Very hard wheels, over 90A, slide extremely well, but such longboarding wheels are only fit for technical or hard wheel sliding. Also, such wheels often ice out unexpectedly. Duro 78A-83A is almost always the best range for sliding. But what are the best longboard wheels for sliding? I answer that question and many more in the best sliding longboard wheels reviews down the road.
*Affiliate Links Disclosure
This website participates in the Amazon Associates program. And as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. However, you won’t pay a dime more for clicking on any of the affiliate links in this content.
List of 8 Best Longboard Wheels for Sliding
There you go!
1. 70mm 80A Slide Formula Sector 9 Butterballs Longboard Bearings ( Top Pick & Best Value)
Also Worth a Look
3. White/Black Powell Peralta Snakes (69mm,75A)
Sliding Wheels for Longboards Reviews and Buying Guide
Let’s analyze each recommendation so you can clearly see all the value each represents. There’s also a buying guide for you near the end of the post.
1. Sector 9 Butterballs Review (70mm, 80A)
Why are Sector 9 Butterballs super popular sliding wheels? It’s because the proprietary Slide Formula used to create them converts them into awesome all-terrain longboarding wheels that drift and offer traction as needed. With these white butterballs, you won’t need to in invest extra sets of wheels for different purposes.
They’re large-cored durometer 80A, 70mm wheels that boast a contact patch of 38mm. These wheels are moderately tall, moderately hard/soft, and their contact patch is somewhat wide. The wider contact patch means you’ll have to do a little more to launch your slides.
The core setting is center set, which means they wear evenly and are flippable for added longevity. As for the lips profile, it’s a blend of round and slightly beveled lips, the perfect profile for when you want easy kickouts. Also, they deliver silky smooth rides, when it comes to riding straightaways, you may want to pick faster wheels.
Bonus! You get a full set of ABEC 5 bearings.
- Extra set of ABEC 5 bearings
- Can be flipped for more longevity
- Balances slide and traction very well
- Extra set of ABEC 5 bearings
- Not the fastest
I recommend them.
2. Abec11 Freerides Review
The ABEC11 Freerides are in general pretty awesome sliding wheels. And, they’re quite easy to control as they don’t end up facing 90 degrees like other options. Besides, they’re super easy to kick out. And you’re going to have a neat hookup pretty much every time. Downside? You’ll core them in less than 3 months, sometimes in under 2!
I prefer the orange Abec11 freeride Ruedas (70mm, 81A) partly because they’re orange but mainly because they diameter and duro in a way that’s just right. And they ride like …really smoothly.
Freerides are available in either classic thane or in reflex thane, and reflex thane options are a little grippier while classic thane ones are more slidey. I’d definitely choose classic thane Freerides for sliding. Additionally, Freerides have round lips, and that makes them a decent choice for sliding. They come in various sizes ranging from 66mm to 72mm. Duro-wise, they range between 78A to 84A.
With Freerides, I recommend center set with 78A duro as the most ideal option for sliding. Center set Freerides can be reversed to resolve coning, and you can ride them down to the core after flipping them. While off-set Freerides slide even better, they wear unevenly.
- Easy to kick out and control
- Center-set Freerides wear evenly
- A bit more durable than Freerides
- Center set options can be reversed to address coning
- Available in both classic and reflex thane
- Of- set Freerides wear unevenly
- Reflex than Freerides can be chattery
Conclusion: Freerides aren’t the cheapest sliding wheels on the market today. But, they’re worth every dollar paid for a set.
3. ABEC11 Flashbacks Review
While I like Freerides, I prefer the ABEC11 Flashbacks, particularly the ABEC11 70mm 78A Flashbacks.
ABEC11 Flashbacks feature a slidey, round-lipped profile, and they’re available in exclusively classic thane. Unlike Freerides, Flashbacks have a side set hub. Typically, Flashbacks are sold in 70 mm and in terms of duro, they hover between 72A to 84A. I’ve seen (and rode 78A and 81A) duro 72A, 75A, 78A, 81A, and even 84A. I gather it’s a little hard to find duro 72A and 84A these days, though.
