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16 Best Roller Skate Wheels of 2023: The Ultimate Guide

Roller skate wheels are the most important part of your roller skates. And, in this article, I will go over the best roller skate wheels on the market today plus give you tons of tips about what to look for before you buy.

I will give you my top picks whether you are indoor or outdoor skating. I’ll also go over the best roller skate wheels for the popular roller sports like roller derby, hockey, speed skating, jam skating and artistic roller skating. Finally, we’ll go over the best roller skate wheels for beginners and also the best light up wheels for those of you out there who want a little bling and want to turn some heads.

I also have one of the most thorough roller skate wheel guides below my recommendations. This will give you the Top 10 Tips for Buying the Perfect Roller Skate Wheels, so be sure to check that out below, too!

If you need quad or inline skates, be sure to check out my Best Roller Skates and Best Rollerblades and Inline Skates pages. Also, if you are just starting out, please check out my How to Roller Skate and How to Rollerblade pages where I go over all the basics for getting started with skating.

Let’s get started!

The Best Wheels for Your Roller Skates

Below is our quick table that shows you our top picks for roller skate wheels:

Wheel NameWheel CategoryCheck Price
Atom Pulse WheelsPinAtom PulseBest Outdoor Roller Skate WheelsCheck Price at Amazon
Sue-Grip MotionPinSure-Grip MotionOutdoor Roller Skate Wheels (Runner-Up)Check Price at AmazonCheck Price on Roller Skate Nation
Check Price at Roller Skate Dad
RollerBones TurboPinRoller Bones TurboBest Indoor Roller Skate Wheels / Best Speed Skate WheelsCheck Price at AmazonCheck Price on Roller Skate Nation
Check Price at Roller Skate Dad
Sure-Grip Fame Roller Skate WheelsPinSure-Grip FameIndoor Roller Skate Wheels (Runner-Up)Check Price at AmazonCheck Price on Roller Skate Nation
Check Price at Roller Skate Dad
Sure-Grip Hyper Shaman Speed Skate WheelsPinSure-Grip Hyper ShamanBest Speed Skate Wheels (Runner-Up)Check Price at AmazonCheck Price on Roller Skate Nation
Check Price at Roller Skate Dad
Sure-Grip Monza Speed Skate WheelsPinSure-Grip MonzaSpeed Skate Wheels (4th)Check Price at AmazonCheck Price on Roller Skate Nation
Check Price at Roller Skate Dad
Roller Bones Elite Artistic Roller Skate WheelsPinRollerbones EliteBest Artistic Roller Skate WheelsCheck Price at AmazonCheck Price on Roller Skate Nation
Check Price at Roller Skate Dad
Sure-Grip Zombie Roller Derby WheelsPinSure-Grip ZombieBest Roller Derby WheelsCheck Price at AmazonCheck Price on Roller Skate Nation
Atom Poison Savant Roller Derby WheelsPinAtom Poison SavantRoller Derby Wheels (Runner-Up)Check Price at Amazon
Labeda Addiction Grip Roller Hockey WheelsPinLabeda Addiction GripBest Roller Hockey WheelsCheck Price at AmazonCheck Price at Pure Hockey
Sure-Grip Boardwalk Roller Skate WheelsPinSure-Grip BoardwalkBest Skate Wheels for BeginnersCheck Price at AmazonCheck Price on Roller Skate Nation
Volcanic Dazzle Hybrid Light Up Roller Skate WheelsPinVolcanicBest Light Up WheelsCheck Price on Roller Skate Nation
Firefly Light Up Roller Skate WheelsPinFireflyLight Up Wheels (Runner-Up)Check Price at Amazon
Sure-Grip Wood WheelsPinSure-Grip WoodBest Roller Skate Wheels for Sliding & Rhythm SkatingCheck Price at Amazon
VNLA Backspin Eclipse Roller Skate WheelsPinVNLA Backspin Eclipse WheelsBest Jam Skating WheelsCheck Price at AmazonCheck Price on Roller Skate Nation
Sure-Grip Velvet WheelsPinSure-Grip VelvetBest Wheels for DancingCheck Price at AmazonCheck Price on Roller Skate Nation

Outdoor Roller Skate Wheels

Atom Pulse

The Atom Pulse is my favorite quad outdoor skating wheel on the market today. These are just awesome wheels. When you are roller skating outdoors, it’s important that you have soft wheels. Harder wheels are better for indoor roller skating, whereas softer wheels are better for outdoor skating where you’ll come into contact with rough surfaces like asphalt and concrete.

These soft wheels are 65mm tall and 37 mm wide so they are skinnier than the roller derby and speed wheels that I discuss later but the perfect width and height for beginners and outdoor skating.

The Atom Pulse also has a 78A durometer, which is just a fancy tool that is used to measure wheel hardness. Different roller skate wheels have different hardness scales. 78A is perfect for outdoors whereas something in the mid-90s and up is good for indoors (see below for more details).

Finally, these wheels come in a variety of fun colors including blue, purple, green, pink and black. So, there is a color for whatever mood you’re in on outdoor skating day. I own the Atom Pulse pink wheels and they look awesome on my outdoor roller skates.

Also, please note that these outdoor wheels are often sold in 4 packs. So, unless you plan on skating on only one skate, be sure to order 2. One cool thing about a 4 pack is you can buy 2 colors and mix and match.

Sure-Grip Motion (Runner-Up)

Next up, we have the Sure-Grip Motion. Like the Pulse, the Motion is also a great outdoor skating wheel. It weighs in with a 78A hardness rating which is just right for roller skating outdoors. These softer wheels are great for not making your legs jiggle and vibrate as much on rough asphalt.

The Motion measure up at 62mm tall and 38mm wide, so they are just a little wider than the Atom Pulse. Also like the Pulse, these skate wheels come in a variety of colors including: black, pink, red, purple and teal. Something for everyone.

Finally, just like the Pulse, these wheels are often sold in 4 packs. Perfect for mixing those colors up if you are so inclined.

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Indoor Roller Skate Wheels / Speed Skate Wheels

Roller Bones Turbo

My favorite indoor skate wheels are the Roller Bones Turbo. The Turbo is one of the best all-around wheels on the market. Great for speed skating, roller derby or serious recreational skating, its an awesome wheel.

It comes in a variety of wheel hardness including 80A,85A, 88A, 92A, 97A or 101A. With the 80A-88A, you could even wear these outdoors. With all of those wheel hardness types to choose from, you can mix and match your wheel to your skating surface easily.

The Turbo wheels are 62mm tall and 38mm wide. They come with extruded aluminum hubs which are perfect for extra stability, more roll and excellent ability to take the full force of each of your pushes.

If you want narrow wheels that are perfect for quad skating, then give these wheels a try.

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Sure-Grip Fame (Runner-Up)

Our best indoor quad wheels runner up are the Sure-Grip Fame. These wheels also come on the popular Sure Grip Fame Roller Skates – one of our recommended roller skates for beginners. These wheels are great for indoors. They have a 95A hardness making them great for the roller rink though they could be used outdoors on really polished concrete.

These wheels are great for both recreational and artistic skating and roll smoothly. The Fame are smaller wheels that come in at 57mm tall and 30mm wide. This smaller wheel profile helps when doing artistic skating.

The Fame come in two different wheel types: a clear wheel you can see through and a more matte version that is not transparent. The transparent wheels come in clear pink, red, purple, and teal. The matte version come in white, black, blue and aqua.

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Quad Speed Skate Wheels

Sure-Grip Hyper Shaman (Runner-Up)


If you feel the need for speed, then the Hyper Shaman wheels by Sure-Grip are your ticket. These wheels come in 4 different hardness types: 97A (white), 95A (red / pink), 93A (green) and 84A (blue).

The blue 84A is good for outdoors and is the grippiest wheel. The other 3 colors are best for indoors depending on how fast you want to go and the surface you normally speed skate on. The white wheel will be the fastest at 97A, but will have the least grip. Whereas the 93A will have the most grip out of the indoor wheels.

This wheel is wider than a lot of the other wheels listed here because it is a speed skate wheel. You want a large contact patch to be able to push from, that’s the reason for the extra width. This wheel is 62mm tall and a whopping 40mm wide.

The Shaman also come with a full size aluminum hub allowing the urethane wheel to perform with greater top end speed. The Shaman wheels have intense grip and different hardness ratings per color so you can maximize your speed options.

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Sure-Grip Monza (4th)

Our runner-up in the speed skate category are the Sure-Grip Monza. This wheels is new to the Sure-Grip line. This brand new compound was designed to work better than its predecessor, the Power Plus wheel, which was completely redesigned to offer a better look and feel.

This wheels is actually a cross between two of Sure-Grip’s most popular wheels – the Zombie and Hyper Cannibal wheels. The Monza has the grip of the Zombie and the speed of the Cannibal wheels – my old favorites.

These speed skate wheels come in 3 different wheel hardnesses including 93A (purple), 95A (red or gray) and 98A (teal) allowing you to find the right wheel for your skating surface.

The Monza also have a machined aluminum hub. This allows for maximum power on your pushes and makes sure your wheels roll strong. These wheels are even wider than the Shaman, coming in at 42mm wide and 62mm tall.

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Artistic Roller Skate Wheels

Rollerbones Elite

For all of you artistic skaters our there, you’ll love the Rollerbones Elite. This is actually my favorite set of indoor wheels that I wear all the time. They are great for both recreational and artistic skating.

I personally wear the 103A 62mm wheels. However, there are 2 different wheel hardness to choose from 101A and 103A. Plus, there are 2 different wheel heights to pick 57mm and 62mm. Both wheels are 30mm wide.

The harder 103A wheels will give you a lot of slide making spins and turns easier even on the stickiest of wood floors. The 101A gives you a little less slide and more stability. These wheels also come in 4 different colors: clear, red, white and black.

If you want to spin and jump, then take it from an old, washed up figure skater. These are a great set of wheels.

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Roller Derby Wheels

Sure-Grip Zombie

The best roller skate wheels for roller derby are the Sure-Grip Zombie. These indoor skate wheels are some of the most popular derby wheels making them a fan favorite.

These wheels come in three different size profiles: Low (59mm x 38mm), Mid (62 mm x 38mm) and Max (62mm x 42mm). The low profile provide instant acceleration and increased lateral response. The Mid are perfect for increased lateral response. The Max profile is perfect for maximum grip and stability.

The Zombie skating wheels also come in 4 different durometers and colors: Purple 89A, Black 92A, Red 95A and Green 98A. The 89A soft wheels are better for slippery indoor surfaces, whereas the 98A hard wheels are better when you skate indoors on stick surfaces.

These roller skate wheels offer a special core that is made from a solid billet of aluminum. This manufacturing process helps to increase strength and allows the hub to have a tighter tolerance insuring the bearing and inner core fit perfectly. This also means your bearings will easily slide in and out of the wheels without a ton of effort.

The core also uses a unique technology where it is treated with a special anodizing process that increases the hub durability and the urethane bonding.

Like other roller derby and outdoor wheels, these Sure-Grip wheels are often also sold in packs of four. So, if you see them in 4 packs, make sure to buy two so you have enough wheels for both of your roller derby skates.

