Beginner’s Dilemma – Quad or Inline Skates?

Quad vs Inline BeginnerIf you’re just beginning any kind of skating, it’s usually a good idea to use quad skates. Quad skates, of course, are roller skates that are designed with four wheels. They create a much more stable base. It’s easier to achieve balance, it’s easier to achieve ability.

Now the downside, as you probably are already aware with quad skates or regular roller skates, is that they are not as fast as inline skates. You can’t reach a high rate of speed on a flat surface, with everything else being equal, on roller skates compared with inline skates. Also, when it comes to maneuverability and the ability to take sharp turns or cut really sharp corners, roller skates leave a lot to be desired. Seriously. You have to use a lot more space to maneuver and make sharp turns.

This is not the case with inline skates. In a way, inline skates were patterned after ice skates because of turning and maneuverability and overall versatility. Of course, when it comes to speed and a wider range of movements, nothing beats ice skating. But since you can’t have flat, uniform ice all over the place, your best best is simply just inline skates.

Now, if you are a beginner, the big consideration is not really speed. I know that that’s what you’d like to focus on, ultimately. I know that that may be your ultimate goal as far as skating is concerned. It definitely isn’t maneuverability because when you’re just trying your hand at skating, the last thing that you are probably focusing on or worrying about is how quickly you can make a turn.

In many cases, your main worry is just to stand straight up and remain in place and then move forward without falling over. Pretty standard stuff, very basic. It’s in this context that it’s a good idea to start with quad skates or basic roller skates.

Quad, of course, means four, and that’s what you have when you are using regular roller skates. You have four wheels in two columns and this fairly rectangular arrangement at the bottom of your feet gives you a tremendous amount of stability. It’s easier to stand up and achieve some sort of balance, although you’re probably going to be a little bit wobbly when you first try this than inline skates.

If you haven’t skated before, there is no comparison. Seriously. If you haven’t skated before or you don’t even know what a skate looks like, you would be much better off starting with quads. The initial stability you get can go a long way precisely because one of the biggest hurdles you face whenever you learn anything is psychological.

If you think something is going to be difficult, guess what? It’s going to be difficult. Whether it turns out to be actually difficult or whether there’s just a lot of complications there, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is your initial impression.

Your first impression goes a long way. And unfortunately, for a lot of people when they are dealing with the stiff, hard plastic shell of inline skates and the fact that they have to stand up with one line of skates, it may seem a bit too much to begin with. It may seem almost insurmountable because you’re trying to do a lot of things at once.

With roller skates, on the other hand, it’s much easier to digest. It’s much more manageable and you’re less intimidated. That’s why even if your ultimate goal is to achieve a high rate of speed when skating using inline skates, it’s a good idea to start with baby steps. In other words, start with quad roller skates.

Now a lot of people might think that this is taking the easy way out. A lot of people might think that you’re not really preparing yourself for inline skate mastery because you’re starting with inline skates. This is not necessarily true. Seriously. I mean, your first objective really is to overcome your initial fear.

Whenever you’re trying anything new, it’s intimidating, it can be scary. That’s why you have to start with an activity that would give you enough similarity to the eventual activity that you’re going to try later on. Roller skating is similar enough to rollerblading that you can build a nice foundation of skill when you choose to learn quad skates ahead of inline skating.

The Argument For Inline Skating

If you’re a beginner, it’s so much easier to start with quad skates. With that said, there is an argument to be made for inline skates. If your main goal is to achieve a high level of maneuverability and speed and you want to start right away, then by all means, start with inline skates. It can be a little bit scarier, and there’s definitely a lot more intimidation involved, but you just need to overcome that and keep at it.

While falling down may not be a lot of fun, the more you keep at it, the better you get at it. You will learn certain patterns and you would see how your body moves, and eventually, you would figure everything out. You save a lot of time because you’re not transitioning from quad skates. You jump straight into inline skates.

A big advantage that you get with inline skates compared to quad skates involves blocking or road imperfections. The way inline skates are designed, its wheels are able to take more punishment on the road. You really have to hit a really major road block or a big gap on the road or some sort of pothole for you to get thrown off balance and for you to fall.

This is not the case with roller skates. Roller skates are higher so their center of gravity is higher and it’s much easier for any road debris, stone, rock or cracks in the road to throw you off your balance. You need to keep this in mind if you are thinking of starting skating by using roller skates at first.

A lot of people who use roller skates tend to fall because they did not use the right surface or they did not anticipate cracks in the road. Now the workaround to this is to obviously learn skating in a completely controlled environment. I am of course talking about indoor roller skating rinks.

If you are sure that you’ll be dealing with a uniform surface that doesn’t have any cracks and there is no debris or rocks or anything on the surface, then roller skates would make a lot of sense. But if you’re just going to go out in a parking lot and try to learn skating, you might be better off with inline skates as long as you can overcome the initial learning curve and the possible intimidation you might feel.