Roller skate wheels are universal and when you add skateboard wheels to the mix there seems to be an endless amount of options and choices. All good roller skate and skateboard wheels are made of a urethane compound but they have different hardnesses, shapes and sizes to perform for a particular purpose. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner or a pro, the right wheels can make a big difference to your skating experience. We get loads of people asking what wheels they should get because their wheels are doing x, y, and z when they are skating indoors or outdoors. To save you a lot of wheel experimentation and head-scratching, we’ve put these main concerns in one place with the answers you need to find the right wheel for you.
When it comes to indoor skating and choosing the best wheels for you there are a few important things to consider:
- What kind of skating you are doing – e.g. RollerFit, roller dance and rhythm skating, roller derby, speed skating etc.?
- Is the surface slippery or grippy?
- Your comfort and skill level – are you beginning and still need a bit of grip from your wheels for control or are you an intermediate or advanced skater looking to embrace a bit of slip?
Once you’ve thought these questions through you might find yourself with one of these issues…
My wheels feel sticky, too grippy and slow indoors
If this is you, you might be wearing an outdoor or hybrid wheel that has a 78a-90a hardness rating. We suggest you try an indoor wheel. Indoor wheels use a slicker urethane compound to allow for more effortless and smooth skating on indoor surfaces. For beginner to intermediate skaters we usually recommend indoor wheels within the 92a-97a hardness range. If you’re a more intermediate-advanced skater you’ll probably want to try something in the 99a-101a or move to D scale hardness wheels.
My wheels are too slippery on indoor surfaces
If you’re slipping and sliding and don’t like it or can’t control it then you need to go for a softer wheel. Indoor wheels usually start around the 92a hardness but by all means you can go softer with a hybrid or outdoor wheel. Yes, you can skate on outdoor wheels inside, you just get more grip.
If you’d like to learn a bit more about indoor wheels and our go-to indoor wheel recommendations then check out this blog. For all the roller dance and rhythm skaters out there, we’ve got you covered for wheel recs over here.
There are so many reasons you might skate outdoors, but above all, it’s just loads of fun rolling in the sunshine. If you’re skating outdoors and need a wheel update here are a few things you might want to think about:
- What kind of outdoor surfaces are you skating on – smooth netball court, skate park, asphalt etc.?
- What kind of skating are you doing – cruising, trail skating, park skating etc.?
- Your comfort and skill level – are you just starting out and don’t want to feel a bump or are you a bit more experienced and looking for more agility?
With the answer to these questions in your mind, here are some common wheel-related concerns we hear from people skating outdoors…
My wheels are too slippery
If you’re using hard wheels with a 90a hardness or more outside on smooth outdoor surfaces like netball courts, some asphalt or some skateparks then you might find your wheels have a bit of slip. If you’re not a fan of this you can go for a hybrid wheel in the 84a-92a range for more grip without compromising too much on agility or go for a true outdoor wheel with a 78a hardness for good grip.
I can feel the surface I’m skating on and the vibration hurts my feet
When skating on outdoor textured surfaces, you sometimes feel the vibrations up through your wheels and in your feet. If this sensation hurts or gives you foot cramps then you’re most likely wearing wheels that are too hard for that kind of skating, especially if you’re doing trail skating or a long (non-aggressive) street skate. Go for soft wheels in the 78a-84a range and go big in size like 62mm or 65mm to have more urethane to absorb all that texture.
My soft wheels are too slow
If you’re dancing outside or cruising on a smooth outdoor surface, soft outdoor wheels might feel a little sluggish. If this sounds familiar, you might want to try some hybrid wheels in the 84a – 92a hardness range. You can wear harder indoor wheels on smooth outdoor surfaces just be mindful not to do any hard t-stops that might cause flat spotting. If you’re at the skate park then you’ll want wheels that are 92a or harder to help you get speed and reduce the chance of wheel bite.
Want to know more about outdoor wheels, or our go-tos? Check out our outdoor wheel blog for specific wheel recommendations.
Before we leave you to explore the world of wheels there are some basic wheel reminders:
- Wheels don’t come with bearings so you’ll need to buy some that fit your axles or you need to remove some from another set of wheels you own.
- Wheels can also be slow because your bearings are dirty! We’ve got loads of skate care goodies you can use to give your skates some TLC.
- Don’t know how to change your wheels or your bearings once you’ve ordered them? Check out this blog post with all the info and tutorials you need.
We’ve got a whole bunch of wheels online and in store at the RollerFit Shop that you can check out over here. If we didn’t have the answer to your wheel problem here let us know! Send us a message and our staff can help you out and we can also add your problem here to benefit your fellow skaters.