What happens when you have every piece of equipment you need for your next outdoor inline hockey game but your skates just won’t roll? Because you mounted useless wheels onto the chassis? Nothing! Until you take action and equip your skates with proper outdoor inline hockey wheels, nothing happens. And that’s where this guide on choosing the best inline skates for asphalt comes into play.
The LABEDA Roller Hockey Gripper Asphalt Hi-Lo are the best inline skate wheels for skating on asphalt. Having a hardness rating of 85A makes these asphalt-friendly wheels the perfect outdoor choice for most skaters. They’re reasonably durable and are sold in a mix of 4 76-mm and 4 80-mm wheels, which makes them the best option for the banana wheel setup. And if you own a pair of good old Mission Hi-Lo Inline Hockey Skates, this wheelset works perfectly. If you seek out the best budget option, get the KSS Outdoor Asphalt Formula 89A. And if you want versatile wheels that can work for your kid’s 3-wheeled scooter or your Rip Stick, definitely go for the Rollerex VXT500 inline skate wheels. As for the pick that allows for the smoothest glides on asphalt courts, the LABEFA Shooter wheels get the crown.
Also read: Best Rollerblades Ever
5 Inline Hockey Wheels That Work Well on Asphalt
We have tested all of these outdoor roller rink wheels by actually mounting them onto frames and skating the hell out of them. And these brief reviews are a distilled version of our experiences.
Here’s a quick comparison table for asphalt inline wheels if you don’t have much time.
- 4 76-mm wheels + 4-80mm wheels at 85A
- Last longer than most other options
- Work for rockered inline frames and regular flat frames (versatile)
- Get these for your Mission Hi-Lo Inline Hockey Skates
- Grippy on asphalt and painted tennis courts but less so on rough concrete
- Lots of skaters trust Labeda wheels
- Not too expensive
- Available in sizes 76mm, 76mm, and 80mm, take your pick
- Decent rolls on smooth asphalt but they vibrate on rough asphalt
- Harder duro (89A) makes last a little longer than other cheap whels
- A rounder profile (wider contact patch) which might work well for new skaters
- Most versatile: Also compatible with kids’ scooters and even RipSticks (*May not fit ALL Rip Sticks)
- Can be bought in packs of 2: you can have different colors on the same skate
- Bearings and spacers not included contrary to what the listing says
- 89A wheels that last longer than most
- Sold in at least 6 nice color options
- Vibrate a little at speed
1. Labeda Asphalt Gripper Hi-Lo Roller Hockey Wheels (Best Pick)
The best wheels for playing roller hockey outdoors are those that grip asphalt really well and are relatively hard wheels in the 82A-84A range. Wheels measuring 72 mm-80 mm in diameter are typically the best bet.
And, the 85A Labeda Asphalt Gripper Hi-Lo inline hockey wheels check all those boxes. Well, I said you need 82A-84A wheels, but it’s not like that 1A extra hardness is a bad thing. Remember, harder wheels outperform and outlast softer ones when it comes to hitting the puck outdoors.
You can use this Labeda mixed-wheel set on inline hockey boots with a flat frame or those with a hi-lo chassis setup. The package includes 4 76mm wheels and 4 80mm wheels. And no, these wheels don’t come with bearings.
My husband uses these wheels on his Mission Hi-Lo hockey skates, and he loves how they skate — so smooth. He loves how powerful and agile and fluid each stride and turn feels.
The core that keeps these wheels up is massive and solid. And that rigidity results in perfectly circular wheels that roll nicely every time.
At that price, it’s pretty hard to find wheels that grip that well on asphalt and painted tennis courts without wearing down ridiculously fast.
Actually, these are some of the most long-lasting outdoor roller hockey wheels we’ve ever tested. At least, that’s our experience with these guys. And it’s not like he’s the only outdoor inline hockey junkie that adores these Labeda wheels.
But there’s one thing these Labeda wheels don’t do very well. While they offer impressive grip on painted tennis court surfaces and asphalt, they’re somewhat less grippy on rough concrete.
Also, there’s the little issue of the graphics and branding on the wheels seeming a little garish. But that wasn’t a dealbreaker for my hubby, and it won’t be for you, I suppose?
