For years, inline skates have been a popular sport in the skating community. And while it is an excellent way to get around and have fun, it can also be a little scary. But that’s the great news.
Look, inline skating is a terrific approach to rolling around and burning calories, which means you will be in way better shape than if you had just decided to drive around. Perhaps that’s why it is regarded as one of the best ways to cruise around the neighborhood or park in style.
However, with the vast popularity of inline skating, there are still many people who aren’t familiar with the different kinds of skates available in the market. Needless to say, having a good set of inline skates is absolutely essential if you’re planning to take part in this sport.
Today, inline skates have evolved and there are now 3 and 4-wheel models available. And given the differences between these two general options and the fact that inline skating is more popular than ever, it is important to decide which is best for you. You don’t want to just look at the cost; be sure to pay attention to the quality as well and make it a worthy investment.
Here, we will compare the 3-wheel and 4-wheel skates, explore the pros and cons associated with each, and provide information on how to choose the best so you can get rocking. Read on!
3 vs 4 Wheel Inline Skates: Overview
Normally, when it comes to sports, everyone is divined to utilize the same type of equipment in order to ensure fairness on the game field. In inline skating, however, skate designs/setups are a matter of personal taste. You’ll realize that some people use 3-wheels whereas others use four.
Well, of course, there are some standards and regulations put in place, but racers are allowed to utilize either 3-wheel or 4-wheeled skate setups.
Three-wheeled inline skates sometimes referred to as tri-inline skates, are meant for fast skating. They are lighter compared to 4-wheel inline skates and therefore can achieve greater speeds quite easily.
On the flip side, though, 3i-skates are not as stable as four-wheeled options, and might not be quite ideal for amateur skaters.
The 4-wheeled inline skates are known to be more versatile and can be a great option for both recreational and speed skating. This makes them a wonderful choice for speed skaters who are just starting out.
And since four-wheeled skates are more stable compared to tri-wheel skates, you can easily stop or make turns as you wish. However, 4-wheeled skates are slower than tri-skates mainly because they are associated with higher rolling resistance.
As you can see, certain benefits may be important to you depending on the type of skating you’re doing. Here’s some more information and our two cents on 3 vs 4-wheel skates to help you determine which one is best for you.
Three-Wheel Skate vs Four-Wheel Skate: At a Glance
If we were only considering the sheer number of pros associated with each kind of inline skate, then we would announce the three-wheel skates as the winner.
These skates provide both decent speed and great maneuverability. So if you’re looking up to being a better or more efficient inline skater, three-wheel skates will suffice.
These skates, however, are not for everyone. In fact, they can be really tough to skate on if you are a novice. This explains why rookies always try to learn skating using four-wheel options.
Note that even though four-wheel inline skates aren’t that flashy, they do provide stability and simplicity when it comes to performance. As a result, they are more suited to newbies.
Continue reading to find out which of these skates is the best match for you:
3 vs 4 Wheel Inline Skates: Number of Wheels
Depending on your preferred skating style, the number of wheels can make a huge difference on your skate. Whether you’re interested in more stability, greater speeds, and maneuverability, there are different wheels that are designed to deliver such results.
Three-wheel skates are the most common when it comes to speed skating. As the name suggests, they come with 3 wheels in a thinner/narrower frame, providing a greater surface area in contact with the surface for excellent maneuverability and speed.
However, three-wheeled skates are associated with a greater center of gravity due to the big wheels. As a result, they’re more prone to tipping over, making them not so suitable for beginner inline skaters.
Four-wheeled skates, on the other hand, are designed with smaller wheels and larger frames. This greater width provides stability and greater contact with the surface, making it easy to make turns and stop whenever needed. And because of the smaller wheels, 4-wheel skates are generally associated with a lower center of gravity.
For beginners or those looking for more tricks, four-wheel skates are your best choice. This is simply because they are substantially more stable compared to three-wheel skates.
And as stated, it’s easier to navigate snappy turns and switch directions when you have 4 wheels evenly spread out beneath your feet. So, if you’re still learning to skate on a straight path or want to perform some slick footwork, four-wheel skates are definitely the best option.
3 vs 4 Wheel Inline Skates: The Size of the Wheels
Most people don’t seem to be aware of this but the location of the wheels on inline skates can affect their overall performance. You can tell the difference between three and four-wheel skates just by looking at them. So, let’s take a look at this.
First, in terms of design, three-wheel skates would suit your foot better than four-wheel skates. This is because the second wheel from the front of a four-wheel skate rests under the ball of the foot. This, in turn, raises the height of the rider, so to make up for this, four-wheel skates must have smaller wheels.
