All About Skateboard Wheels

Are you ready to dive into the exciting world of skateboarding? Well, get ready because we’re about to take a closer look at one of the most crucial components of any skateboard – the wheels!

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, understanding the ins and outs of skateboard wheels can make a world of difference in your ride. From the size and durometer to the different types of wheel shapes, we’ll cover it all.

So buckle up, grab your board, and let’s explore all you need to know about wheels in skateboarding.

Key Takeaways:

  • The size and durometer of skateboard wheels affect your ride and performance.
  • Different wheel shapes offer unique benefits for different types of skateboarding.
  • Maintaining your skateboard wheels is essential for optimal performance.
  • The right set of wheels can enhance your tricks and overall skateboarding experience.

Anatomy of Skateboard Wheels

Skateboard wheels play a crucial role in the performance and functionality of a skateboard. They are responsible for providing traction, stability, and control while riding. Understanding the anatomy of skateboard wheels is essential for both beginners and experienced riders. Here’s a breakdown of the different components that make up skateboard wheels:

Wheel Diameter

The diameter of a skateboard wheel refers to its size. Skateboard wheels come in various diameters, typically ranging from 50mm to 60mm for street skating and up to 75mm for downhill or longboarding. Smaller wheels are ideal for technical street tricks, while larger wheels offer more speed and stability.

Wheel Durometer

Durometer is a measure of how hard or soft a skateboard wheel is. It is typically represented by a number followed by an “A” (e.g., 95A). The higher the durometer number, the harder the wheel. Softer wheels (78A-87A) provide a smoother ride and excel in rough terrain, while harder wheels (88A and above) are better for street and park skating, offering more durability and slide ability.

Wheel Shape

Skateboard wheel shapes can vary, and each shape comes with its advantages. The two main wheel shapes are:

  • Classic Shape: These wheels have a symmetrical profile with rounded edges. They provide an all-around performance suitable for various types of skateboarding.
  • Conical Shape: Conical wheels have a narrower riding surface and a wider contact patch. This shape offers more control and stability during slides and tricks.

Wheel Core

The core of the wheel is the central part that supports the outer tire. There are two types of wheel cores:

  • Center-Set Core: Center-set cores have equal placement of the urethane around the core. This design enables flipping or rotating the wheels to maintain an even wear pattern and prolong their lifespan.
  • Side-Set Core: Side-set cores have the urethane positioned closer to one side of the wheel. These cores are preferred by riders who want faster and easier slides.

Wheel Contact Patch

The contact patch is the area of the wheel that makes contact with the ground. It plays a significant role in traction and stability. Wider contact patches provide more grip, making them suitable for downhill or slalom skating. Narrow contact patches offer less grip, making them ideal for technical tricks on smooth surfaces.

Types of Skateboard Wheels

When it comes to skateboard wheels, there are a few key types that you’ll commonly come across. Each type has its own unique characteristics that can greatly affect your skateboarding experience. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of skateboard wheels:

Street Wheels

  • Street wheels are the most common type of skateboard wheels and are ideal for skateboarding in urban environments and skate parks.
  • They are typically small in size, ranging from 49mm to 54mm in diameter, which allows for quick acceleration and improved maneuverability.
  • Street wheels have a hardness rating ranging from 99A to 101A, providing a good balance between grip and slide.

Transition/Park Wheels

  • Transition or park wheels are specifically designed for skateboarding in ramps, pools, and skatepark bowls.
  • They are larger in size, usually ranging from 54mm to 60mm, which helps to maintain speed and stability on these types of terrain.
  • Transition wheels have a medium hardness rating, typically between 95A and 101A, allowing for a good balance of grip and slide.

Cruising/Cruiser Wheels

  • Cruiser wheels are best suited for cruising or commuting on rougher surfaces such as sidewalks, streets, and bike paths.
  • They are larger and softer compared to street wheels, ranging from 54mm to 60mm in diameter and a hardness rating between 78A and 87A.
  • Cruiser wheels offer better shock absorption and a smoother ride, making them ideal for cruising over cracks and bumps.

Downhill/Longboarding Wheels

  • Downhill or longboarding wheels are designed specifically for speed and stability during downhill skateboarding or longboarding.
  • They are larger in size, typically ranging from 60mm to 75mm, which allows for faster roll speeds and better traction.
  • Downhill wheels have a higher durometer rating, usually between 78A and 90A, providing a balance between grip and slide.