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Atom Poison Savant (Runner-Up)

My favorite roller derby wheels are the Atom Poison Savant. These wheels are great because they are a mixture of two of Atom’s most popular wheels – the Poison and the Savant. The Savant became famous for it’s ultra-light yet solid core design. Poison wheels are world renowned for being super grippy without feeling sluggish.

The Savant oversized core reduces the overall weight of the wheel. It also increases your speed and overall roll. With all that increased speed, the molded 7mm lip insures you get all of the grip you need regardless of whether your making a quick turn or going around the corners.

These wheels are also super light coming in at just 68 grams per wheel. This is a 20% reduction in weight compared to Atom’s popular older Boom wheels. They measure out at 59mm tall and 38mm wide.

The Poison Savant comes in with an 84A durometer which is a perfect hybrid wheel for both indoor and outdoor surfaces. Because of the mid range durometer, you won’t get the highest speed on these wheels, but they will provide more grip and stability while still rolling well. They come in 5 different wheels colors: black, blue, green, pink and purple.

All of Atom’s wheels are sold in 4 packs, so be sure to buy 2 if you want a full set. Atom does this because some derby skaters like to use different wheels on the outside of their skates vs the inside. This allows you to mix and match and also reduces the price when you just need to replace a couple of wheels on your skates.

The Poison Savant wheels are perfect for playing roller derby on outdoor tracks, slick sport courts, bank tracks and dirty wood floors.

Roller Hockey Wheels

Labeda Addiction Grip

The best roller hockey skate wheels on the market today are the Labeda Addiction. These skate wheels are designed to have great grip, better wear and have a faster roll speed. They are the first hockey wheel to use harder outer and inner urethanes that can grip plastic floors. The harder urethanes are able to flex and compress when side loaded. This provides superior grip during stopping and push offs.

The speed and durability of these wheels are excellent. Plus, the wheels grip more than some of the softest wheels on the market. This is due to Labeda’s secret urethane combinations.

These wheels come in two different durometers – a 76A and a 78A. These are perfect for sports court and other slick surfaces where roller hockey is often played. Labeda recommends the 76A Grip wheels for skaters under 170 lbs. The 78A Grip + wheels are recommended for skaters over 170 lbs or those advanced skaters who want more speed and can handle less grip.

These wheels also come in 5 wheel heights including: 59mm, 68mm, 72mm, 76mm or 80mm. They also come in 4 colors including: white, orange, yellow and teal. If you are serious about roller hockey, then the Addiction is the wheel for you.

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Best Skate Wheels for Beginners

Sure-Grip Boardwalk

For all you beginner roller skaters out there who want to learn how to roller skate, I highly recommend the Sure-Grip Boardwalk – both the roller skates and the wheels. This is the wheel on my top pick for the top roller skates for beginners. If you already have a pair of skates and just need a great beginner roller skate wheel, then this is a great choice.

The Boardwalk is made for outdoor skating. This doesn’t mean you can’t use the wheels indoors, too. It just means you’ll go a little slower. And for beginners, that’s a good thing. The softer the wheel, the better for beginners. This wheel comes in with a 78A durometer reading which is perfect.

The wheels is 65mm tall and 36mm wide. It also comes in a wide variety of 9 different colors including: black, blue, light blue, light pink, light purple, light green, pink, purple and red.

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Light Up Wheels


My top pick for the best light up roller skate wheels are the Volcanic Dazzle Hybrid roller skate wheels. These skate wheels are bright and beautiful with 8 direct lights per wheel and each light have a 4-color output that are visible from every angle. The wheels only light up as you spin. Otherwise, they are stealthy and no one knows you have light until you start rolling!

These wheels are great for multi-surface roller skating. Whether you are indoor or outdoor skating, these wheels will work fine with their 85A durometer. Not too hard, but also not too soft. These wheels measure in at 62mm tall.

These roller skate wheels have high-performance ABEC-9 bearings already pre-installed in them, so you don’t even need another set of bearings. Just take off your other wheels, slap these wheels on your skates and turn heads!

Also, these wheels come in 4 packs, so if you want to outfit both skates with these wheels, be sure to pick up 2 packs.

Firefly (Runner-Up)

The Firefly is our runner-up pick for best LED roller skate wheels. These wheels come in 2 different heights: 58mm and 62mm. Both sets of wheels are 32mm wide. The taller wheel will give you a little more speed while the shorter wheel is better for beginners who need more stability.

These roller skate wheels offer ABEC 3 bearings already pre-installed in the wheels, so you don’t need to buy any extra. The package includes eight wheels and while no durometer rating is reported by the manufacturer, they do come in around 82A. So, they are good for smooth outdoor surfaces and all indoor sufaces.

If you want to turn heads at the rink, the Firefly will certainly accomplish that mission!

Roller Skate Wheels for Sliding & Rhythm Skating

Sure-Grip Wood

If you really want some great wheels that slide on the rink floor, then you got to have the Sure-Grip Wood wheels. Beginners beware, these roller skate wheels are slick. It’s almost like skating on ice. So, if you really like to slide or are into rhythm skating, then these are the right roller skate wheels for you!

These wheels are 58mm tall and 38mm wide. Just a little wider than an artistic wheel but more narrow than a speed or derby wheel. They have 8mm hubs (as do all of the wheels I recommend on this page), so all 8mm bearings will work with them.

They are made out of wood. No urethane here. These super hard wheels really are slick. I have a pair and it’s pretty hard to get a good push off with them on a rink floor that hasn’t had coating put on it in awhile. With that said, spinning and sliding is as easy as being on a pair of ice skates.

You will get eight wheels in a pack and they are definitely not outdoor skating wheels. Unless you like some serious leg jiggle and want to wear down these hard wheels in a hurry. Only roller skate with them indoors where you’ll roll smoothly.

Jam Skate Wheels

VNLA Backspin Eclipse Wheels

If you are into jam skating, then the VNLA (formerly Vanilla) Backspin Eclipse wheels are going to be your jam. These wheels are new on the market and growing in popularity. They sport a light aluminum core which is perfect for extra stability and transferring all of your power to the wheel. Whether jam skating, speed skating or playing roller derby, these are the right wheels for indoor quad skating.

The Backspin Eclipse comes in 2 different hardness and 3 colors: Orange 97A, Oil Slick 95A and Black 95A. The oil slick is really popular. It looks like a rainbow oil slick you’d see under that old beat up car. They come in 2 sizes 59mm tall x 38mm wide and a 62mm tall x 44mm wide.

The Backspin Eclipse provides a lower center of gravity offering the skater more control and agility while jam skating. Designed to be light and strong these aluminum hub roller skate wheels come with a lifetime guarantee, so skate on for a smooth roll. They also come in 8 packs, so you just need 1 set to fill both of your jam skates.

Jam on!

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Wheels for Dancing

Sure-Grip Velvet

If you are an advanced skater and love to dance, then look no further than the Sure-Grip Velvet roller skate wheels. These wheels will have your roller skates sliding and dancing to the rhythm while you are indoor skating at your local rink.

The Velvet is special because it’s not made out of urethane. Instead, it’s made out of a material from the 20th century called vanathane. While the process to produce vanathane is different nowadays, these roller skate wheels are still a lot like their forefathers and have a lot more slide than even your hardest urethane wheels.

They come in a variety of colors including black, white, red, pink, lime green and aqua blue though the black and white sets are the easiest to find online.

Because these wheels are not made of urethane, it’s hard to measure their hardness on the same scale. Sure-Grip claims they are 90A, but I think they are much harder. Most would say these are close to a 103A. I have tried them and think they are even harder. They really slide well (not as good as the Sure-Grip Wood, but pretty well).

These roller skate wheels are also super tiny. They come in at 55mm tall and only 30mm wide. So, don’t expect to be winning any indoor skating speed championships in these puppies. They are slow, slick and ready for those dance moves!

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Top 10 Tips for Buying the Perfect Roller Skate Wheels

Helping You Select the Right Roller Skate Wheels

Before you buy your next pair of roller skates or a new set of wheels, it’s important to understand what you need to look for to find the perfect set of wheels. Roller skate wheels are one of the most important parts of a skate. Here are 10 essential tips to help you make the right choice with that next important purchase.

Tip #1: Wheel hardness and the surface you plan to skate on are top priority

Atom Pulse Soft Hardness WheelPin
Atom Pulse Soft Hardness Wheel

Wheel hardness is one of the most important attributes of a roller skate wheel. But why does the hardness of a roller skate wheel matter? Well, the hardness (or softness) of a wheel determines how you should best use that wheel and what surfaces you should skate on with that wheel. For example, a soft wheel (78A-89A in the picture to the right) is best used for outdoor use or slippery indoor floors while a harder wheel (90A-103A) is best used for indoor use on sticky floors. The lower the number, the softer the wheel. The higher the number, the harder the wheel.

RollerBones Super Elite Hard WheelPin
RollerBones Super Elite Hard Wheel

With a softer wheel, you get more grip and a much softer ride – perfect for small pebbles and the normal bumpiness of an outdoor surface. Softer wheels can also be used indoors, too, if you are on a slippery surface and need more grip. If you are skating on asphalt, concrete or some other slippery surface that is uncoated, then you likely want a softer wheel in the 78A-90A range. If you are outdoors, go with a wheel in the 78A category. Softer wheels are also better for the beginner because they provide more grip. Grippier wheels usually make the beginner feel more secure as you will “stick” to the surface you are skating on better with a softer wheel.

On the flip side, a harder wheel is usually better for tighter, indoor, coated surfaces as these wheels provide less grip. Harder wheels are great for more speed and give more of a slidey feel to the wheel even when on tight floors. This is usually very advantageous to the more advanced skater as it gives you the ability to go faster as with less floor grip you also gain more speed. Very hard wheels are also used in artistic skating as they allow the skater to spin more freely on a tight, indoor surface.

Here is a handy chart that will help guide you to the right level of wheel hardness depending on your skating:

78A-80AThese are really soft wheels that are super grippy and should be used either exclusively outdoors on asphalt and concrete OR on very slippery indoor surfaces.
84A-85AAlso considered soft wheels, these wheels are often considered a hybrid wheel that can be used either indoors or outdoors. These wheels are good for a beginner (even if you only skate indoors) as they give you more grip and control.
86A-89AThese are the softest wheels truly made for indoor courts like gyms, polished concrete or really slippery indoor wood that has not been treated.
90A-93AThese medium hard wheels provide a normal grip. They are great for medium grippy floors like polished concrete or sportcourt.
94A-96AThese are the first class of truly hard wheels. They have a low level of grip and are good for stickier floors.
97A-103AThese are super hard wheels only appropriate for roller rink floors and rubberized gym floors that have been treated and are sticky. Anything over 100A is so hard that it technically falls in the B category. This means the wheel is really hard and only meant for more experienced skaters on a sticky, indoor surface.

In a future blog post, we will go into the specifics of how wheel hardness is actually measured (known as durometer – the 78A-103A numbers above) and the actual scientific differences between the various wheel types for folks who are interested. However, for the average skater, understanding the chart above is enough to pick out the correct skate wheels based on hardness without knowing all of the specific details.

