How to Choose Inline Skate Wheels

How to Choose Inline Skate Wheels: A Comprehensive Guide

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Choosing the right inline skate wheels is pivotal to enhancing your skating experience. The wheels you select can significantly impact your performance, comfort, and safety. This guide aims to demystify the process, ensuring you understand how to choose inline skate wheels that best suit your needs.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Understand Durometer: The hardness of your wheels, measured by the durometer (A value), affects both grip and durability. Higher A values mean harder wheels that last longer but may offer less grip, while lower A values indicate softer wheels that provide better grip but wear out quicker.
  2. Size Influences Performance: Wheel size is a critical factor that impacts your skating experience. Smaller wheels are ideal for aggressive skating due to their manoeuvrability, medium wheels suit freestyle slalom and hockey for their balance of speed and control, and larger wheels are perfect for freeride, fitness, and speed skating, offering stability and efficiency.
  3. Choose Wheels Based on Skating Style and Surface: The best wheel for you depends on your preferred skating activities and the surfaces you skate on. Indoor skaters should opt for softer wheels, while outdoor skaters will benefit from harder wheels. Aggressive skaters need very hard wheels to cope with the demands of skatepark terrain.
  4. Follow Frame Recommendations for Wheel Size: To ensure compatibility and safety, stick to the maximum wheel size recommended by your skate’s frame.
  5. Quality Matters: Beyond just hardness and size, the overall quality of the wheel, including its construction and material, plays a significant role in performance and durability. Always prioritize high-quality wheels to enhance your skating experience.
  6. Experiment and Adjust: Don’t be afraid to try different wheel setups to find the perfect match for your skating style and preferences. Inline skating is highly individualized, and what works best for one skater may not suit another.

By focusing on these key aspects when selecting your inline skate wheels, you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed decision that enhances your performance, comfort, and safety on wheels.

Understanding Wheel Hardness (Durometer)

The durometer of a wheel measures its hardness, typically expressed as an A value, such as 80A or 86A. The rule of thumb is straightforward: harder wheels (higher “A” values) offer more durability and are less prone to wear, but they may sacrifice grip.

Conversely, soft wheels (lower “A” values) excel in shock absorption and provide superior grip, especially on rough surfaces. However, it’s crucial to note that wheel quality and construction also significantly influence performance.

Wheel Size Matters

Wheel size directly affects your skating dynamics, influencing speed, manoeuvrability, and stability. Inline skate wheels vary in size to cater to different skating styles:

  • Aggressive Inline Skating: Prefers smaller wheels (56-72mm) for better control and manoeuvrability.
  • Freestyle Slalom: Utilizes medium-sized wheels (72-80mm) for a balance of speed and agility.
  • Freeride and Fitness Skating: Chooses larger wheels (80-90mm) for smoother rides and better speed.
  • Speed, Race, and Power Blading: Goes for very large wheels (90-125mm) to maximize efficiency and maintain high speeds.

It’s essential to adhere to the maximum wheel size recommended by your skate’s frame to ensure optimal performance and safety.

Wheel Types and Specializations

Selecting specialized wheels according to your preferred skating environment enhances your experience:

  • Indoor Skating: Softer wheels (below 80A) are ideal for hockey or freestyle slalom, offering the grip needed for smooth surfaces.
  • Outdoor Skating: Firmer wheels (above 80A) are suited for freeride, fitness, and aggressive skating, providing durability and performance on rough terrains.
  • Aggressive Skating: Very hard wheels (86A-90A) are designed to withstand the rigours of skatepark abuse.

Ultimately, the choice of wheels depends on your personal preferences, skating style, and the specific activities you engage in.

Tips for Choosing Inline Skate Wheels

To navigate the vast selection of inline skate wheels, consider the following tips:

  • Follow Frame Recommendations: Always adhere to your skate frame’s maximum wheel size for safety and compatibility.
  • Skating Style and Surface Matter: Reflect on where and how you skate. Different surfaces and styles require wheels with specific characteristics for optimal performance.
  • Compare Within Brands: Durometer ratings can vary between manufacturers. For accurate comparisons, look at wheels within the same brand.
  • Quality Over Specs: A well-constructed wheel can outperform another based solely on its durometer or size. Don’t overlook the importance of material quality.


Understanding how to choose inline skate wheels is essential for any skater looking to improve their ride. By considering wheel hardness, size, type, and quality, you can find the perfect balance for your skating preferences and needs. Experimenting with different wheels can also be a rewarding process, helping you fine-tune your setup for maximum enjoyment and performance.

Remember, the right inline skate wheels can transform your skating experience, providing the speed, control, and durability you need to skate confidently and safely.

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