Timeline of Inline Skates: How Inline Skates Were Invented

Timeline of Inline Skates: How Inline Skates Were Invented

Inline skates and roller skates are often used interchangeably, but there are differences between these skates. Inline skates have four wheels in a single-axle configuration, while roller skates (or quad skates) have four wheels in a two-by-two configuration. Inline skates are occasionally referred to as “rollerblades,” a brand name. While roller skates rose to popularity first, the idea of inline skates may have come before roller skates. Here is a timeline of how the roller skates we know today have evolved.

The early invention of inline skates

Inline skates were first created in the early 1700s by a Dutch person. The primitive inline skate consisted of wooden spools attached to strips of wood, which were then nailed to his shoes. In the mid-1800s, however, roller skating became popular and was the preferred skate.

Inline skate: Alternative for ice skates

In the 1980s, two brothers from Minnesota, Scott and Brennan Olen, discovered an old pair of antique inline skates. Originating from Minnesota– the state known for their ice hockey scene– the brothers thought that the single axle design was perfect for ice hockey training during off-seasons. They improved this design, manufacturing the first Rollerblade inline skates, which soon gained popularity during non-winter seasons.

Further improvements to the inline skate

During the rise of inline skates, Rollerblade was the only manufacturer producing inline skates, and the term “rollerblading” became synonymous with inline skating. The Rollerblade Inc. then developed Active Brake Technology in the 1990s. This brake is attached to the back of the skates, which allows skaters to slide their braking foot forward while all the wheels are on the ground. Without the brakes, skaters had to brake by making contact with the ground by tilting their feet. This braking system made it easier for beginners and intermediate skaters to brake, increasing the safety of inline skates.

Inline skates today

There are many types of inline skates today and many activities you can do with inline skates. Typically, inline skates fall within these categories: freestyle, aggressive, speed and urban. Different inline skates have different combinations of parts that allow skaters to manoeuvre in different ways that help them achieve speed or flexibility, depending on the activity.

Finding the right inline skates for you

With many skates and brands on the market, choosing a pair of skates for yourself or your child can be intimidating. It is recommended for beginners to get skates with hard boots that provide more stability and support on the ankles. Junior inline skates often have brakes to help young skaters get used to braking.


Inline skates are a fairly modern creation with many variations today. We have covered you if you are interested in picking up skating. Hvper Sport is an inline skate shop where you can buy skates online and all other skating accessories. Whether you get inline skates or roller skates, we have it all.