What We Like
- Grippy on asphalt and painted tennis courts
- Work well with hi-low & flat hockey frames
- Branded wheels with nice graphics
- From a brand skaters trust
- Last long
What We Don't Like
- Less grippy on concrete
- Graphics on the wheels seem somewhat lurid
2. Rollerex VXT500 Outdoor Roller Rink Wheels (Most Versatile)
At 85A, the Rollerex VXT500 (not Rolex, right?) inline wheels are hard and soft enough for recreation-style inline skating. They’re also good for having a nice time on an outdoor roller hockey rink or even for aggressive inline skating.
We tested these wheels, me and my husband. I skated on rough pavement for a month, nearly every day, 1-2 hours 5-6 days a week for one month. My husband took them to a local drop-in asphalt outdoor rink for a month.
I rotated the wheels every other week, but my husband rotated them more frequently. These wheels held up quite well given the price point — they’re cheaper than most at that performance level.
Well, I no longer had 80mm wheels after skating them that long. They’d worn down to like 75mm, which meant less speed.
On hockey rink asphalt, we did notice that they wore down somewhat faster than other 85A wheels from better brands we’ve used.
For him, it was like 3 weeks of wheel usefulness, but that’s because he’s heavier and skates harder. I mean, he’s a big, happy guy who loves action.
These wheels have a spoked nylon core, and that’s not a super-strong core, but these wheels will support even the burliest of hockey players. Mine were blue, and my hubby got sunrise-orange wheels, but they’re also available in black, purple, and green.
On the whole, these wheels are considerably grippy on asphalt and rough pavement. And they smooth out small cracks and bumps reasonably well.
But I noticed one weird thing when flying down some road one Saturday afternoon — they wobbled a little. I asked my husband what he thought, and he swapped out the bearings and spacers I had for better ones.
So, did the wobbling stop? Kind of, but I could still notice it when rolling down fast. I later learned that wobbling is a given when you’re bombing fast-flowing hills on ANY 80mm wheels. Smaller wheels experience speed wobbles at high speeds. They’re not meant for speed skating, you know.
If buying for a kid, grab size 72mm wheels.
If you like products that wear more than one hat, get Rollerex VXT500 inline hockey skate wheels. Because you can also use them on most 3-wheeled kids’ kick scooters. They also make for great Rip Stick replacement wheels.
Oh, and don’t let the $13 price point deceive you. That’s for just 2 wheels and not the entire set of 8. So if you want a set of 8 Rollerex VXT500 wheels on Amazon, you’ll part with $52. Definitely not the cheapest bet. And no, you won’t get any bearings even if the listing says to expect that.
What We Like
- Tough enough for smooth asphalt and rolls nicely there
- Reasonably priced
- Multiple color options: you can have two different colors on the same skate
- Also available in size 72mm for kids
- All wheels are the same size
What We Don't Like
- Wobble at high speed
- Listing misleading: bearings not included
If you have a rockered frame or just prefer a banana setup, get 4 76-mm wheels and 4 80-mm wheels.
3. Rollerblade 72mm Asphalt Inline Wheels w Bearings (Best Value)
Unlike all the other options on this list, the Rollerblade Wheelkit 72mm wheels come ready to roll complete with SG5 bearings and spacers.
When kids and teens skate indoors on wood floors and other smooth surfaces, give them 72A wheels. But when they’re flailing around on outdoor roller rinks with other little energetic tykes, give them no less than these 80A wheels.
Can adults use the Rollerblade 72mm 80A wheels? Well, they can, but the nylon spokes don’t seem sturdy enough for heavy skaters. I’d say stay away from these guys if you’re not a young player.
We bought these for a cousin’s son (as a birthday gift) who was practicing for a junior hockey league. And the 16-year-old loved them, just not at first sight…because black on urethane paired with faded white on the side of rollerblade wheels doesn’t look particularly exciting to a teen.
Before the love for these wheels started growing, there was a little frustration. The first session on these wheels was awesome. The kid told us his strides felt butter-smooth and turns felt swift and effortless — he became a god of the asphalt.
