You’re building a pair of rollerblades from the ground up. Or, you’ve been looking to upgrade your beginner rollerblades with a better set of inline skate wheels. And, you’re wondering what are the best inline skate wheels to use on your rollerblades. In this inline skate wheel size, hardness, profile, hub guide, you’ll learn how to choose the right wheels for your inline skating style.
You’ll learn 8 easy-to-apply tips for selecting rollerblade wheels that work well for your riding surface and style.
This rollerblade wheel buying guide focuses on the most important selection factors namely wheel size, diameter, hardness/softness (durometer), profile, and hub.
But there’s also a section dealing with less important but still important factors such as rollerblade wheel brands and pricing.
If you end up with a set of rollerblading wheels you hate, it’ll be because you didn’t finish reading this resource. So, stay with me as I handhold you through this not-always-straightforward process.
- How to Choose Inline Skate Wheels
- Be Sure to Check Your Skate’s Chassis for Maximum Wheel Size
- 7 Tips for Choosing Rollerblade Wheels
- 1.What’s the Best Inline Skate Wheel Size for Me?
- 2. Will the Wheel Profile/Shape Work for Your Style?
- Flat-shaped Inline Skate Wheels (Slow But Stable)
- Round-shaped Inline Skate Wheels
- What Are Bullet Profile Wheels?
- Why Bullet-profile Wheels Are Good for Rec, Fitness, and Inline Hockey
- 3.What’s the Right Wheel Durometer/Hardness for You?
- 4. What Skating Style Do You Need Inline Wheels for?
- 5. Pay Attention to the Inline Skate Wheel’s Hub Type
- 3 Different Types of Rollerblade Wheel Cores
- Solid Wheel Hubs (Most Durable, Best for Heavy Inline Skaters)
- Hollow-core Inline Wheel Hubs (Hybrid Wheels)
- Spoked-Core Rollerblade Wheel Hubs
- 6. Which Brands Make the Best Rollerblade Wheels?
- 7. What’s Your Budget for Rollerblade Wheels Like?
- Final Thoughts on How to Choose Rollerblade Wheels
How to Choose Inline Skate Wheels
What do you look for when in the market for good rollerblade wheels? Consider the inline skate wheel selection factors below and you’ll end up with a set of rollerblade wheels that skate like a dream for your style.
Be Sure to Check Your Skate’s Chassis for Maximum Wheel Size
Before you get to the tips, ask yourself this question: will my rollerblades accommodate inline the wheels I crave? If you look at the frame of most rollerblades, you’ll see that the skate manufacturer indicated the maximum wheel size that you can fit in the frame.
If your skates came with small stock wheels that just won’t roll, consider mounting bigger, better-performing wheels onto the frame. But be sure the wheels aren’t too big that they touch one another or raise your center of gravity to some scary place.
7 Tips for Choosing Rollerblade Wheels
1.What’s the best inline skate wheel size for me?
2.What wheel durometer/hardness should you choose?
3.Look at the shape/profile of the rollerblade wheels
4. What skating style do you need inline wheels for?
5. How strong and durable is the wheel’s core?
6. What’s your budget look like?
7. Don’t buy cheap wheels from no-name brands
Let’s now address each of these eight considerations so you can become more adept at choosing inline wheels for your rollerblades.
1.What’s the Best Inline Skate Wheel Size for Me?
Wheel size or wheel diameter is one of the most confusing selection factors when it comes to choosing rollerblade wheels. Do you go with smaller wheels or larger ones?
The right wheel size for you depends on your size, the kind of surface you’ll skate on, and your preferred inline skating style. Another aspect that determines wheel size is your skating ability. I’ll now explain each aspect.
Are You Big Enough for Large Rollerblade Wheels?
If you’re a smaller rider or a young inline skater, it’s a bad idea to choose the biggest rollerblade wheels in the market. Bigger wheels are typically paired up with longer, heavier frames. So, you’ll end up with heavier skates, and heavy skates aren’t a good option for weak and inexperienced feet.
If you’re a young skater or a smaller rollerblader, I suggest that you go with smaller wheels. For most beginner rollerbladers and kids, 80mm rollerblade wheels (4x80mm wheels) should be a good enough option.
Your Inline Skating Ability and Style
If you’re a complete beginner who just bought their first-ever pair of skates, you want to keep things nice and safe with smaller wheels.
