Home > Outdoor

I Tried Off-Road Inline Skating and Didn’t Die — Here’s How to Mountain Blade 101

If you don’t already have enough outdoor activities on your roster, here’s a new one for you: inline skating, except on dirt — and downhill. Oh, and the skates don’t come with brakes.

Testing the Powerslide Zoom Renegade 125 SkateThe author testing the skates off-road; (Photo/Claire Barber)
Support us! GearJunkie may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn More

Hurtling down a steep, muddy slope with inline skate wheels strapped to your feet is equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. It is a pursuit that many would see as enormously stupid. And yes, I wouldn’t call this activity safe — but it is definitely fun. OK yes, and it’s probably slightly unwise.

Off-road skating, or “mountain blading” saw a heyday in the ’90s and early 2000s, with brands like Roces and Rollerblade releasing off-road models, including a pair made with inflatable wheels. But the trend was short-lived, and Rollerblade cut production of its off-road designs in 2002.

It wasn’t until Powerslide released the SUV model skate back in 2012 that off-road blades were on the market again. In 2017, that particular Powerslide boot, frames, and wheels were revamped. The boot became harder and more supportive, and the material of the frame used harder aluminum than its predecessor.

All in all, Powerslide aimed to bring a hardier, more versatile skate to the market. Now, Powerslide boasts a line of six skates in its SUV series, four of which reach into the downhill category, pushing the limits of this sport.

Apparently, off-road, downhill inline skating somehow became a thing between 2002 and 2022. As an ode to this newish outdoor sport, we thought we’d test the newest — and regarded by some as the best — mountain blades on the market.

In short: True-off road skates are different than your XC training models, as they have shorter frames and the rider sits above their wheels. While XC skates are built to take you on long, striding training routes, the majority of the SUV skates are built to ride on downhill, variable terrain. The Powerslide SUV Zoom Renegade (and its partner models, the Next Edge and Next Outback) skate like your mountain bike on the flow trail. In other words, you wouldn’t take a road bike to the singletrack. So theoretically, there’s a need for mountain inline skates for, well, really anything that isn’t pavement. Here’s our verdict, and some pro tips we learned along the way.

Powerslide Zoom Renegade 125 Off-Road Skate


  • Materials Extruded aluminum/CNC machined frame, 6061 aircraft aluminum, stainless steel, rustproof bearings, rubber
  • Boots Zoom Trinity hardboots
  • Style Ski-snowboard boot hybrid
  • Liner Heat-moldable MYFIT Recall Dual fit (works in your home oven)
  • Closure Traditional lacing, 45-degree ratchet buckle
  • Mounting TRINITY 3-point mounting system
  • Wheelbase 295 mm
  • Wheels 3" x 5" 125mm air tires @85 psi
  • Sizes 37-47 EU
  • Cuff brake system Optional


  • High-quality construction
  • Replaceable components and interchangeable wheels, frames, etc.
  • Smooth ride on off-road/nonpavement surfaces
  • No similar competition — these are unique


  • High price point
  • Hard to pump up the wheels
  • Limited supply in the U.S.

Powerslide Zoom Renegade 125 Skate: Review

Powerslide Zoom Renegade 125 Skate - review
(Photo/Claire Barber)


Powerslide sells a gaggle of off-road models. I tested the brand’s Zoom Renegade 125, which sits in the middle of the pack in regard to price and off-road capabilities. Opt for its two-wheel Next Edge skate if you’re looking for something between an off-road skate and a traditional XC or “skate ski” setup. Or, if you’re an advanced skater, upsize your wheels and frame with the Next Outback 150.

Finally, keep an eye out for the first “pro” off-road model Powerslide, dubbed the Powerslide Next Renegade Werbeski Pro, with SUV 125mm Air Tires.

Design Details and Pro Insight

Off-road blading near Findlay Falls in British Columbia; (photo/Dustin Werbeski)

Even the skate’s lead designer, Javier Rosa Gil, admits that the SUV skate line is out of the box for most people: “It’s weird and it’s different and that’s what catch[es] the people’s attention. But at the end of the day, when it comes to buy it, I think it’s too strange for people.”

In other words, the off-road skate is not Powerslide’s top seller. As far as purchases go, the SUV downhill skates have yet to gain traction. “In sales, it’s not too popular,” said Gil. “But the weird thing is one of our most viewed [YouTube] videos is off-road skating.”

And that’s no surprise. Most, if not all, of the SUV Powerslide promo videos feature Dustin Werbeski, the poster child of off-road skating. Werbeski has been off-road inline skating for over 10 years. He mixes playful street-style tricks with logs, rocks, and flow trails. His technique appears seamless — and he makes the sport look easy. Essentially, he’s the Danny MacAskill of mountain blading.

“Once you start rolling down the slightest incline, it’s the most enjoyable ride,” Werbeski told us. And as a novice who has tried the sport, I couldn’t agree more. For the several feet I could skate uninterrupted, I felt like I was flying. I was in the zone. I was catching the perfect wave, skiing the perfect line … until a clumsy fall, usually involving a rock, interrupted my ride.

