Hard vs Soft Skateboard Wheels (How To Select – Beginners Guide)

Confused by Hard vs Soft Skateboard Wheels? Beginner skateboarders have trouble deciding which type of wheels are best for them. They want to know if they should get hard wheels or soft wheels.

There are many factors to consider when making this decision, and it can be difficult to know what you need unless you have some knowledge. This article will go into detail on the differences between soft and hard skateboard wheels so keep reading.

Understand First What Is Durometer:

Before we discuss the soft vs hard skateboard wheels, it is important to know what is durometer. 

A durometer is a measurement of how hard or soft a substance is. It’s a number that indicates how hard or soft the wheel is, and it’s measured on a scale from 1 (soft) to 100 (hard).

The durometer hardness of the wheel is quite a big deal when it comes to skating.

The higher the number, the harder the wheel, and the better for speed. The lower that number, the softer the wheel and more suitable for rough terrain.

Durometer Hardness Rating For Skateboard Wheels

  • 75A-78A – Very soft wheels (good for smooth surfaces, rough terrain)
  • 78A-82A – Soft wheels (good on rougher surfaces)
  • 82A-85A – Medium soft wheels(all-rounder)
  • 85A-88A – Medium hard wheels (great on smooth surfaces)
  • 88A-92A – Hard wheels (good for speed on smooth surfaces)
  • 92A+ – Very hard wheels (speed demons)

Understanding Skateboard Wheel Diameter

One of the most important aspects to consider when choosing a skateboard wheel, aside from the durometer and hardness, You also need to consider the diameter of the wheel. 

Skateboard wheel diameter is measured in millimeters (mm) and determines the size of the wheel.

Watch this video below to know more about the skateboard wheel diameter.

Difference Between Hard And Soft Skateboard Wheels:

The main difference between hard and soft skateboard wheels is their hardness or durometer. The hardness of a wheel is measured in durometers. Which is a measurement of how hard something is.

Softer wheels are better for cruising around town, smoothly going over cracks and pebbles. They are also better for street-style tricks where you need a lot of grips to keep your footing on the board, such as sliding or flipping tricks, or even just flat-ground tricks.

Harder skateboard wheels are better for technical tricks and skating faster and have more momentum, so they’re better on smooth surfaces like ramps and skateparks (or even just smooth roads). 

However, there is no one perfect wheel that is the fastest or best for every situation. 

Soft Skateboard Wheels (Explained)

A wheel is considered soft between Durometer 75A and 85A.

Soft wheels have a higher contact area with the ground, meaning that they grip the road better, which makes them ideal for making sharp turns and giving you a smoother ride overall.

Soft skateboard wheels are great for:

  • Cruising
  • Carving
  • Roads that have cracks and pebbles
  • Rough surfaces
  • Beginners 
  • Longboards

Positives Side Of Soft Skateboard Wheels:

  • They grip better on surfaces.
  • They provide a smoother ride. 
  • Riders can feel more comfortable with a soft skateboard wheel.
  • Requires less effort to push and is easier to maintain speed.
  • Less noise and vibration.
  • Safer to ride as there’s no issue with small rocks, cracks, holes, or other obstacles on the road.

Negatives Side Of Soft Skateboard Wheels:

  • Aren’t as good for technical tricks.
  • Soft wheels are more bouncy than harder ones, which may make them difficult to land on tricks.

Hard Skateboard Wheels (Explained)

If you’re looking for the best hard skateboard wheels, you’ll want to keep in mind the durometer. 

The hardness of wheels is determined by a Durometer, and a higher number means a harder wheel. The range for hard skateboard wheels is between Durometer 96A and 84B (104A). 

Hard wheels between Durometer 96A and 84B (104A) are typically optimized for the most advanced skaters and those who demand the best performance.

Hard skateboard wheels are great for smooth roads, but they’re not good for rougher terrain. 