But the second time he trained with these 72mm Rollerblade wheels was so good. The wheels were still grippy on concrete and asphalt as before, but the bearings did make an annoyingly grinding sound.
That wasn’t surprising for wheels that came with bearings and even spacers. I mean, rollerblade wheels are expensive, so when a set of wheels come with a full set of bearings and spacers and cost $10 less than most budget wheels, think again.
So, it turned out the 608 bearings (8mm) weren’t the best quality, and the spacers too. And, some people have reported not receiving any spacer washers in their package.
Fortunately, our cousin Jon (the kid’s dad) plays in an adult hockey league and knows a thing or two about skates. Jon took off his boy’s wheels and treated the malady.
He put in good metal spacers and better bearings, skate-rated Bones Reds in this case. Voila’! the awful bearing chatter stopped.
Overall, the Rollerblade Wheelkit 72mm are good cheap roller hockey wheels for kids and teens. Just be prepared to swap out the bearings.
Oh, and if you’re wondering how long these wheels lasted, it was a month of pretty much daily use. Not bad, huh?
What We Like
- Good traction on asphalt and concrete
- Teen-tall but adult-hard
- Bearings and spacers included
- Attractive price point
What We Don't Like
- No color options
- Bearings might make a grinding noise
- Spacers are sometimes not included
- Spoked hub, not super strong
If you’re looking for value-packed kids’ replacement inline hockey wheels that don’t cost an arm and a leg, these guys are the deal to grab.
4. KSS Outdoor Asphalt Formula 89A Inline Wheels (Budget Pick)
There are at least three differences between the KSS Outdoor Asphalt Formula rollerblade wheels and the other options on this list. They’re cheaper, harder, and have a somewhat different lip profile.
These KSS asphalt-ready wheels are probably the best deal out there at that performance level. They’re even cheaper than the kids’ and teens’ 72mm Rollerblade Wheelkit wheels above.
But are these non-branded KSS wheels any good? Well, they’re a worthy bet, but not for skating on rough pavement and asphalt. These wheels come in at 89A, and that’s really hard for outdoor use.
We tested them on asphalt for a month. My husband used them for transportation 5 days each week, doing a 2-hour round trip. I skated them 1 hour 6 days a week over the testing period.
So, how did these wheels hold up to all that abuse? We expected them to chunk out sooner because we’d got them for cheap. But they surprised us — they kept their integrity really well. However, we had to flip/rotate them more frequently than we do other wheels. You’ll know why in a bit.
We felt every little bump and small pebble all the way from our unhappy feet to our hips! Our skates vibrated like hell, but not as much after we adjusted our skating to this harsh reality.
So, we tried to avoid bumps and small rocks whenever we could. And the ride quality somewhat improved. Also, the ample urethane in the wheels rewarded us for the impacts we took by refusing to capitulate too soon to the constant abuse.
These wheels lasted a little over a month compared to just 2-3 weeks with most other wheels. Grip could be better, but that wasn’t surprising for wheels that hard.
The wheel profile was also different. The sides seemed to arc down unevenly from the molding in the wheel’s middle. And that threw the wheel’s symmetry near the hub off. Also, the centerline seemed somewhat off relative to the skate’s frame.
That seemed odd. And, we predicted this weird profile to affect the wear pattern adversely. But these guys rolled just fine— as long as we flipped them.
If we didn’t flip them and the internal angle got too severe, grip all but vanished. And slipping started happening. But flipping (3 times) solved the slipping issue.
What We Like
- Budget outdoor asphalt wheels
- Several color options
- Harder and more supportive
- Don’t wear down too fast
What We Don't Like
- Weird wheel profile
- Vibrate on rough asphalt
- Not very grippy
- Wheels not branded
Overall, these are a good budget bet for having fun outdoors, but not when the pavement or asphalt is packed with bumps and small rocks.
5. Labeda Shooter Inline Roller Hockey 83A Wheels (Smoothest Ride)
Past testing revealed that Labeda wheels are good, and the Labeda Shooter didn’t disappoint. These are the softest among the 5 wheels we tested. Good rollerblade wheels for outdoor use live in the 82A-84A hardness rating, and these guys are 83A.