Smaller wheels (4x80mm inline skate wheels) keep you closer to the ground than do taller wheels. In case you fall (and what self-respecting inline skater lacks chivalry scars?), there’s less distance to the ground. And that means slightly more safety, right?
Beginners Do Better With Smaller Wheels
As a beginner inline skater, you’re mostly just cruising down streets and less busy roads. At that skating level, you’ve not learned any inline skating tricks, yet. You’re either riding freestyle skates or recreational skates. And, you’re all about stability at low to medium-high speeds. That’s why 80mm-90mm wheels would be a good bet at your skill level.
Aggressive Inline Skaters Prefer Small to Medium-size Wheels
Smaller wheels aren’t exclusively for beginner skaters and kids. Advanced skaters such as those favoring a more aggressive style of skating should also use smaller wheels.
It’s common for aggressive inline skaters at parks and streets to use wheels in the 56mm-59mm size range. But rollerblade wheels, in general, have been getting larger. And, 80mm wheels are becoming more and more common.
What’s the Right Wheel Size for Slalom Inline Skates?
Lots of people think slalom inline skaters use small wheels all the time, but that’s not 100% true. The right size for slalom inline skates is determined by the length of the frame.
For the most part, slalom skaters use the biggest wheels that their preferred frame length will accomodate. That said, the ideal wheel size for slalom inline skating sits in the 72mm-80mm range.
Below is a general frame length vs. wheel size guide for slalom skates
|Frame Length||Suggested Maximum Wheel Size|
|243mm or 245mm||Maximum wheel size: 80mm|
|231mm||Maximum wheel size: 76mm|
|219mm||Maximum wheel size: 72mm|
The longer the frame, the higher it sits and the bigger the wheel size it can fit.
Most Inline Hockey Skaters Use Mixed-wheel Setups/Hi-Lo Setups
And if you’re an inline roller hockey player, you want to get wheels in the 72mm-80mm diameter range.
Also, understand that most roller hockey skaters typically use the so-called Hi-Lo wheel setups. With a hi-lo chassis or frame, you mix smaller wheels with larger wheels.
Typically, there are two 80mm wheels at the back of a 4-wheel inline hockey skate and two 72mm wheels at the front of the skate.
Will You Mostly Skate in an Urban Environment?
If you mostly skate in an urban environment or are in a rollerblading discipline where quick turns happen a lot, you’re going to love smaller wheels. We’re talking 80mm or 84mm wheels here.
You need wheels with a small turning radius so you can bob and weave in and out of people, vehicles, bikes, and more while out seeing your city.
Another reason to choose smaller wheels for urban skating is that smaller wheels are more maneuverable and stop faster and easier. Believe me, you’re going to need to stop a lot to avoid hitting people and things, or to let crazy city drivers pass….and save your life!
Will You Participate in Marathons or Race?
When it comes to marathons, racing, and speed skating, you want pretty large wheels. You need large-diameter wheels that roll really fast.
Large wheels are harder to get going compared to smaller rollerblade wheels. But once bigger wheels start rolling down roads and trails, they keep their momentum forever, literally.
For marathons and speed inline skating, you need 90mm-110mm, the bigger the better. Well, you can’t use wheels that are bigger than 110mm for these inline skating disciplines. They don’t want skaters having too much rolling power under their boots.
So, if you’re planning on entering competitive inline skating or doing long-distance inline skating, definitely go for bigger wheels. But taller wheels raise the center of gravity causing wobbles. That’s why racing, speed skates, and distance inline skates tend to have longer frames. Longer frames make skates more stable but less maneuverable.
What’s the Right Wheel Size for Inline Hockey Wheels?
Inline hockey players are less concerned about speed than they are about maneuverability and turning ability. They need smaller wheels because such wheels thrash bigger ones in the turning and maneuverability departments.
For adult inline hockey players, the ideal wheel size lies in the 72mm to 80mm range, but 72mm-76mm is more like it. As for kids’ roller hockey skates, the recommended wheel size is 59mm-72mm. But most of the kids’ skates I’ve seen have 59mm, 64mm, 68mm, or 72mm wheels.
Generally, smaller wheels accelerate faster than bigger wheels, are easier to turn and maneuver on, and stop faster. In comparison, larger rollerblade wheels have a harder time building up speed, but once they get going, they don’t stop!
