, small rocks, and everything in between supremely well.
Also called off-road rollerblades, rough-road inline skates are what you need for skating mountain dirt tracks. They’re also the skates you need for skating over dirt paths everywhere else.
With these rollerblades, no nook or cranny stays undiscovered for long. And no path in your geo remains unbeaten anymore.
I’m saying these pro-level performance skates will take you anywhere —everywhere.
Rough-road Rollerblades vs. Other Inline Skates
How do you know the skates you’re looking at are an off-road option? The first obvious and key difference between rough-road rollerblades and other skates is wheel diameter.
While lots of beginner and intermediate-level inline skates have 80mm wheels or even smaller ones, rough-road skates have 90mm+wheels. I’ve seen some off-road skates whose wheel height hovers around 110mm.
Another distinction between rough-terrain rollerblades and other inline skates relates to how you stop on each blade type.
Beginner rollerblades such as the Rollerblade Zetrablade recreational skates feature a braking system, but rough-road rollerblades don’t. More on this a little further down the page.
To stop on skates that have a brake, you lower your heel down until the brake touches the ground and drag. But with rough-road blades, you use other methods to slow down and finally stop. You rely on stopping techniques that don’t require a brake.
Rough-road Skates vs. Outdoor Rollerblades
Rough-road rollerblades are outdoor skates, right? Right. So, what makes off-road blades different than the usual outdoor skates?
Regular outdoor rollerblades roll over uneven surfaces and even rough roads on the street reasonably well. But these skates are limited in some way.
When it comes to exploring the wilderness or gliding down mountain trails, ordinary outdoor blades struggle a lot. In comparison, rough-road inline skates perform excellently on smooth and uneven surfaces. And when asked to take their wearer across the most tortuous terrain, they obey, and they do a superb job.
In other words, both regular and off-road rollerblades have good outdoor performance credentials. But the key difference is that off-road skates can take you to places no regular outdoor boot has ever reached.
Consider These 9 Factors When Buying Off-road Rollerblades
Pay attention to all the selection factors outlined below. And you’ll dramatically increase the possibility of choosing a bad-road rollerblade you’ll love.
1. Wheel Size /Wheel Diameter/Wheel Height
How fast you roll on your inline skates or any kind of skate is a function of that skate’s wheel height. The fastest skates on Earth also have the largest wheels. That’s a fact. And my recommendations in the reviews above include some of those crazy-fast skates.
But wheel size determines way more than just the speed you travel at. Wheel diameter also decides if you’ll trip on even the smallest rocks in the way. Or whether you’ll roll over pebbles, twigs, and everything else as if they weren’t even there.
Generally, larger wheels are faster than smaller wheels, and the ride is smoother than in the case of smaller wheels. Also, large wheels offer more efficiency since more of the wheel is in contact with the riding surface.
What do I mean when I say larger wheels are more efficient than smaller wheels? When you stride, a larger, more efficient wheel turns a huge amount of the energy you exert into forward motion. You end up with incredibly more speed for every push than you’d get with a smaller wheel.
So, what’s the ideal wheel size for the finest uneven-surface skates? Generally, any wheel with a diameter of 100mm or large should be OK.
Some of the best skates for uneven surfaces on the market have a diameter of 150mm or even bigger. Take the Nordic skates, for example. These two-wheeled speed skates have wheels standing 150mm in diameter. See the image below.
Large Wheels= More Speed + Comfort; Less Maneuverability
I almost forgot this, and it’s something you must know. Large wheels may roll very fast and give you really smooth rides, but they suck at maneuverability.
Once you pass the 90mm mark, maneuverability suffers greatly. 125mm inline skates aren’t the best recommendation for skating streets that are almost always packed with people.
Speed skates weren’t built to help people fly down busy streets in large metropolitan cities. These super-fast rollerblades are meant for use in areas where you’re not trying to navigate tight spaces.
Rough-road inline skates are for doing gnarly glides down mountain dirt paths. They’re also your best bet for riding on bad roads with uneven surfaces, small rocks, cracks, and even loose tar.
But don’t ride your speed skates with your eyes closed just because they’re great at rolling over cracks and rocks. Skaters fall all the time, you know. So, watch where you’re rolling.
2. Wheel Hardness, Or Wheel Durometer
Durometer is a term used to express the degree of hardness or softness of a skate wheel. Wheel durometer is a specific number between 1 and 100+. Skate wheel manufacturers use the letter A or B to state a specific wheel’s durometer (duro in skate speak).
Now, the closer the durometer rating is to 100, the harder the wheel, and vice versa. For instance, a rollerblading wheel with a durometer of 85A is harder than a wheel whose duro is 80A.
