The simple yet effective design of modern skateboards relies heavily on the sturdy and versatile construction of its parts. However, no design has improved as much while remaining strikingly simple as the skateboarding wheel.
Modern polyurethane wheels come in different sizes, hardness levels and shapes; choosing the right combination of wheel features can radically improve your on-board outings.
Do you skate on pavement or vertical ramps? Are you looking to improve your trick set or just cruise around town? Do you prefer massive downhill speeds or precise turning control? Each answer to these questions matters. Here is out list of the best skateboard wheels available on the market today.
Best Skateboard Wheels of 2020
Bones Wheels 100's
Bones Wheels STF V4
Ricta Clouds 78a
Powell Peralta Rat Bones Re-issue
Shark Wheel California Roll
Sector 9 Slide Butterballs
Choice Skateboard 99a
Big Boy 52mm Blank
|52mm||31mm||4pack + ABEC 7 Bearings Spacers|
Each of these wheel sets is the best in their category. Read on each of our handpicked sets to find the perfect companion for your riding style.
1. Bones Wheels 100’s – Best Wheels for Street Skating Beginners
Your first skateboard needs wheels that provide control and versatility across different surfaces. With the Bones Wheels 100’s you can shorten your learning curve, as you discover and progress into your very own street skating style.
You will notice great overall performance on regular skateboards fitted with these bad boys. At first glance, they come in a variety of eye-catching color patterns that is sure to match your set-up. On the technical side, they boast a 100a hardness rating puts them on the street/technical end of the scale. Wheels this hard have unparalleled durability and resistance to flat spots.
Available in diameters ranging from 51 to 54 mm and corresponding 30 to 34 mm width, the Bones Wheels 100’s make an excellent compromise of stats. Their smaller diameter is lightweight, stable and eliminates the need for risers. The average width is a perfect compromise between grip and speed.
Quality polyurethane, good design and solid overall performance makes this a great option for those aiming to go fast onto sick tricks and impressive ollies.
2. Spitfire Classics – Best Wheels for Vert & Technical Skating
So you have been skating for a while now and you need to upgrade those worn-out wheels to enable you to spin faster and jump higher. Enter the Spitfire Classics: simple, well-made wheels for the connoisseur.
The Spitfire Classics’ superior feel and grip definitely make a difference when the rails are high and the ground is way below. Together with its high-rebound formula, which lets you go faster than similar wheels, and you get a killer product. A clean white design with signature yellow-black pattern adds a nice touch to your board when spinning. All this is nice and all, but it is the hand-poured polyurethane with 99a hardness that sets these wheels apart. The end result is of quality and durability for the demanding technical skater.
Available in diameters from 50 to 60 mm, there is a diameter for every need: smaller diameters will enhance speed and grip further at the skate park; the larger ones are best if you skateboard on diverse surfaces. In particular, vert skaters will benefit from the extra grip and stability provided by 55 mm+ options.
The Spitfire Classics a no-brainer when it comes to high-performance skating. Once you choose the right diameter for your skating locations and style, those powerslides and 360 flips will show up effortlessly under your feet.
3. Bones Wheels STF V4 – Best Wheels for the Streets
But hey, maybe you like it rough. The street is where kickflips live, not the bland concrete sculptures of a skate park, right? You look around and all you can find are slick wheels that will turn your face to mush against the pavement with the tiniest pebble. Well, your prayers have been heard.
The Bones Wheels STF V4 are made of a high-hardness, high-rebound urethane compound that results in long-lasting wheels that can attain pro speeds. This also results in longer powerslides and more controlled tricks. But what makes this model unique is the threaded surface, which provides great traction in less-than-ideal conditions, such as cracked streets.
If your thing is cruising around town, take a look instead at our picks for softer, larger wheel models.
These wheels are available in several diameters under 55 mm, so you can select the right size for the perfect responsiveness/smoothness balance. The V4 name refers to the model’s shape, a design with a stable 0.250” lip width and rounded edges that provides even more versatility in an urban setting.
STF stands for Street Tech Formula. Wondering if these live up to their name? Let me put it this way: Bones Wheels has landed another 900° with these hi-tech wheels.
4. Ricta Clouds 78a – Best Wheels for Comfort
Whereas most wheels try to appeal to more skaters with an okay performance in most situations, the Ricta Clouds 78a makes no concessions and excels at its intended use: street cruising. The Clouds 78a is the skateboarding equivalent of turning on cruise control on your car. Just get on your board and enjoy the ride!
