Rollerblading and inline skating are enjoying somewhat of a renaissance.
These skates were wildly popular in the 1980s and went away into hiding in the early 2000s.
Now, more kids (and some adults) are dusting off their rollerblades.
They are eager to skate anywhere, anytime, and on anything.
So it’s not unusual for our customers to ask, “can you rollerblade on synthetic ice?"
Rollerblading? On, what?
Yes, synthetic ice.
This product is popular with hockey players and figure skaters.
These are winter sports, but synthetic ice allows them to skate without the need for frigid temperatures.
When the weather heats up, the ice skates are packed away.
But it isn’t easy to store your ice rink, depending on its size.
So ice skaters don’t mind turning into rollerbladers. Inline skating allows hockey players to still practice their stick work while on shoes that feel like ice skates.
Figure skaters won’t be able to perform their jumps, but they want to know if they can still have fun and keep in shape in the summer.
And some skaters love skating so much that they want to test their skills on all surfaces.
In short, rollerblading on synthetic ice is possible but not recommended for new rollerbladers.
They should try outdoor surfaces like asphalt, as they provide enough grip for the skates.
Experienced skaters can use synthetic ice for rollerblading, similar to how rollerblades work on the smooth surfaces of a skating rink.
What is synthetic ice?
Synthetic ice is a unique product made for ice skating with real metal blades.
It’s made of a High-Density or Ultra-High Density Molecular-Weight Polyethylene, a durable but smooth material that’s perfect for ice skating.
Synthetic ice has been around since the 1960s, mainly in large public rinks.
Today, we can create solid polymer tiles or panels of different sizes.
These interlock like puzzle pieces.
You can outfit your rink in your backyard, deck, or spare room.
The panels are also self-lubricating, meaning you won’t need to reapply a slipping agent for a fantastic experience constantly.
For the casual and competitive ice skater, synthetic ice has several benefits:
- It’s easy to set up. You can have a large rink going in less than an hour with some help.
- It’s more cost-effective over time than creating your own refrigerated rink or natural ice rink.
- Synthetic ice rinks are durable and have a 10+ year shelf life.
- You can move your rink and place it almost anywhere.
- And you can skate all year!
Synthetic ice rinks have grown in popularity, especially since the pandemic.
Over the years, we have helped many customers finally realize a dream of having an at-home or commercial skating space.
So it’s for Ice Skating. But Can You Rollerblade on Synthetic Ice?
Now you can use any ice skate on synthetic ice, hockey skates, figure skates, and recreational skates.
The same goes for wheeled skates too.
This surface is flat and smooth, like the hardwood or concrete floors of your neighborhood roller rink.
In addition, there are roller rinks made with plastic tiles and synthetic flooring!
You can rollerblade on synthetic ice, but there are some conditions.
For ice skating, friction is the enemy.
Too much can slow down the skater, but some are required for the gliding effect on the ice.
For inline skating and rollerblading, friction is your friend. It’s necessary for the wheels to turn.
When you push off, the wheel begins to turn so you can move.
Bearings in the wheel reduce friction for a bit of speed, but rollerblading would be difficult without it.
If you use inline skates on synthetic ice, you are facing significantly reduced friction.
Remember, some synthetic ice panels are self-lubricating.
The smooth surface gives ice skaters as little coefficient of friction as possible.
The best synthetic ice has a 10% variance from natural ice!
With no friction, it can be not easy to generate speed or accelerate unless you are an experienced skater.
You’ll also find that the skate wheels slide more than roll, reducing your ability to turn and stop.
We recommend that you get accustomed to skating outdoors first, then use your synthetic ice or other smooth surfaces when you’re more experienced with your rollerblades or inline skates.
Is it Safe to Rollerblade on Synthetic Ice?
When you are doing any kind of skating, falling is inevitable.
The possibility of injury exists.
Falls can mean a bruised arm, knee, or butt.
In some cases, the damage is a bit more severe.
An advantage is that synthetic ice can absorb the energy of a fall, making it less painful.
Inexperienced rollerbladers are more likely to fall on smooth, slippery surfaces like synthetic ice.
Stopping can be particularly difficult, so you’ll experience more falls if your wheels are sliding instead of rolling.
But overall, it’s safe to rollerblade on synthetic ice like it is on hardwood floors.
We recommend wearing the appropriate protective gear (elbow pads, gloves, etc.) to reduce the chances of injury.
What (other) Surfaces Can You Rollerblade on?
Synthetic ice is not the only surface that’s great for rollerblading. If you go to your local skating rink, you won’t see “ice.”
Instead, you’ll see hardwood floors or smooth concrete.
Both surfaces work and will provide speed for experienced skaters.
Rollerblading shines in outdoor arenas, so skate parks, sidewalks, concrete areas, and asphalt are great options.
How to Set Up Your Synthetic Ice Roller Rink
Think year-round if you’re thinking about setting up a roller rink with synthetic ice.
Of course, you want to have your rollerblades, inline skates, and a pair of ice skates too.
Ice skating on synthetic ice in the winter months feels like the real thing, so you don’t want to miss out.
- Start by measuring your surface area and checking for uneven ground. Your synthetic ice rink can get bumps on a rough surface, making for a bumpy, poor experience. When you have a flat surface, skating of all kinds is much better. Measure the slope of your space with a level. If it is uneven, you can use some plywood board as a foundation first before placing the synthetic ice. Measure your area and get the necessary boards from your local hardware.
- Place your boards down (if needed), then start connecting to your panels. Each tile or panel has ends to join, so use that to your advantage. Take a mallet to secure the rink safely.
- Add your rink walls or other accessories. These bring a professional look to the table. This setup should take place in less than 2 hours once you have all the equipment.
Then all that’s left to do is to skate!
First, test out your rollerblades on it, making sure to wear protective gear and have a rail or nearby walls you can use as needed.
As you get accustomed to the slippery rink, you can build more power and endurance, allowing you to become a better skater.
Have Fun on Any Surface
So can you rollerblade on synthetic ice?
The goal of strapping up your rollerblades or inline skates is to have fun skating, moving quickly yet effortlessly.
You can use your rollerblades on synthetic ice surfaces, but not without its challenges.
The slippery surface can bring some balance, speed, and stopping concerns for the inexperienced skater.
However, the surfaces are comfortable and durable and hurt less when falling.
You can even switch out your rollerblades for metal skates when it gets colder.
In the meantime, be sure to check out our synthetic ice panels here at PolyGlide Ice!