Hybrid Wheels

  • Hybrid wheels are a blend of different wheel types, offering a versatile option for various skateboarding styles.
  • They often have a medium size (53mm to 58mm) and a medium-soft durometer rating (85A to 95A), providing a balance between grip and slide on various terrains.

By understanding the different types of skateboard wheels and their characteristics, you can choose the right wheels for your specific skateboarding style and terrain preferences. Remember to consider factors like wheel size, hardness, and terrain compatibility to optimize your ride.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Skateboard Wheels

Factors to Consider When Choosing Skateboard Wheels

When it comes to skateboard wheels, there are a few key factors that you should consider before making a purchase. The wheels of your skateboard can greatly impact your overall performance and riding experience, so it’s important to choose the right ones for your needs. Here are three factors to keep in mind when selecting skateboard wheels:


The diameter of the wheel refers to its size, typically measured in millimeters. Skateboard wheels come in a range of diameters, from small to large. The size you choose will depend on your style of skating. Smaller wheels, around 50-53mm, are ideal for technical tricks and street skating, as they provide quicker acceleration. On the other hand, larger wheels, around 54-60mm or even bigger, are better suited for cruising, downhill riding, and skatepark use, as they offer more stability and a smoother ride over rough terrain.


The durometer of a skateboard wheel measures its hardness. It is usually indicated by a number followed by an “A” on the wheel, such as 99A or 78A. The higher the number, the harder the wheel. Softer wheels, typically ranging from 78A to 87A, are better for cruising and riding on rough surfaces, as they provide more grip and absorb impacts. Harder wheels, usually between 88A and 101A, are more suitable for street and park skateboarding, as they offer a faster and more precise ride on smooth surfaces.

Shape and Profile

Skateboard wheels come in different shapes and profiles, which can affect your performance and the way your board feels. The two main shapes are conical and square-edged. Conical wheels have a tapered shape, with a wider base and narrower contact patch. They are popular for street skating and technical tricks, as they offer better maneuverability and control. Square-edged wheels have a more traditional shape, with a straighter sidewall. They provide more stability and are often preferred for cruising and downhill riding.

Additionally, some skateboard wheels have a special profile called “lip” or “core.” Lips can vary in size and shape, and they can affect the way your board slides and grips. Rounded or beveled lips provide a smoother slide and are ideal for freeride and sliding. Sharp or square lips offer more grip and are commonly used in downhill skateboarding.

It’s essential to consider these factors when choosing skateboard wheels to optimize your riding experience. Remember that personal preference and style of skating also play a significant role in selecting the right wheels. Therefore, experimenting with different wheel sizes, durometers, shapes, and profiles can help you find the perfect combination that suits your needs and riding style. Happy shredding!

Understanding Skateboard Wheel Durometer

Skateboard wheel durometer refers to the measurement of a wheel’s hardness. It plays a crucial role in determining how a skateboard performs and feels on different surfaces. Durometer is measured on a scale called the “A scale,” which ranges from 0 to 100. The higher the number, the harder the wheel.

Here are the key things to know about skateboard wheel durometer:

Durometer Ratings

  • Generally, skateboard wheels range between 78A to 101A on the durometer scale.
  • Softer wheels (78A-87A) provide a smoother ride and more grip. They excel on rough surfaces, like streets and skate parks with cracks or debris. These wheels absorb shocks and vibrations, making them ideal for cruising and longboarding.
  • Medium hardness wheels (88A-95A) offer a balanced combination of grip and slide. They are versatile and suitable for various styles of skateboarding, such as street, park, and ramp riding.
  • Harder wheels (96A-101A) provide less grip but more speed. They are commonly used by advanced skateboarders who prefer sliding, technical tricks, and smooth surfaces like skatepark concrete bowls.

Choosing the Right Durometer

  • Consider your skating style, the type of terrain you skate on, and your personal preference when selecting the durometer.
  • For beginners or those who enjoy cruising and a comfortable ride, softer wheels are recommended.
  • If you primarily skate on smooth surfaces, harder wheels may be more suitable as they provide faster speeds.
  • It’s important to note that wheel durometer is not the only factor to consider when choosing wheels. Factors such as wheel size, shape, and type of urethane also impact performance.

Factors Affecting Durometer

  • Temperature: Wheel durometer can slightly change depending on the temperature. Colder temperatures can make wheels feel harder, while warmer temperatures can make them feel softer.
  • Weight: Heavier riders may find softer wheels more suitable for better grip and shock absorption, while lighter riders may prefer harder wheels for increased speed.

Testing and Experimentation

  • Understanding the durometer scale is helpful, but personal preference and experimentation play a significant role in finding the right wheel hardness for your individual needs.
  • Trying different durometers and seeking advice from experienced skateboarders can help you discover the ideal wheel hardness for your style and preferences.

