If you asked me “Can you roller skate on concrete?” My answer would be, “Of course, you can! I do the majority of my skating on sidewalks, skate parks and bike paths which are mostly made of concrete.”
While you can definitely roller skate on concrete, there are some important things to keep in mind. 5 of them actually. Here they are in a nutshell:
- The hazards of moisture.
- The importance of proper bearings.
- The importance of using protective gear.
- The risks of skating on uneven and unpredictable surfaces.
- The importance of using proper roller skate wheels.
With the right awareness, proper gear and safety equipment, you can easily enjoy roller skating on concrete and other outdoor surfaces.
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Can You Roller Skate On Concrete? (In-Depth)
To have the best roller skating experience on concrete, these are the things to consider:
1. Be Aware of Moisture
Before roller skating on concrete, it’s important to be aware of moisture. Skating on wet or damp concrete can be dangerous because it becomes very slippery on skates, which will almost inevitably lead to a fall.
Coming from experience, everything becomes harder when you’re trying to skate after a fresh rain. From going around corners to stopping, you just don’t have the same control. The risk of injury is increased exponentially.
Another problem with moisture is that it will cause damage to your skates. Roller skates are not meant to get wet, especially the bearings. Dirt and mud from the wet concrete will eventually cause them to rust and seize up.
If it has rained or the concrete is wet, it’s best to wait until it dries before skating. Additionally, if you’re skating in an area with a lot of shade, be aware that it may take longer for the concrete to dry.
2. Get Some Proper Bearings
There are many different options when it comes to roller skate bearings. First, let’s talk about shielded (or serviceable) vs sealed:
- Shielded bearings feature protective removable “shields” which allow you to clean and re-lube your bearings.
- Sealed bearings have non-removable “shields” which will protect your bearing from dirt and debris, but won’t allow you to clean and maintain the bearings.
When it comes to roller skating outdoors on concrete, you want to be able to clean and maintain your bearings, as they are exposed to much more dirt and debris than indoor skates. Therefore, shielded bearings are best.
Now, let’s talk about materials. The 3 most commonly used to make roller skate bearings include ceramic, steel alloys and titanium. If you can afford them, I would recommend ceramic bearings. They are rust-resistant (although the steel races are not), and more durable than steel.
Titanium bearings are also a good rust-resistant choice for skating outside on concrete. Check out my article on some of the most popular roller skate bearings for more info!
3. Use Protective Gear
Essential gear includes a helmet, elbow pads, wrist guards and knee pads. Trust me, in the event of a fall, you’re going to want to be wearing them (concrete is not very forgiving!)
It’s also a good idea to wear padded shorts to protect your bum from impact. Having fallen on my butt a few times over the years, I definitely don’t skate without them now.
I also wear a mouthguard if I’m doing some aggressive skating in a skate park. Fun fact, that may you already know, mouthguards are to protect you from a concussion, not to protect your pearly whites!
4. Watch Out For Uneven Surfaces
Let’s face it, when you’re out skating in the elements, you’re probably not going to be skating on a perfectly pristine concrete surface. Potholes, cracks, rocks and other imperfections will inevitably come into play at some point.
Take your time and skate carefully, especially when approaching areas with uneven surfaces and loose rocks (those things are deadly!) Always be aware of your surroundings, and you’ll be just fine.
5. Choosing the Right Roller Skate Wheels
When it comes to roller skating on concrete, choosing the right wheels is crucial for a smooth and enjoyable experience. In this section, I’ll cover the basics of choosing the right roller skate wheels for concrete surfaces.
Understanding Wheel Hardness and Durometer Rating
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing roller skate wheels is the hardness of the wheel. The hardness of a wheel is measured by its durometer rating, which is typically indicated by a number followed by the letter “A”.
For concrete surfaces, it’s generally recommended to use wheels with a durometer rating of 90A or lower. Softer wheels are better suited for rough or uneven surfaces, as they provide more grip and absorb more shock.
Harder wheels, on the other hand, are better suited for smooth surfaces, as they provide more speed and agility.
Different Types of Roller Skate Wheels
There are several different types of roller skate wheels to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics and advantages. Some of the most common types of roller skate wheels include:
- Outdoor wheels: designed for use on rough or uneven surfaces, such as concrete, asphalt and gravel.
- Indoor wheels: designed for use on smooth surfaces, such as wood, tile, or polished concrete.
- Hybrid wheels: designed for use on a variety of surfaces, with a balance of grip and speed.
- Speed wheels: designed for maximum speed and agility on smooth surfaces, with a harder durometer rating.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Roller Skate Wheels
Outside of durometer rating and wheel type, there are other factors to consider. They include:
- Wheel size: larger wheels provide more speed and stability, while smaller wheels provide more agility and maneuverability.
- Wheel shape: different wheel shapes can affect speed, grip, and maneuverability.
- Wheel bearings: high-quality bearings can improve speed and reduce friction.
- Personal preference: ultimately, the best roller skate wheels for concrete surfaces will depend on your personal preferences, size and skating style.
The Best Places To Skate On Concrete
These are some of my favourite places to roller skate (that just so happen to be covered in concrete):
1. Skate Parks – Skate parks are designed specifically for skating and offer a variety of features such as ramps, rails, and bowls. While they’re a great place to practice new tricks and meet other skaters, they are not a good place for a beginner.
2. Parking Lots – Empty parking lots can provide a smooth surface for skating. Just be sure to check for any obstacles or debris before you start skating (ROCKS!)
3. Tennis Courts – I love a good tennis court for roller skating! They are a great option because they’re flat and usually free of obstacles (aka ROCKS!) Plus, the lines on the court can help you practice your turns, stops and transitions.
4. Sidewalks – If you’re looking for a more casual skating experience, that doesn’t require a special location, sidewalks can be a good option. Although, they tend to have those annoying grooves every few feet that will shake the crap out of you!
5. Bike Paths – Another one of my favourites, is bike paths. Most paths are made of smooth concrete (some may argue that it’s asphalt, not concrete, but whatever) and can provide a great place to skate with challenging hills, turns and awesome scenery.
By considering these factors and choosing the right roller skate wheels for your needs, you can enjoy a smooth and comfortable skating experience on concrete surfaces.
Can I Use My Roller Skates on Concrete?
Yes, you can use your roller skates on concrete. In fact, some of the most popular places to roller skate (like skate parks, parking lots and tennis courts) are made of concrete.
Can You Roller Skate on the Sidewalk?
Yes, you can roller skate on the sidewalk. However, you should be careful when doing so, as sidewalks have cracks and bumps that can cause you to trip and fall. You should also yield to pedestrians.
What Surfaces Are Best to Roller Skate on?
Smooth surfaces like indoor roller rinks, tennis courts and parking lots are best for roller skating on. However, skate parks and bike paths are great if you’re also looking for a challenge.
Can You Use Roller Skates on Rough Pavement?
Yes, you can use roller skates on rough pavement, but it’s important to use wheels with a proper durometer rating. 78A-rated wheels can handle the rough surface of pavement better than softer wheels.
Is it OK to Skate on Wet Concrete?
It’s not recommended to roller skate on wet concrete, as the surface can be slippery and dangerous. It’s best to wait until the surface is dry before roller skating on it.
Before You Go…
I hope you got the answer that you were looking for to the question “Can you roller skate on concrete?” I invite you to read my article on the best gifts for roller skaters, there are some really cool things in there!