Tip #2: A wheel’s diameter affects your overall acceleration, speed, stability and weight

Many people don’t realize just how much a roller skate wheel effects an overall pair of roller skates. The diameter determines the height of your wheel, the overall height of your skates and is measured in millimeters (mm). How tall your wheel is effects attributes like acceleration, roll time/top speed (how long you can roll without pushing), stability and the wheel’s weight. Let’s look at each attribute that wheel diameter effects in more detail below:


In general, smaller diameter wheels allow for faster acceleration because they take less effort to get you moving. A larger (taller) diameter wheel will accelerate more slowly and take more effort to get moving. If you think about this for a minute, it makes sense. A smaller diameter wheel has less distance to move to get a full revolution than a larger diameter wheel.

Roll Time / Top Speed

However, the opposite is true of the top speed and roll time of a wheel. A larger diameter wheel typically has a better overall roll time and can achieve top speeds over a smaller diameter wheel. A larger diameter takes more effort to get moving, but once it does get rolling, it takes less effort to keep it moving fast. This is one reason why long distance speed skaters prefer taller wheels because after they get the wheel moving, they don’t have to exert as much effort. You will also see that most taller wheels are made for outdoor use.

Acceleration / Top Speed Summary

So, smaller diameter wheels will get rolling faster, but take more effort to keep rolling faster. While larger diameter wheels will be slower at acceleration, but will take less effort to keep rolling.


Smaller diameter wheels on average are more stable than larger diameter wheels. With less distance between you and the ground, it’s easy to see why a smaller diameter wheel would give you more stability.

Wheel Weight

A roller skate wheel with a smaller diameter weighs less than a larger diameter wheel.

Here is a nice table that shows specific wheel diameters, their typical use and an example wheel:

Diameter (in mm)Typical UseExample
45mmArtistic, FreestyleSure-Grip Fo-Mac Mini Mac
57mm-58mmDerby, Speed, Jam, ArtisticSure-Grip All-American Dream
59mm-62mmDerby, Speed, JamSure-Grip Twister
65mm-70mmOutdoor, Long-track SpeedKryptonics Route Outdoor Wheels

Tip #3: A wheel’s weight is a large percentage of your overall skate’s weight

Did you know that the weight of your wheels can be almost half of your skates total weight? That makes this an important consideration when purchasing a new set of wheels. Heavy wheels often offer you more traction, but they can also tire your legs out faster than lighter wheels. Lighter wheels can allow you to move easier and make faster, quick movements, but they can also make some skaters feel less stable. Most moderate to advanced skaters are looking for lighter wheels, but if you are a beginner, a heavier wheel can help with stability and make you feel more grounded.

Tip #4: Purse your lips, hit those edges and watch that contact patch

Whoa! What does all of that mean? Lets break it down.

Roller Skate Wheel Contact Patch / Total WidthPin
Roller Skate Wheel Contact Patch / Total Width

Contact Patch

The width of the wheel (also known as the profile) is the total size of the wheel when measured across. This includes the total width with any bevels.

However, the contact patch is the area of the wheel that is in contact with the surface you are skating on – the actual amount of the wheel that actually touches the ground not including any bevels, lips or edges. The contact patch can affect the grippiness and overall speed of the wheel along with the hardness of the wheel that we mentioned in Tip #1 above.

Typically, a wider contact patch equals more grip and more stability. However, it is also heavier, slower and harder to make quick movements on. On the flip side, more narrow contact patch wheels have less stability, are lighter and make it easier to make quick movements.

Here is a quick chart that shows the most common wheel profiles/widths:

ProfileDescriptionSkater Skill Level
31mmThese super narrow wheels are amazingly light and offer a ton of agility, but they are also the least stable and offer much less grip than a wider wheel.Advanced
35mmThese narrow wheels are light and offer agility, but give you a little more stability and grip than the super narrow wheels above.Intermediate / Advanced
38mmThese slim wheels offer a good balance of agility, stability and grip.Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced
44mmThese super wide wheels provide great grip and stability, but are heavier and provide less agility in your movements.Beginner


Lips and or the edge of the wheel effect the overall grippiness of the wheel. The lips are the very edge of the wheel and depending on their cut effect the total amount of contact patch that a wheel has on a surface.

Roller Skate Wheel Lips / EdgesPin
Roller Skate Wheel Lips / Edges

Square lips have a straight drop and have the maximum contact patch and more grip than other wheels. There are not many wheels that have complete square lips, but there are some that are more rounded than others. In the picture to the right, it’s easy to see that the All-American Dream wheels have a more square lip than the Sure-Grip Motion wheels. The square lips are more common in artistic wheels.

Rounded lips have more give and less traction than square lips. However, there are various different rounded lip configurations. The most rounded lip wheels are usually found in outdoor wheels. They have less grip and provide more slide and cruise ability. These are common in outdoor wheels as it also punches out pebbles and other small obstacles you may encounter with greater ease.

On either extreme of the round and square lip spectrum, you will find a middle ground where most wheels live. Just remember that the more square the lips of a wheel, the more traction and less give. The more round a wheel’s lips, the less grip and more give.

Tip #5: A wheel’s hub and core materials affect the overall way that a wheel rolls

The inner portion of the wheel is known as the core or hub of a wheel. This is the hard part area in the center of the wheel where the skate bearings snap in place. Looking at the picture to the right, you can see that there are three main types of cores: Hollow, Nylon and Aluminum.

Different types of wheel hub core materialsPin
Different types of wheel hub core materials

Nylon Cores

This class of wheels are light, less rigid and more affordable. These often come in a spoked pattern (as the Road Hog wheel in the image on the right shows). These wheels tend to be slower as they don’t transfer power to the wheel as well as an aluminum core. They also are softer because the core does not help to keep the wheel as round. This means more contact patch on the surface, and thus a slower overall ride.

Aluminum Cores

These cores are the strongest and most rigid of the hub materials. They are also the heaviest and most expensive of the three core types. The stiffer core allows for the wheels to roll longer as it keeps the wheel perfectly round. These wheels also slip easier when you push because they are more round and don’t give you as much traction. Remember, that traction is equivalent to a decrease in overall speed.

Hollow Cores

These wheel cores fall between the nylon and aluminum types. They are fairly light wheels (much lighter than the aluminum core) and don’t have the same drawbacks as a nylon core. These are a good in-between wheel and can provide you with the acceleration you need along with the slightly stiffer core that gives you a long roll.

Roller Skate Wheel TreadPin
Roller Skate Wheel Tread

Tip #6: Don’t tread on me – the wheel tread myth debunked

Believe it or not, tread is one of those features of a wheel that really aren’t as important as you would think. We added this tip because so many people think that tread is what helps with grippiness of a wheel. That is false. Most wheels are made of urethane and as a wheel gets heated up, it will grip more to the surface you are skating on.

So, the tread is pointless? Well, not exactly. One place where tread does help you is when you have just put your skates on and you hit the surface skating. In this case, your wheels have not heated up yet, and so the extra tread does help keep you more stable for that short time period. Also, the softer your wheel, the faster it will heat up and the more grip you will get. That is why we said earlier that softer wheels have more grip than hard wheels.

Tip #7: A skater’s weight affects overall acceleration and roll time

Your body weight also has a huge affect on how your wheels will react and perform. If you are over 200 lbs, you will get more grip from a wheel than an average skater. Therefore, you may want to compensate for this by going two or three steps up on the durometer. So if you are skating on a 90A, you may want to go up to a 92A as your extra weight will automatically put more pressure on your wheel and cause it to sink more into the surface. If you are over 200 lbs., you also will want to look into getting a more rigid core as your wheel will flex more under your weight. An aluminum core will be best for you as it is very rigid and will better support you and the wheel.

On the other side, if you weigh less than normal (under 100 lbs), then you would want to do the reverse of what was suggested above. If you would normally buy a 92A wheel for the surface you are skating on, then you may want to go a little softer as your weight will not press down on the wheels as hard. You can also get away with going with any core type (nylon, hybrid or aluminum).

If you fall somewhere in between 100-200 lbs, then you should be good with using the recommended wheel hardness for the surface that you are skating on. You can also go with any of the three core types.

Saving Up for Roller Skate WheelsPin
Saving Up for Roller Skate Wheels

Tip #8: Cost is always a factor

Of course, the cost of roller skate wheels are always a factor. Wheels today come at a variety of price points. You can get a very cheap pair of wheels for less than $30, but you do get what you pay for in wheels just like anything else.

A good set of wheels will on average cost around $80. However, there are wheels that go as high as $150. It all depends on how you plan to use the wheels and how important the overall quality of the wheel is to you.

Tip #9: Color and style do matter (sometimes)

Roller Skate Wheels in Multiple Colors
Roller Skate Wheels in Multiple Colors

Depending on your intended skating use, color may be one of the more important characteristics of a wheel for you. I can see the experienced skaters among you laughing, but if you are in to jam or rink skating, color and look do matter.

Color really makes no difference in how well a wheel rolls, how fast it will go or how grippy/loose it is to the surface. However, the color and look of a wheel are important to many skaters. After all, many of us love to skate (and love our skates) because of how they look and how they make us feel when we wear them.

Based on the other tips, there is no way that style and color could not be included, however, it is the least important factor for how well a set of wheels will work for you from a performance standpoint.

Tip #10: Lastly, proper wheel choice is dependent on the type of skating you do

So, lets put together everything we have learned and pick out the best set of wheels for you. The most important part of picking the correct wheels is focusing on the type of skating you plan to do most often in your new wheels. How you plan to use your wheels should weigh heavily in picking out the perfect set.

Different wheels are made for different uses. Are you planning to skate outdoors? Are you into jam skating, speed skating, artistic skating, roller derby or just regular rink skating? There are certain wheels made for the particular type of skating that you plan to do and understanding all of the tips that we discussed above will help you to pick out the right set.

Let’s go over some of the main types of skating and what kind of wheels would be good for each use. Please realize that these are just suggestions. The best way to know if a wheel is right for you is to buy a couple of different sets and try them out. Only then will you truly know what kind of wheel you like best.

Outdoor Skate Wheels

If you are skating outdoors, then you definitely want to go with a pair of outdoor roller skates with a softer wheel – a low number on the durometer scale – something in the 78A-88A range. As we discussed earlier, a softer wheel allows for more give in the wheel as it makes contact with outdoor elements like small pebbles and dirt.

A low durometer wheel will also last longer outdoors, will give you more grip and, most importantly, will give you a smoother ride outdoors. These lower durometer wheels are perfect for asphalt or concrete surfaces. If you are not a beginner, you also will want to go with a tall wheel as it will give you more roll.

Jam Skate Wheels

Jam skating combines dance, gymnastics and skating and started out as a throwback to the 1970s roller disco scene. If you are in to jam skating, then you know the popular styles like shuffle skating, footwork, power and ground breaking. To jam skate, you need the right kind of wheels. Most jam skates have wheels in the 93A-96A durometer range. This provides a medium-hard boot that allows for some grip, but not too much. This allows for a great agility and quick turns, which are hallmarks of the jam skater.

