Inline skating

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Softboot inline skates

Inline skates (also rollerblades , this is actually a brand name, or inliners ) are a variant of roller skates in which the rollers are arranged in a (longitudinal) row ( in-line ). The inline skate generally consists of the shoe (or shell) and a rail that is fixed or adjusted to its sole. This usually consists of aluminum, has an inverted U-shaped profile and cross bores for mounting the ball-bearing plastic wheels (rollers) by means of screwable axles.

Driving with it is called inline skating and has the aspect of sporting activity, the exercise of skill and use as a space and material-saving, flexible means of transfer, which - moderately rolled - is sometimes tolerated in closed rooms.

Types of inline skates

Hard boot skates

Hard boots are essentially made of hard materials. In hard boots, a hard outer shell made of plastic encloses a soft inner shoe that cushions the foot. Hard boots are usually heavier than soft boots. Some hard boots can be adapted to the individual foot shape by heating the plastic. Hard boots are particularly common in the street and stunt area of inline skating, as they offer more grip than soft boots. However, soft boots can also be found in the street and stunt area .

Soft boot skates

Soft boots are mainly made of soft materials. Here, fabric essentially fulfills the task of supporting and cushioning the foot. In the 90s, soft boots prevailed in the fitness area because of their comfort and design. In contrast to the aggressive skates , they usually have brake pads on the heel of the shoe.

A special version of the soft boots are step-in skates (e.g. from Hypno, Powerslide or Rossignol ): Here you can remove the rails with rollers and brakes and use the shoes like street shoes, e.g. B. Entering shops or means of transport in which the use of inline skates is prohibited or inappropriate.

Inline hockey skates

Inline hockey skates "CCM 605" with removable and adjustable chassis, approx. 1998

Hockey skates consist of a hard lace-up shoe with a hard toe, which has been adopted from ice hockey and where the inline rail is mounted instead of the runner. Manufacturers of ice skates such as Bauer and CCM each offer parallel models to the ice skates, but there are also brands specializing in inline hockey, including Mission , Tour and Labeda .

The first inline hockey skates had rails with 4 identical wheels on each shoe (there is only a three-wheel version for small Bambini sizes) with a diameter of 72, 76 or 80 mm, meanwhile the "Hi-Lo" has established itself -Configuration of two low rollers at the front and two higher rollers at the rear, this was patented on July 12, 1996 by Jon G Wong in the USA and marketed by Mission . There are now also rails with a "Tri-Di" option, which allows three roller sizes to be mounted on one rail, e.g. B. in the configuration 80-76-76-72 mm. With the different sizes, the heel is a little higher and the player comes in a light template to implement an optimal start. In general, unlike the soft boots, there is no brake pad. Inline hockey wheels are much softer than road wheels and therefore have more grip in order to generate the traction required for tight maneuvers on the smooth hall floors that are usual for this sport.

Speed ​​skates

Speed ​​skate with three 100 mm and one 84 mm wheels

Speed ​​skates are inline skates that are built for higher speeds and are also used in racing. A special feature of the speed skates is the low height of the shoe shell, which only extends to the ankle . This provides greater mobility in the ankle area, which is necessary for rolling on the outer and inner roll edges. Only then can techniques such as double push be carried out in a technically clean manner.

They also stand out due to their lightweight construction - carbon fiber is often used for the shoe - and longer aluminum rails ( frame ). The longer rails are used to hold three or four rollers with a diameter of 90, 100, 110 or 125 mm larger than in the fitness area. In the past, rails with five rollers were also used, the diameter of the rollers was initially 76 mm, then 80, 84 and 90 mm.

The longer and - for the larger rollers - also higher rails make high demands on strength. It can be extruded and milled or cast - from appropriate aluminum alloys. The axis distance from the first to the last roll is measured as the rail length. Some shoe models - rather only those with the relatively small 90s rollers - have a longer shoe length of 1–2 cm from a large shoe number, such as 43 or 44, in order to better adapt them to the body size.

The connection of the rail with the shoe shell is fixed on most leisure skates, but adjustable on many speed skates. In the simplest case, the rail has 2 slotted holes which allow the fastening positions on the screw holes built into the shoe shell to be shifted sideways by about 1 cm. As a result, the shoe shell can be shifted a little laterally over the rollers and the shoe tips can be oriented a little more towards each other or apart. This is important for balance, but also for sufficient distance between the shoe edges and the ground in extreme inclinations. In addition to just frictional locking of the screw connection, the adjustment position can also be fixed by means of pairs of setscrews on the side or eccentrically perforated shims; adjustability always adds a little more weight and possibly also the overall height.