If you’ve always skated 88A or 89A wheels, you’ll really love how smooth and springy the Labeda Shooter 83A roller hockey wheels feel. They stand just 76mm high, which means they suck at rolling over rocks, gravel, debris, and whatnot.
These Labeda wheels are what you want to use on rough concrete and asphalt. You can use 80mm wheels if you have a flat frame, but you can order a set of 4 80mm wheels and 4-76mm wheels if your hockey skate has a rockered chassis.
If there’s one performance quality that stood out to use during the tests, it was these wheels’ gripping ability. They gripped on asphalt better than any of their competitors.
The core was also pretty solid. And the strong nylon standard-size hub kept things nice and firm and round. You won’t destroy these wheels even if you stand 6 feet tall and weigh over 200 lbs. But the asphalt will devour them in less than a week if you’re that tall and heavy.
But in terms of durability, I have to say these wheels didn’t do so well. Playing on asphalt demands tons of tenacity from inline wheels, and these guys let us know things were too tough for them in a week. We noticed wear on them, and we flipped the wheels.
Still, we couldn’t squeeze more than an extra week of use out of them — lasted just 2 weeks. I can’t say we were disappointed given the price. We learned that our LBS was selling them for $15 more, so it didn’t feel like a rip-off. Plus, what they lacked in longevity, they compensated in how buttery they rolled.
What We Like
- Quite affordable
- Extremely grippy on asphalt
- Really nice graphics
What We Don't Like
- Rough roads eat them up fast
So, do we recommend these wheels? Yes, we do, but only to people who don’t think getting less durability out of their wheels is a big deal. But for someone planning on doing light/casual rollerblading (2 short recreational rides each week perhaps), they might last a couple of months.
How to Choose Good Inline Skate Wheels for Asphalt
If you play outdoor hockey on hard rough surfaces such as asphalt, you want tough wheels that will keep you up for the entire play. You need relatively hard wheels that’ll provide enough grip on rough, demanding surfaces.
The right wheels for the job have a wheel profile that has you moving around pretty quickly. Good wheels for outdoor rink hockey also enable you to make real quick turns. Finally, you need wheels that help you stop and start fast, wheels that accelerate quickly.
Asphalt Roller Hockey Wheels vs. Indoor Inline Wheels
Generally, indoor inline hockey requires softer wheels in the 72A-80A durometer range. A wheel’s durometer expresses its hardness or softness. Higher-durometer inline hockey wheels are harder than lower-durometer hockey wheels. The lower the durometer, the softer the hockey wheel vice versa.
Indoor wheels need to be soft enough since you’re mostly skating on smooth, slippery surfaces. You’re skating on roller rink floors and other smooth surfaces. Soft wheels come with tons of grip, and this grip makes indoor wheels sticky, stable, and safe.
In comparison, outdoor inline hockey wheels need to be harder than indoor wheels. But outdoor hockey wheels shouldn’t be too hard. If they’re too hard, it’ll be pretty uncomfortable to skate on them, and you’ll keep sliding around, especially because their profile really supports sliding.
In terms of lip profile, there’s really no difference between indoor hockey and outdoor inline hockey wheels. Both wheel types feature pretty rounded lips that enable you to hit the ground from different angles and still remain stable and mountain goat-agile.
Right Wheel Diameter for Playing Inline Hockey on Asphalt?
In general, good wheels for playing inline hockey have a diameter ranging from 72mm-76mm. For indoor practice, you want smaller wheels that keep you well-grounded but agile.
72mm wheels would be OK for indoor surfaces. But if you want to be faster on the court or if you’re a large, heavy hockey player, you’ll want to use bigger hockey wheels, say 74 mm-76 mm.
And if you’re buying a gift for your kid, go for kids’ inline hockey wheels with a diameter of 59mm to 72mm. The nearer the wheel size is to 72mm, the better for outdoor use.
But when it comes to playing inline hockey outside, you need bigger wheels. The nearer to 80mm the diameter for outdoor roller rink wheels, the better. Many players that do their thing outdoors seem to prefer 80mm wheels.
The bigger-wheel trend being seen in most inline skating disciplines including aggressive, urban, freestyle slalom, and fitness inline skating seems to be happening in outdoor hockey, too.
