How Are Skateboard Wheels Measured? A Complete Guide


Precise wheel measurement is the foundation of peak performance. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned pro in longboarding, knowing how longboard wheels are measured can transform your riding experience, especially if you’re into street skating and flip tricks.

Longboard and skateboard wheels are quantified in millimeters, denoting their diameter. The durometer scale gauges wheel hardness, dictating performance on diverse terrains.

Wheel size directly influences speed, stability, maneuverability, and control. Rounded edges and pressure add further layers to your skateboarding experience.

For longboard wheels, selecting the perfect size tailored to your style is pivotal, whether you prefer millimeter precision or varying softness and hardness levels.

This blog explores the vital significance of accurate longboard wheel measurement, be it in millimeters or hardness, and how it elevates your skateboarding prowess.

Whether you lean towards rigid or supple wheels, understanding proper wheel measurement is your gateway to enhanced performance.

If you’re on a quest to up your skateboarding game by nailing the ideal longboard wheel size, read on! Whether your preference is firm or cushioned, the mm wheel size and contact patch hold the keys to your success.

Factors to Consider When Buying Skateboard Wheels

Riding Style and Preferences

Before purchasing skateboard wheels, it’s crucial to identify your riding style and preferences. Additionally, make sure to consider the contact points of the wheels. Are you more into cruising around the neighborhood on your longboard wheels or performing tricks at the skate park with the right skateboard wheels? Consider the wheel shape and hardness when choosing your longboard wheels or skateboard wheels. Knowing this will help you choose the right wheels that cater to your specific contact needs.

  • Cruising: If you enjoy a smooth ride for commuting or cruising, consider larger and softer wheels. These right skateboard wheels provide better stability, shock absorption, and a comfortable experience on rough surfaces. The wheel durometer, shape, and diameter all contribute to these factors.
  • Street Skating: For street skating and performing technical tricks, smaller and harder wheels are ideal. They offer increased control, responsiveness, and faster acceleration.

Terrain Considerations

Another important factor when buying skateboard wheels is considering the terrain you’ll be riding on. Different terrains require different wheel characteristics to optimize your skateboarding experience.

  • Smooth Surfaces: If you primarily ride on smooth pavement or skate parks with polished concrete, harder wheels with a higher durometer rating are suitable. They provide better slide control and maximum speed.
  • Rough Surfaces: On the other hand, if you often encounter rough roads or uneven pavement, softer wheels with a lower durometer rating are recommended. These right skateboard wheels absorb vibrations and bumps effectively for a smoother ride.

Wheel Size, Hardness, and Material

The size, hardness (durometer), and material of skateboard wheels all play a significant role in determining your overall skateboarding experience.

  • Size: Skateboard wheel sizes are measured in millimeters (mm) for their diameter. Smaller diameter wheels (50-53mm) are commonly used for technical tricks due to their lighter weight and quicker response time. Larger diameter wheels (54-60mm) offer more stability at high speeds but may sacrifice maneuverability.
  • Hardness (Durometer): The hardness of skateboard wheels is measured using a durometer scale ranging from 1 to 100. The higher the number, the harder the wheels. Softer wheels (78A-87A) provide better grip and shock absorption, while harder wheels (88A-101A) offer increased slide control and durability.
  • Material: Skateboard wheels are typically made of polyurethane (PU). PU wheels strike a balance between grip and durability. They are suitable for most skateboarding styles and terrains. Some specialized wheels may feature different materials like urethane or hybrid formulas for specific purposes such as sliding or racing.

Understanding these factors will help you make an informed decision when purchasing skateboard wheels that best suit your needs and preferences. Remember, it’s all about finding the right combination of size, hardness, and material to optimize your speed, control, and overall skateboarding experience.

Exploring Different Skateboard Wheel Materials

Skateboard wheels are made from various materials, each offering unique characteristics that affect performance on the board. Let’s delve into the different materials commonly used in skateboard wheel manufacturing and compare their pros and cons.

Overview of Common Materials Used in Skateboard Wheel Manufacturing

The most popular material for skateboard wheels is urethane. Urethane wheels are known for their durability, versatility, and excellent grip on various surfaces. They provide a smooth ride and are suitable for both street skating and skatepark use. Another common material is polyurethane, which is similar to urethane but tends to be slightly softer. Polyurethane wheels offer enhanced shock absorption, making them ideal for cruising and rougher terrains.

