Choosing the Right Wheels - Roller Skates vs. Skateboards


Stepping into the world of skating as a beginner can feel like navigating a maze, especially when faced with the choice between skateboard wheels and roller skate wheels. With both looking strikingly similar to the untrained eye, it's easy to find yourself pondering over which wheels would best suit your skating journey. This article is crafted with the beginner in mind, aiming to clear up the confusion and shed light on the distinct differences between these two types of wheels. By understanding these distinctions, you'll be better equipped to make an informed decision that aligns with your skating aspirations, whether you're planning to conquer the skate park or glide gracefully in a roller rink.

Compatibility Overview

At first glance, skateboard wheels and roller skate wheels might seem interchangeable—both are crafted from polyurethane and feature similar core components like bearings. However, compatibility extends beyond these surface similarities. It involves axle size, typically 8mm for both skateboards and roller skates, and core spacing, where the design and positioning of the wheel's core can affect the fit and function of the respective axles.

Key Differences Between Wheel Types

When exploring the vast landscape of wheels designed for roller skates and skateboards, several critical differences emerge, shaping the performance and suitability of these wheels for their intended purposes. Among these differences, width emerges as a pivotal factor, deeply influencing where and how these wheels can be optimally used.

Design and Size Ranges

Skateboard wheels, crafted for agility and durability, typically feature diameters that range from 52mm to 65mm. Roller skate wheels offer a similar range in diameter but differ significantly when it comes to width. Our decade-plus experience supplying to the American market has informed us that roller skate wheels ideally measure 32mm in width for optimal performance. This width ensures a balance between speed and stability, catering to the diverse demands of roller skating from dance to derby.

Width as a Differentiator

The width of a wheel directly impacts its stability and grip. For roller skates, a wheel width of 32mm is identified as ideal, striking a perfect balance for various roller skating activities. Wheels wider than 32mm, such as those measuring 45mm, are predominantly utilized for skateboards. Skateboard wheels at this width offer the necessary support for skateboarding's dynamic movements and high-impact tricks, where stability and grip on the board's surface are paramount. This distinction highlights the nuanced design considerations that go into optimizing wheel performance for either roller skates or skateboards.



Hardness Levels (Durometer)

Beyond size and design, the hardness of wheels plays a significant role in their functionality. Skateboard wheels lean towards the harder side of the spectrum to withstand the abrasive conditions of skate parks and urban environments. In contrast, roller skate wheels exhibit a broader range of hardness levels to accommodate the varied environments they're used in, from smooth indoor rinks to the unpredictable textures of outdoor paths.

Scenario-Based Recommendations

Outdoor Skating on Rough Surfaces

For skaters navigating the unpredictability of outdoor surfaces, roller skate wheels with a width of 32mm and a softer durometer (around 78A to 85A) offer the ideal balance of grip and shock absorption. These specifications ensure stability and comfort on uneven terrains, making them suitable for outdoor adventures.

Skate Park Riding

Skateboarders aiming for agility and precision in skate parks should opt for wheels with a hardness of 99A to 101A and widths closer to 45mm. This combination allows for smoother transitions, sharper turns, and more effective tricks on the smooth surfaces typically found in skate parks.


friends -posing-for-a-picture-while-roller-skating

Street Skating

For street skating, which combines elements of rough surfaces and the need for technical maneuverability, skateboard wheels with a diameter of 52mm to 56mm and a hardness of 97A to 99A strike a good balance. The slightly softer wheels can handle minor surface imperfections while still providing the speed and control needed for street tricks.



Dance and Indoor Rink Skating

Roller skaters focused on dance or performance in indoor rinks will benefit from wheels with a diameter on the larger end of the spectrum, soft to medium hardness (around 78A to 92A), and a standard width of 32mm. These wheels offer the smooth roll and flexibility needed for intricate movements and spins.



In summary, if you have 32mm roller skates at home, they can sometimes be swapped with skateboard wheels, depending on the scenario. However, wheels wider than 32mm won't fit due to size incompatibility, even if the situation seems right. This key point ensures you make informed decisions about mixing and matching your skating gear.

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