How to Choose Roller Skate Wheels

Roller skating is a thrilling sport that has become increasingly popular among people of all ages. Choosing the right wheels for your roller skates is crucial for a smooth, enjoyable ride.

But how to choose roller skate wheels that are perfect for your needs? In this guide, we will discuss the various factors to consider when selecting the best wheels for your roller skates.

Understanding Wheel Basics

Before diving into how to choose roller skate wheels, it’s essential to understand the basics. Roller skate wheels come in various sizes, materials, and hardness levels, which determine their performance on different surfaces. Typically, the wheels are made of polyurethane, a material that offers excellent grip and durability.

Size Matters

One of the critical factors to consider when choosing roller skate wheels is their size. Wheels are measured in millimeters (mm) and usually range from 54mm to 70mm in diameter. The size you choose will depend on your skating style, as follows:

1. Smaller wheels (54-59mm): These wheels are perfect for those who prefer agility and quick turns, such as jam, rhythm, or dance skaters.
2. Medium-sized wheels (60-65mm): Ideal for general recreational skating, these wheels provide a balance of speed and stability.
3. Larger wheels (66-70mm): Suitable for outdoor skating and speed enthusiasts, larger wheels offer increased speed and smoother rides on rough surfaces.

Hardness Levels and Your Skating Surface

Another essential factor in how to choose roller skate wheels is their hardness level, measured on the durometer scale. The hardness of a wheel affects its grip, speed, and durability. Here’s a breakdown of the durometer scale:

1. Soft wheels (78A-84A): These wheels provide excellent grip and shock absorption, making them perfect for outdoor skating on rough surfaces such as asphalt and sidewalks.

2. Medium-hard wheels (85A-89A): Offering a balance between grip and speed, these wheels are suitable for both indoor and outdoor skating.

3. Hard wheels (90A-100A): Designed for indoor use on smooth surfaces like roller rinks, hard wheels offer maximum speed and minimal grip.

Wheel Profile and Skating Style

The wheel profile, or the shape of the wheel’s contact surface, plays a crucial role in how to choose roller skate wheels. There are three main types of wheel profiles:

1. Narrow (pointed) profile: These wheels have a smaller contact surface, making them ideal for agility, quick turns, and dance skating.

2. Wide (square) profile: With a larger contact surface, these wheels provide increased stability, making them suitable for speed and derby skaters.

3. Rounded profile: Offering a balance between agility and stability, these wheels are suitable for various skating styles, including recreational and artistic skating.

Wheel Hubs and Bearing Compatibility

When learning how to choose roller skate wheels, it’s important to consider the wheel hub and bearing compatibility. Wheel hubs come in three types: nylon, aluminum, and hybrid (a combination of nylon and aluminum). Nylon hubs are lightweight, making them perfect for dance and recreational skating. Aluminum hubs offer increased durability and are ideal for speed and derby skating.

Additionally, ensure that your chosen wheels are compatible with your skate bearings. Most roller skate wheels use standard 608 bearings, but some may require smaller or larger bearings. Check the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure you purchase the correct size.

Considering Your Skating Goals

To make the best decision on how to choose roller skate wheels, consider your skating goals and preferences. For instance:

1. If you’re a beginner, prioritize stability by choosing medium-sized wheels with a wide or rounded profile and a hardness level suitable for your preferred skating surface. This combination will provide you with a good balance of grip, speed, and control.

2. For those focusing on dance or rhythm skating, opt for smaller wheels with a narrow profile and a hardness level that offers a balance between grip and speed. This setup will allow for quick turns and agility on the skating surface.

3. Speed skaters and roller derby enthusiasts should consider larger wheels with a wide or rounded profile and a higher durometer rating. These wheels will provide increased speed, stability, and durability during intense skating sessions.

4. Outdoor skaters should prioritize softer wheels with excellent grip and shock absorption. These wheels will ensure a smoother ride on uneven surfaces and provide better control.

5. Indoor skaters or those frequent roller rinks should go for harder wheels, as these offer maximum speed and minimal grip on smooth surfaces.

how to choose roller skate wheels

Experimenting and Adjusting Your Setup

As you explore how to choose roller skate wheels, remember that finding the perfect combination might take some experimentation. Don’t be afraid to try different wheel sizes, hardness levels, and profiles to discover what works best for your skating style and goals. It’s also essential to maintain and replace your wheels regularly to ensure optimum performance and safety.

unsure when to replace your roller skate wheels? click on the link and find out.

Consult with Experienced Skaters or Professionals

Finally, don’t hesitate to ask for advice from experienced skaters or professionals at your local roller rink or skate shop. They can provide valuable insights based on their knowledge and experience, helping you make an informed decision on how to choose roller skate wheels.


Choosing the right roller skate wheels is essential for a smooth, enjoyable skating experience. By considering factors such as size, hardness level, wheel profile, hub material, and bearing compatibility, you can select the perfect wheels for your skating goals and preferences.

Don’t be afraid to experiment, consult with experienced skaters or professionals, and, most importantly, have fun exploring the world of roller skating!


1. What is the difference between indoor and outdoor roller skate wheels?
Indoor wheels are typically smaller and softer, designed for smooth surfaces, while outdoor wheels are typically larger and harder, designed for rough surfaces.

2. What is the durometer scale for roller skate wheels?
The durometer scale measures wheel hardness, with higher numbers indicating harder wheels.

3. Can you use indoor wheels for outdoor skating?
It is not recommended to use indoor wheels for outdoor skating as they may wear down quickly on rough surfaces.

4. What is the best wheel size for roller skating?
The best wheel size depends on the type of skating and surface. Larger wheels are better for outdoor skating, while smaller wheels are better for indoor skating.

5. How do I maintain my roller skate wheels?
To maintain your roller skate wheels, regularly clean them and check for any damage or wear. Replace them as needed to ensure optimal performance.

Our Story

Welcome to Skates of Glory! Join us as we dive into the roller skating world, sharing insights, tips, and inspiration for skaters of all levels. Let's roll together and embrace the skate life!

Oliver Harris
Greetings fellow skater, I'm Oliver Harris!

Hello, I am Oliver Harris, a skilled roller skater with expertise in roller derby and speed skating who brings years of experience and contagious enthusiasm to Skates of Glory.

Emma Moore
Hey there fellow skater, my name is Emma Moore

I am Emma Moore, an accomplished artistic roller skater and professional coach who combines sports psychology with my passion for skating.

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