The Kind of Surface You’ll Skate On
Will you mostly skate at a local park with mostly smooth surfaces? Or, will you mostly play inline hockey and need good inline wheels for asphalt? Maybe you’ll skate on dirt trails most of the time? Or, are you planning on doing lots of indoor inline skating or even inline skate dancing?
Where you skate matters a lot. If you’ll skate on mostly smooth indoor and outdoor surfaces such as skate parks and parking lots, choose 80mm-90mm wheels. Such wheels don’t have to worry much about pebbles, cracks, twigs, and debris.
But if you’ll mostly skate outdoors on rough, bumpy surfaces such as forest trails and bad roads, definitely get a decent set of tall wheels. Tall wheels in the 100mm-110mm range do one thing extremely well; they roll over cracks and debris and small rocks really well.
With bigger wheels, you’ll have a much smoother ride. And, you won’t feel bumps and other nasty stuff all that much.
2. Will the Wheel Profile/Shape Work for Your Style?
Wheel shape may not seem like such a big deal until you’re trying to negotiate a super tight corner really fast with square-lipped rollerblade wheels.
There are three major inline skate wheel profiles namely:
- Square-shaped inline skate wheels
- Round-shaped inline skate wheels
- Speed inline skate wheels/bullet profile rollerblade wheels
At this point, let’s think about wheel footprint. Wheel footprint refers to how much wheel is actually in contact with the ground. Some people might refer to wheel footprint as the contact patch.
Wheels with a bigger contact patch give you more traction and stability but less speed. Conversely, narrower wheels are less grippy, less stable, but more agile and faster because they face less rolling resistance.
The wider the wheel (the greater the footprint/contact patch), the more stable and grippy the wheel. And the narrower the contact patch, the more agile the inline wheel, less stable, and faster it rolls.
Let’s now look at each of these rollerblade wheel profiles.
Flat-shaped Inline Skate Wheels (Slow But Stable)
With these wheels, the diameter of the wheel and its contact patch almost make a 90˚ angle. These guys offer plenty of stability for high-impact landings. Inline skate wheels with a flat profile are becoming harder to find, though.
Now, these 90-degree edges make turning noticeably more difficult. And when turns get extremely tight, flat-shaped wheels seem to take a dip of sorts. And reduced grip when cornering a sharp turn can cause a slip-out or worse, a bad fall.
Square-lipped wheels have the most urethane among the three shape categories. In other words, flat-shaped rollerblade wheels typically outlast round-shaped and bullet wheels.
But they are also the slowest of the three shape categories. Why?
Because the more footprint a set of wheels has, the more rolling resistance you’ll get from that wheel. Inline wheels with a flat profile naturally have the widest contact patch of all three wheel shapes.
As a result, large-footprint inline skate wheels have a greater area in contact with the ground than is the case with other profiles.
A wider contact patch/greater footprint translates into increased friction against the ground. And more friction slows these guys down a bit. That’s why flat-lipped inline wheels are the slowest wheels you can find.
What Are Flat-profile Inline Skate Wheels Good for?
Can you use flat-shaped rollerblade wheels for aggressive inline skating? Flat-shaped rollerblade wheels are a brilliant bet for skating aggro.
If all you’ll be doing is rolling up and down obstacles such as rails and ledges, consider using flat-lipped inline wheels on your aggressive inline skates.
But while flat-shaped inline wheels are good for aggressive skating, there’s at least one situation where you’d be better off using wheels with a different profile.
For example, you don’t want to use square-lipped inline skate wheels on aggressive rollerblades that have a flat frame with all four wheels down.
If you use flat-profile wheels on flat-framed aggressive skates, you’re highly likely to experience wheel bite when doing grinds. Why is that so?
It’s because wheels with a wide profile (flat-shaped wheels) typically don’t allow you much margin of error. With flat aggressive frames, there’s always a good chance that you’ll catch the ledge with the wheels in the middle. And, that can’t be nice, right?
You need tons of traction for stable, safe landings when jumping from elevated positions. That’s why flat-shaped rollerblade wheels are a good choice for skating aggro.
Round-shaped Inline Skate Wheels
Round-shaped rollerblade wheels sit somewhere between square-faced and bullet profile wheels. They’re somewhat round and at the same time somewhat flat-faced.