In summary, skateboard wheel durometer is a vital aspect to consider when choosing wheels. It affects how your skateboard performs on different surfaces, providing grip, speed, and ride comfort. Understanding the durometer scale and experimenting with different hardness levels can help you find the perfect wheels for your skateboarding style and preferences.

Skateboard Wheel Sizes and Shapes

Skateboard wheels come in a variety of sizes and shapes, each offering its own unique benefits for different styles of skateboarding. Understanding the different wheel sizes and shapes can greatly enhance your skateboarding experience. Here are some key points to consider:

Wheel Size

  • The size of skateboard wheels is usually measured in millimeters (mm). The diameter of the wheel affects its overall performance.
  • Smaller wheels, around 50-53mm, are commonly used for street skating and technical tricks. They provide a lower center of gravity, making it easier to maneuver and perform flip tricks.
  • Medium-sized wheels, around 54-59mm, are versatile and suitable for various styles of skateboarding. They offer a good balance between stability, speed, and trick performance.
  • Larger wheels, around 60mm and above, are typically preferred for cruising, downhill, and longboarding. They offer more speed and smoother rides over rough terrain.

Wheel Shape

  • The shape of skateboard wheels also plays a crucial role in performance and functionality.
  • Rounded Edge: Wheels with rounded edges, often referred to as “traditional” or “conical” shape, offer a smooth ride and are great for cruising and general skateboarding.
  • Square Edge: Wheels with a square edge, also known as “street” or “radial” shape, provide extra grip and control, making them ideal for technical tricks, street skating, and riding in skateparks.
  • V-Shaped: V-shaped wheels have a wider contact patch and are designed for sliding. They provide excellent traction when performing slides and are popular among freestyle and downhill riders.
  • Offset Core: Wheels with an offset core have the ability to maintain a larger contact patch, providing increased grip and control. They are commonly used by downhill and freeride skaters.

Having the right wheel size and shape allows skateboarders to optimize their performance and enjoyment while riding. It is important to experiment and find the wheel setup that suits your style of skateboarding and the terrain you plan to ride on. Don’t be afraid to try different sizes and shapes to discover what works best for you.

The Impact of Wheel Hardness on Performance

When it comes to skateboarding, one important factor that greatly affects performance is the wheel hardness. The hardness of skateboard wheels is measured on the durometer scale, with higher numbers indicating greater hardness.

So, what exactly is the impact of wheel hardness on performance? Let’s take a closer look:

  • Grip: Wheel hardness directly affects grip on different surfaces. Softer wheels (lower durometer rating) provide better grip, especially on rougher terrain or slippery surfaces. This is because they can conform to the surface and create more friction. On the other hand, harder wheels (higher durometer rating) have less grip and may slide more easily, making them suitable for tricks that require sliding or can be useful on smooth surfaces where grip is not essential.
  • Speed: Harder wheels are generally faster than softer wheels. This is because they offer less rolling resistance, allowing for smoother and faster rides. If you’re into downhill racing or high-speed skating, harder wheels might be the way to go as they can maintain speed more efficiently.
  • Durability: Harder wheels tend to be more durable compared to softer wheels. They are less likely to wear down quickly, making them ideal for skaters who regularly skate on rough surfaces or perform tricks that put a lot of stress on the wheels. Softer wheels, on the other hand, may wear down faster, especially if used on abrasive surfaces.
  • Vibration and Comfort: Softer wheels absorb more vibration, providing a smoother and more comfortable ride. If you often skate on uneven surfaces or rough terrain, softer wheels can help reduce the impact and discomfort. Harder wheels can transmit more vibration, which some skaters may prefer for better control and responsiveness.
  • Trick Potential: Wheel hardness can impact the ease of performing certain skateboard tricks. Softer wheels are commonly used for technical tricks like flip tricks, as they provide more grip, making it easier to execute precise movements. Harder wheels, with their reduced grip, can make it easier to perform slides, powerslides, and other tricks that involve controlled sliding.
  • Personal Preferences: Ultimately, the impact of wheel hardness on performance can vary from skater to skater. Each individual has their own preferences based on their skating style, terrain, and personal comfort. It’s important to experiment with different wheel hardness levels to find what works best for you and your specific needs.