Jam skating wheels also come in all different types of colors and styles – both important to the jam skater. The vast majority of jam skate wheels fall into the larger wheel profiles – usually in the 40-44mm range. They also are in the larger wheel diameter – in the 62-65mm range. I personally don’t do a ton of jam skating, so I can’t recommend a wheel. If you are new to this space and want to start doing jam skating, then I would steer you towards Vanilla (VNLA) Jam Skates product line. They specialize in Jam skating and have some low cost options under $200 that can help you get started.

Speed Skate Wheels

The best wheel for a speed skater depends on whether you are after rapid acceleration or long roll time. Most speed skaters want a long roll time, so they tend to go for slightly harder, taller wheels. This is why most speed skaters wear inline skates or rollerblades with really tall 100mm-125mm inline speed skate wheels.

However, quad speed skating wheels are commonly 62mm and fall anywhere from 80A-101A in hardness. As we stated in previous tips, it really depends on the surface you will skate on and your weight that will determine what the correct wheel hardness is for you. However, most speed skate wheels are wider, have a larger contact patch and provide enough traction, stability and agility to allow the speed skater to cut corners and get the most roll from every push.

Artistic Skate Wheels

Artistic skating consists of doing special jumps and spins on roller skates – much like you see during the Olympics on ice skates. Artistic jumps include the axle, loop, flip, lutz and salchow (pronounce sol-cow). There are also special artistic spins like the sit spin, camel and inner/outer one legged spins.

With all of this spinning and jumping, the artistic skater needs a narrow wheel that does not stick to the surface they are skating on. Artistic skaters need wheels that have a lot of give and will allow them to quickly turn and spin without much friction from the surface. Therefore, most artistic skate wheels are extremely hard – in the 95A-100A+ range. They also are usually very narrow. This allows for the most agility and movement of the feet.

Roller Derby Skate Wheels

If you are in to roller derby, then most of the wheels you will be using will be in the 59-62mm diameter range. Derby skaters use all different profile sizes, but the most popular is definitely in the 38mm size. The wheel hardness for roller derby skates is pretty varied, but most people buy roller derby wheels in the 90-96A range, though that does vary based on the surface you are skating on and how grippy you like your wheels.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are roller skate wheels universal? Aren’t they all the same?

No, roller skate wheels are not all the same. Roller skate wheels are often made out of the same material – urethane – but they are made in different sizes and with different wheel hardnesses for different skater sizes, skating surfaces and skating types / sports. Picking the right wheels requires you to match up the kind of skating you plan to do with the right wheel. As a general rule use softer wheels when outdoor skating and use harder wheels when indoor skating.

How long does it take to learn roller skating?

A person can learn the basics of roller skating in just a few weeks. However, it take many months of practice to become proficient with it. To get really good at quad skating, be sure to learn the basics and then practice at least once a week.

Wrapping Up

Finding the best roller skate wheels can take quite a bit of research, but I hope I have shortened your journey to picking out your next great set of wheels. Whether you are looking for outdoor skating wheels or smaller wheels to do rhythm skating, I hope that the quad skate wheels I covered along with my added tips will make your next purchase that much easier.

Want to Learn Even More About Skating?

Want more reviews on roller skates? Check out my Best Roller Skates page for a list of all of the quads I recommend. I also have pages for roller skates for menroller skates for women and roller skates for kids where I recommend the best skates on the market today for each group. Or, check out my roller skates for beginners if you are completely new to roller skating.

Or, if rollerblades or inline skates are more your style, then check out my rollerblades for menrollerblades for women or rollerblades for kids pages. Or, if you are completely new, check out my rollerblades for beginners page.

116 thoughts on “16 Best Roller Skate Wheels of 2023: The Ultimate Guide”

  1. Great blog post! I was looking for information on roller skate wheels and this really helped me to understand what to look out for when I get ready to buy my next set. Thanks so much for all of your help!

    • Thanks, Tom! I’m so glad you liked the post. I’m glad it helped you out. I hope to hear more from you in the future. Please come back and check us out again in the near future. We’re going to be adding a whole lot more cool stuff soon.

    • Hi Elia – Thanks so much for stopping by and checking out my article! I’m glad you liked it. Please be sure to check back soon and signup for our newsletter. We’ll have a lot more great articles coming soon.

  2. You may want to add commentary on wheels for skate park skating. Check out ChicksInBowls.com and on Facebook.

    • Hi Leslie. Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article. Great feedback! I do have a little in the article about outdoor skating, but you’re right in that I didn’t go into great detail about bowl skating/outdoor skating here. I’ll have to create another article just about outdoor skating. With the snow melting and Spring finally coming, I’m sure folks are ready to get outside and skate. Nice website, by the way, and really neat concept. We need to get more people skating. Thank you for doing your part!

  3. Thank you so much for your very useful blog. I am a past artistic skater (in the 80’s) so I know all about artistic skate wheels, but I am heading to Barcelona for an outdoor dance/jam skating event and was unsure of what wheels to get. Your advice and breakdown is fantastic.

    • Hi Patricia – Sorry for the late reply. Thank you so much for your comment. I too am an artistic skater from back in the day. I’m glad my breakdown helped you. After a few months away, I’m back. How was Barcelona and skating outdoors there?

  4. This is really helpful, i’m looking to get a pair of skates, as I want to learn artistic however be outdoors, is there any specific skate I should be looking for?? From this information I have collected that by being outdoors you need a soft wheel however artistic needs a hard. So I’m a little bit out of my depth here haha! Thanks you in advance!

    • Hi Amber! So nice of you to stop by and drop us this great comment & question. As with most things around skate wheels, it all depends on the skater, the intended use and the surface. Typically for outdoor skating you want a soft wheel as it lasts longer and is more durable to the bumps and debris that you will encounter outdoors. However, it really depends on the surface you are skating on (be it outdoors or indoors).

      Most people who skate artistically use a hard wheel and do it indoors on a wood surface with a tight clear coat plastic on top of the floor (shiny surface). That’s at least how every floor was when I skated competitively. That clear coat plastic makes the floor extremely tight and is something speed skaters and roller derby skaters love because harder wheels more easily stick to the floor (and a harder wheel provides skaters with more speed but also has a lot less grip).

      As an artistic skater, you need a hard wheel on this type of surface to get a good, easy spin as the harder wheel is more slick. My artistic wheels are really hard – 103A. However, if you want to do artistic skating (jumps, spins, etc) outdoors, then it really depends on the outdoor surface. I have a set of very soft 78A wheels that I use outdoors, and I could easily spin with them on my smooth concrete garage floor (5-6 revolutions). I could even spin somewhat well with them on my unfinished (slightly more grainy) concrete sidewalk outside of my garage – but not as easily (4-5 revolutions). However, if I took these same wheels into my local rink with a hard wood floor with a tight clear coat plastic on top, I’m not going to get more than 1-3 revolutions before I stop spinning. The wheel is just way too grippy for that kind of surface.

      So, if I was skating outdoors and ONLY doing artistic skating, then I would probably go with a harder wheel. Something in the mid-to-high 90s should be fine (again, depends on the surface). If I spun with my really hard 103As in my garage I would really spin like crazy. In fact, I’m going to have to go try that soon! :-). However, if I wanted to do some basic art spinning but also skate around the park trail, on an outdoor track and on the side walk, then I would go much softer with a 78A sacrificing for a better all-around outdoor wheel.

      What kind of surface do you skate on outdoors? Is this just for fun or are you competing?

      Thanks for stopping by and for the question,


  5. I was wondering if you have any info on bearings? If I buy new wheels, do I use the existing bearings on the old wheels or find ones to fix the new wheels? I was researching bearings and there’s a ton of different options. I picked up the Sure-GRIP 50/50 and wanted to know if I had to get bearings for them.

    • Hi Jen! Thanks for stopping by. I’m actually in the process right now on gathering research for an article around picking the perfect bearings. The quickest way to find out about the new article is to sign up for the newsletter as that’s where I will first share all of the information with my audience. You can do that at the bottom of any post or on the sidebar to the right. It’s going to be a pretty in-depth article as there is a lot of information to sift through. However, let me share a few things that article will contain to help you out now with your question and give everyone a sneak peek.

      Most bearings are rated with an ABEC (Annular Bearing Engineers Committee) rating which is used primarily to rate bearings for manufacturing purposes. See most bearings in the world today are made for manufacturing reasons, not skating. The ABEC rating is a number system with ratings of 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9. The higher the ABEC rating, the higher the bearing precision and also the higher the price. However, unless you plan to go 100 MPH on your skates (I wish!), the extra ABEC precision isn’t really going to do much for you (except have you pay a little more for the bearings).

      Here are two quick key things I’d recommend for you:

      First, buy a bearing that is built for skating. Many of the ABEC bearings out there are manufacturing bearings that are retrofitted for skating purposes. Other companies like Atom (who make Bionic Bearings) and Bones (who make Super Reds) are redesigning bearings from the ground up to be used for skating. Skating has different needs for bearings than manufacturing, so it makes sense that these skating manufacturers are creating bearings just for this purpose. I personally really love the Bones Super Reds which you can get them for under $50. They’re really great bearings at a super price. I use them and my inline speed skating daughter, Violet, loves them, too. We have several sets that we use. If you do a ton of outdoor skating, then a ceramic bearing is better because it can withstand moisture better and won’t rust. Again, I’d go with Bones Ceramic Super Reds here. I have one set for my outdoor wheels and love them. They are super smooth (when they’re clean). They are going to cost a lot more, however, because they are ceramic which do better in the outdoor elements (about $150). You can get away with a metal bearing outdoors, just keep them dry or they can rust.

      Second, and more importantly, buy some bearing cleaner and bearing lube (if you are into speed skating). One of the key ways to increase the longevity and the performance of a bearing is to keep it clean and lubed up. I use the Qube Bearing Spa to clean my bearings and then the Qube Lube to keep them flying during use. Basically, I try to clean my bearings every month and then I lube them up before I go out each time. A clean and lubed bearing makes a huge difference!

      You asked: If I buy new wheels, do I use the existing bearings on the old wheels or find ones to fix the new wheels?

      For me, this would really depend. I really like to get new bearings to go with new wheels. I guess it’s similar to that new car smell. 🙂 If I had the old bearings for a couple of years and they were not skate rated bearings, I’d get a new set. However, it really depends on the type of skating you are doing and whether speed is a huge goal for you. If you decide to keep your existing bearings, then at the very least get some bearing cleaner and clean them (if you haven’t already). You’ll see a big difference just with cleaning them. You’ll need a way to get your bearings out of your old wheels. You can do it the old fashioned way with a screwdriver and a hammer (tap very lightly so you don’t damage the bearing casing!), or you can use a tool like the Bones Bearing Puller which makes the job of inserting and removing bearings way easier.

      I hope that helps answer your question, Jen! If not, just drop me another comment or shoot me an email.

      P.S. Here is a really good article that I will definitely be quoting in my bearing article. It’s by a skate bearing manufacturer, Bones. In my opinion, they make some of the very best skate bearings: ABEC vs Skate Rated Bearings

      [Full Disclosure: The product links above are Amazon affiliate links. This means I get a small commission if you purchase using one of these links. I only use affiliate links on products that I use regularly and recommend. Otherwise, I just use regular links throughout the site.]