These wheels are like what everyone should want, but that’s not always the case. Quite the contrary, round-shaped wheels aren’t the most popular options out there.
With round rollerblade wheels, you get good stability when landing tricks as well as when rolling around. On top of that, rounded profiles come with a decent turning ability. You’ll tackle turns much better on these guys than on any square options.
Compared to flat-profile options, rounded wheels have less urethane. But they have more urethane than bullet profile wheels. That is, round wheels outlast bullet wheels but don’t last as long as square-profile options all other things being equal.
What Are Round-shaped Inline Skate Wheels Good At?
Rounded wheels are the most common wheel type found on freestyle skates, urban rollerblades, and even aggressive inline skates. When used for skating aggro, the frame is typically flat with all four wheels touching the ground.
Many rollerblades for kids also use this wheel type.
One reason you want round wheels on your aggressive skates is that they offer plenty of urethane. They can withstand a decent level of abuse. Another reason is that they work well with flat frames, freestyle, and anti-rocker setups. In all three setups, you’re less likely to experience the dreaded wheelbite.
Because of the even distribution of urethane on either side of the wheel, you’ll have more or less the same amount of footprint upon touching the ground. Also, you won’t lose much grip when you get low on turns. There’s no such thing as a turning angle that’s too difficult with these evenly shaped wheels.
One downside to not having much of a defined edge is that sliding on round-shaped inline skate wheels can be pretty challenging.
Speed-wise, round-shaped wheels are faster than square wheels but slower than bullet-profile options. Because they’re fast enough, you rarely find round wheels on speed inline skates or speed slalom rollerblades.
What Are Bullet Profile Wheels?
Also called elliptical or speed-profile inline skate wheels, bullet-profile wheels are super-dynamic rollerblade wheels with a pointy contact patch and are the swiftest wheels out there. With these wheels, only a very narrow patch of urethane touches the ground, and that makes for dramatically reduced rolling resistance. Agility-wise, these guys post a decent score, and that makes tackling turns really smooth and lots of fun. The downside to these wheels is that their very narrow contact patch gives you less traction and stability.
These wheels have the least amount of urethane compared to square and round wheels. For that reason, bullet-profile wheels wear down the fastest. But because these slim wheels see little rolling resistance/friction, they roll extremely fast.
Bullet-profile Wheels Focus on Precision and Speed
These are the wheels of choice in speed skates, fitness inline skating, recreational inline skating, freestyle slalom, urban inline skating, and inline hockey skating. You could also use them for aggressive inline skating.
A reason bullet-profile wheels are a worthy bet for skating aggro is that they’re agile and rarely cause wheel bite. But one reason not to use them for aggro skating is that they don’t take abuse very well. Also, if you miss the edge when landing tricks and jumps, you’ll likely wobble and lose your balance.
One great thing about these wheels is that they feature sharply defined edges. You get clean edges so you can do as much precision inline skating as you’d like.
With pointy inline wheels, edging works pretty well, and turns don’t feel challenging. You can really down, making extremely sharp angles with the ground. All that is good, but going too low virtually increases the contact section with the surface.
And because bullet-profile wheels have the least rolling resistance, they’re the best rollerblade wheels for sliding. Some specialty inline wheels are formulated to produce sparks when you slide, making clueless non-skaters gawk.
Bullet-profile Wheels Eventually Look Like Round Wheels
After a number of rides, bullet-profile wheels wear down. You may rotate your speed wheels, but if you think they’ll keep performing as they did the first time you skated them, think again.
As you practice your edges more, these wheels wear down and start looking more like regular round-shaped wheels. When that happens, these guys lose a substantial amount of their ability to deliver precision and speed. And aren’t precision and speed the ingredients for success in speed inline skating and slalom?
Why Bullet-profile Wheels Are Good for Rec, Fitness, and Inline Hockey
Many recreational inline skates use bullet-profile wheels because these wheels have graduated edges and accelerate pretty fast. They’re also quite easy to turn, and recreational skaters value all these things.
Fitness skates also use bullet-profile wheels, but the wheels are typically bigger (like 90mm-100mm) and more pointy. This style of skating focuses on performance and speed, and these larger-diameter wheels face little friction.