In conclusion, wheel hardness is a crucial element of skateboard performance. Understanding the impact of wheel hardness on grip, speed, durability, comfort, trick potential, and personal preferences can help you make informed choices when it comes to selecting the right wheels for your skateboarding adventures. Remember to consider the terrain you’ll be skating on, the tricks you want to perform, and your own comfort preferences to find the perfect balance of wheel hardness for your skateboarding style.

How to Switch and Replace Skateboard Wheels

Alright, let’s dive into the world of skateboard wheels and learn about how to switch and replace them. When it comes to skateboarding, your wheels are a crucial component that can greatly impact your performance and overall experience on the board. So, whether you’re a seasoned skater or just starting out, knowing how to switch and replace your skateboard wheels is essential knowledge.

To begin, let’s talk about why you might want to switch out your wheels. Over time, skateboard wheels can wear down, lose their smoothness, or become damaged. When this happens, it can affect your ride and make it less enjoyable. By replacing worn-out or damaged wheels, you can restore the smoothness and grip that you need for tricks and cruising around.

Now, let’s jump into the process of switching and replacing your skateboard wheels. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you out:

  1. Gather the necessary tools – To switch your skateboard wheels, you’ll need a skate tool or a wrench to remove the nuts that secure the wheels to the trucks. Having a towel or cloth nearby is also handy to protect your skateboard’s graphics from scratches.
  2. Remove the old wheels – Start by flipping your skateboard over and locating the nuts on the axles. Use your skate tool or wrench to loosen and remove the nuts, making sure to set them aside in a safe place. Once the nuts are off, you can easily slide off the old wheels.
  3. Clean the bearings – This step is optional but highly recommended. Take the opportunity to clean your bearings while the wheels are off. Bearings can accumulate dirt and grime over time, affecting their performance. Use a cleaning solution and a bearing cleaning kit to remove any dirt and debris, and then make sure they’re properly lubricated. Clean bearings will contribute to a smoother ride.
  4. Install the new wheels – Once your bearings are clean and lubricated (if necessary), it’s time to install the new wheels. Slide the wheels onto the axles, ensuring they are aligned with the trucks. Then, secure them in place by tightening the nuts with your skate tool or wrench. Be careful not to overtighten them, as this can cause unnecessary strain on the bearings and make your ride less smooth.
  5. Test and adjust – After replacing the wheels, hop on your skateboard and give it a test ride. Pay attention to how the new wheels feel – if they provide the grip, speed, and control you desire. If needed, you can always adjust the tightness of the nuts to fine-tune your ride. Remember, finding the right balance of tightness is crucial for optimal performance.

That’s it! By following these steps, you should now be able to switch and replace your skateboard wheels without any hitch. It’s a relatively simple process that can have a significant impact on your skateboarding experience.

Lastly, I’d like to mention that the choice of wheels can greatly influence your skateboarding style and preferences. There are various factors to consider when selecting new wheels, such as size, hardness (durometer), and shape. Experimenting with different wheel setups can help you find the perfect fit for your needs, whether you prioritize speed, grip, or tricks.

Remember, skateboarding is all about personal preference and finding what works best for you. So, don’t be afraid to try out different wheels and see how they enhance your ride. Happy shredding!

Proper Wheel Care and Maintenance

Proper Wheel Care and Maintenance

Taking care of your skateboard wheels is essential for maintaining their performance and longevity. Proper wheel care and maintenance can ensure that your rides are smooth and enjoyable, while also preventing unnecessary wear and tear. Here are some essential tips for keeping your skateboard wheels in top shape:

  • Regular Cleaning: Regularly cleaning your wheels is vital to remove dirt, debris, and grime that can accumulate during rides. Use a soft cloth or towel to wipe down the wheels, and if necessary, use mild soap and water to scrub away stubborn stains. Be sure to dry the wheels thoroughly before using your skateboard again.
  • Avoid Moisture: Moisture can damage the bearings inside the wheels, leading to reduced performance and increased friction. It’s crucial to avoid riding in wet or damp conditions as much as possible. If your wheels do get wet, dry them thoroughly afterward to prevent any potential damage.
  • Inspect for Damage: Regularly inspect your wheels for signs of wear and tear. Look for flat spots, cracks, or chips in the wheels’ surface. If you notice any significant damage, it’s best to replace the affected wheel or the entire set to maintain optimum performance and safety.
  • Rotate Wheels: To ensure even wear, it’s a good practice to rotate your wheels periodically. Uneven wear can lead to imbalances and affect your riding experience. Swap the front and back wheels or move them to different locations on the skateboard deck. This simple step can extend the life of your wheels.
  • Maintain Proper Tire Pressure: Different skateboard wheel formulas have different optimal tire pressures. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure you are maintaining the appropriate pressure. Over or under-inflating the wheels can impact performance and make riding uncomfortable.
  • Avoid Excessive Heat Exposure: Extreme heat can affect the integrity of your skateboard wheels, causing them to warp or lose their shape. Avoid leaving your skateboard in direct sunlight or anywhere with high temperatures for prolonged periods. Store your board in a cool, dry place when not in use.
  • Regularly Replace Bearings: Bearings play a crucial role in the smooth functioning of your skateboard wheels. Over time, bearings can wear out or become dirty, resulting in hitches or reduce speed. It’s recommended to clean and lubricate your bearings regularly or replace them as needed to maintain optimal performance.
  • Protect Your Wheels During Transport: When transporting your skateboard, whether in a backpack or a car, take measures to protect your wheels. Consider using wheel covers or placing your skateboard in a secure and padded bag to prevent any potential damage from impacts or rough handling.

