There are times when you feel your skateboard isn’t working as well as it should. Where a skateboard should offer you a smooth ride, yours isn’t very flexible, the ride is super bumpy and you aren’t able to do the freestyling or street tricks as well as you want.
Nine times out of ten, the problem is the wheels. They play a huge role on the performance of your skateboard and due to so much variation, choosing a high quality set can get a bit complex. To help you select the best skateboard wheels, we have created this useful guide so you can finally get the smooth ride you always wanted!
Things to Consider
- The Hardness (Durometer). Every set of wheels will have a hardness rating ranging from approx. 75A-100A. The lower the rating, the better it is for cruising and longboarding. The higher the rating, the better it is for trick skating and freestyling. Note: Some extra hard wheels may have ‘B’ rating which is 20 points higher than ‘A’. As an example, in hardness, an 80B wheel is equal to a 100A wheel.
- The Shape. The shape of the wheel is determined by what kind of a skater you are. If you’re a beginner or just like to cruise around, wide-diameter wheels will provide the high friction you need for smoothness and stability. But if you’re a pro-skater and are adept at doing tricks and freestyling, narrow-diameter wheels will be a better choice as they are lighter and provide the least resistance.
Top 10 Skateboard Wheels Comparison Table
|1. Bones STF Street Tech Formula Skateboard V4 Wheels||83b / 53mm||$$$||4.7|
|2. Shark Wheel Sidewinder Longboard Wheels 70mm||78a / 70mm||$$$$||4.7|
|3. Powell Peralta Rat Bones Re-Issue Skateboard Wheels||85a / 60mm||$$$||4.6|
|4. Sector 9 Slide Butterballs 80a 65mm Longboard Wheels||80a / 65mm||$$$||4.5|
|5. Sunset Skateboards Cruiser Wheel with ABEC-9 Bearing||78a / 59mm||$$$$||4.4|
|6. Tiger Boards 59mm Skateboard Wheels||78a / 59mm||$||4.4|
|7. 52mm Wheels w/ Bearings & Spacers||99a / 52mm||$||4.2|
|8. 70mm Longboard Cruiser LED Light Up Clear Wheels||70mm||$||4.1|
|9. High Rebound Skate Wheels||78a / 60mm||$||4.1|
|10. Spitfire Classic Series High Performance Skateboard Wheel||99a / 50mm||$$||4.0|
Choosing Wheels: What Type of Skater Are You?
- Street Skating: In street skating, a person performs tricks and short jumps in tight-knit environments such as city blocks. The best skateboard wheels for such a skater would be 97A and above in durometer 48-52mm in diameter. The narrow diameter and extra hardness gives the skateboard higher agility for faster response and better flexibility.
- Vert Skating: Skating in specially designed skate parks which have proper ramps and halfpipes is called vert skating. The wheels suited for this type of skater would be 90-97A in durometer and 55-60mm wide in diameter. The wider wheels will give you greater speed on ramps and the hardness will increase its pop for performing tricks.
- Longboarding: If you just like to cruise around in your neighborhood or use a skateboard primarily for transport, you are longboarding. As such, the optimal skateboard wheels for you would be 75-85A in durometer and 64-75mm in diameter. The extra softness of the wheels will absorb impact from pebbles and cracks on the road and the extra wideness will give you greater speed.
Top 3 Best Skateboard Wheels Reviews
Bones Street Tech Formula (STF) wheels are hands down the best wheels for street and trick skating. The company making the wheels claims they are guaranteed to stay 100% flat spot free, and we have to agree with them. No matter how much you slide or grind these wheels, they’ll maintain their roundedness and color.
The Bones STF wheels are also one of the hardest wheels on the market, with a durometer rating of 83b equal to 103a. This hardness gives the skateboard the pop and flexibility you need to perform those sick moves.
The lip of the wheels also perfectly compliment the hardness. With a diameter of just 53mm, these narrow wheels make the skateboard feel light and extremely responsive. This makes doing flips and ollies a breeze.
But these wheels aren’t made for cruising or even vert skating as they aren’t wide enough to give you the speed or soft enough to ensure a smooth ride. But if you’re a pro-skater who’s mainly interested in performing tricks, these are the best, obeying your thoughts rather than actions and turning wherever you want with the slightest force.
No set of wheels are better for longboarding than the Shark wheels. Perfect for cruising, these set of wheels have a special wavy design which makes the skateboard ‘glide over’ cracks, pebbles and rocky surfaces. This in addition to its softness, which is just 78a, is perfect for absorbing impact of small to large debris found on roads.
Not only that, the Shark wheels also have a huge lip with a diameter of 70mm. This means that one push with your leg and the skateboard is going to fly.
These wheels, while great for cruising, aren’t made for street or vert skating. Because of the wheels’ wavy design, they aren’t going to properly ‘hug’ the ledges and half-pipes. And because they take space due to their massive width, the trucks between the wheels don’t have much room for grinding and sliding anyways.
But if you use your skateboards mainly for transport and longboarding, nothing can beat the shark wheels. Their unique design will give you an extremely smooth bump-free ride while the wideness will give you extra speed, giving you that rush of adrenaline you can only get on a smooth fast ride.
These wheels are highly suitable for vert skating. Halfway between today’s longboards and modern skateboards, they offer the best of both worlds. They are soft enough to go smoothly over cracks and pebbles on the road, yet narrow enough for trick skating. But where these wheels really shine are in skate parks, where there are proper ramps and half-pipes.
The Rat Bones wheels have a durometer rating of 85a. This hardness gives enough mobility for doing tricks and freestyling. And the lip of these wheels is 60mm in diameter. This width gives the skateboard enough leeway to go down ramps in great speeds yet is narrow enough that you don’t get wheel bite.
This construction makes the Powell Peralta Rat Bones Re-Issue Skateboard Wheels the perfect choice for both cruising and trick skating without the headache of frequently changing wheels. Having this convenience and flexibility make this the best skateboard wheels and definitely the ones we recommend for the versatile skater.