What makes these guys good for inline hockey is that they have a more rounded shape than recreational skate wheels. Due to that more rounded profile, roller hockey wheels keep solid contact with the surface no matter how much lean angle you throw at them.
This profile enables hockey players to make quick starts and stops. What’s more, this wheel profile is optimized for making super-quick turns and acceleration.
3.What’s the Right Wheel Durometer/Hardness for You?
What’s inline skate wheel durometer? Durometer is just a fancy way of saying that a wheel is hard or soft to a certain extent. This hardness/softness number is expressed using the letter A or B.
The A durometer scale starts at 0 and ends at 100 or slightly higher. I’ve seen 106A wheels, and these are extremely hard wheels that provide very little grip.
If a wheel has a lower durometer than another, it’s softer than that wheel. Conversely, if a wheel has a higher durometer figure than another, it’s harder than that wheel. For example, a 80A wheel is softer than a 85A wheel.
In other words, the higher a wheel’s durometer, the harder it is and vice versa.
As for the B scale, it’s 20 points ahead of the A scale, and some companies choose to describe their wheels’ hardness/softness using the B durometer scale. For example, a wheel with a durometer of 80A is as hard as a wheel with a durometer of 60B.
So, what’s the right durometer for you? Well, it depends. It depends on several factors namely:
- Where you’ll ride most of the time
- Your riding style
- Your weight
Let’s look at each factor in a little more detail.
The Quality of the Surface Where You’ll Mostly Ride
If the roads and streets where you’re at are the worst anyone’s ever seen, definitely get softer/low-durometer inline skate wheels.
I skate on tranquil trails in my neck of the woods, and I use really soft wheels. For these bumpy dirt trails, I ride rollerblades with 78A-85A. But 78A-82A duro inline wheels should work for most people who ride outdoors except for outdoor inline hockey (more on that below)
Softer inline wheels typically offer greater rebound than harder wheels. If you hate how hard your skates have been shaking your legs during outdoor rides on road roads, it’s possible the wheels are way too hard.
Lower-durometer wheels absorb rough-road impacts really well, and you feel cracks, rocks, twigs, and debris noticeably less.
But there’s a downside to softer wheels. If you have two wheels with similar quality but one is harder than the other, the harder wheel will typically outlast the softer one.
In other words, harder wheels are more durable in general than softer wheels. Softer wheels wear down faster than harder ones. But if the roads around are bad and the trails treacherous, be prepared to pay the price difference and enjoy your ride more.
Harder wheels wear down slower than softer wheels, but that isn’t true for every case. Some inline skate brands are these using formulas that boost longevity/durability for their softer wheels. But softer wheels that last long tend to cost a pretty penny.
What if you’ll mostly inline skate on smooth, hard surfaces such as a roller rink, a park, or concrete? In that case, get harder wheels.
Harder wheels don’t offer as much rebound as softer ones, but they can be pretty sticky, keeping you nice and stable on hard, crack-free floors and other similar surfaces.
The Kind of Rollerblading You Intend to Do
When it comes to stuff like spinning or dancing on your inline skates, you’ll want to choose really hard wheels. We’re talking wheels in the 88A-99A range.
The same goes if you’ll mostly do aggressive skating. For skating aggro, you don’t want to go any softer than 88A. Aggressive rollerblades are built for abuse.
So, you want to equip your aggressive skates with hard wheels that will tolerate constant rail grinds and hard jumps at parks and other tough impacts.
Right Wheel Durometer for Indoor Inline Hockey?
What if you’re looking for wheels for your inline hockey skates? The right durometer for your wheels will depend on whether you’ll inline hockey skate indoors or outdoors.
If you’ll mostly play inline hockey indoors, get 72A-74A wheels. While indoor wheels are generally supposed to be harder, it’s different for indoor roller hockey.
Indoor inline hockey players care more about maneuverability and ability to turn than speed, but speed still matters. They also care a lot about wheel grip. They need soft wheels that keep their roller hockey boots stuck to the floor of the sports court.
Generally, the more slippery the indoor surface is, the softer your roller hockey wheels should be.
Ideal Durometer for Outdoor Roller Hockey Wheels?
When it comes to roller hockeying outdoors, choose wheels in the 80A-84A durometer range. 80A wheels are more of a multi-surface choice that works well for outdoor use and indoor wood surfaces.
