Choosing the right outdoor skates might seem complicated, but we’ve simplified the process by explaining what makes a good outdoor skate, how to identify the proper components, and the brands and products we recommend for an awesome outdoor skating experience. Decide what type of skater you are (or want to be) and follow our recommendations. Whether you’re using a quad or inline skate, skating outside is safe, great exercise, and a lot of fun!
Do you already have outdoor skates?
If so, you can skip to the very bottom of the page for our Outdoor Skate Checklist. This checklist will help you decide if your current skates are safe and capable of exploring the outdoors.
Want to skip ahead?
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Step 1: The Basics of Outdoor Skates
If you want the best quad skates for sidewalks and roads, there are a few basic requirements you will need your outdoor skates to fulfill:
- All outdoor skates should roll smoothly on rough surfaces like sidewalks, concrete, cracks in concrete, and asphalt.
- All outdoor skates should have outdoor wheels made specifically for the skater’s needs.
- All outdoor skates should have a durable boot; preferably a boot built specifically for outdoor use.
- All outdoor skates should have reliable bearings that are easy to maintain.
- All outdoor quad skates should have a soft, supple toe stop for braking.
It is true that you can get away with disregarding one or more of these general requirements, but doing so could potentially decrease the enjoyment of your skating experience.
Step 2: Decide on the Type of Skater you are (or want to be):
In general, you have two choices when it comes to outdoor skating. Those choices are Quad Skates or Inline Skates. Each of these has its advantages and disadvantages. Within the quad or inline choice, you should also decide what type of skating you want to do! Are you commuting to work on your skates on sidewalks and streets? Do you want to dance all day in the sun or on the boardwalk? Maybe you just want to go fast like Ricky Bobby! The choice is yours. Just make sure you do it safely and with the right outdoor skate setup!
Outdoor Quad Skates (4 wheel)
Most skaters choose quad skates for outdoor use. This is because many skaters learned to skate on quad skates in a rink setting. So, moving outdoors doesn’t seem as difficult as learning to skate on rollerblades/inlines.
- Quad skates tend to be easier to stop outdoors and offer easy stability because of the arrangement of the wheels at each corner.
- Quad skates can be reliable outdoors and there are many options and component available to make skating outside on quads safe and fun.
- Quad skates can handle pavement, concrete, sidewalks, rough roads, and cracks in sidewalks as long as the skates are built to handle such conditions.
- Quad skates can be used indoors and outdoors in most cases. Some skaters might need a wheel and/or bearing change.
Did you know you can “convert” pretty much any indoor quad skate to an outdoor quad skate simply by swapping the wheels? It’s true! Choose an outdoor wheel or a hybrid wheel and turn your old rink skates into an outdoor skate! Need help? Contact us and we’ll make sure you get the perfect wheel for your size and needs!
Outdoor Inline Skates (3-4 wheel)
Some outdoor roller skaters prefer an inline skate (mistakenly referred to as a “rollerblade”). Inline skates generally allow outdoor skaters to go faster with less effort.
- Inline skates are great for outdoor use especially if you are skating on pavement, asphalt, sidewalks, rough roads, or even dirt/trails.
- Inline skates are almost always faster outdoors than quad skates due to the nature of the inline wheel setup and minimized friction with the ground.
- Inline skates are preferred if you regularly skate outdoors for long distances or if you want to go really fast on rough surfaces.
- Inline skates can be used indoors with no issues or component swaps.
- Inline skates are generally harder to stop compared to quad skates, but there are several reliable techniques to stop inline skates that many skaters have mastered.
- Inline skates are generally deemed “harder” to learn than quad skates, but the debate rages on.
Outdoor skates are available with both low top and high top boots — this is true for both inline and quad skates. Low cut boots allow for easier maneuverability and tight turns and are generally offered in “speed” skates. So if you want to go fast outside on quad skates, look for a low cut boot. High top boots offer more ankle support and protection and are intended for those skaters on more “rugged” terrain or skaters that are doing tricks in pools or at the skate park. There are no hard and fast rules though. If you want a low cut boot to skate at the park in, do it. Just know the risks associated and do you.
Step 3: Learn A Little About Skate Wheels:
To maximize your outdoor skating experience, you need to know a little bit about skate wheels. Understanding these TWO terms is crucial to determining the optimum outdoor skate wheels for you.