The Ricta Clouds are made of a soft material with only a 78a hardness rating. This provides great grip on not-so-friendly terrain. For this reason, most soft wheels are very large and made for longboarding. The Clouds 78a, thanks to their smaller 54 mm size, fit perfectly on smaller set-ups.
Scroll down to our best longboard wheel pick if you are interested!
These wheels are the secret to keeping a clean sound when filming from a skateboard. Put them on your skate or shortboard to dampen both vibration and noise to a minimum, adding control on turns and slides.
Standard wheels size also means no need for risers, keeping your board close to the ground for even better stability. Minimalist white and blue graphics are sure to complement your deck, attracting your neighbors’ eyes instead of their ears.
Forget about tiny rocks and sidewalk cracks. The Ricta Clouds 78a are soft on your ears and on your knees. These wheels turn your daily skateboarding commute into a truly enjoyable timeout.
5. Powell Peralta Rat Bones Re-issue – Best Wheels for Retro Skateboarding
Rat Bones wheels have been around since 1978, back when all skateboard had distinct noses and tails and wheels were one-size-fits-all. Things were simpler back then. Deck and wheel design has diversified since the early days of the sport, as skaters learned about the physics and needs of their trade. However, one thing remains undeniably the same: the vintage Rat Bones wheel design is still one of the best performers in the all-around category.
The Rat Bones by Powell Peralta is a 60 mm wheel with a generous lip area of 44 mm. This size is great for cruising, with lots of grip area and stability. Here is where it gets interesting: polyurethane hardness is 85a, midway between a cruising and a technical wheel. This is the right amount for those versatile skaters that are not willing to go to either extreme. For this reason, these are widely used in many deck sizes, from penny boards to mini-longboards.
In practical terms, the Rat Bones are a good tradeoff between the skate park and downhill gear. Moreover, the softer material muffles a great deal of the noise from your board, making for smoother and more pleasant rides. Expect great slides and speed along with decent jump and turning capabilities. The rad 80s white font on the plain black wheel adds a retro effect that will add a bold statement to any deck.
Skateboarding started as a fun activity you could practice anywhere. The Rat Bones keep true to that spirit, providing versatility, durability and an attitude. Whether you cruise over rough terrain or want to jump over that box at the skate park, old-school means no-hassle freedom.
6. Shark Wheel California Roll – Best Wheels for Cruising
Well well, someone did reinvent the wheel after all. The odd-looking California Roll by Shark Wheel looks square when in motion, but make no mistake as it is no brick. The unique advantages of its design make it outperform most other wheels when paired with medium-sized decks, from penny boards to mini-longboards.
Read on to see what makes this model great when bombing hills.
The California Roll wheels are 60 mm in diameter, a bit on the larger size that is great for cruising. A soft 78a polyurethane hardness provides a smooth gliding-like ride over most skating surfaces. While soft wheels usually wear out faster, their design seems to optimize contact surface. They do last noticeably longer than other wheels in its category.
Now, usually we would list wheel width next, but the sine-wave design of these wheels does away with this parameter. It spins on an S-shaped trail that gives it an edge on three fronts.
First, it moves debris sideways more efficiently, making pebbles and water less of a concern. Second, it adds stability and grip that is essential for speed cruising. And third, it is fast! A single push from your floating foot will last much longer, and during downhill rides it will remain stable at higher speeds.
Unique-looking wheels with incredible performance. Out-of-the-box thinking is rare when it comes to wheels of any kind, so we are glad to agree it paid off this time. Need we say more? Just be careful and do not get too crazy in San Francisco.
7. Sector 9 Slide Butterballs – Best Wheels for Longboard
Large. Sleek. Fast. Thanks to careful crafting, the Slide Butterballs own up to their name, letting you speed downhill and perform the smoothest of slides. While we were initially surprised with the material specs of this set, it turned out to be a winning combination. Get your longboard on these babies and see for yourself why they made onto this list.
At first sight, these are huge. That 70 mm diameter would wheel bite through a regular deck in no time. But on a longboard, such a large wheel size means huge speed. This does not come at the cost of the grip, as the 38 mm contact area width lets you have all the control you need when turning and sliding. Total width is actually 46 mm; the extra area on the rounded edges lets you turn hard even on steep slopes.
The 80a hardness rating on these wheels is what sets it apart. Slightly harder than most longboarding wheels, they have a pleasant balance between slip and grip. Speaking of the devil, the Butterballs have a harder center that Sector 9 calls “Cosmic Core”; this dual durometer config is more responsive and durable than regular soft wheels.
You will be tempted to slide these rollers to the core as soon as you get them. These are the ideal option for those looking for stability and speed without giving up those silky smooth slides. We love Butterballs, both on our morning toast and under our decks.