But are ABEC11 Flashbacks square lipped or round lipped? Most descriptions online say Flashbacks are square lipped. But … don’t believe anyone online or wherever who claims Flashbacks have a square lipped profile.
Actually, Flashbacks have round lips, which is why the super buttery rides they give riders happen almost effortlessly. As for ride quality, it’s as buttery as it gets with the very best wheels designed for sliding. And while they’re not the grippiest, they respond with urgency when turned to for some traction.
Freerides vs Flashbacks, what’s better? Honestly, both are awesome wheels and it’s hard to say what’s better. Freerides (center set ones) wear evenly and coning isn’t such a problem as you can easily flip them. Flashbacks slide slightly better, but you typically can’t core them. In the end, though, it’s a question of personal preference.
- Exclusively classic thane
- Generally last longer than Freerides
- Available in various sliding-oriented duros
- Side-set hub placement makes them pretty slidy
- Can’t be flipped when they cone
- Not as grippy as reflex urethane Freerides
Bottomline: Flashbacks are somewhat better than Freerides as far as drifting, predrifting, and other related stuff even though they’re sideset and therefore don’t wear evenly.
4. Metro Motion 70mm 78A Magenta Skate Wheels Review
Buddy Carr, a skate brand many know, is the corporation behind the Metro Wheel Company, the business that formulates the 70mm 78A Metro Motions. Metro Motions are some of the finest longboard wheels ever created.
Now, these wheels weren’t built for long, lightning-fast slides. I used to do 180’s on a set of Metro Motions (the gray 80A option), and they slid reliably well at low speeds. However, the wheels were a bit chattery and loud as I started going faster and harder. Plus, they kept icing out.
But, the 70mm 78A magenta Metro Motion slide much better than the 80A gray ones even at higher speeds. They’re center set, and you can flip them after they cone and squeeze out a little more life. Even though they’re not as easy as most to break in, I like the way they leave nice thane lines when I’m skating in sunny weather.
With the 70 mm 78A magenta Metro Motions, break out is pretty controllable, sliding pleasantly smooth, and hook up incredibly solid. One more thing, they outlast quite a few others I’ve used. Actually, these are some of the most durable sliding wheels you can buy.
- Hook up easy
- They last
- Slide pretty nicely
- Break out quite controllable
- Not as easy as others to break in
The only downside is they don’t break in as easily as most. Actually, a friend describes them as “annoyingly hard to break in.” Aside from that, they’re a solid bet. I recommend them.
5. Red 72mm 80A RAD Release Longboard Wheels Review
RAD is an acronym for Rider Approved Designs. Now, the red 80A RAD release wheels are designed to do everything an ambitious rider desires. They’re terrific when it comes to freeriding, and kick outs couldn’t get easier than this!
With large, solidly structured cores, the wheels can withstand the rigors of longboarding without ovaling or deforming. Additionally, the sturdy core allows for faster acceleration. And you’d be hard-pressed to find wheels that deliver more predictably consistent slides.
Standing 72mm, they’re tall enough for the job. These 72mm amount to a little more thane than you’d get with 70mm or smaller ones. Meaning it may take a little longer to core them than most.
The contact patch measures 42 mm, and that makes them grippier than most. However, it feels like the increased wheel width sacrifices speed a bit, but they are by no means slow.
Their round lip profile collaborates with a center set hub and stone ground wheels to give you all the power you need to effortlessly melt into amazingly buttery pavement slides. Lest I forget, these wheels are also available in white and green.
- Almost effortless kick outs
- Predictable, consistent buttery slides
- Versatile, all-purpose wheels
- Also available in white or blue
- Even wear and flippable
- Affordable but not cheapest
Listen, these wheels unlock all the value inherent in your dollar, and they last.
3 More Sliding Wheels That Are Worth a Look
These ones slide acceptably well. But due to their being high duro, they’re not ideal for absolute beginners. Why? Because they can ice out unpredictably. If you have mastered the way of the slide, these 70mm 85A duro Cult Converters can convert your session into something you’ll want to do again and again.
If you prefer lighter colors, these white 1-mm side-set wheels are as buttery as any good ones. They’re great for freeride, and because a pretty large area is in contact with the ground, you’ll love them for downhill. I’ve come across a few skaters who swear by Morgans. Morgan wheels lovers are often heard saying stuff like, “the Morgans give the smoothest and butteriest slides ever. I love them.” Honestly, though, Morgan wheels are known to die faster than most.