- Durometer – The hardness of a wheel typically measured from 74A to 106A. If the wheel is soft (75A), you will have more friction and more traction and you will go slower (or have to work harder). If the wheel is hard (106A), it will have less friction (and traction) and you will go faster or work less.
- Diameter – The diameter is basically the height of the wheel. The diameter of inline wheels usually range between 68mm and 110mm while quad skate wheels range from 58mm to 65mm.
- The Best durometer for outdoor skate wheels depends on what type of skating you are doing! Don’t just settle for whatever is on your skate right now. Do some testing and use the durometer as a guide to find the best wheels for outdoor roller skating.
The measurements of skate wheels are specified by diameter and durometer. Durometer is normally seen as the second measurement listed on a skate wheel, with both millimeter measurement and durometer, or hardness, of the wheel. For example, a skate with the label “76mm/78A” shows the diameter, in millimeters, first – in this case, the diameter is 76 millimeters. The second number displays the hardness – in this case, the hardness level is 78. In general, outdoor skate wheels are usually within the 74A to 84A range on the durometer scale. For comparison, indoor skates are, on average, in the 84A to 106A range. So, by varying your wheel hardness (durometer) and size, you can optimize your outdoor experience based on your own needs.
P.S. Remember that good bearings matter when you’re skating outside (or inside). If you’re skating outdoors, ceramic bearings should last a little bit longer than a steel bearing and ceramics tend to do a little better with the dirt and grime from sidewalks and streets. Check out BankRoll Ceramics because they’re a great value and perform really well outdoors.
How to Choose Skate Wheels by Skip Clinton
The video below discusses the basics of choosing wheels for skating on different surfaces. Remember that softer wheels are better for outdoors because they have more “give” to allow you to bounce or roll over small sticks, cracks, and rocks. But, softer wheels will also slow you down because they don’t roll as easily on hard surfaces! Harder wheels aren’t good for outdoors and will wear out quickly if you use them outside on rough surfaces. There are also hybrid wheels that can be used outdoors and indoors!
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Safety First – Outdoor Protection Is Important
If you’re going to skate outside, especially if you’re going to be skating on concrete or other rough/hard surfaces, it is especially important you get some protection for your knees, elbows, wrists, and head. We aren’t saying you should go out skating looking like RoboCop or the Michelin Man, but some protection is advised. At the very least, you want knee and wrist protection because these areas are the most likely to get scraped up if you fall (and we all eventually fall). There are many types of pads and helmets on the market, and we have a few of our favorites below. Don’t go cheap on your protective gear, you wan’t something that is high-quality and durable because it’s important that the gear holds up in the event of a fall. The most important thing when choosing any pads or helmets is to get the right fit. If your gear doesn’t stay where it’s supposed to, it can’t protect you. Want it all? Build Your Own Safety Package!
187 Killer Knee Pads
The 187 Killer Knee Pads have improved protection and function. The Knee Caps are held on with rivets providing improved durability. 187 Killer pads have the perfect hard cap and padding combination. Check out all of our great knee pads here!
187 Killer Elbow Pads
The 187 Killer Elbow Pads are perfect for protecting your elbows! These pads are tough to protect everything from you, to the person next to you, to the skating surface. Heavy-duty, perforated neoprene wraps the protected area, providing maximum mobility, comfort and security. You can see our whole selection of elbow pads here
Atom Elite Palm Guards
The Atom Elite Palm Guards are perfect for protecting your palms! Made with High-density foam to absorb impact, Atom’s protection gear is designed to keep you safe. Adjustable Velcro straps create a custom fit and provide maximum comfort.
187 Wrist Guards
Some skaters prefer more coverage and protection for their wrists. If this is your cup of tea, check out the 187 Wrist Guards. These wrist guards are a great solution for wrist protection and is designed to reduce the possibilities of injuries relation to skating and other sports. No matter your preference, we have the wrist guards for you!
Triple 8 Dual Certified Sweatsaver Helmet
Just when you thought the Triple 8 Dual Certified Helmet couldn’t get any better, they have now made it available in their amazing Sweatsaver option! The Triple 8 Dual Certified Sweatsaver Helmet is newly designed to help ensure the safety of skaters worldwide. This helmet is designed to fit various sizes and shapes of heads but also has two adjustable inserts to protect your skull with the perfect fit. See all of our awesome helmets here.