The rear attachment is usually between the 3rd and 4th role, the front one is more over the 2nd role. In order to save standing height, shoes with 100–110 mm large rollers were for a time about 10 mm smaller in the 2nd position - in a lower axle hole. By using a different hole spacing, this was not necessary. Since the transition to rolls with a size of 125 mm is now taking place in the high-performance area, the number of rolls has been reduced to three.

According to international sports regulations , up to six roles are allowed in a frame of maximum 500 mm. The maximum roll size is limited to 125 mm.

In addition to the classic standard shoe sorted by shoe size, custom-made / custom-fit shoes (made to measure, for example, based on a plaster cast of the feet or measurement by laser) are used. In addition, there are shoes (carbon) that can be adapted to the foot within certain material-related limits by heating.

Street or aggressive skates

Aggressive skates with four 55 mm wheels and a V-cut.

Street or aggressive skates are special inline skates that have been specially made for “harder”, more demanding skating, such as jumps, halfpipes , ramps, slides , slalom, climbing stairs and similar driving styles. This type of driving is also called freestyle skating or aggressive skating

In general, they are good all-rounders that, thanks to their maneuverability, are also used for inline hockey, basketball and the like, as well as in the beginner's area, because they are still comfortable to wear despite their high stability. In order to achieve greater maneuverability, most skates in this area have a high-low system , i.e. the wheels have different diameters. Either the first two roles are smaller (or just the first), which you often see in hockey, or the first and last roles are each smaller than the two middle ones (banana setup; oOOo), which is often used for slalom, because the maneuverability is now also better towards the rear.

The wheel size of aggressive skates is usually between 50 mm and 60 mm, whereby the wheels are relatively hard. The inner wheels are the same size as the outer ones (Flat), smaller and much harder ( anti-rocker wheels ), or replaced by a special block (Freestyle). This serves to be able to grind better . This means sliding with skates on railings, curbs or the like. Aggressive skates also have so-called soul plates. Compared to normal inline skates, these are relatively large, reinforced areas on both sides next to the frame. A distinction is made between inner soul plates and outer soul plates, which are usually larger. The soulplates also serve to be able to grind better and above all to increase the variety of tricks. The latest development is the so-called "V-Cuff-cut", which allows more flexibility in the skates.


The small wheels in the middle are called grindwheels. These are intended to make grinding easier (sliding on banisters or rails). Grindwheels are smaller and harder than the other wheels on the skate. This has the advantage that you don't get caught on the bar so quickly, and if you do touch the bar with the rollers, you are not slowed down as much as with the original rollers and you can keep your balance better.

Nowadays, however, not only frames with grindweels are produced, but also so-called freestyle frames. These frames have no grind rolls, but a particularly large groove. That means: You can also use it to grind very thick rails or ledges.

Offroad / cross skates

Two-wheel cross skate from Skike

Various providers have designed and offered off-road and cross-skates within a manageable framework that can also be used in easy to medium-difficult terrain. They differ from conventional inline skates primarily in the air-filled tires of 125-200 mm in diameter, which are usually attached in front of and behind the shoe and are intended to ensure off-road suitability, from (cross) roller skis due to the generally rigid connection of rail and Shoe or binding. Manufacturers were or are among others Roces , Rollerblade or, currently on the market, Powerslide , Skike , FLEET-Skates and SRB . Mostly the skates are used together with sticks ( Nordic (Cross) Skating ), which is very helpful especially on poor ground or on steep inclines to get propulsion, but also makes sense because of the fundamentally different driving behavior with only two rollers.

A backstop for the rear wheels is sometimes offered as an accessory, which enables you to climb mountains like touring skis with skins or cross-country skis with scales. Individual models are also supplied with a mechanism for lifting the heel.

The center distance of the so-called cross-skates is so large that the plate with firmly attached shoes or the binding for independent ankle-high shoes is approximately level with the axes of the pneumatic wheels, i.e. the rollers are in front of and behind the shoe.

Short cross-inline skates with 3 wheels of around 125 mm in diameter and 260 mm or a little more wheelbase are quite agile, tolerate somewhat rougher ground, but have a fairly high sole height. The rail and shell are connected in the two areas between the rollers.


Different roll sizes and profiles, depending on the requirements


Specific wheel sizes are used for the different uses of inline skates. When stunt skating, the skater uses small wheel sizes of 54 to 60 mm. On the other hand, rollers with a size of 74 to 90 mm are used for normal driving fun.