For asphalt and unsealed cement, get 82A roller hockey wheels. And for heavier inline hockey players who mostly skate outdoors, 84A wheels would be the best option.
Below is a simple inline hockey wheel durometer guide
|Inline Hockey Wheel Size||Suggested Use Case|
|72A||Very soft indoor wheels for light players|
|74A||Soft wheels for sport court use|
|76A||Soft wheels for relatively heavier indoor hockey players|
|78A||Most versatile wheels. Good for both indoor and outdoor roller hockey. However, 78A wheels aren’t very good for indoor or outdoor use.|
|80A||Good for wood surfaces|
|82A||for unsealed cement + asphalt surfaces|
|84A||for heavy outdoor roller hockey players playing on cement and asphalt|
How Heavy or Light You Are
Ah, skater weight. I keep seeing folks online asking, what are the best inline skates for heavy skaters? But I feel they should be asking, what are the best wheels for bigger rollerbladers?
Of course, you need sturdy inline boots that’ll support enough support for your large, heavy frame. But no matter how sturdy the skates are, they won’t provide adequate support if the wheels are too soft.
Soft wheels do several things right, but they’re not tough enough when a bigger guy or girl is standing on top of them. As you jump around the park and street, you’ll likely compress your soft wheels too much…to the extent of deforming them.
So, if you’re a heavy rollerblader, definitely choose wheels that are between 2-4 figures harder than the recommended durometer number for your surface. Conversely, if you’re a lighter skater, you can choose softer wheels, and you likely won’t destroy them that fast.
For example, if you’re a 185-pound inline skater and the recommended durometer for your surface is 82A, get 84A-86A wheels. Likewise, if you’re lighter than most skaters in your height, it’s OK to choose 78A-80A wheels.
4. What Skating Style Do You Need Inline Wheels for?
The question of style has been addressed severally in different places above. So, I’ll kind of summarize under one section what I’ve said under earlier sections.
If you’re a beginning freestyle inline skater, get wheels in the 80mm-90mm size range. Get wheels that’ll keep you low and stable enough while not rolling too fast.
And if you’re a more advanced rollerblader, maybe a highly skilled aggressive or slalom skater, get small, relatively hard wheels. For skating slalom, get 72mm-80mm wheels. And for skating aggro, get 56mm-59mm wheels but can go up to 80mm wheels.
For racing, indoor track skating/speed skating, and marathons, get 90mm-110mm wheels. And if you intend to mostly do trail skating, go 90mm-110mm wheels in the 78A-85A duro range.
But if the roads are too bad and there are cracks and potholes everywhere, get the tallest soft wheels you can afford…as long your riding ability allows you to use wheels that big.
If your skill level permits, you can buy triskates with 125mm inline skate wheels. Rough-road rollerblading requires the best inline skates for rough roads within your budget’s reach.
As for indoor roller hockey on wood surfaces, get 80A wheels that aren’t too tall. And for slippery indoor surfaces, use 72A wheels and 74 wheels for indoor sport courts. If you’re a heavier skater, go for 76A options.
For outdoor roller hockey, go for relatively bigger wheels in the 80A-84A. Definitely choose higher-durometer outdoor inline hockey wheels if you’re heavier.
5. Pay Attention to the Inline Skate Wheel’s Hub Type
The core of an inline skate wheel is a sturdy structure that consists of a central hub where the ball bearings and spacers reside. The nature and type of core of a wheel determine how it performs and how long lasts.
3 Different Types of Rollerblade Wheel Cores
Three different kinds of inline skate wheel cores exist. These core types include the following:
- Hollow wheel cores
- Spoked wheel cores
- Solid wheel cores
Before I briefly describe these three core types, understand that there are two rollerblade wheel hub sizes namely:
- 608 standard hub wheels
- 688 micro-hub inline skate wheels
Standard hub wheels are the most common options on the market while micro-hub wheels are becoming less common these days.
608 hubs are designed for standard size bearings while 688 hubs are designed for micro bearings.
Standard size bearings (608 bearings) have an 8mm bore as do micro bearings, and both bearings are meant to fit 8mm axles. However, micro bearings exclusively work with micro-hub wheels and vice versa.
If you have micro-hub wheels and want to start using standard size bearings, you’ll just have to buy standard hub wheels. So, it’s best to buy standard size hubs, which are pretty much the standard in the inline world anyways.