Recommendations for Outdoor Inline Skates
Inline outdoor skaters typically prefer tall wheel diameters. A skate wheel’s diameter is equal to the height of the inline skate wheel, normally measured in millimeters. The taller the diameter of the wheel, the more quickly a skater will roll. An inline skater using a shorter wheel, compared to an inline skater with a taller wheel, will roll more slowly under the same conditions (when the skaters’ wheel, skate, and skater are the same). One thing to keep in mind as an inline skater when choosing wheels is that smaller, shorter wheels require less effort when taking off. However, once the skate is in motion, the larger, taller wheels move with more speed. Inline skates for outdoors are recommended for most skaters and we carry several top brands of inline skates including Rollerblade, TKO (Mota), Atom, and SEBA. We also carry other brands like Luigino that are extremely high-end and should only be considered by those skaters that are advanced and serious about speed. Hopefully this guide will help you find the best outdoor inline skates for asphalt, concrete, sidewalks and streets.
FR2 310 Inline Skates
The FR2 310 is an awesome outdoor inline skate that is durable and handsome. This skate can be customized with colors and kits. The wheels can be changed out, as well as the bearings. Many inline skaters prefer these skates because they can outlast and outperform most “rollerblades”. Comes stock with high-end components made to ride any streets, sidewalks, concrete or asphalt. Frankly, the entire FR Skate line is worth looking at if you’re a serious outdoor inline skater.
Atom Pro Fitness 3-Wheel or 4-Wheel Inline Skates (commuting and exercise)
The Atom Pro Fitness 4-wheel are built for outdoor speed and can accommodate beginner or advanced skaters. Atom skates are made with some of the highest quality materials on the market today and Atom has a history of speed. The quality of the components is relatively unmatched in the inline skate world. This skate will work on any surface including urban sidewalks, rinks, recreational areas, or freestyle skating. This skate also comes as an Atom Pro 3-wheel setup.
Epic Engage II Inline Skate (Indoor/Outdoor)
The Epic Engage II Inline Skate is a value inline skate and can be used outdoors or indoors. It is good for beginner or intermediate inline skaters. Epic skates are reliable, durable, and offer a solid value for skaters. You can use this skate on relatively any surface including urban sidewalks, rinks, recreational areas, or freestyle skating.
TKO Light Speed Inline Adjustable Skate (Juniors)
The TKO Adjustable Light Speed Skate is intended for juniors (teens) that are beginner to intermediate skaters. This adjustable skate is perfect for growing children who need a high quality inline skate. The small size skate adjusts from size Junior 13 to size 3. The medium size skate adjusts from size 4 to size 7. You’ll be flying on these awesome indoor/outdoor speed skates! TKO is one of the best brands of inline skates on the market today and has an amazing pedigree from gold medal skaters.
Quad Skate Recommendations for Outdoors
We offer a few special outdoor quad skates custom-built by Devaskation. We call these “Phreakskates” and they are designed to offer the ultimate performance at an affordable price. This includes high quality boots, bearings, plates, and wheels. The outdoor skates in this line are designed to handle the rigors of outdoor skating and are a great choice for all junior, teen, and adult skaters.
Custom Outdoor Quad Skate Built by Devaskation
This Custom Riedell R3, Mota Mojo, or Jackson Vantage skate brings some of the most popular boots and wheel combinations that are perfect for outdoors. The combination of performance and value has made this skate one of our top sellers for years. Now, you can take this skate outdoors, too. Show off your style with multiple color options for laces, wheels, bearings, and boots. The skate is custom, but you can’t make a mistake. All of the components work together to make a seriously awesome outdoor quad skate. If you need help, just ask!
Jackson VIP Custom (Choose Outdoor or Hybrid Wheels)
Very few brands offer a high performance skate at such a reasonable price, but Jackson has done it with this custom Jackson VIP skate. This is one of the most widely customizable outdoor skates on the market today and generally costs less than $200. This makes it a great skate for young, teen, and adult skaters. The Jackson VIP is designed for 4 major types of skaters: Rink, Derby, Speed, and Outdoor. If you need help, we are always available. Just give us a call or email!