Other materials used in skateboard wheel manufacturing include:

  • Rubber: Rubber wheels provide excellent grip but can wear out quickly.
  • Plastic: While not as durable as urethane or polyurethane, plastic wheels are affordable and great for beginners.
  • Metal: Metal-core wheels offer exceptional speed but lack the grip provided by urethane or polyurethane.

Understanding How Different Materials Affect Durability, Grip, and Speed

The choice of skateboard wheel material directly impacts durability, grip, and speed. Urethane and polyurethane wheels are generally more durable compared to rubber or plastic options. They offer excellent grip on most surfaces, ensuring better control during tricks and maneuvers. However, urethane wheels tend to provide a slightly faster ride due to their harder composition.

On the other hand, rubber wheels excel in providing exceptional grip but wear out quickly. Plastic wheels are affordable but lack the durability of urethane or polyurethane. Metal-core wheels offer high speeds but sacrifice some grip in return.

Understanding the Importance of Wheel Hardness

Skateboard wheels are not all created equal. One crucial factor that determines how a skateboard performs is the hardness of its wheels. The hardness of the wheels affects various aspects of your ride, including durability and shock absorption. Let’s dive into this topic and explore the significance of wheel hardness.

Defining Wheel Hardness and Its Impact on Ride Quality

Wheel hardness refers to how soft or hard the wheels are made. It is measured using a durometer scale, which assigns a numerical value to indicate the level of hardness. The higher the number on the scale, the harder the wheels will be.

The hardness of skateboard wheels plays a significant role in determining your ride quality. Softer wheels provide better grip and traction on rough surfaces, making them ideal for cruising and street skating. They offer more control when performing tricks that involve sliding or grinding on rails and ledges.

On the other hand, harder wheels excel in smooth surfaces like skateparks or ramps. They roll faster with less effort due to their reduced friction with the ground. These wheels are commonly used by professional skaters who need high speeds for performing technical tricks.

Exploring the Durometer Scale for Measuring Wheel Hardness

To measure wheel hardness accurately, skateboard manufacturers use a durometer scale called “A” scale or “B” scale (less common). The A-scale ranges from 1-100, with higher numbers indicating harder wheels.

For street skating or cruising, softer wheels around 78A-87A are preferred as they provide better shock absorption when riding over cracks and bumps in urban environments.

For skatepark or ramp skating, harder wheels ranging from 95A-101A are suitable as they offer increased speed and stability on smoother surfaces.

It’s important to note that different brands may have slight variations in their durometer scales, so it’s always best to check with specific manufacturer recommendations.

How Softer or Harder Wheels Perform on Different Surfaces

The performance of skateboard wheels depends on the type of surface you ride on. Softer wheels excel in rough terrains, while harder wheels shine on smooth surfaces.

Here’s a breakdown of how softer and harder wheels perform:

  • Softer Wheels:
  • Pros:
  • Better shock absorption
  • More grip and traction
  • Ideal for cruising and street skating
  • Cons:
  • Slower speeds compared to harder wheels
  • Less suitable for technical tricks that require high speeds
  • Harder Wheels:
  • Pros:
  • Faster speeds due to reduced friction
  • Suitable for skateparks and ramps
  • More stability for technical tricks
  • Cons:
  • Less shock absorption on rough surfaces
  • Reduced grip and traction

Ultimately, choosing the right wheel hardness depends on your personal preferences and the type of skateboarding you enjoy. Experimenting with different hardness levels can help you find the perfect balance between speed, control, and comfort.

Choosing the Right Size of Skateboard Wheels

Determining Optimal Wheel Diameter

Size matters. The diameter of your wheels can greatly impact your riding experience. To choose the right size, you need to consider your riding style and terrain preference.

  • For street skating or technical tricks, smaller wheels in the range of 49-52mm are ideal. These provide better control and maneuverability for performing tricks like kickflips and ollies.
  • If you prefer cruising or commuting on rough surfaces, larger wheels in the range of 53-60mm are recommended. These offer a smoother ride and roll over cracks and pebbles more easily.

The Relationship Between Wheel Size and Stability

The size of your skateboard wheels also affects stability during tricks or high-speed rides. Larger wheels provide more stability at higher speeds, making them suitable for downhill riding or bombing hills. On the other hand, smaller wheels offer increased responsiveness for quick turns and flips.