Solid Wheel Hubs (Most Durable, Best for Heavy Inline Skaters)
Solid wheel hubs have huge cores that are built to withstand lots of pressure during use. These cores are super-strong strong and rigid/stiff and make for a wheel with tons of integrity and roundness. The downside to solid-core inline wheels is that they tend to be heavy.
These hubs are the best option as far as power transfer and durability. It takes copious amounts of abuse to deform a wheel with a solid core. A rollerblade wheel with a solid core looks like the image below.
The core may be made of lightweight aluminum or tough nylon, and they can be pretty pricey. Pro-level inline skaters love this hub type and are willing to pay for the quality and performance difference. The
Hollow-core Inline Wheel Hubs (Hybrid Wheels)
Hollow-hub rollerblade wheels are somewhere between solid-core and spoked-core wheels. They’re not as light as spoked core wheels, but they’re not as heavy as solid-core wheels.
In terms of durability and stiffness, these ones aren’t as rigid and durable as solid-core wheels, they typically outlast the much lighter and less stiff spoked-core wheels. These are a type of hybrid wheels that offer the best of both worlds (longevity and lightness).
An inline wheel with a hollow hub looks like the picture below. These ones are pretty common. They’re fast but not as fast as their solid-core counterparts. The upside is that they tend to cost less than their better-quality siblings.
Spoked-Core Rollerblade Wheel Hubs
These are the lightest rollerblade wheels you can find. They’re lighter than hollow-core rollerblade wheels but not as strong or long-lasting as either hollow-cored or solid-cored inline wheels.
Typically, spoked-core inline wheels are cheaper than their two stronger, more solid siblings.
A rollerblade wheel with a spoked wheel hub looks like the image below. This is the wheel to go for if you want budget replacement inline wheels that do the job but don’t roll too fast and don’t last that long.
Note: while many spoked-core inline wheels feature a plastic core, some like the Bont Avenger Hardcore 110mm come with an aluminum core. By the way, this 110mm Bont Inline wheel with an aluminum core costs up to $200! But it rolls like bliss and literally lasts forever.
6. Which Brands Make the Best Rollerblade Wheels?
Brand matters, but not much. If you find a wheel that checks all the boxes but comes from a little-known brand, just buy it. I’m not saying buy from everyone including all the fly-by-night no-name brands that dominate the online marketplace.
For the most part, though, all you’re looking for is a wheel with a molded seam down its middle. You’re looking for Seba, Rollerblade (known for its famous hydrogen wheels), Gyro, Mission, Labeda, Powerslide, and Atom among others.
Most of the stock wheels I’ve seen on entry-level inline skates are almost always pretentious dirt-cheap products from Chinese sweatshops. They suck at everything, and they don’t last more than a few rides.
Plus, these stock wheels have pretty much no bounce/rebound. They’re basically hard plastic wheels whose ability to absorb shocks is very low. Most stock wheels are crap. Junk. A pile of sh*t. And you want to replace them soonest possible.
7. What’s Your Budget for Rollerblade Wheels Like?
So, how much do good inline skate wheels cost? Well, rollerblade wheels are expensive, and you’ll almost always get what you pay for when you choose the cheapest wheels on the market. In my experience, wheels that cost $40 or more tend to perform better and last longer.
That being said, the only way to know whether more expensive inline skate wheels are worth it is to test them. You want to buy both $15 wheels and $50 replacement wheels and mount them onto the same skate. After the rubber has met the road or trail a couple of days or weeks, you’ll know for sure.
I’ve owned relatively pricey wheels that didn’t last as long as I’d hoped. And I’ve also skated relatively cheaper wheels that blew pricier ones under the water.
In the end, no one can tell you which wheels will serve you best. Just pick them up and hit the streets or park.
Final Thoughts on How to Choose Rollerblade Wheels
Be sure to choose wheels with the right size, durometer, and shape for your riding style, weight, and riding surface. Wheel hub quality is also an important consideration.
As for urethane quality, the best way to know if you picked up a winner is to buy and test.
In terms of price, be willing to spend a reasonable amount on replacement inline skate wheels. And stay away from dirt-cheap no-brand wheels. One more thing, be sure to rotate your wheels when they get worn down to prolong their usefulness.