Sure-Grip Boardwalk Outdoor High Boot Skate
Sure-Grip is one of the oldest skate brands around and the Sure-Grip Boardwalk Skate is an awesome skate for outdoor use. The boot is stylish, comfortable, and rugged enough to last the outdoors. Many skaters use these for skating outside. There are several colors to choose from and you can even customize your wheels and bearings. If you need help, we are always available. Just give us a call or email!
Jackson Vista High Boot Outdoor Skate
The Jackson Vista High Boot Outdoor Skate is a stylish, suede skate intended for outdoor use. This skate is actually great for outdoor OR indoor fun! The Jackson Vista comes in 3 colors and features a durable plate, Bionic Abec7 Bearings, and Atom Pulse wheels. For indoor use, swap the wheels to Sonar Zen.
Wheels for Outdoor Quad Skates
Outdoor roller skates differ from indoor skates mainly due to the wheels. If you intend to skate outdoors, it is ideal to have softer, wider wheels like the ones below and bearings like the Bionic ABEC-7s. Soft wheels provide a smoother roll on non-smooth surfaces and terrain. For outdoor skates, soft wheels are also preferable because they more absorbent to shock. Don’t forget, you can always contact us to adjust the wheels offered on any skate you purchase. We are always happy to help!
Atom Pulse Wheels (Most Popular)
The Atom Pulse Wheels are the best selling quad outdoor wheel on the market so if you’re looking for wheels to skate on hard or rough outdoor surfaces, look no further! These wheels are soft enough that you don’t feel every bump, but roll as smoothly as any other hybrid wheel. Check out all of the color options on these awesome wheels!
BankRoll X4 Outdoor Wheel (Most Durable)
BankRoll X4 Outdoor Wheels were developed to outlast other outdoor wheels. They are rated at 78A and 62mm in size. These wheels are great for outdoor skating on concrete, asphalt, sidewalks, streets, and roads. X4s do an excellent job of absorbing shock and providing rebound. For long stents on roads, these wheels are a lifesaver!
Mota Freedom Wheels
The Mota Freedom Wheels are a great outdoor wheel at 61mm diameter and 82A hardness. The name of these Mota wheels say it all. Freedom wheels give you the smooth, fast roll, that you need to skate when and where you want. So, feel the Freedom to go out and explore your world with your skates and let your wings out with freedom wheels from Mota.
Crazy Candy Outdoor Wheels
The Crazy Candy Outdoor Wheels are a very popular outdoor wheel that come in a variety of colors. Like other similar outdoors wheels, the crazy candy wheel measures in at a 78A. Check this wheel out if you are an outdoor skater, you will not be disappointed.
Radar Energy Wheels
The Radar Energy Wheels are a very popular outdoor wheel. This outdoor wheel measures in at a 78A. Check this wheel out if you are a big outdoor skater, you will not be disappointed. The new 57 energy wheels come in Red and the 62mm and 65mm wheels come in three bright colors each. You can use these to skate inside, too.
Atom Poison Savant
The Atom Poison Savant is an even lighter upgrade to the top selling wheel ever that is great for indoor and outdoor use. This wheel is the most popular soft wheel for a reason: it works. Even after outperforming most wheels in the industry, the newest models have been given the innovative Power Lip to increase their grip and give more stability. You can now get these wheels in 5 great colors.
Luminous LED Quad Light Up Skate Wheels
Light up your world with these amazing Luminous LED Quad Light Up Skate Wheels! As you cruise, these LED wheels light up and cause the exterior color to glow magnificently, illuminating your every move. These wheels are available in EIGHT different colors, Blue, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White and Yellow, with a hardness rating of 85A. They sell as a four pack, so feel free to mix and match too! Be a light in the world and glow the night away!
Wheels for Outdoor Inline Skates
Inline skaters are particular about the wheels they use. Each person is different, but in general the wheels that come on the skate packages are usually pretty good. However, some people want the ultimate in performance and the wheels recommended below are the best the industry has to offer.
Seba Street Invaders
The Seba Street Invaders are awesome inline wheels for freeride and recreational outdoor use. These colorful wheels are designed for slalom and freestyle skating. The Seba Street Invader wheels have a wider profile than previous Seba wheels, providing a bigger footprint for greater grip and control.