In the area of ​​speed skating, the roller diameter developed from 76 mm to 80 mm and 84 mm to the 110 mm that is mostly used today. In some races, 125 mm rollers are also used. There were also occasional models with 88 mm, 90 mm and 104 mm.

In the area of ​​inline / skater hockey, the roller sizes start at 47 mm for goalies, while player shoes often have 2 or even 3 different sizes up to around 80 mm.


The roller hardness is determined and specified using the Shore A hardness test (DIN 53505). Usually rollers in the Shore hardness range from 76A (soft) to 90A (hard) are used.

Depending on the discipline, the following hardnesses are common:

Wheelbase and points of uprising

The sum of the diameters of the rollers - the first and the last calculated only halfway - increased by at least 2-3 mm "clearance", that is, the distance, determine the minimum possible (total) wheelbase (wheelbase). An extension of the wheelbase increases stability against tipping forwards or backwards, so to speak over the toes or heels, increases straightness and reduces maneuverability. In the case of stunt skates, it is desirable that in the middle of the shoe, i.e. between the 2nd and 3rd of a total of 4 rollers, an upwardly curved, concave trough is integrated into the rail for grinding. With large shoe numbers, i.e. for tall people, extended rails (wheelbases) are sometimes offered.

For 4 rollers of the same size, rails usually have axle bores at the same height. For more ice-skate-like behavior and greater maneuverability, it may be desirable that the contact points of the middle two rollers are about 2–4 mm lower. Some rails have asymmetrical molded parts in these axle mountings, which when installed in a tilted manner result in a lowering of these axles. Due to the greater wear on the front and especially the rear rollers, there is a slight increase in the points of contact at the front and rear even during use. However, rollers of different diameters, i.e. smaller ones at the front and rear, can also be specifically installed to achieve this rocker effect.

If you lose an axle or castor while on tour, or if you want to save weight, you can do without the 2nd of the 4 castors from the front. When overcoming obstacles ( e.g. lying cables, cable bridges ) or edges of sidewalks, it must be remembered that the rail can sit on the roller gap and the shoes must be lifted accordingly. The situation is exacerbated if even both middle roles are omitted.


Ball bearings with axles (top left) and blue anodized aluminum spacers

Inline skate ball bearings are often classified using the ABEC scale (abbreviation for A nnular B earing E ngineering C ommittee ), which stands for the roundness of the balls (the higher the better). In increasing quality, a distinction is made between ABEC 1, ABEC 3, ABEC 5, ABEC 7, ABEC 9, ABEC 10 and ABEC 11.

In practice, the ABEC classes are not very meaningful for the tough requirements (dirt, moisture, impacts) at low to medium speeds in inline skating, as they only specify manufacturing tolerances , but do not say anything about the durability or smooth running of the bearings. In particular, it does not provide any information about the quality of the materials, the lubrication or even friction losses. For inline skating, the number is therefore of secondary importance.

In inline skating, only two sizes of ball bearings are used: the larger and most commonly used bearings are designated 608 (inner diameter d = 8 mm, outer diameter D = 22 mm, width = 7 mm), the smaller so-called micro bearings are numbered 688 (d = 8 mm, D = 16 mm, width = 5 mm). These designations are summarized in more detail in DIN 623, which lists further features of rolling bearings (for example a preceding S for a stainless steel bearing or a subsequent 2RS for a seal that is rubbing on both sides). Since bearings for inline skates are standard bearings with industry identifiers, they can be purchased not only from specialist skate shops, but also from industrial supplies.

All-ceramic bearings from z. B. Si3N4 , which manage completely without lubrication, are more expensive, but also last longer.

For the lubrication of the bearings, bearing grease from motor vehicle accessories has proven itself. It's durable and waterproof. Bearings filled with grease are generally closed on both sides and therefore require little maintenance. This makes them ideal for use in the recreational skating sector, where high speeds cannot be achieved. However, new bearings filled with grease must first be run in over a distance of around 50 to 100 km in order to develop their final running properties. Ambitious recreational and speed skaters, on the other hand, prefer oil-lubricated bearings, which run much easier than grease-filled bearings and do not have to be run in. During operation, however, some of the oil is thrown out of the bearing cage, and the bearings have to be relubricated and completely cleaned more frequently, especially in damp conditions. A wide variety of oils and special agents are used for oil lubrication, from " Caramba " and " WD-40 " to sewing machine oil and special speed oils. Gels represent a middle ground between pure oil and grease lubrication. Bearings lubricated with gel do not run quite as easily as oil-lubricated bearings, but their filling also has to be replaced every now and then.

