16 answers

Roller Skates or Roller Blades?

My daughter will be 5 in August and wants to learn how to roller blade. My question is, do we buy her skates first, let her get used to the "rolling" feeling then eventually switch to roller blades or do we just start her off on the blades which look to me to be really difficult to balance on?

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Thank you everyone for your suggestions. I think I'll take her to the roller rink and let her try both before I actually buy one or the other. I'll keep everyone posted!

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My boys can't roller skate at all they only roller blade, when my oldest tried to roller skate he broke his legs. Kids seem to do better with the blades than the skates.

Good luck, I can't do either lol.

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Our daughter wanted to learn to rollerblade "like daddy" so we found training roller blades at Target. They have a wider wheel base, and I believe the option to make the wheel base wider still (by repositioning the center wheel). I would highly recommend these...our daughter started using them last year (she was almost 4 at that time) and she did alright. In addition, we can adjust the size of the shoe so they last more than one year! We plan on using them again this year. Hope this helps.

Both of my kids just learned to roller skate. My daughter, who is 8, was just invited to her first roller skating party. We were given a choice of which skate she wanted to rent. By far the majority of the kids had the old fashion skates, so that is what we went with. She struggled at first, but was comfortable within an hour of skating. She was asking to go back to the rink, so last weekend I took both the kids with some other family members. My 5 year old son got on skates. It was more of a challenge for him! We were at the rink for 3 hours and he never really caught on to skating without me or the wall to hold him up. He did have fun, though! I can't imagine him trying it with roller blades. We may not have made it off of the bench!
As a p.s. I will say that my daughter's friend is an ice skater and she has her own roller blades and does very well with them. I never taught my kids to ice skate. The few times I tried with my daughter when she was younger were a disaster.
Good luck!

J. ~
Fisher Price makes roller blades that start out with a kind of training wheel that you can adjust as they learn to skate...also, they only move forward at first. I bought some for my grandson when he was the same age and he loved them!

Kids are very resilient and fast learners. If she wants roller blades then get her roller blades because skating on blades and skates is vastly different. My older son learned to ice skate on a single blade hockey skate at 3 1/2 years old so she is capable of roller blading. K-Mart sells a pair of roller blades that are adjustable for 3 or 4 shoe sizes so that the blades grow with the child and you don't have to keep replacing them. That is a good way to start out as they are inexpensive compared to what you would buy at the skate shop while you are still experimenting with it.

J.; yes, go straight to roller blades, i am a roller skater and loved it very much, when roller blades came out, i tried them and could not do them very well, actually ice skating is more like roller blading, withone blade in middle, roller blading has a stiffer boot and you dont use your ankle as much as you do in roller skating, roller skating has a softer boot and allows you to move ankle in the process, ice skating too has a softer boot than roller blading so its not what you are used to, they are all different in their own way, and roller blading used different muscles than either ice sk. or roll sk. so if she can roller blade, go for it, but either way she has to learn to move and roll, if she wants to roller blade, go straight to them, is my thought, take her to a roller rink, and then an ice rink, and then see if she can rent roller blades and ask her what she likes, rollerblades is what everyone is doing so likely she will want those, its ok to do it, just have fun and enjoy life, D. s

I have 5 year old twin boys and we went to a roller skate party one was on rollerblade and the other got the old fashioned skates. The one who got the old fashioned skate is the athletic and daring one/ To my amazement the one who was on the rollerblade did so much better. I was happy that my little geek got the blades because I realize that the old fashion skates are totally harder to work with. My athlete does not give up so he kept trying. I also asked the individuals who provided the skates and who own the skate rental truck and they all advised me that the blades is easier to use than the old fashion skates. hope this helps


My boys can't roller skate at all they only roller blade, when my oldest tried to roller skate he broke his legs. Kids seem to do better with the blades than the skates.

Good luck, I can't do either lol.

Ok, this one is coming from personal experience... My experience...
We never learned how to skate when I was younger... SO when I was about 19 I decided I wanted to go skating with my aunt. The roller skates are like loose cannons. Roller blades support your ankles, and calfs. You can easily WALK in them and not roll away unless you want to. The turns are easier. You can pivot your feet (think of standing like a duck)and just stand there. Not sure about now, but in the late 90's the brakes of all the skates were in the front of the skate... Breaking with blades is easier since the brakes are in the back...
One of the nice things about blades and kids is that you can buy them on the big side and crank the fittings down until they grow into them... Skates have to be closer to actual size which means you are buying more as your child grows.

Both have their pros and cons depending on the person. I always felt out of balance with skates since my whole foot wasn't fully supported... Some may feel like they are hauling a brick with having a longer wheelbase.

I would take her to the rink and rent a pair of skates, let her try them for about a half hour and then trade them in for a pair of blades. See what she thinks and if you notice shes more stable on one or the other...

Take her ice skating see how she handles that and then decide. My daughter did alright with the roller skates, but when we switched her to blades she freaked out. My son on the other hand started ice skatting before he had skates and has never had a problem.

Good luck

My son turned 4 in October and received Little Tikes inline training skates for his B-Day. He loves them. There are two wheels in the back that are on the each side of the track. One wheel in the front that is right on track. Once he masters the "training" part, we can move the two rear wheels in line for roller blades. Even at age 4 inline skates have a cool factor that he prefers to roller skates. He's been in roller skates since he was 2 at the skating rink. For the past 2 years I did the work. Now he skates on his own. Good luck.

I've skated on both and roller skates are much easier to balance on than roller blades. If it were my 5 year old daughter (and I have one), I would get her the roller skates and have her skate on those for a while.

From my personal experience, the roller blades are actually easier to learn! I could NOT roller skate! I had them as a child and was afraid to let go of the wall. I tried on some roller blades in the store. It seemed that I could stand up on them so I bought some. I loved them. Maybe it because there are rules about slowing down and stopping but I, at 50, could suddenly skate. My kids all started with blades(I have 6) and I have put 6 of my 7 grandkids on blades. I will probably start the baby this summer at almost 4. No matter which you put your child on there will be some adjustments and they are likely to need help. Here in Jackson, when we went to the rink, they have a class for beginners. It was very reasonable-included with the skating. The kids pick it up very quickly! Good luck.

When my twins took lessons the instructor said it was easier to learn on blades even though it looks harder to balance. She was right - my kids "got" blades after just one lesson but it took about 4 lessons on the old style skates to stop from falling. Try both at the Skate Zone on Livernois in Rochester Hills to see which works best for you - they have toddler tryouts/lessons at the weekend which are really cheap so you can see what works best for you. Also try to track down skates at the Salvation Army or Mom to mom sales to save cash!!

My daughter takes roller skating lessons and her instructors both say kids should start out on roller skates and than progress to roller blades The first thing kids need to learn when they are learning to roller skate is BALANCE this is key to them being able to skate It is all in the upper body It is much harder to learn to skate on roller blades than skates because of being able to balance correctly Take her to open skate and she how she does or if she even likes it before you take her to lessons

Rollerblades! Both of my daughters (8 and 6) just learned this past year. We went to all the school rollerskating functions and I rented them the skates. They were holding on to the wall the entire time and were very shaky. We recently got them rollerblades, and they are having a blast! The blades give much more support to the ankle and they can turn easier. The first time we went to the rink on the blades, they held on to the wall for one time around, and then they were off and skating. They love them!

roller blades should fine, kids that young ice skate. My brothers and nephew all ice skated young.

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