Since 1973, most skateboard wheels have been made of polyurethane, which is a long-lasting plastic that holds its shape as urethane provides resiliency and traction to your wheels. Many colors are available to fit your style, like black, blue, red, white, and many combinations. Depending on the size and hardness of the material, urethane skateboard wheels allow you to ride on any type of surface, whether you're cruising, bowl skating, performing tricks, or catching air.Should you choose hard wheels or soft wheels?
The hardness of the skateboard wheels is measured with a Shore Durometer, which tests the resistance to penetration of the wheels. After testing, the results rate the hardness on a scale of 1 to 100. Skateboard wheels usually range from 75a to 100a, with the higher number being the hardest.
- Soft wheels: Soft wheels measuring 78a to 87a provide a smoother ride and have enough grip to navigate cracks and stones. These wheels provide traction, cushioning, and grip, which many longboard riders prefer.
- Medium hard wheels: Wheels measuring 88a to 95a are harder wheels for both fast riding on the street and rough surfaces. They offer a good grip with little scuffing when riding aggressively.
- Hard wheels: Hard wheels measuring 96a to 99a have a good grip and speed. These sizes are acceptable for novice street riding, skate parks, ramps, and smooth riding.
- Hardest wheels: The hardest skateboard wheels measure 101a to 105a. These grind wheels are for professional skaters who can ride on wheels that have little grip on slick surfaces but want a fast ride.
The diameter of skateboard wheels is the distance from one side of the wheel to the opposite side, measured in the center of the wheel. This measurement tells you how large your wheels are. Skateboard wheels normally range from 52 to 65 millimeters. Larger wheels roll faster, making them effective for vert skating, while smaller wheels are mostly for street riding and tricks.
The center core of all skateboard wheels is a standard size that houses size 608 bearings. This center core measures 22 millimeters. You can interchange bearings among all skateboard wheels.What size wheels should you choose?
Your expertise and the type of skateboarding you do will determine the size of the skateboard wheels.
- Small wheels: Small skateboard wheels ranging from 50mm to 53mm are used for trick riding, street skating, bowls, and skate parks. They also provide slideability for slides on the tail or nose of the board. These wheels also give a stable ride to smaller-sized skaters.
- Average wheels: Average skateboard wheels ranging from 54mm to 59mm are often used for beginner or large riders. These wheels are commonly used for street skating, vert ramps, skate parks, and bowls. They are responsive all-around wheels for cruising and trick riding.
- Large wheels: Large skateboard wheels, which measure 60mm or more, are for specialty riding. They're for classic boards, longboard riding, downhill riding, and dirt boards. They're designed for rough surfaces and fast rides.