Jam Skates vs Speed Skates [Features, Pros, Cons, Recommendations Included!]

Jam Skates Vs Speed Skates

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The two most common types of roller skates are jam skates and speed roller skates. Jam skates are typically used for leisure or recreational skatings such as for solid and flat surfaces and ballrooms, while speed roller skates are typically used for racing and speed skating. 

Speed and jam skates share some similarities: they’re more lightweight and have a lower cut.

Jam skates tend to be wider than speed skate blades because they need more support from their base to maintain control. A jam skate is a type of roller skate that is typically used for performing tricks, stunts, and other acrobatic maneuvers. The shoes consist of large wheels and a metal frame which usually covers the feet and ankles.

However, speed skates come with a toe stop to decelerate at the end of the course. Besides, speed roller skates are designed for roads and other surfaces that have bumps and irregularities.

In this article, we will be talking about Jam skates vs Speed Skates in more detail below:

What is Jam Skating?

Jam skaters are experts at break dancing. Jam skating is a form of skating that is performed on a flat surface. A jam skate is a type of skate that has no blade and no toe pick. The skater can use the side of the boot to stop or slow down. 

The skater can also use the front of the boot to make sharper turns.

Jam skating is a mix of different dance styles, all done on roller skates! You might find break dancing, modern dance, or even gymnastics in this type of roller skating.

It’s also a sport, and there are competitions happening often among roller skaters.

Skaters can show off their own performances either as teams or by themselves.

In jam skating, it’s harder to be good at one thing and people often do more variety of tricks. It’s less about doing perfect tricks and more about having more fun on the surface.

Features of Jam Skates and Jam Skating

  • Typically, jam skates are low-cut to facilitate skaters to perform difficult moves, ups, and downs while dancing.
  • They also have dance plugs (instead of toe stop) for better control, ankle flexibility, and free movement.
  • Jam skate’s frame is pretty lightweight to help skaters move fast and comfortably.
  • Of course, speed skates usually don’t have laces either – unlike jam skates. Laces allow the skater to get a better foothold inside the boot, which allows for faster speeds because they can concentrate their weight onto the sole.
  • Jam skate’ wheels are a bit smaller than speed skaters since they do reverse the directions quickly.
  • Speed skaters can move forwards on a lane, but jam skaters can change their direction at any time. They need to be fast and agile.
  • Wheel hardness depends on your preferences and what you want to do. For instance, someone who likes to skate jam will likely need wheels in the 93A-96A range, but someone speed skating will need a harder wheel at 100A.
  • Most bearings used for skating are 8mm in order to fit on the axles. 608 bearings are the most popular as they’re the standard size whereas 627 bearings are 7mm. These sizes of bearings can be found on artistic skates or special speed skates where it is important to move faster than regular human capacity.

What is Speed Skating?

There are a few different types of speed skating events: some held on outdoor rinks and others, occasionally, on indoor ones. All of them have walls or closed roads surrounding them.

You are not allowed to wear any type of brakes while racing on 125mm diameter skates. Constant jolt for a favorable position combined with the mass start, high-speed walls, and quick 200m track create thrilling competitive games oftentimes won by just a few meters.

Features of Speed Skates and Speed Skating

  • Speed skates aren’t just for racing. They’re also designed to go as fast as possible, perfect for a race! Speed skates trade agility and precision for speed, but they’re still a versatile option.
  • Speed skates resemble shoes; they do have laces and a toe stop that assists with braking. Unlike jam skates, speed skate blocks offer padding inside the boot to provide extra comfort and support. The blocks on the front of the skate provide stability and there’s less movement for those wearing these types of skates.
  • Speed roller skates are low-cut as well, but not as much as jam skates. They typically sit on the ankle bone and allow for more movement. The design is for those who need to be able to maneuver easily.
  • Speed skates also provide lightweight plates for skating distances. In order to reduce fatigue, these lightweight plates are designed to take less energy when they come in contact with the ground.
  • Speed skates are able to go really fast partly because they have grippy wheels. They also don’t need much padding, which is why they don’t typically use wheel lips. Rather, they use narrower wheels – for a better roll.
  • Speed skates don’t have to make sharp turns on race day. You’re always carving on race day, and every stroke creates a clean line. The rink’s guided arrows also help you carve a sharp turn on the floor.
  • Speed skates usually have a long blade, but some competitors like inline skaters will use 3 or 4 wheels. The increased running surface on the blade of the skate makes it easier to maneuver and provides a more consistent ride.
  • Speed skates are generally more suitable for speed skating. A longer blade/wheelbase is required to maintain control when turning corners, as those with a shorter blade or wheelbase will most likely slip off. This, unfortunately, results in a lot of careless skaters losing races due to this.

Jam Skates vs Speed Skates Comparison Table with Recommendation

TopicJam SkatesSpeed Skates
BrandVNLA Jam Skates for Men and WomenEpic Indoor/Outdoor Quad Speed Roller Skates
SizeMen 3/Women 9Youth-Adult (4-9)
Wheel typeJam skate wheelsSpeed wheels
Closure TypeLace-up, Velcro coverLace-up
MaterialNylon, aluminum, leatherNylon
Item weight7.4 poundsNot found
Wheel size62 mmNot found
FeaturesVanilla Backspin Stealth Indoor wheels
Nylon plate with  top-rated aluminum trucks
Tough denim and leather exterior.
Premium frame
2 pairs of laces (pink & Black)
Padded collar
Speed Strap & Man-made uppers
Precision speed bearings
Nylon plates with double action trucks
ProsJam anywhere indoor or outdoor
Soft wheels and durable boots
Stable and versatile skate
Comfortable padding
Speed strap
Well balanced wheels
Lightweight and durable
ConsBe careful about the right sizeHard to skate outdoor with

Other than VNLA and Epic, Sure-grip makes good quality speed skates. For jam skates, Riedell is a famous name in jam skate-making companies line up. Read More: Riedell vs Sure grip.


Can you use jam skates outside?

You can buy a pair of indoor/outdoor roller skates, but many people just switch the wheels out when they want to adjust between using them on different surfaces.

Are speed skates uncomfortable?

Speed skate boots have a high demand for snugness and tightness. They are snug, tight and require some time to warm up to. It goes without a doubt that they start this stiff. They may be rigid at first, but they won’t feel cozy your first few times wearing them out!


Jam skates and roller speed skates have different purposes. Jam skates are used for skating in a rink with other people, while roller speed skates are used for skating on your own or with a few friends or for speed racing. Jam skates have a boot that is designed to be comfortable and support the ankle, while roller speed skates have a stiffer boot that provides more support and allows for faster speeds.

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