80mm wheels should be able to smooth over small cracks on the outdoor rink while maximizing your speed and turning ability.
Decide on the Right Asphalt Rollerblade Wheel Profile
The way your asphalt rink hockey wheel is shaped affects how each stride feels and executes. In this inline skate wheel buying guide, you’ll see there are three distinct wheel profiles namely:
- Flat-shaped rollerblade wheels
- Round-lipped rollerblade wheels, and
- Elliptical or bullet-profile rollerblade wheels
So, what’s the correct lip profile for wheels meant for playing inline hockey on asphalt rinks? For playing inline hockey on asphalt or rough concrete, you need inline wheels with a round profile.
Recreational inline skates typically have a round-lipped profile as do the best wheels for outdoor inline skating. But there’s a small difference between rec skate wheels and outdoor inline hockey wheels. And the difference is that the latter have more rounded lips/a more rounded shape compared to the former.
But why should outdoor inline hockey wheels have a more rounded profile? It’s because when they’re more rounded, they keep the hockey player upright even when the player goes really down at a steep angle. That wheel profile translates into good stability and great maneuverability all at once.
Does a Player’s Weight Matter When Choosing Asphalt Wheels?
When choosing indoor inline skate wheels, the weight of the skater should be a crucial consideration. Generally, the heavier the indoor hockey player is, the harder the indoor wheels should be. And the lighter the indoor player, the softer should the wheels be.
Below is an inline wheel hardness guide matching skater weight with the recommended durometer rating for specific surfaces.
|Inline Hockey Player Weight
|150lbs or lighter
|175lbs and above
|All players regardless of weight
|Outdoor (asphalt&rough concrete)
As you can see on the skater weight vs. durometer rule table above, the best outdoor hockey wheels typically have a durometer of between 82A and 84A according to inlinewarehouse.com.
If you ever decide to use softer wheels for enjoying roller hockey outside, I predict you’ll start seeing all kinds of flying objects coming from your wheels! I’m talking chunks being spat out in all directions here.
What’s the Right Frame Setup for Inline Hockey Skates?
Back in the day, some roller hockey skates came with a rockered frame. An example is the old-school Bauer Tuuk frame. Skates came with a rockered system built into the frame and all you had to do was mount the wheels.
But skate makers seem to have stopped producing rockered roller hockey frames. Or it could be that they slowed down production a bit because I’m not seeing these frame configurations much at all these days.
Ever since hockey players discovered that you can convert pretty much any hockey skate with a flat frame into a rockered setup, manufacturers don’t seem to be making rockered frames anymore. I bet you’ve heard of the Hi-Lo setup. That’s the discovery I’m talking about.
What’s the Hi-Lo System Everyone Keeps Talking About?
How do you properly set up your frame/wheels for efficient performance in future games? There’s no one correct way of organizing a frame/wheel setup. It’s mostly a matter of personal preference.
But this is how my husband sets up his hi-lo configuration: He mounts a 72mm wheel out front followed by a 76mm wheel and finally by two 80mm wheels at the back. That is, 72mm/76mm/80mm/80mm. Actually, this is the most common configuration for most people.
But this isn’t the only setup. The best hi-lo system for any player is that which gives them tons of agility, turning ability, and a bit of stability. Everyone eventually learns what setup boosts performance most through trial and error.
Now that you’ve learned what you need to know to choose good outdoor hockey wheels, it’s time you headed over to Amazon to see if there’s a set of wheels there you might like.
By the way…
What’s the Point of a Rockered Setup?
When you rocker a frame, you’re trying to hand over a little stability to the hi-lo system so you can have certain benefits that matter in the rolling sports.
You’re aiming for a creatively shortened wheelbase that’ll hopefully deliver tons of sprinting power to your feet. You’re also gunning for increased agility.
Rockering a roller hockey frame fundamentally means optimizing your skates for enhanced performance on the roller rink.
You now understand what to look for in inline skate wheels for skating on asphalt and concrete. What remains is for you to pick up any of the options recommended above and go blading. You’ll never know how awesome a set of wheels is unless you actually use them. Oh, remember to helmet up and pad up, it helps! Here, you’ll find some of the best rollerblade knee pads.