Ball bearings can be cleaned most effectively in white spirit , petroleum , cold cleaner or diesel fuel . However, these are hazardous to health or poisonous and can be problematic in terms of disposal . A dip in motor oil also cleans, but is less thorough. For household cleaning, washing-up liquid in combination with hot water has proven itself for cleaning oil-lubricated bearings.

Wet bearings that are not stuck with grease, even if they have caps on both sides, can be washed anhydrous with about 3 rinses of alcohol.

Steel ball bearings will rust if they get wet. Oxidation takes place with the oxygen in the air, the originally polished surfaces in the bearing become rough, uneven and abrasive due to detached particles. Stainless steel grades that withstand this corrosion attack are mechanically less resistant to the point load in the ball bearing. On a wet road, the water with which a roller is wetted is sprayed onto the frame and the following roller. So dirty water flows and splashes on and also into the outer ring joint of the bearings. Water leads to rust over time, hard particles that have penetrated it cause abrasive stress - they grind. Bearings with roughened running surfaces run audibly louder and wobble due to play when a roller is tilted by hand. Audible crackling and crackling is triggered by wedging particles in the warehouse that can be forced away, rolled over or ground up.

The company Twincam now has the so-called ILQ bearings ( I n L ine Q ualified ) specifically designed for skating, containing instead of the usual balls 7 only 6 balls. There are also the less common ball bearing classes SG from Rollerblade and Skate-Rated from Bones Bearings . However, they cannot be compared directly with the ABEC warehouse. A change from ABEC to ILQ, SG or "Skate-Rated" bearings is easily possible due to the dimensions (mostly 608).



Roller skate model around 1898
SKF Speedy, 1978

Roller skates have been around since around 1760. Jean-Joseph Merlin is considered to be the inventor . Even then, roller skates were being demonstrated at a ball in London - with rollers in a row. In the course of time, models with roles were continuously developed.

It was not until 1850 (an unknown Londoner patented the first roller skates with four wheels in 1852) that roller skates - also known as quads - were developed and brought onto the market.

There have been many inventions of single-track roller skates over the decades, and they all failed because of the marketing. So: In 1819 the "Petitbled" was patented. In 1910, the Roller Hockey Skate Company developed a 3-wheel inline skate model. In 1938, a journal advised against the use of single-track roller skates. In 1950 there were inline skates with a chassis made of light metal cast under the designation "roller skates". Very similar to today's inline hockey skates was, for example, the product of the company Super Skate by Morris L Silver (patent: US3880441A) from 1973, which was called a tandem roller hockey skate and each had four rollers in one track.

In 1978, SKF in Schweinfurt developed inline skates and brought them onto the market. There were wheels for "hockey" and for the road, as well as screw-on runners. Unlike earlier inventions, it was probably the first time that it was a mature series product. This was taken off the market after a year because the management did not want a consumer product in the product portfolio.


After studying older patent specifications, the ice hockey player Scott Olson (* 1960) dealt with the production of inline skates in order to play inline hockey games. In 1982 he founded Ole's Innovative Sports, which was renamed Rollerblade after it was sold. This one after the other belonged to different Italian companies.

While the two-lane quads with the 2 × 2-wheel arrangement had previously replaced the significantly older inline skates, inline skates succeeded for the first time in establishing a dominant position again and in establishing new sports from the 1990s, in particular inline skater hockey in Europe and Inline hockey with a focus on the USA.


Rubber stopper

Inline skates are usually braked with a rubber stopper on the heel or by placing one foot across (T-stop; rear or front foot across) or both feet. Wide straddles, slalom curves, a rigid stick held back between the legs on which you sit down, sharpening an object, increasing the air resistance, e.g. by straightening the body or a braking parachute (in the sports shop for running training), grasping a railing, Choosing a softer, rougher surface are basically further braking options.

The company Rollerblade also has a system called Active Brake Technology offered. The calf presses the stopper on the floor via a lever while the foot is moved forward. This procedure has the advantage for the insecure novice driver at low speed that he can keep all rollers on the ground and thus stay on track more easily. For higher speeds, stoppers with a larger ground clearance are much more effective because they allow the foot to be more angled and better power transmission. Other braking systems offered worked with friction disks mounted on the axis of a roller, which were supposed to brake the roller when the foot was in a certain position. These never caught on and disappeared from the market.

For braking techniques, see also: Braking in the Inline Skating article .

Web links

Commons : Inline Skates  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Inline Skate  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. accessed on August 17, 2018.
  2. Der Turn- und Sportwart, No. 18, p. 127 Jahn Verlag.
  4. ^ Metall No. 4 Metall-Verlag GmbH, p. 154. 1950.
  5. accessed on May 30, 2016.