      • hi Jeff,

        Just like to pick up on a couple of points.

        1. The bones bearings are fantastic but you do not to purchase the super Reds the standard bones bearings around £36 for 18 do just as good job.
        2. I would only recommend ceramic bearings for outside people will waste there money buying ceramic bearings for inside use.

        The wheel guide you have put on here is fantastic the brands which I personally recommend you have not commented on is the current Roll line range (Italian) the compound on the wheels is amazing I use the Roll line Formula for rink skating and have currently not found a better wheels.
        I previously used the Roller Bones and found them over priced with less grip and much higher priced. I feel you are paying more for the brand and less for the quality.

        I appreciate its personal preference I was a huge fan of the Ali Atom Poison 84a just found on a maple floors they where far too sticky.

        I think the best advice you can give if you have the ability to try a few different people’s wheels i.e you are in a Roller Derby team or in a community of skaters then try a few and see what suits you best.
        If this is not an option go to your local skate shop and ask if you can try a few different compounds as I know how expensive it can be to keep changing your wheels to suit your style of skating.

        • Hey Daniel – Thanks for the comment. Good points you make. So much of skating is really finding what you like. I’m glad you found cheaper alternatives that you prefer. For me, I’ve been skating on the Super Reds for years now, so I just stick with what works (while of course always trying out new items – there could be something better). Even after trying out dozens of bearings, I just like my Super Reds. Agree with you on the Ceramics. I have 1 set I use in my favorite outdoor wheels. They are expensive, so I don’t recommend them unless you are a serious outdoor skater. I have not tried the Roll Line wheels yet. I am going to have to get me a set. Which ones do you like best? RollerBones Elite are pricey, but I use mine for quite awhile before I replace them. I just replaced my last set and I got a good 2 years on them. They are more pricey at ~$100, but they are worth it for me.

          Thanks again for rollin’ by!

  6. Really cool site! Been thinking about getting my “first pair” of derby skates and came upon SE while researching wheel info.

    Y’all ROCK (…and roll)!!!

    Honey B

  7. Thanks for all the great information! I’m looking to get back into roller skating at the local rink here where I reside and I guess the best way to describe our style of skating is artistic. We roll somewhat fast (but not roller derby fast), shuffle, do spins, jumps & other similar moves on a usually shiny indoor rink floor. I’m looking into purchasing some Riedell 120 Uptown Rhythm Roller Skates for this purpose & am wondering if I’d need different wheels from what comes standard on them? I’d consider myself somewhat of an experienced skater, definitely not a beginner, but won’t be doing backflips on skates any time soon either!!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Joy! It really depends on what type of wheels come on that outfit. Often the wheels and bearings differ from site to site. If you are doing artistic skating (especially spins), then you likely will want a harder wheel. Anything 98A or above should work fine on a normal hardwood floor. At the rink I skate at regularly, they have a hardwood floor that is used mostly for speed skating so they put a lot of plastic on the floor which makes it really tight (very sticky). On that floor, I use a pair of RollerBones Elite clear 103A wheels. They are super slick and let me spin even on a very tight floor. Picking the right wheels for the right surface for the right type of skating is really the trick. For art, I like harder wheels. [Full disclosure: The link above is an Amazon Affiliate link. This means I get a small commission if you purchase. I only use affiliate links on products I use regularly and recommend fully.]

  8. Hi there!

    I am trying to build a pair of skates and have narrowed it down to everything but the wheels, and I was hoping you might have some suggestions. I was a competition speed skater a decade ago and am now going to learn, then coach a Jr Derby team. I also want to be able to use my skates for artistic/rec skating in my off time at a rink. The Jr Derby practice floor is a school auditorium. It is a pretty dirty wood surface, not much shine or slip, but mostly free of pebbles and other debris. So I am looking for wheels that will work well in both that environment, and a traditional slippery rink.

    Here are my skates so far:

    Riedell 811 Boot
    Reactor Pro Plate
    Super Red Bones Swiss Bearings

    I definitely want a wheel with an aluminum hub, and was thinking something in a 58-60mm range would be good middle ground from the tiny speed wheels I am used to and the rugged wider wheels needed for Derby.

    Ultimately I am looking for wheels that:

    -Help with stability since I haven’t been on skates in a REALLY long time, and thanks to kids, have some extra weight to work with.

    -Have the best roll with the least amount of effort, sort of as a way to “cheat” my way back into skating shape.

    -A harder wheel that will allow fun rec moves like rexing, backwards, and spins, but not to hard that I fall on my butt the first time I try to push off.

    -Something that will really allow for tight crossovers, which is something the Jr Derby girls are looking to learn/improve upon in particular. I used to be really great at those, but again as a speed skater, had really tiny wheels. I want to make sure I am not knocking into massive wheels that stick out when attempting to re-learn this technique.

    -Color obviously isn’t a huge deal, except I absolutely do not want white wheels. I hate the way they look. What about the light up wheels, are they just cheap “fun” wheels?

    Finally, I would also like a 2nd set of wheels for freestyle skating outdoors, something I have never done (to even consider taking my custom skates outside was blasphemy back in the day!) on quads, but would love to give it a try! I tried rollerblading and absolutely hated it. I am assuming I would need separate bearings as well for outdoors right? Do they make closed bearings to keep dirty and whatnot out?

    Thanks for your help!

    • Hi JaelynRae,

      Thanks for stopping by. Those are some nice skates so far that you have picked out. I think you have one of the better boots, plates and certainly bearings on the market. The Bones Swiss bearings are super nice. For outdoor bearings, I’d go with the Bones Ceramics if you are in a place that is humid / rains quite a bit. Otherwise, if not, you can get away with Bones Reds. The Ceramics are pretty expensive.

      As far as wheels are concerned, there are so many choices. Thankfully wheels and bearings are fairly cheap (at least compared to the whole skate), so I have many sets. For speed, my favorite quad wheels are the Sure-Grip Hyper Cannibal wheels. They have a blue set that are a little softer and more stable. The orange wheel is harder and the primary choice for the quad speed skaters at my local rink. You may have a hard time doing multi-revolution spins in these wheels, but they are great for derby and speed. They are a little wider (62mm) than what you said you wanted, but they are a good wheel. I have a second set of quad wheels that are super slick when I want to do freestyle / artistic skating. These are my favorite artistic skating wheels – Roller Bones Elite.

      For outdoor skating, I get a very soft wheel because I want extra stability. Falling outside on cement isn’t fun to me. So, I went with the Sure-Grip Motion Wheels. These are super grippy, so you aren’t going fast or doing spins outside in these wheels. Overall, the harder the wheel, the faster it’s going to move and the more you can spin in it. The softer the wheel, the opposite is true – slower and harder to spin. If you want a good overall wheel, you can’t really do bad with anything in the 93A-98A range. You can pretty much use those wheels on any smooth surface indoor / outdoor.

      [Full Disclosure: If you click any of the links in this comment, you will be taking to Amazon using my affiliate code. This means that if you then purchase through Amazon, I will get a small commission. I use these small commissions to help pay for running this website. I do recommend any product that I link to Amazon using an affiliate link, so if you have any questions about a product I recommend, please feel free to ask in the comments section here.]

      I hope this helps you out. If you need more info, feel free to reach out to me at support@skatesemporium.com.

      Happy skating!


  9. Thanks. Im just getting back into skating after many years and am used to artistic wheels. My daughter who is 12 wants to learn to skate so we have been to the rink 4 times in two weeks. I have a pair of sure grip fame 97a and rc medallions 96a. Both feel slippery right now as i haven’t skated in years and was thinking about getting something more beginner friendly for a while as im struggling with balance and endurance and dont want to slip around the ring so much lol.

    • Hi Brandi – If you are skating on a surface with no grip (indoor plastic coating), then a 96 or 97 wheel is going to be pretty slippery. You might want to drop it down to the low 90s or even high 80s. If balance is your issue, one quick thing to do for beginners is to tighten the axle nut (the nut on the end of the axle that holds the wheel on) until the wheel just barely rolls when you spin it with your hand. This will help with balance as it feels much more like walking with the wheel barely rolling. This can help new skaters a lot as they get used to the feeling of having all of that extra weight on their feet. Then, once you feel comfortable, loosen the axle nut to let it roll more freely.

  10. Hi Jeff great blog for the information on wheels. My daughter is 9 years old and is into speed skating for last 2 years. I would like you to recommend some good wheels along with their specifications for indoor shiny and smooth surface for her.

    • Hi Gaurav – If the floor she is skating on is tight, I recommend Hyper Cannibal wheels for speed skating. The Cannibals are my favorite and are what my daughters and I use on our quad speed skating. [Full Disclosure: The link above is an Amazon Affiliate link and I will be given a small commission if you purchase them from Amazon. I love my Cannibals and use them every time I speed skate, so I highly recommend them.]

  11. I am searching a roller shoe skates for my daughter aged 9 years
    She is learning skating from last 6 month,
    She is using normal skates now the teacher is saying for shoe skates
    Please prescribe best high speed shoe skates which help to increase the speed with less effort
    Price don’t keep any matter result is the matter but it would be cheep and best ( life and quality should be excellent )

    • Hi Amy – I’ve never used the Reckless Morphs wheels, so I couldn’t speak to how well they’d work on a sport court. Just looking at the durometer, it looks like they range between 84A-97A. I’d probably not go much past a 90/92A on a sport court, but that’s just me. It really depends on how slick you want your wheels to feel and how good your balance is on your skates. At my rink, when there is no plastic on the floor, I sometimes like to wear my 103A artistic wheels so I can spin and turn super easily. However, I’m not going to speed skate or play derby in them unless I want to be sweeping the floor with my bottom. 🙂

  12. Thank you so much for your information. I’m an 80’s skater and of course today skating there is so much going on, your information has help me understand the important of a wheel as well the important of the body weight something that wasn’t provided to us back in those days. I do now feel better and confidence in purchasing the right things now so thank you again.

  13. Dear Jeff Stone
    I’m back with a second question I’m about 235 pounds and I’m looking for some comfort wheels that I can skate on in door wooden floor while dancing, gliding and skating. which one would you advice me of, I’m looking at the Radar varsity plus wheel and the Roller bone Elite wheel.
    Thank you for you time.

    • Hi Bobby – I have never skated on the Radar Varsity Plus, but they look nice. They are very similar to the Roller Bones Elite that I do skate on regularly. I skate on these bad boys (Roller Bones Elite 103A), and I love them. Again, not recommended unless you have good balance. They are awesome wheels. Because they are so hard, they do make quite a bit of noise, but that’s hard to hear in my rink because the music is usually good and loud. 🙂 [Full Disclosure: The link above is an Amazon Affiliate link, so I do get a small commission if you purchase it. I love my Roller Bones Elites. They are the best freestyle / artistic skate wheel I have ever used and I recommend it highly. I use it almost every time I session skate because of how much movement and slide I get.]

