Rollerblade wheel sizes and hardness can affect your overall skating experience and performance.
Therefore, it is important that you do some research and get all the basic information about rollerblades including the wheels before getting one.
So, why are size and hardness essential in rollerblade wheels? Rollerblade wheels are designed to combine several properties to accommodate the different skill levels and sizes of the skaters.
Fortunately, there is a big range of rollerblades in the market with different wheel hardness and sizes to accommodate every skater, condition, or surface.
Understanding how these properties affect your performance is beneficial when replacing older wheels or buying new ones.
Continue reading to know more information about how to select the wheels with the right durometer for the surface you are skating on and your style.
Additionally, you will understand more about the technicalities of wheel diameter or size as well as the different types of skating and their ideal wheel sizes and hardness.
What Is The Best Inline Skate Wheel Size For Me?
One of the most confusing aspects when choosing rollerblade wheels is the wheel diameter or wheel size. You may ask yourself if you want larger ones or smaller ones.
The correct wheel size depends on the size, the type of surface you want to skate on, and the preferred inline skating style.
Your skating ability is another factor that determines the wheel size. These factors are explained below:
Ability And Style Of Your Inline Skating
A beginner who just acquired their first-ever pair of skates may need to keep things safer with smaller wheels.
The smaller wheels of 4*80mm inline skates will keep you close to the ground than when you have taller wheels. There is also less distance to the ground in case you fall, you are slightly safer.
Is Your Body Big Enough For Large Rollerblade Wheels?
Young inline skaters or small riders should not choose big rollerblade wheels. The bigger wheels have longer and heavier frames making your skates heavy and not a good option for inexperienced and weak feet.
If you have a smaller rollerblader or a young skater, go for smaller wheels. For most kids and beginner rollerbladers, 80mm rollerblade wheels (4*80mm wheels) should be the best option.
Beginners Work Better With Smaller Wheels
You are mostly cruising on less busy roads or cruising down streets when you are a beginner, inline skater.
This is because you have not learned the inline skating tricks and are riding recreational or freestyle skates.
The 80mm-90mm wheels are a good bet at your skill level because you want stability at low to medium-high speeds.
Aggressive Inline Skaters Go For Medium Or Small-Sized Wheels
The smaller wheels are not just for kids or beginner skaters. Those advanced skaters who favor aggressive skating prefer smaller wheels.
Usually, aggressive inline skaters commonly use wheels with a size range of 56mm to 59 mm in streets and parks.
Rollerblade wheels have been increasing in size, with 80 mm wheels becoming more popular.
Aggressive inline skates also have a wide, short, and rounded profile with a solid core.
Right Wheel Size For Slalom Inline Skates
Most people think that slalom inline skaters use smaller wheels all the time which is not always true. The frame length determines the right size of Slalom inline skates.
Slalom skaters usually use the biggest wheels. Their preferred frame length will accommodate and their ideal wheel size is 72mm-80 mm range.
A frame length of 243mm or 245mm needs the maximum wheel size to be 80mm.
A 231mm frame length needs a maximum wheel size of 76mm, while a 219mm frame length needs a maximum wheel size of 72mm. A longer frame sits higher and supports a bigger wheel size.
The wheels for slalom skating also have a rounded profile and average height for better maneuverability.
Most Inline Hockey Skaters Use Mixed-Wheel Setup/ The Hi-Lo Setups
Inline roller hockey players that are 72mm-80 mm in diameter range. Most roller hockey skaters usually go for the Hi-Lo wheels.
Skates with a hi-lo frame which mixes the larger wheels with the smaller wheels.
At the back of the 4-wheel inline hockey skates are the two 80 mm wheels, and at the front of the skates are the 72mm wheels.
Hockey skate wheels have a rounded profile and are wide for better grip and traction.
Do You Plan To Skate In An Urban Environment?
If you intend to skate in an urban setting or your rollerblading discipline involves a lot of quick turns, then you will love smaller wheels that are 80mm or 84mm wheels size.
Your skate wheels should have a small turning radius, hence you can weave and bob in and out of vehicles, people, and bikes while out cruising in your city.
