A Guide: To keep things simple and in mind.
· The lower the durometer the softer the wheels (78A wheels are softer than 98A wheels).
· The softer the wheels the more grippy they are (78A-88A wheels are very grippy and used on slippery floors - 98A wheels are much less grippy and used on sticky floors).
· You must match the hardness of the wheels to the level of grip of your floor. If your floor is slippery, you will need grippy soft wheels. If your floor is sticky, you will need hard slippery wheels. However, there is more to it than just the durometer, read on...
· Beginners generally do better on softer wheels since soft means grippy and grip means control.
· 78A (really soft): Super grippy, used almost exclusively outdoors.
· 84A (soft): Hybrid (indoor/outdoor) wheels are usually 84A. They are great for really slippery floors and can be used outdoors. Often a good choice for your first wheels since they are grippy, affordable and versatile.
· 86A - 88A (soft): Super Grippy, great for slippery floors like polished concrete or slippery wood (community centers, gymnasiums). The softest indoor wheels available are between 86A and 88A.
· 90A - 93A (medium hard): Average Grip. Great for reasonably grippy floors, including grippy polished concrete or sport court.
· 94A - 96A (hard): Low level of grip. Great for stickier floors like good quality sportcourt.
97A-100A (super hard): Only appropriate on super sticky floors like rubberized gym floors or roller rink floors
· In general, taller wheels are faster, but also less stable and heavier.
· In general, smaller wheels are lighter and more stable, but tend to be slower.
· The most popular wheels used for roller derby are either 59mm or 62mm tall. If you are a beginner, we recommend you stick to one of these sizes.
· Wheels bigger than 62mm are generally used for outdoor skating. Tall wheels are fast but too unstable for derby skating.
· 50mm (super tiny): There is currently only one type of roller skate wheel on the market this size that we know of. They are very agile and light but also very slow.
· 59mm (derby): Our favorite wheel size for derby. 59mm wheels are slightly smaller than the standard (62mm) which makes them lighter and more stable yet still fast enough.
· 62mm (derby): Standard derby size - most common wheel size for indoor wheels.
· 65mm (outdoor): 65mm wheels are normally used for outdoor skating. The extra height makes them fast but not stable enough for derby.
70mm (outdoor): Pretty much as tall as a roller skate wheel can be without biting the plates or stoppers. Only ever used for outdoor skating. The extra height makes for super-fast wheels but also makes them heavier.
· The profile (width) of a wheel affects how much surface area is in contact with the floor. Generally speaking, this will affect the grip and speed of the wheel.
· Wider wheels are more stable but also heavier and less agile.
· Narrower wheels are less stable, more agile and lighter.
· Small skaters (under 5’3") should stick to narrower wheels (38mm or narrower) since they do not need the extra stability, and likely prefer the added agility and lightness.
· Skaters moving from an ice skating or inline skating background should avoid 44mm wide wheels. If you're used to a narrow footprint then wide wheels will likely feel clumsy.
· 31mm (super narrow): Wheels like these offer amazing agility and are often super light but do not offer as much stability or grip as wider wheels. Not good for beginners.
· 35mm (narrow): A nice step between 31mm and 38mm wheels. Once again probably not the best choice for beginners.
· 38mm (slim): A very popular width for derby as they provide a great balance of agility and stability. Great for all skill levels.
· 44mm (wide): Very stable but a little clumsy. Due to the larger surface area, wide wheels provide better grip than narrower wheels (for the same diameter and durometer). Good for beginner