  14. I’m just a beginner and I want to buy my first pair of roller skates. My question is if I want to use my roller skates both for outdoor and indoor do I have to buy two pairs, because in shops skates are often referred to outdoor or indoor. Is it possible to just buy two sets of wheels so that I could change them depending on the situation? I would be very thankful to hear your answer as I’m really concerned about this problem.

    • Hi Kate – It is totally possible to buy one set of skates and 2 pairs of wheels. I do this myself as finding the right skate boot is usually a pain for me – finding a good pair and spending the time breaking them in takes time. I have 3 sets of wheels in my skate bag. 1 for outdoors, 1 for indoor speed skating and 1 for indoor session / jam / dance skating. I also bought 3 sets of bearings so that I can just keep the bearings in my wheels and don’t have to change them. Also, I don’t like to use bearings both outdoors and indoors so that’s why I have different sets. You just need a simple wrench to loosen the axle nut so you can take the wheels on and off. I use a wrench like this one PowerDyne Y Tool for loosening and tightening my axle nuts. The nice part about this wrench is it has multiple uses – loosen/tighten toe stops, loosen/tighten axle nuts, axle pins, etc. [Full Disclosure: The link above is an Amazon Affiliate link. I recommend the PowerDyne Y Tool and use it every time I have to adjust my skates.]

  15. Hi Jeff
    I would ask your help to choose the wheels of my skates, I have hard wheels for rink skate but I would like to buy new wheels for an outside surface. I want to skate on a concrete basketball court in the park 1 block from home with jumps and spins, can you help me to figure out which wheels should I use for this type of surface.
    Thank you.

    • Hi Patty – If you are trying to do jumps or spins outdoors on a basketball court, I’d personally go with a harder wheel just because of the type of skating I’d be doing (spinning). Something in the high 90s low 100s. It does depend on how good your balance is and what kind of speeds you think you will be traveling. Personally, I love my RollerBones. I have a pair of the RollerBones Elite 103A wheels. If I was going outdoor, I’d probably go with RollerBones Super Elite 101A wheels myself, but that’s because I really don’t mind sliding and I have good balance. If balance is an issue for you, then you might want to go with a softer wheel. Maybe something like this Moxi Trick Wheel which is a 97A, however, I can’t speak to that wheel as I have never tried it myself. It does look like a good durometer and width for what you are trying to do. [Full Disclosure: The RollerBones Elite link above is an Amazon Affiliate link, so clicking it and purchasing will help us with maintaining our site. However, the Moxi link is not an affiliate link because I have never used that product.]

  16. Hey mate. Nice guide but unfortunately I disagree with you on wheel hardness. As a kid I skates on an indoor track that had banked ends so harder wheels were certainly better as grip was not a factor. On normal smaller indoor tracks however grip is a massive issue if you skate at speed. It is impossible to power around a corner on hard wheels (I generally power slide 80% of the bend on my 98A’s). I find wheels in the 80’s range are much better for indoor. Conversely I find soft wheels are far to grippy for the more course outdoor surfaces and don’t give you sufficient slide when trying to stop or make sharp turns. Also soft wheels tend to get chewed up a lot quicker outdoors.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Luke, and leaving a comment. Surface grip and skater balance go hand-in-hand and very much depend on the individual. What is slippery to another skater may not be slippery to you or I. It really does depend on the skater, the surface and what exactly you are trying to do on your skates. All of the information above is based on my general experience with skating over the past 30 years. Your experience may be different, and I appreciate you taking the time to share it here with all of us.

  17. Thank you for these insights !
    I would say price comparison websites provide sometimes results which are not accurate, so you should
    read on how it works before using them.I would like sharing with you a powerful text about these platforms.
    I really liked it:

  18. Jeff looking to buy the Jackson competitor viper fugitive skates are they good for indoor arena skating wood floor and I assume it is treated I also have a wide foot do skates come in wide size’s

    • Hi Edward – The Jackson Competitor series are women’s derby skates, so I have never used them. A number of beginner derby girls I know do have these skates and seemed to like them. They do come in 1/2 sizes, so that also helps. Some skates do come in wide sizes, but that is not the norm. Most skate sites / skate shops will have you go up a size if you think they are going to be too small. Of course, always look for the type of skate you are trying to buy and check their sizing chart. For example, here is the Jackson boot size chart. When I am buying a new boot, I always Google [Boot Manufacturer Name] boot size chart and then measure my foot. Sometimes the size I wear in shoes does not match the measurements, however, most of the time it does match.

  19. great help thank you.
    what softness would you recommend for a weight of 127lbs.
    Fresh meat derby skater.
    cheers again

    • Hi Plastered – I really like Atom Boom or Atom Poison wheels for that type of skating. [Full Disclosure: The links above are Amazon Affiliate links, so I will be paid if you use them. I have used both products, and I do recommend them.]

  20. I bought a cheaper pair of skates to remember how to skate. I bought some Moxi wheels for outdoor skating and put some Bones Reds in them. However, when I took my original wheels (more for indoor) off to upgrade, those bearings were extended on one side. When is it necessary to use extended bearings or spacers? Appreciate your input!

    • Hi Michelle – I personally don’t use bearing spacers, however, they are go in between the bearings on the axle. They can help to take the pressure of the axle nut off the bearing. Some of the benefits can include a smoother and faster wheel spin, plus you can tighten the axle nut without the bearings stopping. I personally just don’t tighten my axle nut so tight and then I don’t need spacers, however, some people like them.

  21. Hi. I only started roller skating this year with Special Olympics, but won 4 gold medals at Pa FallFest. I want to improve my performance for next year!

  22. Thank you so much, my girlfriend and I are learning how to skate and getting really into the practice of it. Your blog is so helpful and even seeing how in depth you respond to folks who ask you more is really heartening. Thanks a lot and really looking forward to using these tips!

  23. Pingback: New Skaters and Wheel Selection – The Hardest Habit
  24. HI
    My son is 7years old and he is doing speed skating. He tried Warrior and Atom striker recently for the trail purpose. Atom striker is very good and light weight wheel. Which one are recommend for him as i am going to buy one set for indoor and one set for out door.

    height : 120Cm
    Weight : 45lbs

    • For indoor speed skating, I really like the Hyper Cannibals. My daughters and I use them for our speed skating. For outdoor, I would probably go Atom Boom. [Full Disclosure: Both links are Amazon Affiliate links. I have used and do recommend both products as they are solid for what you want to use them for.]

  25. Learning how to buy the right wheels is absolutely essential when it comes to buying parts for your skateboard. I particularly like that the article goes over how the core materials effect the way the wheel rolls. This can make a huge difference for your board, so you want to make sure that you’re choosing the right replacement parts.

  26. Really great information! Ive been out of the loop for over 15 years. Im building skates soon and this was really helpful. I will probably buy my wheels from you guys.


    • Thanks, Shaun. We no longer sell products and are instead turning into just a site for great skate information. If you would like to help us out, please be sure to use our Amazon Affiliate link when shopping. Any commissions we earn helps us continue to maintain our site.

  27. Wow what a great site.
    I Have lung disease and need a really light pair of skates. 2 pushes and I’m out of breath!!
    Have aggressive inline skates that have worn 3 times! ( from 5 years ago) Too heavy. Wrong skates!
    Now my daughter wants to go indoor skating every week I am desperate for a pair which to be honest doesn’t take much effort and are light. Not bricks on my feet like now!! I can just about Skate…. ish. Stopping, well that’s another story. Problem is we may try outdoors too! Told about them three wheel extra extra big wheeled skates quite new out that are light and indoor and out. Any ideas? Thanks Jeff

    • Hi Joreeder – Thank you for stopping by the site. I am so happy to hear that you are pushing yourself into skating. Your story is very inspiring. I love your determination! You can do it!

      Aggressive inline skates are usually much lighter in weight than quads. For instance, my daughter’s Lugino Struts weigh a lot less than my Vanilla Diamonds. If you are going for an inline skate, than the Struts above or the VNLA Carbon are good and both pretty light for the price. The only problem is that these skates are really advanced, so if you are not a great skater, I would NOT recommend them. They take a lot of patience and great balance to get good at them. Plus, they can really put a lot of pressure on your ankles (you are skating on a thin wheel diameter). This can make even a good quad skater like me still be pretty shaky, and I too was only on them a few times before I went back to my quads. They were just too much work for me. [Full Disclosure: The links above are Amazon affiliate links because I have used the products above and do recommend them.]

      I have no experience with the 3 wheel skate, so I can’t speak to how light or effective they may be. For quads, I would go with a nylon core wheel (as opposed to a metal core which weighs more). I’d also look for a smaller wheel 59mm as less material means less weight. These new Atom Savant roller derby wheels look really promising. They only weigh 68 grams a piece. That is super light – the lightest I’ve seen for good quad wheels. I may have to get myself a set soon to try them out. 🙂 Wheels make a big difference in overall skate weight as you have 4 of them on every skate. I can’t really recommend them those as I have never tried them myself, but they do look like something you may want to look into as they are the lightest I have ever seen.

      If you are building your own skate, then next I would go with a nylon plate as they are lighter than aluminum. Nylon is cheap and so you will find them on many skate packages you find online. If you don’t mind spending a bit more and want a better, more stable skate plate, you should go with a magnesium plate which are super nice.

      If you want more of a personal touch and want someone to build the skate for you, I would checkout someplace like Medusa Skates which we have here in Austin. They specialize in roller derby skates and many roller derby skaters want a light pair of skates. They are well known in my area for being knowledgeable and friendly. Plus, their big advantage is they have a brick-and-mortar storefront so you can try on a skate before you buy it.

      Otherwise, if you can’t do that because you don’t live in Austin :-), I’d recommend you either call up Medusa or find an online shop like Bruised Boutique who offer custom skates online. You can literally pick every piece of your skate. However, I would call them and see if they will work with you to customize it just right. You may have to try a couple of different boots before you decide on your custom skate order. Many of these sites will work with you on getting the right boot if you do it BEFORE you place a big custom order. Once they build a custom skate for you, they don’t usually want you returning one part of it, so I would call first. [Full Disclosure: I have no relationship with either website, but have heard good things about both.]

      I hope this helps you joreeder and I hope I see you back up and skating soon!

  28. Nice through commentary on the subject. The most thorough I’ve seen on any page so far!

    I’d like to make a slight correction though if it hasn’t been brought up before. The weight of the wheel is a factor not so much in comparison to the weight of the skate but more so because it will be rotating while in use.

    Just as with cars, especially for performance, where the weight of the wheel is virtually neglible in comparison to the weight of the car, however it makes a significant difference in performance because of it’s rotational mass. With all other factors being equal, a lighter wheel will allow for better acceleration, braking, and handling due to it’s reduced rotational mass not necessarily because it reduces the overall weight of the car.

  29. Sir my baby is 8 years old. She skate over basketball concrete court.

    Will you please suggest me the best wheels for her.

    Jai k. antil

    • Thanks for stopping by Jai. I’m glad to hear your daughter is skating at an early age. It really depends on the kind of skating she is doing. If she is just starting out, any 8 wheels will do just fine. For outdoors, I like the Pulse Outdoor wheels. They are softer and so good for any bumpy terrains you may encounter outdoors.