  • If you’re a beginner or prefer a stable ride, opt for larger wheels with a diameter above 54mm.
  • Advanced riders who prioritize technical tricks may lean towards smaller wheel sizes below 54mm.

Considering Deck Clearance

Another factor to consider when selecting skateboard wheels is deck clearance. Deck clearance refers to the space between the bottom of your deck and the ground when mounted with wheels.

  • Larger wheels require more clearance as they increase the overall height of your skateboard.
  • Smaller wheels provide lower deck clearance, which can be advantageous for technical tricks that involve getting close to the ground.

It’s essential to ensure that your chosen wheel size doesn’t cause any interference with your trucks or lead to wheel bite (when the wheel rubs against the deck).

To summarize:

  1. Determine optimal wheel diameter based on riding style and terrain preference:
  • Smaller (49-52mm) for street skating and technical tricks.
  • Larger (53-60mm) for cruising and rough surfaces.
  1. Consider the relationship between wheel size and stability:
  • Larger wheels for stability at high speeds.
  • Smaller wheels for increased responsiveness.
  1. Take into account deck clearance when selecting larger or smaller wheels:
  • Larger wheels require more clearance, suitable for cruising.
  • Smaller wheels provide lower deck clearance, ideal for technical tricks.

Remember, these are general guidelines, and personal preference plays a significant role in choosing the right size of skateboard wheels. Experimenting with different sizes can help you find what works best for you. Happy riding!

Comparing Durometer Scale Differences for Wheel Selection

The durometer rating plays a crucial role in determining their performance. The durometer scale measures the hardness of the wheel material, affecting grip, slideability, and shock absorption. Let’s dive into examining durometer ratings from soft to hard for various skateboarding disciplines and identifying suitable durometers based on personal preferences and skill level.

Soft or Hard: Choosing the Right Durometer Rating

Skateboard wheels are available in different durometer ratings, typically ranging from 78A to 101A on the durometer scale. Softer wheels have lower ratings (e.g., 78A) while harder ones have higher ratings (e.g., 101A). Each rating offers unique characteristics that are better suited for specific styles of skateboarding.

  • Street Skateboarding: For street skateboarding where tricks and technical maneuvers dominate, harder wheels with higher durometer ratings (around 99A-101A) are preferred. These wheels provide excellent slideability on smooth surfaces like concrete or metal rails.
  • Vert Skateboarding: Vert skateboarding involves high-speed transitions and aerial tricks on ramps and halfpipes. In this case, slightly softer wheels with medium-high durometer ratings (around 95A-99A) offer a balance between grip and slideability. They provide enough traction to maintain control during powerful turns while still allowing some sliding action.
  • Cruising/Transportation: If you primarily use your skateboard for cruising around town or transportation purposes, softer wheels with lower durometer ratings (around 78A-87A) are ideal. These wheels provide superior shock absorption and a smoother ride over rough terrains like sidewalks or cracked pavement.

Grip vs Slideability: Finding Your Sweet Spot

The choice between a softer or harder wheel ultimately depends on your personal preferences and skill level. Softer wheels offer better grip, making them more suitable for beginners or riders who prioritize stability and control. They provide enhanced traction, allowing you to maintain a solid grip on the ground while executing tricks or maneuvers.

On the other hand, harder wheels offer increased slideability, making them popular among experienced skaters who enjoy performing technical slides and tricks that require less friction with the ground. These wheels are ideal for advanced riders looking to execute complex maneuvers with minimal resistance.

Shock Absorption: Smoothing Out the Ride

Apart from grip and slideability, durometer ratings also impact shock absorption. Softer wheels with lower durometer ratings excel in absorbing shocks and vibrations caused by rough surfaces. This feature makes them highly desirable for cruising or transportation purposes as they provide a smoother ride quality.

Harder wheels, however, have less shock absorption capabilities due to their higher durometer ratings. While they may not be as comfortable on bumpy terrains, they compensate by offering superior slideability and responsiveness.

Different Types of Skateboard Wheels for Various Terrains

Having the right skateboard wheels is crucial for a smooth and enjoyable ride. Skateboard wheels come in various shapes, sizes, and materials, each designed to cater to different terrains and riding styles. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of skateboard wheels available and how they can enhance your skating experience.

