Choosing wheels that fit your roller skating style can be an arduous process at times, so we've put together a handy guide to help find the correct wheel for you!
Types of Roller Skate Wheels:
1) Artistic/Dance Wheels - Designed to be hard wheels that are not "grippy" to allow for the dance style moves in skating.
2) Outdoor Wheels - These are softer wheels (78A - 85A) that are designed to be able to absorb the uneven terrain of outdoor skating surfaces (e.g. trails, sidewalks, boardwalks, roads). For example, Radar Energy Wheels and Atom Pulse Wheels.
3) Indoor/Derby Wheels - The wheels are designed for the sport of Roller Derby. These allow the different positions in Derby to be able to stop quickly, go quickly, and go at fast speeds. They are also sized appropriately for maneuverability. For example, Radar Pop Wheels.
4) Ramp/Bowl Wheels - These wheels are typically narrow wheels (55mm-59mm) and are harder than typical outdoor wheels (92A-101A) due to their use on smooth concrete surfaces. For example CIB Vertex Wheels.
5) Hybrid Wheels
Wheels can come in several heights and widths, and what you choose depends on what style of skating you are doing. Wheels that are larger in height/width make it easier to maintain a speed and are great for stability while learning. They are also great for skating longer distances, like trail skating.
Smaller wheels are better for quick movements and faster speeds. They are designed for light cruising and learning tricks.
It may take a little experimentation with different wheels to find just what size is best for your personal style of skating.
Wheel hardness (also referred to as the durometer or grip level) is listed as a number with an A behind it, such as 93A. The higher the number, the harder the wheel is and the less grip it has. A high number, with virtually no grip would be 103A. This is preferred in many styles of dance skating to make it easier to glide your wheels. Slicker floors, like a polished concrete derby track might need a lower number around 84A.
For outdoor skating a softer wheel is needed. The softer the wheel the more your wheels will absorb shock as you roll over cracks and small debris. Most skaters look for a wheel hardness around 78A for outdoor skating. For ramp and park skating a harder wheel is also preferable, ranging from 92A to 101A.