  30. I am a Jam Skates and I have been doing so for 5 years and skating for like 18 years. I was told I have been skating wrong for Jam Skating. I use small wheels for speed and I flex my thighs to turn which luckily I haven’t pulled a muscle; also thre has been inflammation in my knee from putting a lot of pressure from the wrong wheels apparently.

    What wheels do you recommend for Jam Skaters to still keep their fluid slow motion tricks.

    In the old days it was called rubber leg skating.

    I enjoy going fast but now I want to go slower more smooth and controlled I weigh 150 lbs. 6ft tall

    I consider myself and expert on wheels.
    My skate wheels are smaller and I have tons of speed but I want to slow it down and work on controlled spins and dancing as I skate around the rink; not just stationary in the middle dancing.

    • Hi Elijah – Thanks for rolling by. I love my smaller 103As, too. They are lightning fast and small, so I understand what you mean. I also like rubber legging/crazy leg, grapevining, crab walking, etc. I’m not super good at it, but it’s fun. 🙂 I also get aches, pains, broken elbows, etc. It’s this thing called age. My brain still thinks it’s 15 and my body says “nope, you’re over 40 buddy”.

      A lot of speed is based on durometer – how hard the wheel is – and surface. If you go with a softer durometer, you are going to go slower. If you go harder, you are going to go faster with less effort. Most of the really good jam skaters that I know use Vanilla’s Backspin wheels. They tend to be in the 91A-95A range. They also are wider than my wheels at 42mm. A wider wheel and more surface may also help you out.

      We have a couple of folks from the Vanilla Pro Jam Team who frequent our rink from time-to-time. I will see if I can get some recommendations from them the next time I see them. I will write a follow up for you.

  31. I have been skating since about 1946 (clamp on outdoor skates) and in the 1950’s (indoor with wooden wheels) and now at 78 I still skate indoors with my grandchildren. I will say that this is the most comprehensive compilation on skate information that I have ever seen. Thank you so much for the effort that you have put into it.

    • Thank you so much, Fred. You are why I am here. I love researching topics that I love, and I adore roller skating. I appreciate your kind words. Thank you. I am 43 and I sure hope I am skating with my grandchildren in 35 years. Keep on skating and thanks for rolling by to say hi!

  32. What’s up, after reading this awesome post
    i am as well delighted to share my experience here with

  33. Hi i am from india. My daughter is 9 and Half and she is using Lowboys (95A) quad wheel for Competition. She performs well on synthetic track with timing of around 39.5 Sec for 300 mtr.
    Recently she participated in one of the competition where track was cemented and on little rough side. Tack was painted with normal paint. With the same wheel she could get a time of plus 1.5 second. Can you suggest what type wheel to be used on different surfaces.


    • Thanks for rolling by Atul. That’s a pretty good time. I’ve never used the Lowboys, so I can’t comment. A 95A sounds about right for speed skating. That’s typically the durometer that many of the quad speed skaters use that I know, but they are all indoors on a wood track. I use the Hyper Cannibal skate wheels which are 96A on my rink’s hard wood floor. For speed, you want the hardest wheels possible that you can control on the surface you are skating on. The harder the wheel, the more speed. But a harder wheel also means more slip, less grip.

      I would imagine the biggest problem on rough cement is choppiness or a bouncing feeling. Every time I have skated on rough cement or asphalt, I have felt a bit jolted. My best advice for today is to experiment a little. If you can afford it, get a couple extra sets of wheels for your daughter at different durometers (one higher & one lower durometer) and test out different surfaces so she can tell you what “feels right”. You are going to have to experiment between how much she wants to slide / slip around the corners vs. overall speed. If she is complaining about bouncing or too much choppiness, then a softer durometer wheel is the way to go…but not for speed! You want as hard of a durometer as you can control for speed.

      For a future post here soon, I’ll take my 3 different sets of wheels out on to some different surfaces and try them out and write an article here soon. Thanks for the question and best of luck to your daughter in her future competitions!

  34. What wheels would you recommend for a 200 lbs 5’11 60 year old who is taking indoor skating back up for exercise 1x per week. I bought some skates with speed wheels and they feel too heavy, sticky and bulky but they are fast.

    Thanks. Jack

    • Hi Jack – Usually sticky and heavy = slow. But, it really depends on the skater. Do you know what durometer your wheels are? It will usually list it on the wheel like “98A” or “89A”. A higher number = a harder wheel. A smaller number = a softer wheel.

      If you are doing mostly indoor skating, you can get away with a hard wheel on most surfaces. For my fun rink skating, I use the hardest wheel I can find. Roller Bones Elite is my current favorite quad wheel. It is a narrow, super hard, slick and very light wheel. Warning: If you are not skating on a tight surface or don’t have good balance on corners, then you may have trouble controlling these wheels. They are super slick. But they are really light and super fun to skate on.

      If you are more into speed skating and want a hard wheel, then I recommend the Hyper Cannibal speed skate wheels. These are the ones I use at speed skate practice. They are a 98A. Again, not for slick surfaces. But, if you are on a tight wood floor, then they are a great wheel. They are a speed skate wheel, so the wheel is much wider than the Roller Bones Elite.

      I hope this helps you out. Thanks for rollin’ by!

  35. Hi
    My son is 4 year old and is good in indoor skating (on quads ) … I want him to go for outdoor too . His weight his 13 kg and height 3 feet 2 inch and using skates of 17 cm long ……. Please recommend when should he go for inline ….. And if to continue with quads then please recommend which skates for both indoor and outdoor ……

    Presently he using quads with wheels of 62mm and 95a….

    I can send my son’s video of skating too

    • Hi Aarav – Thanks for rollin’ by and leaving me a comment. I’m so happy to hear that your son is skating at a young age. That’s great! As far as inlines go, I think once they have enough ankle strength they are good to go. You were smart to start him on quads. That doesn’t take as much ankle strength to get started. As far as outdoor wheels go, I really like the Sure Grip Motion or the Atom Pulse skate wheels. Both are a super soft wheel that make them perfect for outdoors. You can wear the 95a outdoors, they just aren’t going to be as comfortable outside. I hope you two have a great time skating together!

  36. Hi Jeff! I just started roller skating again after 20 years away from it. I used to skate 4 times a week but I got away from it for “a while”. I still have my 45 year old skates with their #8 red wheels so I used them to see how it would go. turns out I still love to skate but could use some new skates and I know nothing about it anymore. your information about what wheels to buy is awesome and will be a big help when it’s time to go put together a new set of skates. thanks for helping out an old roller girl. 🙂

    • Thanks for rollin’ by, Sara! I’m so glad to hear that you are back out there and skating again. And I’m glad you have found the information useful. In my opinion, next to boot comfort, the wheels are the most important thing on the skate. Have fun out there skating.

  37. Hiiii Jeff …..

    According to ur idea I have bought wheel of 78a durometer and 66 mm diameter …..

    Pls suggest the related bearing for it ……….

    • The bearings I use for most of my wheels is the Bones Super Reds. They are about $60. They are a good steel bearing that roll better than most I have used straight out of the box. I hope you have a great time skating!

  38. Perfect article to get detail information about the roller skate wheels. I am a skater and searching for good long lasting roller skate wheels via online. After read this article I came to know about the parameters which could be considered while selecting perfect roller skate wheel. Here you have also mentioned the highest priority parameter in a descriptive way which is also beneficial for a person who has no knowledge about roller wheel. Before buying the best skate shoes, I have followed the buying guide. Now after reading this buying guide, I am very much confident about roller wheel and I think I will buy best product for me.

    • Thanks, Nethan, for rollin’ by. I’m glad to hear the article was useful. If you liked the article, be sure to check out the podcast. I give even more details there. Just click on the Podcast link in the main menu.

  39. Thank you for all of the free information. You truly love roller skating!
    Would a person wanting to combine skating & different dance skating both indoor and outdoor then go with a 84/85a with a 57-58” diameter 35 mm profile, lipped wheel? If so, what are the best options? Thanks ahead of time!

    • Hi Elisa – If you are trying to do both indoor and outdoor skating, then you could do well with a mid-range wheel. 84-85A would work well.

      It really depends on the surfaces you are skating on and what kind of “dance” you are doing on roller skates.

      If you are skating on asphalt, I highly recommend getting either the Atom Pulse, Sure-Grip Motion or Sure-Grip Boardwalk wheels. These are all 78A wheels – some of the softest you’ll find – and your feet will thank you for it. If you are skating outdoors on smooth concrete (think tennis court), then you could get by with a harder wheel in the 84-85A range (or even harder depending on how good your balance is).

      Next, if you are doing artistic dance (waltz, foxtrot, etc.), you are more than likely doing that indoors and will want a harder artistic wheel. RollerBones Elite is a good artistic wheel and is the one I prefer. You can find a write up of it here. It would NOT be good for outdoors, though. In that case, I recommend 2 sets of wheels.

      If by dance you mean more like jam skating, then I would personally go with one of the VNLA Backspin wheels (the Backspin Trackstar is an 89A jam wheel).

      Let me know what surface you are skating on and what type of dance you are doing. That will help. More than likely, you’ll really want 2 sets of wheels – one for indoors and one for outdoors.

      Thanks for rollin’ by and asking your question.

  40. Hi,

    I previously owned a pair on inline skates with 74mm wheels and found that these were a good size but found that it was really difficult if there were any small rocks in my way and I felt like it was hard to not trip over them. Instead I ended up purchasing a different set of inline skates with 84mm wheels and are 83a hardness. These feel great when going over tiny rocks in my path when I’m skating outdoors on roads or footpaths, but I feel like they are too fast for my liking and I’m still struggling trying to get my balance a little. I want to be able to cruise along footpaths at a decent slow-averageish speed for a beginner, but I don’t like how my new wheels get too much speed too quickly and I can’t keep a constant rhythm and end up trying to constantly wash off my speed.

    Can you recommend a wheel size that would be better for my balance and not so quick to build up speed, while also easier to roll over small rocks in my path.


    • Hi Chrystal – Thanks for rollin’ by and leaving a question. What hardness were your 74mm wheels? When roller skating outdoors, softer wheels just do better. And small pebbles are relatively speaking easier to go over in softer wheels. Your legs will also thank you for it as harder wheels shake your legs a whole lot more than softer wheels.

      Also, the taller a wheel is the harder it is to balance on it. This is especially true with inline wheels. As the inline wheel gets taller, it typically also gets narrower, making it even harder to balance on. You’re also that much further away from the surface making you feel unsteady. The taller the wheel, the longer it will take to get the speed of the wheel up, but also the faster and longer it will roll once you get it going. This is why inline speed skaters wear taller wheels – usually somewhere between 100mm and 130mm.

      If you are having balance issues on inline skates, I would definitely recommend that you go with the shortest wheel you can find. Also, make sure your inline skate boot (rollerblade) goes up over your ankle and part of your calf. You want your boot to help support you.

      I think you were on the right track with the 74mm wheels. They will be easier to balance on than the 84mm. I found a Labeda 72mm inline wheel on Amazon that is an 84A. There are a couple of them out there. I even found a Bauer Hockey wheel that is 76A and only 59mm tall. That’s a pretty short inline wheel and super soft.

