How to Choose the Correct Skate Wheels
Skateboard customization is fun. It’s part of what makes skateboarding such a great sport. Most discussions of skateboard customization (or personalization) involved the skateboard deck, and for good reason. It’s the part of the skateboard you’re always in contact with – well, most of the time, anyway. The deck’s wide surface allows plenty of color, artwork, stickers and other cool accessories. And the “right” deck width can help improve your skateboard skills
Wheels are often overlooked when it comes to custom skateboard modification. From a pure performance standpoint, wheels are incredibly important for board control, stability, landing, aerial tricks and much more.
So what are the “correct” wheels for you?
It’s All About Skateboarding Style
The two main characteristics of skateboard wheels are diameter and durometer. The first measures a wheel’s total distance from edge to edge. The second describes a wheel’s hardness.
The majority of skateboard wheels fall between 45mm and 65mm. Generally, the larger the diameter, the faster speed you can achieve. On the flip side, the smaller the diameter, the quicker you can “jump” from a complete stop. Wheel diameters below 55mm are great for precise tricks, smaller riders and bowls. Wheels ranging from 55mm to 60mm are ideal for pretty much any skill level and bigger riders. Over 60mm, it’s life in the fast lane – downhill, coarse riding surfaces and even old-school cruising.
Try a few different sizes and find what works for you. As your skill level changes, you’ll likely need to tweak the wheel diameter.
Based on the Durometer A scale, wheel hardness ranges from about 70a all the way up to over 100a. Here’s the key component about hardness: a harder wheel provides more slide, while a softer wheel “grips” the surface for more friction. Skilled riders love hard wheels (for example, 90a), while beginners tend to use softer wheels (76a). Just like diameter, mess around on your board to discover the optimal durometer rating.
Time for a Tune-up?
Skateboard wheels aren’t rated like car tires. You don’t have a mileage figure to reference (for example, change your tires after 50,000 miles), so just use common sense when replacing your wheels. If there is noticeable wear, obvious defects or uneven wear, it’s time for new wheels. The incredibly polyurethane construction of most skateboard wheels means they’ll last for a while. But a “while” means different things to different skateboarders. If you’re a casual boarder, one set of wheels every year may work. If you’re the type of skateboarder who can’t leave
With one of the best selections of skateboard wheels online or in-store, Skate America is your source for top of the line skateboard equipment. We currently offer over 1000 different types of wheels, so you’re certain to find something you like. For questions or concerns about anything related to skateboard wheels, we’re here to help. Call us at 805-823-8140, visit the Skate America contact page, or start a chat sessions for quick answers to your questions.