What's Your Skating Style?
Artistic Skating: Artistic roller skating is basically figure skating, but on roller skates. Within Artistic roller skating there are the following disciplines: Figures, Freestyle, Pairs Dance/Couple, Solo Dance, Precision (synchronized swimming for the rink) and Show Teams. The roller skate wheels that help these skates jive are typically 55-65mm in durometer by 30-31mm in width. The smaller width allows for the wheels to be easily maneuvered. Freestyle singles skaters typically use smaller wheels compared to figure skaters and dance skaters who tend to use wheels on the larger side. Artistic skaters tend to use very hard wheels typically ranging from 97A to 103A. The Artistic wheel helps skaters perform various jumps, dance movements and other freestyle skating moves. The artistic roller skate wheel is smaller than the recreational wheels.
Indoor Skating: The typical wheel size for an indoor roller skate wheel is 62mm in diameter by 35 to 44mm in width. The width of a wheel corresponds to the speed that you want to travel. Indoor skate wheel durometers are typically suggested as follows: 97A for standard surfaces, 95A for slippery surfaces and 92A for extra slippery surfaces. The wheels that are used by artistic skaters are also the wheels that are most often used by indoor recreational skaters. Recreational wheels are what many consider the traditional roller skate wheel. The wheels are designed for hard wood surfaces (90A and harder).
Outdoor Skating: The typical outdoor skate wheel is anywhere from 60-70mm in diameter and 32-42mm in width. The different sizes help give the wheel more surface area in order to make the skate more stable when skating outside and encountering different terrains. Outdoor wheels will usually have a hardness range from 78A to 85A. Outdoor roller skate wheels use softer wheels (under 90A). This makes a smoother ride on the rough surfaces. Anything over 90A hardness should be used for indoor skating.
Speed Skating: A general speed skate wheel for roller skating is 62mm in diameter by 40mm in width. Roller skate wheels for indoor speed roller skating in general are wider than other roller skate wheels. Speed skate wheels are typically on the harder side ranging from 95A to 98A. Speed roller skate wheels allow skaters to move at higher speeds with less physical effort.
So Many Choices!
Why can't I just pick the ones with the pretty colors?
If you have learned anything from above, you realize that there is a measurement for everything on a roller skate wheel. The hardness or durometer, the physical size and the width really do matter. Yes, if you're like me you're persuaded by pretty things and bright colors. But, there is more to wheel shopping than just what looks awesome. Good luck and have fun!