      Just remember that a shorter, softer wheel will be slower. Softer is also better for outdoors, especially if you want control. Shorter wheels also give you more control. So, I would look for a shorter, softer wheel when you can based on what you are trying to do on your skates outdoors.

      Best of luck and feel free to reach out to me via the Ask Dad link if you need more help.



  41. What an incredibly helpful article! Thank you! I picked up an old pair of roller skates at a thrift shop a few weeks ago and have been cleaning them up and seeing what I can do with them. There are no brand labels anywhere on them and I looked everywhere online and haven’t been able to find anything like them. I am currently working on cleaning up the wheels and something has me puzzled.

    The skates came with 2 different color wheels: front-left=pink, front-right=green, rear-left=green, rear-right=pink, same pattern on both skates. Thanks to your article, I now know that my wheels are 54mm in diameter and 32mm wide; they have hollow cores, square lips, and no tread on the contact patch. I don’t see any A or D numbers that indicate the hardness, but I noticed that each wheel has an additional number (2, 3, 5, 7, or 8) stamped on the back of it in addition to the “54-32”. I have two “2”s (one green, one pink), a “3” (pink), two “5”s (both green), two “7”s (one green, one pink), and an “8” (pink).

    Do you have any idea what these numbers mean? Are they supposed to go in certain positions (i.e. put the wheels with the higher numbers in the back and the smaller numbers in the front …or something like that)? Unfortunately I didn’t notice the numbers on the back of the wheels until after I took them all off and cleaned them, so I’m not sure how they were laid out before. 🙁

    • Hi Hope – thanks for stopping by. That’s interesting. I have not come across wheels with different numbers like that on the back. Maybe someone else reading these comments has seen that before. I do know that some skaters (especially derby players) use different hardnesses of wheels to get more stick / less stick for pushing, etc. However, I don’t think those numbers on the back represent the durometer – though I could be wrong. Those are some pretty tiny wheels, though. Send me a photo of it when you get a chance. Thanks for stopping by.

  42. Dear Jeff,

    Seeing all the wonderful advice of you, I’d like to ask a question. I have some 15-year old Rollerblades with 70 mm diameter wheels (hardness is unknown, the wheels literally fell apart over time so I can barely see inscriptions; but they are definitely outdoor). I want to just exchange them (bearings and spacers are in good shape), but it seems that nowadays more wheels come in 72 mm and higher diameters. Do you think it is possible to insert 72 mm in my originally-70 mm roller skates? Lots of thanks in advance!

    • Hi Oleksandra – Thanks for rollin’ by. You should look to see how much additional room you have in diameter on your rollerblades. I know with some of the inline skates that my daughter has I stupidly thought I could just go from a 100mm to 110mm and learned the hard way that they were not going to fit. When you have the 70mm wheels in the roller blades, check to see the distance between the top of the wheel and the plate. If you have the extra 1mm space (most likely you do), then you should be good to go. Best of luck and happy skating!

  43. This great article was written in 2015 and you are still answering each of the comments. That is very good to see and it seems you updated the article recently because the earlier one was a bit different…

    Although very good information you shared.

    I don’t know what about your country but In India, most of the skaters go with brands recommended by coaches without knowing the aspect of the wheels.

  44. This was super helpful. I’m a figure skater and coach for skating if the on ice variety but our rink is closed due to COVID-19. Skating is my main source of cardio and I am looking at roller skating as an option since I have some good socially distanced space outdoors.

    • Hi Catherine – Yes, I’m sad from the virus outbreak, too. Our rink closed down and I can’t wait for the shelter-in-place orders are lifted, this virus is behind us and I can get back to the rink with all of my fellow rink rats. You can always skate outdoors – something I’m planning to do this weekend. Gotta get the skating in somehow. 🙂 Thanks for rollin’ by and leaving a comment. Stay safe everyone.

  45. Thank you soooooo much. I love roller skating I have a semi professional one but it’s for skating rink I for year O would like to go outside. With all your explanations I will be able to buy to correct wheels for them.
    Thank you again.

  46. Hi, thank you for your wonderful site and this incredible article.
    I’d be very grateful, if you could advise me.
    I’m a beginner skater and I’d like to jam skate for fun in my home – we have parquet floors, basically polished wood, extremely slippery. I try to search the answer everywhere, but I don’t seem to get it. The extreme slippery floors would work only with the softest wheels? But also, are the softest ones good for jam dancing? What is the very ideal durometer for the jam skating?
    Otherwise I’m a quite petite woman and would love to skate outside, I don’t need to be particularly fast, but I don’t want to suffer a lot trying to move forward while it’s just barely rolling.. What size length and width do I need? I already decided for the softest ones possible, right now I have 85A and that isn’t soft enough for our Czech roads.
    Thank you and take care!

    • Hi Irena – Thanks so much for rollin’ by. For jam skating, I often recommend VNLA wheels. They are one of the leaders in jam skates and make some pretty good jam skating wheels. However, jam skating and rough roads don’t go together. 🙂 Almost all of VNLA’s wheels are going to be in the 92A-95A range and they are the right width / durometer for that activity.

      So, I’d recommend you have 2 sets of wheels – one for jam skating indoors and another pair for outdoor skating. My favorite outdoor wheels are the Atom Pulse.

      I hope that helps – Jeff.

  47. Great article. One thing I noticed missing in the discussion about bearings is axel size. I was looking into new bearings recently and discovered my skates have 7 mm axles and the standard today, every place I looked, are 8mm. We called these oversized back in the 70s. Before COVID I was skating weekly with my 88 yr old dad. With the COVID shutting things down, including our local rinks, I wanted to get outdoor wheels for my indoor skates. I have Douglas Snyder plates. I’m sure I want the softest wheels, as slow and smooth are my goals. My concern is wheel height and width. I do not want them rubbing my boot. Any suggestions?

  48. Hello! 2 things.
    First, I’ve been in derby for a good few years and the Atom Savants are my absolute favorite wheel. As a pivot I need to be able to execute a wide variety of moves and change from blocking to jamming in an instant and the Savants are very responsive, light, and just about all I could ask for in a derby wheel. So, good pick!

    Next thing – I want to get into artistic skating but I don’t have a lot of space to practice in for the foreseeable future and my floor is slicker than a skating rink would normally be. Do you have any thoughts on whether an “artistic” wheel is still the best choice? I guess I might be looking at doing more jam moves if I can’t get the space to go for big, classically artistic jumps etc. Thanks!

    • Hi Kate – I definitely think that getting artistic wheels would be a great choice even if you’re not planning on using them in the near future, they are still good to add to your collection. My Dad uses Powell Roller Bones Elite Wheels which come in four different colors, two different hardnesses, and two different wheels sizes. From what I have seen if you are a more experienced skater which it sounds like you are then you will probably like these wheels but there is definitely a learning curve especially if you are not used to low grip wheels. I hope this helps.

  49. Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for the informative post! Just getting into roller skating, nice to have something concise to touch on all the main points to consider for wheels.

    One technical note from a mechanical engineer: regarding rates of acceleration for different wheel diameters, this doesn’t actually have anything to do with the linear distance traveled per rotation. The acceleration would only be affected by the moment of inertia of the wheel (assuming the difference in mass is negligible relative to the total weight of the skater’s body)…the greater the moment of inertia, the more of your energy has to go into getting the wheel rotating. So two wheels with the same moment of inertia with different diameters should accelerate the exact same.

    Thanks again for the post…I’ve read a few other things on your site that have been quite informative as well!

    • Hi Chris, I’m so glad that my dad’s posts have helped you so much in your roller skating journey, keep up the learning, and the skating!

  50. Hi there, I want to get back into roller skating outdoors. I am 40 years old and I haven’t skated since I was 20. ha! I live by the beach in Southern CA, and I really would love to be able to glide along the concrete pavement near the Bay and keep up with my 4 year old on her bike. What wheels do you recommend for me? Remember, it is like I am a beginner all over again. Eventually I want to be able to spin in a circles, but pretty much just gliding along the bay. I most likely will buy the Chicago women’s quad skate or something like that as I don’t want to spend a ton of money on skates and wheels. I need to know Brand and size wheel I should get. I already know that the 78A is a softer wheel so I need that one, but what about the diameters and brand? What is best for me?

    Thank You!

    • Hi Gina, thank you for your comment, I and my dad (roller skate dad) love reading comments together. If you just want to get some Chicago skates to start that’s great I highly recommend the Atom Pulse Outdoor Wheels (65mm with a 78A softness) they are sadly sold out right now, so if you need another pair of wheels the Boardwalk Outdoor Wheels (65mm with a 78A softness) is very nice. Also, I wouldn’t worry about the size of the wheels 65mm is the standard for outdoor wheels and most wheels in general. Hope that helps.

  51. hi
    i would like your advice for choosing the proper wheels for artistic roller skating on this type of floors. my daughter used to dance with an edea skates & wheels in the range of 49d to 53d. now im getting her a moxi skates with wheels having different scale durometer. have done some search & came up with an impression that hard wheels in the range of 97a- 101a ,57-59mm would be good this type of floor.
    many thanx & appreciate your help.

    • Hi Ahmed – For artistic skating on a hard wood floor, I’d recommend a wheel between 97A and 101A in durometer. For me, the harder the wheel the better. It just makes spinning that much easier. Thanks for rollin’ by.

  52. Hey Skate Dad! Great article. I’ve recently purchase the Atom Savants for my son and myself. THEY ARE AWESOME! Just thought I’d give you my feedback. I’ve been skating for 40 years, artistic to start now speed. My son (13) is a real speed star. We don’t play derby but these wheels give just enough grip on the concrete floors we have here in Australia, but are hard enough to keep a great rolling speed. I’ve even swapped my Chaya Octo Wheels for my Savants. just love ‘em. Anyway keep up the great blog and happy skating.

  53. Great post! I’m buying my first pair of roller skates today and had no idea what to make of all the numbers on the wheels, this post is really helpful thank you for sharing.

  54. This is so great! I have a huge science paper to do, and chose the topic roller skating because I love to do artistic skating, and this not only gave me good background info for my paper, but I even learned a lot of stuff. This is an amazing website! Thank you so much!

  55. Hey Jeff! I bought some size adjustable walmart skates a while ago and just started skating pretty much for the first time ever. I’m doing pretty well on garage and tennis court surfaces, but I’ve run into a bit of roadblock on pavement and sidewalk. It’s not too bad, but not ideal. I’ve read your article on outdoor wheels, but I’m not sure where my wheels rank on the durometer. The wheels are RollerDerby brand, but I can’t find much about the wheel itself online. Do you know anything about these wheels and their effectiveness on outdoor surfaces?

    • What kind of trouble are you having? Can you send me a link to the skates you bought or a picture? 🙂

      Most likely they are hybrid wheels good for indoors and smooth outdoor surfaces. If that’s the case, go with some soft 78a durometer wheels and they will be pretty smooth on sidewalks and less bumpy on asphalt. Atom Pulse is still a great soft wheel for outdoors.

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