Can skating on different surfaces really make a difference? It actually boils down to coating!
Hardwood (typically maple) and particle board have a slightly softer surface than concrete. However, falling on any skating surface can potentially cause an injury.
Most indoor roller rinks are made up of either hardwood or concrete, and some are made of particle board. Concrete floors and particle board floors are always coated, while wood floors may be coated or uncoated.
Your overall skating experience on wood floors relies on if the floors are coated or not. The majority of skating rinks have coated surfaces. They are typically re-coated every 1-3 years using a special coating that has a traction additive. This coating wears off over time. If you are skating on a freshly coated surface, the floor will be very “tight” and will have excellent traction. As the coating wears off, the floor will become slippery or slick.
Shuffle skaters prefer a floor with worn coating to allow them to shuffle skate or slide skate. Artistic, dance and speed skaters prefer a “tight” floor for the traction. Coated surfaces provide more traction than uncoated surfaces. Because of this, you will want a hybrid (softer) wheel when skating on uncoated surfaces and indoor (harder) wheel when skating on coated surfaces.