What about the B scale? A wheel with duro 80A is as hard as a wheel with duro 100B. To convert duro A into duro B, add 20, and vice versa.
So, how hard should rough-road rollerblade wheels be? You want soft wheels for outdoor blading if the roads are crappy where you’re at.
According to Skatehut.co.uk, the best wheels for skating rough surfaces are in the 78A-87A duro range.
“78A-87A is the sweetest duro spot for rollerblading wheels.”
Why Soft Wheels Work Best for Off-road Rollerblades
Why are soft wheels the best option for rough-surface inline skating? It’s because soft wheels are amazing at absorbing vibrations.
If you want really smooth rides even when traveling over uneven surfaces with cracks, choose a skate with soft wheels.
Another reason softer wheels are ideal for rough-terrain blading is that they offer tons of traction. Grippy wheels don’t slide well, but they grip the surface well, keeping you riding upright most of the time.
3. Number of Wheels on the Skate
How many wheels should my bad-terrain inline skate wheels have?
Some rollerblades have 2 wheels, others 3, and others 4. Now, 4-wheel inline skates are the most common and the best option for beginner-level rollerbladers.
But 4-wheel inline skates are rarely a good option for rolling over gaping cracks, larger debris, and small rocks. Unless they’re racing inline skates.
That’s because most 4-wheel rollerblades tend to have wheels with a diameter in the 80mm-90mm range. And 80mm-90mm wheels aren’t tall enough for comfortable use over the roughest surfaces. That said, 90mm wheels aren’t that bad for outdoor skating.
4 Wheels vs. 3 Wheels vs. 2 Wheel Inline Skates
Generally, the more wheels on an inline skate, the more stable and easier to ride. That means rough-road rollerblades are harder to ride than recreational inline skates. Skates with fewer wheels tend to have a shorter frame and larger wheels.
What’s more, blades with fewer wheels are typically lighter than options with more wheels. That’s why off-road riding rollerblades have fewer, bigger wheels.
Likewise, two-wheel off-road inline skates are harder to control than 3-wheel rollerblades, also called triskates. Plus, two-wheeled rollerblades generally come with considerably large wheels.
Consider the Nordic skates, for example. These are super-fast skates for rough-terrain skating with two wheels that stand 150mm off the ground. Remember, the taller the skate wheels, the higher the center of gravity, and the less stability during rides.
But more wheels offer more grip and maneuverability. Why? It’s because the more wheels, the more contact with the ground, and the more grip. While the best rough-road rollerblades have good traction, they’re not as grippy as beginner-level options.
Fewer Wheels and Same Frame Size=Less Maneuverability Sacrificed
A skate with fewer wheels is harder to maneuver than one with more wheels. But even though 3-wheel skates have fewer wheels, the frame isn’t necessarily longer. And that means you won’t sacrifice much maneuverability just because you chose a rough-road skate.
Here’s the thing. Ride a skate with more wheels if your skating skills and skating form still need a bit of work. But if you’re a pro-level inline skater, you certainly can choose a 3-wheel skate.
As for skaters with incredibly balancing skills even when skating at ultra-high speeds, two-wheeled skates would be OK.
It’s better to grow into a skate with fewer wheels than to promote yourself to that riding level prematurely…and end up in the Emergency Room.
Maneuverability with 2-Wheel Skates
Even though fewer wheels translate into less maneuverability, that doesn’t apply to 2-wheel skates.
That’s because the frame/wheelbase of two-wheeled inline skates is shorter than in the case of 3-wheel and 4-wheel blades. And shorter frames provide more maneuverability than longer ones. Get it?
Two-wheel rollerblades have the biggest wheels (in most cases), are the lightest, the swiftest, and the most maneuverable.
4. Price of the Skate
Generally, the fewer the wheels, the pricier the rollerblade. That means that two-wheeled skates tend to be more expensive than three-wheeled skates.
Similarly, skates with a four-wheel configuration tend to be cheaper or more affordable than 3-wheel and 2-wheel rollerblades.
The cost difference results from the fact that skates with fewer wheels are designed for performance and speed. That means rollerblades with two or three wheels are remarkably lighter than 4-wheel skates.
And as you know, lightweight products these days generally perform better than their bulkier counterparts without compromising durability.
So, be ready to spend a little more than you’d spend for a beginner or recreational skate. But I’m not saying all rough-terrain rollerblades are more expensive than recreational skates.
5. Weight of the Inline Skate
As already discussed in the previous section, lighter rollerblades are remarkably better at speed and overall performance than heavier skates.
You want skates built for speed and performance while being able to navigate tough terrain well. You’re looking for a lightweight boot that does the job without falling apart after the first ride.
