The Best Roller Skate Wheels (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
You can't skate without wheels, so make sure you choose the best ones for your roller skates.
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BY Noelle Talmon / LAST UPDATED ON January 21, 2021
If you're looking for a fun activity to do solo or with friends and family, roller skating is a great option. One of the best things about the hobby is that you can do it either indoors or outside where you can enjoy nature and fresh air. Plus, it's a great way to stay active and exercise.
Whether you're a seasoned skater or new to the sport, you must use the proper gear. Roller skates, like a lot of other sports equipment, require proper maintenance to work effectively. Over time, the wheels wear down and need to be replaced. If you want to get the best performance out of your skates, you need to swap out the wheels now and then. Check out our guide to find the best wheels available.
This eight-pack of soft 65mm outdoor wheels have a 78A harness. They are made in America and come in four different colors.
- They provide a smooth ride
- Long-lasting construction
- Great for outdoor skating
- Bearings can be tough to insert
- Colors may be slightly off
These light-up wheels come in five different colors and are 32mm x 58mm with an 82A hardness.
- Fun and eye-catching design
- Extra bearings included
- Smooth and comfortable
- Must order two sets for two skates
- Lights may stop working rather quickly
These high-rebound indoor wheels come in black, green, pink, purple, and white and 57mm or 62mm. They're designed for recreational and artistic skating.
- Long-lasting construction
- Easy to ride
- Competition quality
- They grip and release easily
- You may need a bearing press for the bearings
- It may not be wide enough for some users
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Benefits of Roller Skate Wheels
- They're a vital component of the skates. Everyone knows you can't skate without any wheels; after all, they're what makes them roll. The best roller skate wheels get you from point A to point B quickly and smoothly.
- They're customizable. The type of wheels you choose relates to the type of skating you do. Some are designed for beginners and others are meant for more advanced skaters. Plus, you can choose the colors you like (and even get ones that light up!).
- They're fun. Whether you choose to skate indoors or outside, the wheels help you go fast or provide grip on uneven surfaces. The right wheels help you spin and take tight corners on the rink or stay upright while you roll over pebbles on the sidewalk.
Types of Roller Skate Wheels
Outdoor Skate Wheels
Wheels designed for outdoor use tend to be softer and taller. Often, roller skates or "quad skates" don't come with the best wheels for outdoor use, so you may need to swap them out. Out of the box many roller skates have wider, harder wheels, which are better for indoor use. If you plan on skating outside, you need wheels that will tolerate various types of terrain.
Indoor Skate Wheels
If indoor roller rinks are more your speed, then you'll need wheels that are a little harder. These wheels are faster, have less grip, and are designed to roll over coated surfaces with ease. Hard wheels are ideal for advanced and artistic skaters as they work well in tight, indoor areas and let you spin more freely.
John L. Wintz founded the SURE-GRIP Skate Company in 1936. It was initially known for its rubber inlay wheels, but the company now produces skates as well as accessories. We recommend the Sure-Grip Boardwalk Outdoor Wheels.
The outdoor and sporting goods company RollerBones is based in Santa Barbara, Calif. It makes roller skate wheels, bearings, clothing, and other accessories, such as sunglasses. One top product is the RollerBones Team Logo 101A Recreational Roller Skate Wheels.
Based in DuPont, Wash., Atom Skates is a sponsor of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA). The company produces accessories for roller derby, inline speed skating, fitness skating, and more. Check out the Atom Poison Savant Skate wheels.
Roller Skate Wheel Pricing
- Under $30: Some roller skate wheels are very inexpensive, but they are not particularly durable and lack performance. It's better to pay more for higher-quality wheels that will last longer and perform better.
- $30-$80: The best roller skate wheels are on the high end of this price range, but you can pay as much as $150 for a premium set of wheels. The more you spend, the better quality they will be. Check the specs and make sure they match the type of skating you plan on doing.
A wheel's hardness, or durometer, can range from 74 to 106 with the letter "A." The lower the number, the softer the wheel is. Outdoor skates usually have softer wheels that range from 74A to 84A. Indoor skate wheels are typically 84A to 106A. Softer wheels provide more grip and can absorb bumps, such as small pebbles, better. Harder wheels are faster and allow you to spin better on indoor surfaces.
A wheel's diameter is essentially its height. They typically range from 58mm to 65mm on quad skates. Smaller wheels tend to accelerate faster and are more stable. Taller wheels maintain speed better and are better for outdoor use.
If you are an experienced roller skater and want to move easier and faster on your skates, look for lighter-weight wheels. They allow you to execute quick movements much easier. However, lighter wheels are also less stable, so heavier wheels are a better option for beginners.
The lips/edge of the wheel is responsible for the grip. "Square" lips provide more grip and aren't as rounded as other lips. They are often used by artistic skaters. Rounded lips are more common on outdoor wheels. They are not as grippy and allow you to slide and cruise along a little better, particularly over pebbles and small road imperfections.
The center of the wheel that holds the bearings is known as the core or hub. The three main types of cores are hollow, nylon, and aluminum. Nylon cores are usually spoked and are lightweight, softer, and slower. Aluminum cores are heavy, very strong, and rigid. They provide less traction than nylon core wheels. Hollow cores fall between the other two types of cores and are a good mid-range option.
- Style: Color and design make a difference if you're a recreational, jam, or rink skater. Many people customize their equipment so it reflects their personalities. While the color of the wheels, laces, etc. do not affect performance, it can influence how you feel when you tie on your skates.
Best Roller Skate Wheels Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- If you weigh over 200 pounds, consider wheels with a rigid core (i.e, aluminum) so they don't flex as much. Heavier skaters naturally get more grip than average-sized people. Also, consider getting wheels that are a little harder.
- The bearings help the wheels turn, and if they're not of good quality they can adversely affect rotation. Those with a higher ABEC (Annual Bearing Engineering Committee) rating perform better, but not all bearings come with these ratings.
- The rebound refers to the bounce of the wheel. Less-expensive wheels don't have as much rebound and simply don't feel as good. The better the rebound, the better the wheels will roll.
Q: Are roller skate wheels universal?
No. Roller skate wheels come in different sizes, hardnesses, shapes, etc. They are also designed for different types of skating, indoors or outdoors, recreation, or speed.
Q: Are rollerblades easier than roller skates?
It's easier to fall forward or backward while using roller skates and to clip one wheel onto the other skate, which can cause you to fall. It's important to keep the feet separated, which can be harder for children. Inline skates tend to be very stable and are less likely to experience wheel clipping.
Q: How long does it take to learn roller skating?
It can take up to 10 hours to learn how to comfortably balance, turn, accelerate, and stop on roller skates. This type of practice should be spread out over time and not take place in one day.
Our pick for the best roller skate wheels is the Sure-Grip Boardwalk Outdoor Wheels. They provide a smooth ride, are long-lasting, and can tackle rough terrain as well as hills. Overall, they're a great option for outdoor skating. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the VAKA Luminous Light Up Quad Roller Skate Wheels.