Skateboard Wheels Types For Beginners

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Small wheels or big wheels; soft wheels or hard wheels?

What about the shape of skateboard wheels?

Which option is best for you and your preferred style of skateboarding?

Skateboard wheels can be confusing when you are a beginner.

Let’s fix that.

What Type of Skateboard wheel does Tony Hawk Use?

We can’t guarantee Tony uses this wheel all of the time, but you may be able to use it as a guide to what is right for you.

If you are tall, lanky guy who wants to ride a vert ramp consider:

Wheel Diameter58mm
Wheel Width33mm
Wheel Hardness84B = 104a
Wheel FormulaSPF

You can more about this wheel on the Bones site.

How to Choose Skateboard Wheels

What shape of skateboard wheel should I get?

The are 3 basic shapes of skateboard wheels.

Yes, they are all round wise guy, but they have subtleties that will help you get the ride you are after.

Narrow lip wheels have the least contact with the ground making them the most responsive and lightest of the bunch.

If street skateboarding is your thing, this is your wheel shape.

Wider lip wheels have more surface area then narrow lip wheels making this shape a good choice for skateboards who want to hit the skateparks and bowls.

Cruiser wheels are defined by their name “cruiser.”

If cruising is your skateboarding style of choice this is your wheel.

What are the smoothest skateboard wheels?

The bigger, softer, and newer a skateboard wheel is, the smoother your ride is going to be.

However, smoothness (aka the hardness) of the wheel is just one factor to consider when buying skateboard wheels.

You also want to consider the type of skateboard you are riding, the surface you’re skating on, and what tricks you want to perform on your skateboard.

Keep reading to see wheel types broken down by skateboard type and skating style.

Types of Skateboard Wheels

How Many Types Of Skateboard Wheels Are There?

There are three general types of skateboard wheels.

You can broadly classify them as cruiser wheels, park and street wheels, and longboard wheels.

Soft Wheels for Cruiser Skateboards

Soft wheels are much bigger than street skateboarding wheels and provide more of a smoother ride.

They roll smoothly over rough surfaces and are great for getting around.

  • Size: 50 to 60mm
  • Type: Cruiser
  • Suited For: Smooth Riders

Park & Street Skateboard Wheels

Made for street skating and park skating, these hard wheels are made to move quickly over smooth surfaces.

They are lightweight and strong—perfect for flipping tricks and performing slides, making them the best skateboard wheels for street riding and for skateboards parks.

  • Size: 54 to 60mm
  • Type: Street Skating
  • Suited For: Performing Tricks

Longboard Skateboard Wheels

Longboard skateboards tend to have much larger wheels to deliver the ultimate smooth ride, perfect for rough surfaces and high speeds.

You can use them to race downhill, slide with ease, and cruise on your commute.

  • Size: 60 to 75mm
  • Type: Cruising, Racing, Carving
  • Suited For: Rough Terrain and Grip

Skateboard Wheel Size

The diameter of skateboard wheels will affect whether they provide more speed or more responsiveness.

Smaller wheels are lighter and better for tricks; larger wheels are heavier but quicker and better for cruising.

The riding surface will also play a role.

Also known as the contact patch, the riding surface is the part of the wheel that touches the ground.

It essentially governs the width of the skateboard wheel.

The wider it is, the more suitable it will be for cruising.

The narrower it is, the easier it will be to perform technical tricks.

Skateboard Wheel Hardness

The hardness of the skateboard wheel is measured using a durometer and they typically range from a low of 75a to a high of 104a, with the lower end indicating a soft wheel.

The Shore B scale is also used by Bones wheels, which can be a little confusing.

Generally, you just need to add 20 points.

For instance, Bones wheels with a rating of 80b will equate to 100a.

Street skaters should opt for harder wheels, as they will provide more durability when landing tricks.

Softer wheels are basically cruiser wheels, although the size is important as well.

Why Do Skaters Put Wheels On Backwards?

There are several reasons why a skater might place a wheel on backwards.

The main reason is that they become “coned”, whereby the outer edges of the wheel wear down.

It doesn’t have much of an effect on performance, though, and is more of a visual thing.

Pro skateboarders may also place them on backwards to avoid getting into trouble with sponsors and event organizers.

For instance, if you’re sponsored by Brand A and you hate their wheels, you may choose Brand B wheels instead.

But you have contracts to fulfil, and so you don’t want to show Brand A or your fans that you’ve made the switch.

Some skaters do it because they hate the graphics on the wheels but really like the performance.

Summary: What is the Best Skateboard Wheel for Beginners?

If you’re a beginner, the best thing to do is look for an all-round skateboard that falls within your budget and looks good.

Don’t get caught up in all the finer points.

As tempting as it is to build your own custom board and get the best wheels, trucks, and deck, you won’t really know what the best is until you start skating and find your style and level.

Generally, however, mid-sized skateboard wheels will suit most beginners, falling somewhere between small and big and providing a balance of benefits.