In addition, Choosing smaller wheels for urban skating helps your maneuverability and can stop easier and faster.
This is because, across a busy place, stops help to avoid hitting things or people. You will also need to let that crazy city drive pass and avoid being hit.
Are You Planning To Participate In Races Or Marathons?
You need large wheels if you want to speed skate, race, or run marathons. A large diameter wheel that helps you to roll faster.
Larger wheels are usually hard to get them going when compared to smaller rollerblade wheels. However, once the bigger wheels start moving down the trails and road, they maintain their momentum throughout.
Speed inline skating and marathons need 90mm-110mm wheels and the bigger wheels you get, the better.
However, you cannot use wheels bigger than 110mm because of the inline skating discipline. This is because they do not want the skaters to have too much rolling power under their boots.
These wheels are thinner, taller, and tapered to support skating on controlled surfaces.
If you want to participate in competitive inline skating and want to go for long-distance inline skating, go for bigger wheels.
Wheels that are taller raise the center of gravity causing wobbles. Therefore, the reason why speed skates, racing, and distance inline skates usually have longer frames. The longer the frames, the more stability but less maneuverability.
The Right Wheel Size For Inline Hockey Wheels
Inline hockey players usually do not worry much about speed they worry about turning ability and maneuverability.
Hockey players prefer smaller wheels because they are great at turning and maneuverability.
The ideal wheel size for adult inline hockey players is 72mm to 80mm, however, 72mm to 76mm is preferred.
The recommended wheel size for kids’ roller hockey skates is 59mm to 72mm. Most kids have 72mm, 68mm,64mm, or 59mm wheels.
Smaller wheels spin faster than the bigger wheels and are easy to maneuver and turn or stop compared to large wheels with a hard time building up speed that does not stop when attained.
The Surface You Will Skate On
Are you going to skate at a local park that has smooth surfaces? Or are you intending to play inline skate and require good inline wheels for asphalt?
Will you be skating in the dirt most of the time or do you want to do indoor inline skate dancing or inline skating?
The surface you are skating on matters a lot. If you are skating on smooth surfaces such as skate parks and parking lot choose a wheel size of 80mm to 90mm. These wheels do not have problems with debris, cracks, twigs, or pebbles.
If you skate on rough and bumpy surfaces such as bad roads and forest trails then get yourself taller wheels about 1oomm to 110 mm range.
This is because they will roll over debris, cracks, and small rocks. Bigger wheels have a smooth ride because you don’t feel the bumps that much.
What’s The Right Wheel Durometer/Hardness For Me?
A durometer refers to the wheel’s softness or hardness which is expressed with the letter A or B. The durometer of a wheel will influence your performance significantly.
The A durometer scale begins from 0 to 100 or it could be higher as there are wheels that have a hardness of 106A, which are very hard and offer very little grip.
An inline skate wheel with a lower durometer is softer compared to one that has a higher durometer. For example, if a wheel has an 80A durometer, it is softer than one with an 85A wheel.
A wheel with a bigger durometer number means that the wheel is harder. Harder wheels survive longer and as they are more durable.
On the other hand, the B scale has 20 points ahead of the A scale. Some companies that manufacture inline skate wheels choose the B durometer scale when describing their wheel’s softness or hardness.
For instance, a wheel with an 80A durometer has a similar hardness to one with a 60B durometer.
The right durometer for you depends on certain factors such as your weight, riding style, and where you are riding most of the time. These factors are explained below:
Quality Of Surface
If the streets and roads in your neighborhood are not the best, you should get low-durometer or softer inline skate wheels. For example, if you ride on bumpy dirt trails, a rollerblade with 78A to 85A is perfect for you.
Inline wheels with 78A to 82A durometer should work for you if you ride outdoors apart from outdoor inline hockey.
Typically, inline wheels that are softer provide a better rebound compared to harder wheels.
Therefore, if you do not like the hardness your skates are shaking your feet when riding outdoors on rough roads, the wheels may be too hard for you.