Some 4-wheel skates are light, but 3-wheel skates are even lighter, and 2-wheel skates are the lightest it ever gets. 2-wheel skates are the lightest of these three categories of inline skates, and also the fastest rollerblades.
I’ve carefully handpicked each option I’ve reviewed above. And not one of the rough-terrain recommendations is too heavy as to cause fatigue and slow you down.
6. Boot and Wheel Quality
Rough-road boots generally are made of better-quality materials than recreational or beginner skates. That’s why they’re more expensive.
With most recreational rollerblades, you’ll usually get low to mid-high-quality stock wheels, usually polyurethane wheels. But with the best bad road skates, you’ll typically get rubber wheels.
But rubber wheels wear faster than PU wheels. So, why use less durable wheels on a more expensive skate? It’s because these rubber wheels feature high-traction tread so you can have smooth, safe rides.
7. Comfort and Support
This boot type isn’t a softboot, which means it may not be a very comfortable skate. These boots are built for speed and performance, which is why your ankles need lots of support.
Not surprisingly, pretty much all off-road skates I’ve seen have a hard outer shell. This shell pushes inward harder than anything you’ve ever worn. And that gets you tons of ankle support and power transfer.
8. Frame Build Quality and Length
As noted above, shorter frames offer more maneuverability than longer ones. But longer frames provide more stability.
You want skates with a medium-length frame that accommodates larger wheels. You need frames that are designed to help you turn relatively easily while allowing you to do rollerblading tricks such as crossovers.
Typically, dirt-road skates come with heavy-duty metal frames that flex reasonably well (but not too much), which makes for good shock absorption.
These heavy-duty aluminum frames are also super sturdy and won’t snap unless you’re the heaviest inline skater on the planet.
And because these skates are pricier, you can expect better-quality, stronger, more flexible frames.
9. Inline Skate Bearings
Large-wheeled outdoor rollerblades travel lightning-fast for the most part. That’s because large wheels roll remarkably fast because they’re tall.
But there’s something inside the wheels that contributes immensely to speed: the bearings.
ABEC-7 rated bearings are the fastest bearings known in the skating world. The vast majority of off-road skating boots roll on supremely speedy ABEC 7 bearings.
But you don’t really need to insist on the ABEC rating. Some companies such as Bones don’t even use the ABEC 7 scale to rate for their bearings. And you know what? Bones are some of the fastest bearings ever made.
If you prefer ABEC 7 rated bearings over other types of bearings for some reason, go for them. Any wheel with ABEC 5 or ABEC 7 should be good enough for powering your rough-road inline skate.
Most rollerblades for off-road adventures come with high-quality rustproof bearings that feature removable protective shields. These seals help keep dirt, grit, and grime out so you can ride without worrying your wheels might seize up anytime.
Let’s roll (Pun intended).
Can I use My Roller Skates Outdoors?
You can use skates outdoors if they’re designed for outdoor use. Most recreational inline skates and roller skates are designed to roll over smooth surfaces such as in rinks and skate parks. To skate outdoors, make sure to wear a skate that’s specifically designed for outdoor performance.
Are Rollerskates or Rollerblades Better for Outdoor Use?
Generally, rollerblades perform better outdoors than do quad skates. That’s because rollerblades tend to be lighter, have larger wheels, and have a longer wheelbase than quads. But yes, you can use quads with large wheels outside.
Can You Rollerblade on Dirt?
It’s not a good idea to use regular rollerblades on dirt. If you use recreational rollerblades to skate over dirt paths, you’ll most likely ruin them, especially the bearings. Additionally, riding regular inline skates on dirt tracks would necessitate cleaning the gunked-up ball bearings. Normal rollerblades just can’t take the level of abuse rough-road beasts such as Nordic skates and other large-wheeled inlines do.
Can You Ride Inline Skates on Sidewalks?
Yes and no. Yes, if your inline skates have large wheels like the options I’ve recommended in my reviews. No, if they have small wheels. Small-wheeled inline skates are designed for indoor use or for use on super-smooth surfaces such as skate parks and roller rinks.
Can You Skate Streets on Aggressive Inline Skates?
Some people do, but that isn’t a good idea. Compared to recreational inline skates, skates designed for skating aggro have small wheels. For that reason, aggressive rollerblades struggle a lot when used to skate over uneven street pavements.
Are Powerslide Skates Any Good?
Powerslide skates aren’t terrible, but compared to K2, Rollerblade, or Seba, they’re not the best thing the market offers. If you want good skates, buy K2 and Rollerblade, but if you want the best of the best, Seba is a worthy brand. But hey, I’m not saying every powerslide skate performs worse than any K2, Rollerblade, or Seba skate. It’s best to try Powerslide skates out to find out how good or bad they are.