3. White/Black Powell Peralta Snakes (69mm,75A)
At 75A, the Snakes are pretty soft and grippy. And that makes them more tolerant of rough terrain than most. But even though the Snakes are awesome when it comes to controlling downhill slides, they’re not known for speed. And did you know these freeride wheels are made by the the same company that makes the popular Bones skateboarding products?
What’s Sliding and Why Should You Master It?
Sliding is an art form that involves the performance of moves such as drifts, pre-drifts, and power slides in an attempt to slow down a longboard. One key reason to learn sliding is that it’s a super effective way of slowing down a board, even better than air braking or foot braking.
What’s better than executing neat pre-drifts and throwing down intricate tricks immediately afterward as curious non-longboarders gawk in consternation? Nothing!
A Guide to Choosing the Best Sliding Longboard Wheels
Before we discuss how to choose the best longboard sliding wheels, I need you to know one crucial, irrefutable truth: Sometimes, it’s you and not your wheels that’s the problem.
Sometimes, It’s not the wheels — It’s YOU!
Listen, stop obsessing over perfecting your setup. Instead, focus every once you got on perfecting your form. Here are 10 factors to power your hunt for the best sliding longboard wheels ever.
1. Hard or Soft Longboard Sliding Wheels?
Softer wheels are grippier than harder wheels and are great for rough riding, but they don’t slide as well. Harder wheels, in contrast, are much better at sliding, but they’re not always the best option. Instead, stick with a duro range hovering around 78A-83A.
You don’t want to surpass duro 86A, and anything over 90A is too much hardness, the kind that’s only useful for technical sliding. Plus, extremely hard wheels have a habit of icing out unpredictably.
So, experiment with different wheels of varying hardness /softness levels until you find that sweet spot that works like a dream.
2. Wheel Size
The size of a longboard wheel is expressed in terms of its height or diameter. And wheel diameter is a critical spec to consider. These wheels come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, from small 60mm options to ones as tall as 100mm. In comparison, skateboard wheels are smaller, ranging from 48mm to 60mm in diameter.
Generally, wheels with a larger diameter roll faster than smaller ones. Besides, larger longboard wheels are better at shock absorption when moving over cracks, rocks, and other obstacles. Smaller wheels, in contrast, are better at building up acceleration. The most ideal wheel size for sliding purposes hovers between 70mm to 75mm. In the end, though, the right diameter for a rider is a matter of personal preference, just like it is with duro.
3. Core Placement/Hub Placement
What’s better, core or no core in sliding wheels? A core gives a wheel more longevity by strengthening its overall structure, increasing its power to resist deformation. Additionally, the improved, stronger structure results in even wear even if the wheel keeps spewing thane. Finally, cored wheels roll a little longer than coreless ones.
Now, let’s deal with core placement.
The core of a longboard wheel refers to its hub, that inner part that supports the wheel’s urethane and makes it possible to mount ball bearings.
Three hub placements exist namely center set, side set, and off set. Each placement works slightly differently and delivers a somewhat different ride experience.
1. Center Set Cored Sliding Wheels
With this setting, the core stays precisely in the middle of the wheel. The placement offers more grip and a much larger inner lip than either a side set or an offset core.
One big advantage of a center set core is the wheels wear evenly, which boosts longevity. Another advantage is that you can flip these wheels inside out to make them last even longer.
Many freeride wheels feature a center set core and usually have slim contact patches. But even though a centrally set core gives you more control, setting up slides may be a little challenging.
2. Side Set-cored Sliding Longboard Wheels
Here, the core stays very near the edge of the wheel. The inner lips are somewhat smaller and that means reduced grip. They don’t wear evenly as center-set ones, but they slide better and are ideal for drifting and freeriding. However, such wheels give the rider less control than do center-set pieces.
3. Off Set Cored Options
An offset hub sits somewhere between a centre-set and a side-set orientation. Such wheels typically come with square lips that boost their traction. Well, they’re not as grippy as center-set wheels, but they provide more grip than side-set options.
