There is a new trend in inline skating and Rollerblading where skaters are zipping around urban environments in skates that look like a hybrid between recreational inline skates and aggressive skates. The reason the skates look like a hybrid mix is because the type of skating is actually very much a mix of recreational and aggressive skating. This type of skating is called urban skating or free skating and users wear urban skates while skating around the city sometimes performing tricks. The type of skating is brand new yet offers a lot of the same attributes as aggressive skating with the mobility and speed of recreational skating. Free skating and urban skating boast two different names but are very similar and can have users wearing the same skates for each type of skating.

The difference between free skating and urban skating

Although mostly similar there does seem to be a bit of difference between someone that does urban skating and free skating. Urban skaters tend to just use their skates to get from one place to another without doing tricks or skating obstacles along the way. Free skaters tend to do more aggressive skating inspired tricks and will skate obstacles when they come along. As the skates used for both styles of skating are urban style skates or Rollerblades you can really do both styles of skating and be considered a free skater and an urban skater or only stick to one style of skating.

If you find yourself doing more free skating than any other type of skating you may want to look into powerblading which will offer you a slightly different frame style making it easier to grind objects.

Free skating skates and urban skates design
Urban Skate Diagram

So, the type of skating is different and at first glance it’s easy to see that the skates or Rollerblades used for urban skating and free skating are a bit different. As you can see in the diagram below these skates offer a shorter frame typically made of a durable aluminum material with much larger wheels than found on standard aggressive skates. You also have a bit more streamlined skate boot but still get great padding and a slightly larger soul area to use for grinds and stalls. You also won’t find a lot of exposed buckles on these skates. This is by design so if you bump the skates while skating or doing a trick you have nothing that can easily break exposed on the skates.

Should you start urban skating or free skating?

There are a few characteristics that would make an urban or free skate right for someone. If you live in an urban city like Chicago a pair of urban skates will help you greatly as you can use them as another mode of transportation when you don’t feel like messing with mass transit. Like we stated above urban skates are going to offer you an easier to maneuver design making them safer for skating around the city. Urban and free skating is also really popular with aggressive skaters that either want something different to do or want some skates to use for transportation and for fun.

You will want to note that many urban skates are not pictured with brakes but will have them in the box with the skates when purchased. You will also find instructions on how to put the brakes onto the skates.