By following these proper care and maintenance tips, you can significantly extend the lifespan of your skateboard wheels while also optimizing your riding experience. Remember, well-maintained wheels translate to smooth rides and ensure that you enjoy your skateboarding sessions to the fullest. Happy shredding!


Wheels are an essential component of skateboarding that should not be overlooked. From my experience and observation, I firmly believe that investing in high-quality wheels can greatly enhance one’s skateboarding experience. Whether it’s cruising around town, hitting ramps, or sliding down hills, having the right set of wheels can make all the difference in terms of speed, control, and overall performance.

Furthermore, it’s crucial to consider the size and hardness of the wheels depending on your skateboarding style and preference. Smaller, harder wheels are ideal for technical street skating, providing excellent stability and responsiveness for tricks and flips. On the other hand, larger, softer wheels are more suitable for cruising and downhill riding, offering a smoother and more comfortable ride over rough surfaces.

In the end, finding the perfect set of wheels for your skateboard is a personal journey. Experiment with different sizes, shapes, and hardness levels to discover what works best for you. Remember, the right wheels can elevate your skateboarding game to new heights, allowing you to push your limits and truly enjoy the freedom and thrill that skateboarding has to offer.


What are skateboard wheels made of?

Skateboard wheels are typically made of a high-quality, durable urethane material. This material provides the necessary grip and durability for various skateboarding terrains.

How do I choose the right size wheels for my skateboard?

When selecting wheels, consider the terrain and style of skateboarding you enjoy. Smaller wheels in the range of 50-53mm work well for street skating and technical tricks, while larger wheels, around 54-60mm, are optimal for ramps, vert skating, and cruising.

What is the durometer rating and how does it affect wheel performance?

The durometer rating measures the hardness of skateboard wheels. It is indicated by a number followed by an “A,” such as 78A or 101A. Softer wheels (78A-87A) provide better grip and a smoother ride, ideal for cruising and rough surfaces. Harder wheels (88A-101A) are better suited for technical tricks and smoother surfaces.

How often should I replace my skateboard wheels?

The longevity of your skateboard wheels depends on factors like riding style, terrain, and personal preference. However, if you notice significant wear, flat spots, or a loss of grip, it is probably time to replace them.

Can I mix different durometer wheels on my skateboard?

Yes, mixing different durometer wheels is possible and can be useful for specific skateboarding preferences. For example, some riders prefer softer wheels in the front for better grip during tricks and harder wheels in the back for more controlled slides.

Do wider skateboard wheels provide better stability?

Wider wheels do offer increased stability, particularly for transition skating and cruising. They distribute your weight more evenly, providing a larger contact patch with the ground, resulting in enhanced control.

How do I maintain my skateboard wheels?

To maintain your skateboard wheels, regularly clean them using a cloth or brush to remove dirt and debris. You can also rotate them occasionally to ensure even wear, prolonging their overall lifespan.

Can I use skateboard wheels on longboards?

Technically, skateboard wheels can be used on longboards, but the ride experience may differ. Longboard wheels are usually larger and softer, designed to provide a smoother and more comfortable ride for longer distances.

Are there different shapes or profiles of skateboard wheels?

Yes, skateboard wheels come in various profiles, such as conical, square-edged, and round-edged. Each shape affects performance differently, influencing factors such as grip, slide, and stability. Experimenting with different wheel shapes can help you find the right fit for your skateboarding style.

Can I customize the color and graphics of my skateboard wheels?

Yes, many skate brands offer customizable options for wheel colors and graphics. This allows you to add a personal touch to your setup and express your individual style. Some companies even offer custom wheel printing services, allowing you to create unique designs.

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