“The main problem is that it’s demanding in terms of technique,” Gil explained. “You have to be a very good or better-than-average skater to really enjoy it.”

And here I was, testing the offroad Powerslides — I hadn’t touched an inline skate since elementary school. Oops. Luckily, my limited quad skating skills, skiing background, and mountain biking skills saved my butt.

Testing Powerslides in the Field

Powerslide Zoom Renegade 125 Skate
The gear I brought on trail; (photo/Claire Barber)

My first trip was out the back porch of my home into a dirt alley, where my housemates watched me stumble down our steps to the road. I felt like a colossal noob. I had gigantic wheels strapped to my feet and a fancy MTB helmet on, and I almost ate dirt coming off the second step. But, I made it.

Once on level ground, the skates were intuitive and comfortable. I took a lap around the block, very aware of how odd I probably looked. Though, I was pleased with how easily the skates forded through chunky sidewalk and gravel. I floated down a small dirt incline and felt the exhilaration Werbeski was talking about, but knew I still had to go to the mountains.

(Photo/Jessica McClelland)

Then I gave the skates a run at our nearby city bike park. Post-rainstorm, the skates fared well in the wet soil on inclined banked turns. Riding in soft soil was slow but enjoyable, especially while learning.

On steeper inclines, uphill skating without poles was more like duckwalking, which is why Werbeski suggests hiking and scouting out your trail beforehand. The beta here is to carry the skates in your pack and then pick a “line” and drop in.

Here’s some footage of my initial “off-road” trail testing:

The big test was in the mountains in Idaho. I decided to head for a secluded, multiuse trail. Immediately, I knew the rocks and snow melt would make the route precarious, but I was stubborn. I hiked until snow completely obstructed the trail, and then I unloaded my skates and strapped them to my feet. I had scouted out my trail and looked as far ahead as I could to get a read on my line.

Then I dropped in.

Testing the Powerslide Zoom Renegade 125 Skate  in Idaho
Surveying the terrain, mid-ride; (photo/Claire Barber)

Off-road inline skating is like mountain biking and skiing had a child. And the fun thing is, the skates don’t have built-in brakes. There is an option to buy calf-activated brakes, but both Werbeski and Gil barely mentioned the choice. They both told me to T-stop. And when dragging your foot behind you isn’t working or a hockey stop isn’t an option, Werbeski said he will “choose the wisest path off of the trail and start running … across the hill.”

If you’re wondering, I crashed about 10 feet into my ride, and that progress continued downhill. Despite my woes, the whole experience was fun and scary as heck. I was hooked.


There’s one major drawback if you plan to invest in some off-road Powerslides: the Zoom Renegade 125 did not come with a mini pump for the wheels. After trying several Schrader-compatible pumps I had on hand, the only portable bike pump that would fit in the tight wheel space was Powerslide’s own branded pump. The extra cost could be a bit of a sting to consumers after investing in such a high-price skate.

Off-Road Mountain Blading: Tips to Get Started

An older 2017 model of Powerslides with the SUV wheels.

Who It’s For

If you’re a mountain biker, skater, cross-country or downhill skier, or some mix of the three, you’ll probably really enjoy off-road blading. The exposure is similar to tree-skiing or mountain biking, although the mechanics require lots of practice. You need to be OK with speed — and falling. If you’re a very determined athlete who’s willing to get injured, this is probably a sport for you!

One thing I want to make sure is clear: these skates are fun on very mellow terrain, but can very quickly get out of hand. Remember: no brakes. In other words, the progression to advanced terrain looks different than mountain biking or skiing, and the risk involved feels much more consequential.

Gear We Recommend

Powerslide Zoom Renegade 125 Skate - design
Getting ready for a trail skate; don’t forget a helmet! (photo/Claire Barber)

If you plan to buy a pair of Powerslide SUV skates in the U.S., Inline Warehouse is probably the best bet. Limited supply can make things tricky. You can order extra wheel tubes and other parts online. Oh, and don’t skimp out on safety equipment — a mountain bike helmet is a must. And we recommend some sort of bike gloves (for when you take a spill).

Where to Go

Dustin Werbeski ready to offroad inline skate in the mountains; (photo/Jessica McClelland)

Once you have your skates, taking them on some trial run laps around the block is wise. Beginner mountain bike trails are fun places to take these skates out. Always scout out the trail first by hiking it. And, while there are no regulations around these blades yet, stick to where wheels are allowed.

Werbeski has even frequented some downhill bike parks, like Panorama Mountain and Revelstoke in Canada (notice his choice in approach shoe!). Always follow signage and respect the rules if you decide to go that route. And most importantly, keep a close eye on your surroundings for mountain bikers, or maybe even some mountain bladers, behind you.

Evolve Hadean Carbon All Terrain Electirc Skateboard

Electric All-Terrain Skateboard Review: Evolve Hadean Carbon Is My New Favorite Way to Commute

Evolve’s high-powered skateboards blur the line between toy and commuter vehicle. We tested the Evolve Hadean Electric skateboard to see just how great they are. Read more…

Subscribe Now

Sign up to receive GearJunkie content direct to your inbox.

Subscribe Now

Sign up to receive GearJunkie content direct to your inbox.