As for the three-wheeled models, this is not an issue. In this, the middle wheel is positioned under the rider’s arch and away from the lowest part of the foot. As a result, the skates may sit lower, and therefore manufacturers can employ large-sized wheels.
But why does wheel size matter?
Well, larger wheels cruise quicker than smaller wheels due to their larger diameter. In other words, larger wheels can cover more ground in just about the same amount of time as a smaller wheel. And as a result, bigger wheels are thought to be the faster alternative.
As previously stated, three-wheel skates have greater space along the plate, meaning they can accommodate larger wheels beneath the boot. While typical four-wheel skates have wheels measuring 70mm to 80mm, three-wheel skates may offer substantially greater alternatives.
That said, 4-wheel skates are generally considered ideal for novices and ordinary skaters because they’re usually simpler to handle and balance and they provide better stability.
The extent of wheel surface or rather the surface area that makes contact with the surface also influences the speed and the need for 3-wheel vs 4-wheeled inline skates in a variety of ways.
Look, while the surface contact of four smaller wheels will be less, larger wheels will provide greater contact per wheel. The more a skater’s wheel makes contact with the surface, the more traction there is between the surface and wheel, and therefore the slower the unit goes.
Nevertheless, if the wheels are too undersized, then there will not be sufficient contact between the wheel and the ground, which could end up limiting the skater’s ability to cruise faster.
So, if you’re a novice skater, you might want to go with a four-wheel skate. However, if you want greater performance and speed, a 3-wheel skate with larger wheels is an easy recommendation.
3 vs 4 Wheel Inline Skates: Stability
When it comes to skating, there is no doubt that steadiness is crucial. This is especially important for new skaters. After all, you’re still figuring out how to balance on inline skates while gliding forward. At this point, a pair of skates that enhances balance can make all the difference.
Three-wheeled inline skates, for instance, are not designed for balance. Well, of course, they feature a lower rider height, but the bigger wheels necessitate larger frames, and these frames automatically raise the boot, jeopardizing your stability.
As previously mentioned, four-wheel inline skates are designed with small wheels, resulting in smaller frames. Consequently, you’ll be lower to the ground, and this will decrease the overall center of gravity. This way, you’ll have an easier time trying to maintain your balance. Furthermore, you may be able to achieve better weight disbursement across four wheels as opposed to three.
So if you are a novice skater, a four-wheel skate can be a great option. Only once you’ve gained confidence and mastered the essential skills and abilities should you consider upgrading to three-wheeled racing skates.
3 vs 4 Wheel Inline Skates: Maneuverability
Skating, of course, entails much more than simply gliding in a straight path. You must also be able to take turns, move in a circle, and change directions in rapid, brief bursts. This is referred to as maneuverability.
One of the main factors that affect maneuverability is the space between the front and rear wheels. For instance, shorter frame and blade will make the skate easier to control, but on the flip side, they also make it less stable. So, which is better, three or four wheels?
Well, beginners may prefer an 4-wheel skate (something easy to control), whereas adept skaters may want a more rugged skate that enables them to execute hasty moves and close spins.
3 vs 4 Wheel Inline Skates: Cost
What if you’re on a budget? Is the price for inline skates affected by the design of the product? If so, which is the best budget option that you can buy?
Well, first, it’s important to note that three-wheel and four-wheel skates are available at almost every price point- some brands and models will be much cheaper or more pricey than others, depending on their specifications and design.
Nonetheless, three-wheel inline skates are generally more costly than four-wheel skates. At the very least, you won’t find a “cheap” alternative for three wheels. As you may expect, bigger wheels are more expensive, and therefore, you will have to pay extra for these skates.
Overall, all of these factors that often dictate pricing might be tricky, but on the bright side, the prices are comparable enough that it boils down to what you’re planning to do with your inline skater.
So, Which is Better: 3 or 4-Wheel Skate Style
It is a bit tough to declare the winner in this comparison. But if you’re an experienced inline skater, you may be better off with a three-wheel skate. These skates are unrivaled in terms of speed and maneuverability and can effectively improve your skating performance.
Still, 3-wheeled skates don’t carry the title across the board. In the end, you’ll be hard-pressed to come across a more dependable set of skates than four-wheeled options. Where they fall short in speed and maneuverability, they make up for that with amazing balance and stability.
This is why we would suggest certain styles of inline skates for a specific sort of skater. For example, if you are new to inline skating, looking up to recreational skating, or are transitioning from quad skates, we’d recommend starting with 4-wheeled skates all the way.
Otherwise, your ultimate choice will depend on what trade-offs you are ready to make to get the right skate that best suits your style.