8. Skate One Mini-Logo – Best Wheels for Skateboarding Everything
It does not matter if you wheelie on the rough streets of your neighborhood, grind every rail around campus or hang out at the local skate park: the Skate One Mini-Logo has got you covered. Created with the technical skater in mind, the Mini-Logo lets you zip through any lip, strip or dip with speed, grip and sportsmanship. Intermediate hardness makes it a comfier ride, at a cost that will not break the piggy bank.
These Mini-Logo wheels are 53 mm in diameter, right in the middle of the technical spectrum. The 32 mm lip width offers generous contact area for their size. Moreover, the surface is trodden, making it ready to hit the curb as soon as you get them. The C-cut shape (with rounded, protruding edges) offers extra grip on critical tricks. Last but not least, their 90a durometer rating is lower than most on its category; this hybrid hardness balances the speed of harder wheels and the all-terrain capabilities of softer ones, along with less noise and vibration.
Mini-Logo makes surprisingly affordable wheels with well-rounded engineering and specs. They come in a bunch of bright colors to match your gear, as well as a clear-cut lifetime warranty that will clear any doubts you might have about their quality.
Our pick for all-around street skating, these wheels are the perfect size to stay out of the way of complex tricks, including grinds. Likewise, they have the right durometer rating to get speed, grip and comfort on any regular deck.
9. Choice Skateboard 99a – Best Budget Wheels
Blank wheel companies have been using the same materials and processes as brand-name ones. Think of these as generic medication for your skate fever. Choice offers these street/technical wheels for only a few dollars. Decent performance at an unbeatable price – a heaven-sent solution for the skater on a budget.
With a durometer rating of 99a, these wheels are best used for street and technical skating. Choice offers these blank wheels in sizes ranging from 50 mm to 60 mm; the right size for you depends on your needs, with speed and grip on the larger end, responsiveness and low weight on the other. Available in several colors, the low price tag on these wheels does not mean you have to sacrifice the unique look of your deck.
10. Big Boy 52 mm Blank – Best Budget Wheels & Bearings Combo
All those pre-built decks come with sad-looking plastic wheels and toy-like bearings. So, you got your own custom deck and a sturdy truck pair. Now all you need are a good set of starting wheels matched with the fastest possible bearings to get those heelflips coming. Good news: you can kill those two birds at the same time with the Big Boy 52 mm and ABEC-7 bearing combo.
Big Boy has put together these essential skateboarding parts at a very affordable price. First, let’s talk about the wheels. The blank, white 52 mm polyurethane wheels come in a high hardness rating. Undoubtedly, these are best for skate parks and other technical/street situations.
The sealed bearings feature a colorful inner ring and boast an impressive ABEC-7 rating. You cannot get any better than these for skateboarding. Incredibly long-lasting and capable of withstanding industrial machinery speeds, ABEC-7 rated bearings are simply more than you can handle. A little lube once in a while will keep them running smoothly for years to come.
Included in the combo are spacers for your bearings, which reduce noise and wear on these mechanical parts. Definitely, a nice addition that will make your rides smoother from the first push.
A no-nonsense combo that takes all the hassle out of getting new wheels and bearings. Great solution for getting on the sidewalks and start skating without worrying about browsing through the massive online catalog for three different parts. Recommended if you are new to street skating, or if you are a technical skater on a tight budget.
A Quick Guide to Skateboarding Wheels
Buying the right wheels is a very personal affair, as different skating styles have different requirements. All you need to know is the two key specs below to give you a very precise idea of a wheel’s performance. Other attributes vary greatly between models and contribute to a lesser degree. Beyond that, it is all a matter of testing them and seeing how you feel.
Hardness (Durometer A scale):
- <80a: cruising wheels for comfy rides even on rough terrain. Dampens noise and vibration.
- 80a – 90a: all-around cruising and some technical skating.
- 90a – 95a: vert & technical skating; added grip for some forgiveness to the terrain.
- 95a – 105a: technical skating wheels on clear surfaces.
- 50 mm – 55 mm: technical street skating.
- 55 mm – 60 mm: vert and general street skating.
- 60 mm – 65 mm: cruising on smaller decks (penny boards, skateboards, mini-longboards).
- >65 mm: longboard cruising wheels.
Choosing wheels for your deck can make or break your skateboarding experience. While manufacturers are always fine-tuning their designs and coming up with more refinements, keep in mind that different wheels are made for different purposes. Aiming to clear this mess up, we have rounded up the best wheelsets in their respective categories; pick the one that suits your style and enjoy your ride.