You can handle multiple longboard riding styles with offset wheels (they’re versatile, that is) as they offer optimally balanced relationship between slide and traction. Small wonder it’s the most common core setting.
4. Core Material
Core material determines, to some extent, the overall ride quality and wheel longevity. There are aluminum cores, plastic cores, and urethane cores.
Aluminum cores can bump up the cost substantially, but they’re stiffer, grippier, and wear more evenly. Also, aluminum cores provide increased rotational inertia per revolution — they’re faster.
Plastic cores are cheaper because they’re lighter than aluminum, but they’re slower.
And urethane cores are somewhere between aluminum and plastic as far as mass, and they offer smoother rides than plastic cores.
Longboard wheels with aluminum cores and those with a plastic-urethane combo are more common.
5. Polyurethane Formula Used
The rubbery portion of a wheel is typically manufactured from urethane. Every longboard wheel manufacturing company boasts in the potency of their proprietary urethane formula, presenting it as some miracle-working concoction.
Each formula represents various additives or chemical substances mixed differently to create certain effects. Each formula strives to enhance specific characteristics while weakening others or striking the out altogether.
A given formulation may result in slick, speedy wheels that deliver predictable icy rides over certain kinds of terrain. A different thane formula may give wheels that give riders silky smooth rides. And then there’s those chalky formulas that longboaders of all stripes crave, the kind that leaves nice little thane lines on the road or pavement or sidewalk or wherever.
You can choose any formula you like, but more experienced
Some formulas result in grippy, speedy wheels while others produce fast, slidey wheels. So, pay attention to where a given formula shines and where it flounders.
6. Longboard Wheel Lip Profile
Lips are simply the outer edges of a wheel’s contact area, and they determine how grippy or slidey a wheel gets. Wheels can be round lipped or square lipped, or sharp lipped.
Sharp or square lipped wheels are typically thick and translate into tons of grip. They’re what you need for downhill. In contrast, round lipped wheels aren’t as grippy, but they slide somewhat easier. Some wheels have a beveled lip profile.
Beveled longboard wheels offer a balanced amount of both grip and traction. They’re ideal for freeriders who crave a little of both worlds — slidability without entirely sacrificing grip.
7. Wheel Width or Contact Patch Width
The total area of a longboard wheel in contact with the surface you’re riding is its contact patch. Any bevel or lip not touching the surface isn’t considered part of this critical area.
Generally, a wider contact patch means a little more urethane contacting the ground, or more grip. In contrast, a thinner contact patch or thinner wheel width means less urethane touching the surface. That means decreased grip but more slide.
8. Wheel Texture
Texture describes the smoothness or roughness of longboard wheels. Generally, rough textured wheels slide a little better than smoother ones right out of the box. However, smooth textured wheels tend to be grippier. For sliding, choose slidy wheels that are also a bit grippy.
9. Best Sliding Wheel Brands
Everyone on Youtube repeatedly seems to tout Otang wheels as the finest wheels for sliding ever built. Well, that’s not always true. Tens of options that power much better slides exist, and my longboard sliding wheel reviews above reveal that much.
In my option, and that of many other longboard enthusiasts, you can’t go wrong with any of the brands listed above. It’s hard to find pro skaters with bad things to say about ABEC 11, RAD Release, Sector 9, and Powell Peralta, among others.
10. Does Price Always Reflect Quality?
If you are a beginner, buying a set of longboard wheels on the cheap isn’t a bad idea. At that skill-level, pricier options often offer a lot more usefulness than you know what to do with. But yes, a pro skater can get tons of awesome benefits from more expensive wheels. No worries, you can always upgrade to a finer set down the road.
Best Longboard Wheels for Sliding: Best of the Best?
I’ve tested and researched a slew of options up to this point. And I believe the 70mm 80A Slide Formula Sector 9 Butterballs longboard bearings are the finest set of wheels for sliding on a longboard.
Not only do they slide so well, but you also get a set of 8 ABEC 5 bearings that roll incredibly smoothly. Best value longboard sliding wheels aren’t always the best as far as performance, but 70mm 80A Slide Formula Sector 9 Butterballs longboard bearings are quite the exception. They shine in every aspect that matters.