Wheels with a lower durometer absorb the impacts from the rough roads well which makes you feel the rocks, cracks, debris, and twigs noticeably less.
However, softer wheels have a downside. If you have two wheels that have the same quality but one is softer than the other, the softer wheel does not have a longer lifespan compared to the harder wheel.
Generally, harder wheels last longer than softer wheels as softer wheels wear down quickly.
Therefore, if the trails are treacherous and the roads are bad, be ready to pay the cost difference to enjoy your ride.
Not all softer wheels wear down quickly because some inline skate brands use formulas that improve the durability or longevity of the softer wheels. However, these wheels tend to be more expensive.
If you skate on hard, smooth surfaces most of the time such as a park, roller rink, or concrete, you should get harder wheels.
These wheels do not provide the same rebound that softer wheels provide, but they are sticky and keep you stable and nice on hard surfaces that do not have cracks.
Type Of Rollerblading
If you want to use your inline skates for dancing or spinning, select the one with really hard wheels with a durometer ranging from 88A to 99A.
This is similar to aggressive skating. Aggressive skates should have hard wheels that can withstand the constant hard jumps and rail grinds at the park and other tough surfaces.
Right wheel hardness for indoor inline hockey – the right wheel durometer will depend on whether you will be hockey skating outdoors or indoors. If it is indoors, get skates with 72A to 74A. Even though indoor wheels are supposed to be harder, the wheels for indoor roller hockey are different.
The players for indoor inline hockey are concerned about the ability to turn and maneuverability more than speed, however, speed is still important.
Additionally, they care about the grip of the wheel, so softer wheels ensure that the boots are stuck to the sports court’s floor.
Generally, if the indoor surface is more slippery, your roller hockey wheels should be softer.
Right wheel hardness for outdoor roller hockey wheels – when you want to roller hockey outdoors, you should buy wheels with a durometer of between 80A to 84A.
Wheels with 80A hardness can be used on multiple surfaces as they work well on indoor wood surfaces and for outdoor use.
For unsealed cement and asphalt, 82A wheels are the best. 84A wheels are suitable for inline hockey skaters who are heavier and skate outdoors most of the time.
The following is a simple guide for rollerblade wheel durometer guide for wheel size and suggested use:
72A – great for light players.
74A – used in sports courts.
76A – great for skaters who are relatively heavier.
78A – these are the most versatile wheels as they can be used for both outdoor and indoor roller hockey.
80A – suitable for wood surfaces.
82A – for asphalt and unsealed cement surfaces.
84A – for roller hockey skaters who are heavy and want to skate on asphalt and cement.
How Light Or Heavy Are You?
If you have a heavy and large frame, you need to buy inline boots that are sturdy to get enough support. But even if the skates are sturdy, they will not provide the needed support if the wheels are too soft.
Soft wheels are great for so many things but they are not strong enough for a bigger person to stand on them. This is because, with every jump around the street or park, the wheels will be too compressed to an extent of deformation.
Therefore, if you are a heavy skater, find wheels that are 2 to 4 figures harder than the hardness recommended for the surface you want to rollerblade on. Lighter skaters can select softer wheels that will last longer.
For example, if you weigh 185 pounds and the surface you want to rollerblade on requires 82A wheels, you should buy skates with 84A to 86A wheels.
On the other hand, if you are lighter than most people with your height, you can buy 78A to 80A wheels.
If you are a professional or competitive skater in rollerblading, considering wheel hardness and size is very important.
This is because having the right wheel size and durometer is dependent on your weight, riding style, and riding surface.
Generally, experienced skaters need bigger wheel diameters for durability and speed and small to mid-sized wheels are great for hockey, slalom, and inline skating as the smaller diameters offer improved maneuverability and quick turns.
Hopefully, this article has given you all the information that you need to know about rollerblade wheels so that you can have the best skating experience.
Hey there, my name is Tommy and I have to admit that rollerblading and roller skating are in my blood. I have been skating since I was seven years old and I have tried many different roller skates during my skating career.
I hope my knowledge and passion for rollerblading and skating comes across and that you’ll find the product reviews insightful.