Tailoring Your Choice of Wheels to Specific Terrains

Skateboarding isn’t limited to just one type of terrain; there are different surfaces you may encounter depending on where you skate. Whether you’re cruising through the streets or tackling rough downhill slopes, choosing the appropriate wheels can make all the difference in your performance. Here are some specialized wheel options for specific terrains:

  1. Street Wheels: If you enjoy street skating and performing flip tricks, street wheels are your go-to choice. These wheels typically have a smaller diameter (around 50-54mm) and a harder durometer rating (around 99A-101A). They offer excellent maneuverability for navigating urban landscapes with precision.
  2. Cruiser Wheels: For those who prefer a more relaxed ride on sidewalks or smooth pavement, cruiser wheels are ideal. These larger-sized wheels (55-60mm) with a softer durometer rating (78A-87A) provide better shock absorption and stability on rough surfaces.
  3. Longboard Wheels: Longboarding enthusiasts often opt for larger-sized wheels (60mm+) with varying durometer ratings depending on their preferred style of riding. Softer wheels (78A-87A) are great for carving and cruising, while harder ones (88A+) offer better control during high-speed downhill rides.

Discussing Specialized Features like Tread Patterns or Core Construction

Apart from size and hardness, skateboard wheel designs also incorporate specialized features that enhance performance in specific situations:

  1. Tread Patterns: Some wheels have unique tread patterns on their surface, which can affect grip and slide capabilities. For example, wheels with square edges provide more control for technical tricks, while rounded edges offer smoother slides.
  2. Core Construction: The core of a skateboard wheel plays a crucial role in its overall performance. Different core constructions can impact factors like speed, durability, and weight distribution. Some common types include solid cores, hollow cores, and offset cores.

The Impact of Different Types of Wheels on Maneuverability and Speed

Choosing the right skateboard wheels not only affects your ability to navigate different terrains but also influences your maneuverability and speed:

  1. Maneuverability: Smaller-sized wheels are generally more maneuverable as they offer a lower center of gravity. This makes them ideal for performing technical tricks or quick turns. On the other hand, larger-sized wheels provide better stability at higher speeds.
  2. Speed: Harder wheels tend to roll faster due to their reduced grip on the riding surface. They are suitable for smooth surfaces like skate parks or ramps where speed is essential. Softer wheels offer better traction but may sacrifice some speed.

Mastering Skateboard Wheel Selection

Congratulations! You have now mastered the art of selecting skateboard wheels. By understanding the various factors to consider, exploring different materials, and delving into wheel hardness and size, you are well-equipped to make an informed decision. Remember, skateboarding is all about personal preference and style, so don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you.

Now it’s time to hit the streets or skatepark with confidence. Put your newfound knowledge into action and experience the joy of riding on wheels that perfectly suit your needs. Whether you’re cruising through the city or performing tricks, your choice of skateboard wheels will greatly impact your overall performance.

So go ahead, embrace this exciting journey of mastering skateboard wheel selection. Keep pushing yourself to improve, try new terrains and styles, and never forget the thrill that skateboarding brings. Enjoy every ride!


What is the ideal durometer for street skateboarding?

For street skateboarding where tricks and maneuvers are common, a durometer rating between 99A-101A is generally recommended. This range offers a good balance between grip and slideability on smooth surfaces like concrete or asphalt.

Can I use soft wheels for rough terrains?

Soft wheels (78A-87A) are better suited for rough terrains as they provide more cushioning against cracks and pebbles. They absorb vibrations well and offer a smoother ride over uneven surfaces like sidewalks or rough pavement.

Are larger wheels faster than smaller ones?

Larger wheels tend to have higher top speeds due to their increased circumference. However, acceleration may be slower compared to smaller wheels because they require more energy to get moving.

How often should I replace my skateboard wheels?

The lifespan of skateboard wheels depends on various factors such as usage frequency, terrain conditions, and individual riding style. On average, you can expect them to last anywhere from 3-6 months. However, it’s always a good idea to regularly inspect your wheels for signs of wear and tear and replace them when necessary.

Can I mix different durometers for my skateboard wheels?

While it is possible to mix different durometers on your skateboard, it is generally not recommended. Mixing durometers can affect the overall performance and feel of your ride, causing inconsistencies in grip and slideability. It’s best to stick with a consistent durometer rating for all four wheels.


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