The world is your playground when it comes to roller skating. From traversing the streets to gliding across the rink, you are free to skate where and how you please. One of the most fun and challenging aspects of roller skating is learning to handle various surfaces. Even if you are a proficient skater in the rink, you might find yourself struggling on rough terrain outdoors.
But you might be wondering, can you roller skate on carpet? Indeed, you can! As we will discuss, there are pros and cons to skating on carpet and other types of surfaces. Which one you end up skating on is very much based on your preference and comfort level.
Table of Contents Hide
- Can you roller skate on carpet?
- What type of carpet is best for roller skating?
- What type of carpets to avoid for roller skating?
- How do you practice roller skating on carpet?
- What surfaces can you roller skate on?
Can you roller skate on carpet?
If you are a beginner skater or even someone looking to practice your form, then this is the floor for you. You get the benefit of being in a safe and isolated environment where you can practice skating without as much risk. Falling is not as bad because of the cushioning that the carpet provides.
One thing you need to think about is that carpet cannot replace roller skating in an actual rink or on harder surfaces. You will not be able to go as fast as you would on solid ground or perform certain tricks. And overall, you are limited in the amount of skating you can do on carpet. In time, you need to get yourself out there before you form any bad habits that won’t translate into real skating.
What type of carpet is best for roller skating?
Sometimes you will be able to find carpeted areas in concrete skate parks. But what if you aren’t close to such a place or prefer to stay at home? It is possible to skate on a regular carpet, but make sure that your carpet can survive the wear and tear of your skates.
The best carpet for roller skating is durable, smooth, and tough. No matter what surface you are on, it has to be able to withstand all of the weight and pressure from your skating. Otherwise, you would end up wearing and tearing down the floor, which doesn’t help anybody. And while it is not the perfect surface to ride on, it would help improve your skills as a skater if it mimicked the feeling of solid ground as closelyas possible. You want to be able to ride smoothly without the friction from the carpet holding you back too much. In terms of material, polyester and nylon best fit these criteria.
What type of carpets to avoid for roller skating?
Unfortunately, most household carpets are designed for comfort or style rather than roller skating. These are not suitable for roller skating because of their low durability. You don’t want to be going around ruining carpets all for the sake of skating. When shopping for roller skating carpet, steer clear of anything made of wool, fur, and exotic materials. Notice that these carpets are more of the luxurious kind. While they are amazing to walk and relax on, they are also extremely fragile. They will wear out fast after the strain of handling roller skates. The moral of the story is that it is not worth damaging nice carpets.
Instead, you can consider an alternative to carpet such as plywood. You can find these at your local hardware store in different sizes and thickness that works for your household dimensions. Plywood can be placed on top of your carpet and will provide you with a small but smoother area to practice on. The plywood should be at least 9-12 mm thick so that it is stable and you won’t be able to break it with your toe stops. You might come across coated or laminated plywood, but it might be better for you to get uncoated/unlaminated since it would give your wheels some traction.
How do you practice roller skating on carpet?
Learning to roller skate on carpet takes time and patience, I would say, more so than on solid ground. As a beginner or advanced skater, carpet helps you focus on moving with intention and improving muscle memory. More importantly, you can build up your confidence. The following pieces of advice will help you get started with roller skating on carpet.
Clear out any obstacles
The last thing you want to happen is getting injured because you tripped over an object on the ground. Avoid unnecessary accidents by removing potential obstacles or objects that will get in the way while you are roller skating on carpet.
Feel comfortable in your own skates
Before you try any significant skating, you first have to get used to your skates. It is much easier to do this on carpet than on hard ground because you don’t have to stay focused on balancing at the same time. Start out by making small movements like rolling your skates back and forth, going side to side, sliding left and right, pushing, rolling, etc. If you want a challenge, you can try to do some bunny hops on your toe stops.
As you are moving, take note of how your body feels. What movements are comfortable for you? What is uncomfortable? How do your skates feel? Doing these exercises will help you create muscle memory and build trust in your skates.
Balance it out
As you are getting comfortable in your skates, you should toss also toss in some balance exercises. A lot of tricks and techniques and roller skating will require you to have solid balancing skills. Try to practice standing on one foot at a time and moving around while balancing on that foot. You can do this with and without skates. The more practice you get in, the better!
Fall on purpose
Falling is scary, but we have to get used to it to become better skaters. Practicing the art of falling on carpet in the beginning stages will undoubtedly set you up for success. However, don’t mistake this as advice to intentionally put yourself in danger just for the sake of falling. All you need to do is either fall on your knees or to the side from a standing position.
Even though you are on the carpet, it is highly recommended for you to have your protective gear on since you will have these on in normal circumstances. When you fall, try to understand how it feels, just like how you were getting adjusted to your skates. Experiment and find the best ways for you to avoid getting hurt. Your future self will thank you.
