Every week I get several calls from customers trying to decide what wheels that they want for their skates. Unfortunately, many of them have no idea what they really need. I have been surprised that several are looking only at the color of the wheel and not its function. So I decided to write this article to help any roller skater who is a novice at selecting the right wheels.
One of the first questions I ask a customer, when they tell me that they are looking for a set of wheels, is where will they be skating. The answer to that question will help determine the right kind of wheels for their situation. If they say it is for “indoors” on a rink, then the next question is whether they will be doing speed, recreational or artistic skating.
Artistic wheels are usually narrower than those used for speed skating. They usually have a width of about 30 to 35mm. The smaller width gives the skater more room to maneuver. Also artistic skaters usually want a smaller wheel (55 to 60mm), but not always. It depends upon the skater and use. If you are a dance or figure skater, you probably would want the larger wheel (62-65mm). If you are an artistic skater you will also want a hard wheel. Look for a wheel that has a hardness of 97A or higher.
Indoor skaters that are interested in just general skating or speed skating would look for a wheel that is anywhere from 35mm to 44mm. The narrower the width the faster you will go. So that means that a speed skater might want a narrower wheel than a recreational skater. Also the wheel height for indoor skaters is usually around 62mm. The wheel hardness would depend upon the type of surface. The standard hardness would be a 97A. However if the surface is slippery, I would go with a 92A to a 95a.
If you are going to be skating outdoors, you will need a wheel that is softer. I would look for a wheel that has a hardness of 88A or lower. The softer the wheel the smoother the ride; however the softer wheels will not be as fast as the harder wheels. So you will need to balance that based upon your needs. The wheel height of an outdoor wheel would be from 60mm to 65mm. The width should be somewhere between 34mm to 42mm.
With this information you can now go ahead and be informed about the kind of wheels that you need. Definitely look at the colors but only pick a wheel that meets your needs!