TKO Racing Inline Skate Wheels
The TKO Racing Inline Skate Wheels are a go to for speed skaters and outdoor recreational skaters because they fly outdoors! Trust yourself and skate at speeds and angles recently only possible in your dreams. The TKO Racing Inline Skate Wheels are durable and made to last on rough surfaces. Enjoy skating outside with the best wheel in the skating!
Seba FR Glitter Inline Wheels (On Sale)
The Seba FR Glitter Inline Wheels offer high performance with some real glittery flare. Don’t be fooled by the glittery look! FR is a high-quality inline wheel made by SEBA — one of the best brands on the market today. These wheels are discontinued and on sale, so get them while you can. They sell as a four pack, so feel free to mix and match colors, too!
Luminous Inline Wheels
The Luminous Inline Wheels will light up your world and keep you safer on the streets, especially if you’re commuting on them most nights! As you cruise, these LED wheels light up and cause the exterior color to glow magnificently, illuminating your every move! These wheels are available in EIGHT different colors with a hardness rating of 85A. They sell as a four pack, so feel free to mix and match too!
Atom Boom Magic Inline Wheels
Do you have the need for speed!? Then the Atom Boom Magic Inline Wheels are for you. Now you can have all the performance of the number one road wheel in the world on the track with these super popular wheels. With MPC urethane and Inline Encompassed Technology, these wheels are sure to dominate the any surface!
Quads vs. Inline Skates for Outdoor Skating
Quad skates or roller skates, are the preference of many indoor skaters: dance skaters, roller disco skaters, and Roller Derby skaters. Quads have a large footprint or surface area, making skating outside more difficult, but possible with the right equipment. Although ideal for most indoor skaters, one small piece of debris can make for a huge obstacle on quads, whereas inline skates are made to withstand rough sidewalks, streets, and general outdoor terrain. Outdoor quad skates feature the classic quad roller skate design, with two wheels in front and two wheels in the back. Inline skates normally have 3-5 wheels in a straight line. There is no ‘hard’ rule to selecting your outdoor skates. Some outdoor skaters prefer quad skates, however, quads are mainly used by and recommended for intermediate to advanced skaters. Quads are used by outdoor skaters that see a benefit in the larger footprint to travel through different types of outdoor surfaces with more stability and less speed, and it is a top choice for recreational skating of any kind. Gaining and maintaining high speed is quite more challenging on quads when compared to inline skates, but as with any skate, comfortability and personal preference is of the utmost importance.
Types of Skaters and Overall Wheel Preference
Different types of outdoor skaters prefer different types of wheels. Recreational outdoor skaters may prefer a medium-size, softer wheel. These wheels offer improved grip and control over speed and impact. Speed skaters looking for inline wheels typically opt for a larger, semi-harder wheel due to the increased roll. Since inline speed skating is usually in a controlled surface such as a rink, the need for grip and terrain control is not as important as the speed a harder wheel provides. Aggressive skaters notoriously prefer small wheels, due to the increased maneuverability they need in order to maneuver quickly.
DevaSkation offers both quad and inline wheels to suit your preference and complete the best outdoor roller skates you’ve ever had. Here are some links to our wheels:.
Outdoor Skate Checklist:
You already have skates and you want to make sure they’re capable of going outdoors. That’s a reasonable thing to do! Go through this checklist to ensure your skates are good for outdoor use.
- The boot material is in reasonably good shape and is not cracking or broken. The material bends easily. The laces are not fragile and work to tighten the boot around the foot.
- The wheels are intact. They are not cracked or broken. The wheels are relatively soft and “give” when pressed hard. Dirty wheels are fine. Wheels with branding or labeling worn off are fine. Hard wheels might be difficult to control or extremely bumpy when used outdoors. Get all the information you need to know about outdoor wheels.
- The bearings are relatively clean and spin freely. A little dirt is fine. Bearings caked with grease and dirt need to be cleaned or replaced. Bearings that are loud or do not rotate freely need to be replaced.
- Toe Stops (for quads) are semi-soft and supple. If your toe stops are hard as a rock and brittle they need to be replaced.
That’s pretty much it! Just make sure you look the skates over and make sure nothing else is broken and you should be set to skate outdoors!