Furthermore, they are harder to push and make a lot more noise when skating, which can be annoying when you’re trying to enjoy a peaceful skate session. 

As a beginner, choosing the right hard skateboard wheel is essential to learning how to control the board and balance. 

For beginners, wheels with a durometer rating between 96A and 99A are the best option, as they will provide enough grip and resilience to prevent unwanted incidents.

Positives Side Of Hard Skateboard Wheels:

  • Great for performing tricks.
  • Faster acceleration because they are lighter than soft wheels.
  • Better for skating on smooth surfaces.
  • Harder skateboard wheels are more durable. You don’t have to keep replacing them as often.

Negatives Side Of Hard Skateboard Wheels

  • Don’t grip as well as softer wheels.
  • Not good for rough or bumpy terrain.
  • Vibrations and noises
  • Inconvenient for long rides.
  • Harder skateboard wheels can feel stiff because they don’t absorb big bumps well.

Also Read: How To Make Your Skateboard Wheels Spin Longer

Hard vs Soft Skateboard Wheels? (What’s Best For Beginners)

Choosing the right skateboard wheels is essential to enjoying the sport and staying safe.

For beginners, soft skateboard wheels are easier to use because they have a larger surface area, making skating on them more stable, and it’s easier to keep your balance and less likely to fall over. 

It would be best to look for skateboard wheels durometer rating between 80A and 87A. But keep in mind that softer wheels wear down faster than hard ones. 

Then, once you’ve started getting the hang of things and are ready to move on to harder wheels, Look for a durometer between 96A and 99A for a good starting point.

Wheels with a durometer rating between 96A And 99A are a safe choice for beginners, as they provide enough grip and resilience to avoid unwanted accidents.

For those who want a bit more of a challenge, wheels with a durometer above 99A are great options. 

But if you prefer the stability of something a little more solid, then you’ll want to find yourself something closer to 88A to 95A—which is still considered medium-hard.

Wrap Up On Hard vs Soft Skateboard Wheels

This article should clarify the differences between hard vs soft skateboard wheels, providing a better understanding of each. Hopefully, it will help you make a more informed decision at the skate shop next time you head in. Good luck!

It is important to get the right wheels for your riding style. Don’t go with a cheap one. If you want a better riding experience, it is best to pay a little more money for quality wheels.

FAQ On Difference between Soft Skateboard Wheels Vs Hard Skateboard wheels:

Why do some people prefer soft wheels?

Soft wheels are safer. They don’t have any sharp edges, so they won’t hurt anyone if they get stepped on or rolled over someone’s foot. Plus, the material used to make them is also softer, so it’s easier to avoid stepping on them in the first place.

What is the best durometer for skateboard wheels?

We recommend choosing a mid-sized wheel with a medium durometer between 90A and 99A to get the best combination of speed and grip.

Are soft wheels good for street skating?

Nope, soft wheels aren’t good for street skating. Soft wheels wear their own quickly when used on the streets. For street skating, you want to go with hard wheels that are more durable and can stand up to a lot of use.

Are soft wheels better for hard material?

It depends on what your priorities are when you’re working with hard materials. For example, if you are more concerned with the longevity of the wheel, then a soft wheel is better for hard material because it will last longer.

Are soft wheels good for tricks?

Not necessarily. In fact, it depends on the trick you are trying to pull off. You see, soft wheels are great for cruising and carving, which is why many longboards come with soft wheels. On the other hand, they are not always the best choice if you want to perform tricks like kickflips or ollies.

What are soft skateboard wheels good for?

Soft skateboard wheels are good for cruising, longboarding and comfortable ride. Soft wheels are ideal for beginners and smooth rides and perfect for those who want a smoother ride. Soft wheels are best suited on rough terrain or rough pavement.

What are hard skateboard wheels good for?

Harder wheels are more suitable for skate parks and smooth surfaces because they’re more durable and faster than softer wheels. Harder wheels will also help you perform tricks that need to be completed at high speeds.

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