Learn how to stop
Stopping is the next maneuver you want to learn. Although you cannot replicate the fast speeds that you will be going at in real skating, carpet flooring gives you the advantage of practicing movements without having to account for other external factors. One of the most common ways to stop on roller skates is the “toe stop drag”. As you are skating forward, put all of your weight on the leg that is most comfortable for you and drop the opposite toe stop down to the ground. Try not to let your opposite leg drag too far back, or else you may lose your balance.
What surfaces can you roller skate on?
The type of surface that you are roller skating on can make or break your experience. However, it also depends on what type of skater you are. Different surfaces are better for certain types of skating than others. Below you will find the most common surfaces/floorings for skaters.
Can you roller skate on concrete?
Concrete is a popular form of flooring that you will find at many skating rinks because it is cheap and durable. Many skaters describe it as being slick and slippery. This is not the most ideal surface for beginner skaters as it may take more time to adjust to. On the other hand, jam and speed skaters will have a blast on concrete. The slicker floors make it easier to spin or perform any power moves. The only downside to it is that when you fall, you fall pretty hard. Since there is no cushioning in concrete, it can be painful for skaters who get into accidents.
As a result, you are more prone to injury because of how hard the surface is on your joints. Some concrete floors have a lot of small dips, cracks, and waves that can catch you off-guard if you are not careful.
Can you roller skate on wood?
Roller rinks also commonly have wooden flooring. Unlike concrete, wood has more grip and is “stickier”, which is ideal for beginners and skaters that like ground work. Many skaters prefer wooden surfaces because of their smoothness, traction, flexibility, and cushioning. Your landings on this floor will still hurt, but it is nothing compared to concrete. You will notice that there are different types of wooden flooring. Skaters across the board agree that maple rotunda wood flooring provides the best experience.
This specific wood curves through the turns, providing better tracking for wheels. In turn, you will have a much smoother ride because of how well your wheels roll and grip with the grain of the floor.
Can you roller skate on rubber floors?
Rubber floors are made of propylene and usually come in tiles that can be connected together. The surface typicallycontains holes to help drain rainwater or allow heat to escape. It has a variety of uses in the sports world, including roller skating, basketball, and volleyball. If you have a need for speed, you should probably avoid rubber. It is more suitable for children and beginners who need extra support and are going at a slower pace.
Outside of rubber tiling, try to avoid running tracks that are made of rubber mixed with asphalt. Skaters who have tried this surface out have regretted it since it slowed them down and gave them no roll. Instead, it is recommendedto seek out running tracks made of entirely asphalt.
Can you roller skate on plastic floors?
This type of flooring is usually made out of copolymer polypropylene (plastic) tiles that are versatile enough to be used for basketball and tennis. Sometimes it is referred to as “skate court” or “versacourt” flooring, which refer to the specific brands that make these plastic tiles. It has low adhesion and no roughness, which makes it optimal for roller hockey and roller derby, but not as much for casual skating.
The built-in suspension system also makes it easy on your knees, joints, and back. People have complained that plastic surfaces can be too noisy, bumpy, and hard to pick up speed. You may experience “road rash” or skin burns if you fall on the exposed parts of your body.
Can you roller skate on grass?
Although grass is not a typical skating surface, it is great for beginners starting out who need that extra support and stability. If you are at this level, it is recommended that you don’t rely on grass as you cannot properly roller skate on this surface. Grass is great for getting used to the feeling of your skates, how you move in them, learning tricks, and most importantly, how to fall. As we spoke in extensive detail, other surfaces are not so forgiving when you get into an accident.
When you practice the act of falling, you not only overcome this fear but can also prevent serious injuries later down the line.
Outdoor sidewalks, pavement, concrete, and asphalt
Besides flooring made specifically for skating, you can take advantage of the flat surfaces right outside of your home. Although it may not seem that different from skating on the other surfaces described above, it is highly recommended for you to make sure you are comfortable before fully diving into outdoor skating. The surfaces that we encounter in the rink are predictable.
Outdoor surfaces are much more challenging to skate on because of the obstacles you will inevitably encounter. Some are foreseeable, while others rely on solid skating techniques for you to get through them on roller skates. But it is possible even for beginner skaters to conquer and can be fun once you get the hang of it. You can read our article on how to roller skate outside for beginners for some tips to get you started.
Carpet flooring can help you lay a solid foundation in the basics when you start skating. Even though it is not a replacement for roller skating on solid ground, it can help you build muscle memory and focus on learning techniques crucial to your success later on. However, not all carpets are made equal. You want to be skating on carpet that can hold up no matter how much you skate. Otherwise, you can always buy a piece of plywood to place on top of carpet.
Once you feel confident in yourself, you can move onto hard surfaces such as concrete or wood. Your experience will vary based on the type of surface you are on, so feel free to try them out to see how you feel.