Roller skate wheels come in many profile shapes and sizes. From teeny-tiny to massive, each wheel size has its unique benefits and best use cases. Today, we're going to break down the roller skate wheel sizes and learn why when it comes to wheels, size matters!
The 2 main measurements that we will focus on when looking at the size of a wheel are it's height (aka diameter), and it's width.
When looking at the width of a wheel, we will want to focus on the riding surface - in other words, the area of the wheel that's in contact with the floor.
Simply put, the wider a wheel, the bigger riding surface it will have, meaning more grip and stability, but less agility. A wheel with a riding surface of around 40mm would be considered wide. Outdoor wheels like our Chuffed Gummy Wheels are usually wide and soft, making them ideal to go over any bumpy terrain you may encounter! Big bowl skaters will also choose a wider wheel because they keep their grip when skating at faster speeds.
On the other hand, narrower wheels will offer less grip and stability, but will give you agility and slide in turn. Wheels with a riding surface of around 20mm are considered narrow. Figure skating, street & technical park, and even some dance skating wheels will often have narrower profiles to allow for quicker turns and better manoeuvrability.
When it comes to the diameter of wheels, we can classify them in:
The Biggies: 60mm and above
Let's start with the big boys – wheels that are 60mm and above. These wheels are larger in diameter resulting in a higher traction, and are usually used for outdoor skating . So, what are they good for?
1. Speed Demons: If you love the thrill of speed and zooming past everyone else, these large wheels are your ticket to a fun time. The taller the wheel, the faster you will go, but also less stable because you are higher off the ground and heavier. Bigger diameters maintain higher speeds, and are perfect for racing or simply feeling the wind in your hair! Big ramp & bowl skaters will enjoy a big wheel.
2. Long-Distance Skating: Planning a skating marathon? These larger wheels help reduce fatigue as they roll effortlessly, making them ideal for covering long distances without tiring out your legs too quickly.
Mid-Size: 50mm to 59mm
Wheels with a diameter in between 51- 55mm will generally be great for skate parks, ramps, and mini ramps. If tight turns and technical tricks is your thing, or if you want to dramatically reduce wheel bite when doing slides and grinds, going down in size will probably be beneficial for your skating.
On the other hand, the more you like speed, big ramps & bowls, the bigger you want to go in the mid size wheel range, with some speed loving skaters even going for the biggies.
As you'd expect, the very middle of the mid-sized wheel spectrum offers a sweet spot between speed and manoeuvrability. This is why when we created the Amigo Wheel with our friends from Last Super Wheels, we chose a 55mm size!
If you're an all-around skater who enjoys a bit of everything – dancing, skating different sized ramps, and even some casual cruising – the upper end of the medium-sized wheels, measuring around 57-58mm, might be for you. Combine this size with a hybrid hardness, and you will set up yourself for success ! If you are a ‘one-wheel fits all’ kinda skater, our Chiller Wheel might be just right for you!
The Tinies: 49mm and below.
Last but not least, we have the smaller wheels – anything from 50mm and below. Don't underestimate their size! Small wheels bring some unique advantages to the table. The smaller the wheel diameter, the lower your centre of gravity and the easier you can manoeuvre. These smaller wheels are typically very hard and used mainly for advanced styles of breakdance, shuffle and rhythm skating, with some of them going as small as 45mm.
Once you know the wheel size you'd like, you can also decide what hardness and profile wheel is best for you, which is a whole other story!
There is no one ideal wheel size for all, as it'll depend on the type of skating you'll be doing, where and your personal preferences. There's an overwhelming amount of roller skate wheels on offer, and it may take a few sets of wheels and some trial and error to find the wheel that best works for you.