When it comes to selecting the optimal skateboarding wheel for whichever type of skating an individual is interested in, it soon becomes clear that there are many different types to choose from. While it may at first seem that virtually any type of wheel design will work okay, the reality is that with each different skating style a different variation of wheel is going to work best. Although many wheels do share similarities, they are designed to accommodate certain aspects of each skating style and maximize performance.
A great example to start with in terms of accommodating a specific skating style might be a longboard skateboard wheel. Given that longboarding generally involves much higher than average speeds of travel, as well as variable surfaces while riding (and that includes a higher incidence of debris and rocks than a skatepark would have), the overall school of thought there is that much larger wheels work better since they allow for stability at high speeds and can blast through rocks and debris. For the purposes of this analysis however, we will seek to focus on the optimal skateboard wheel for all-around park and street purposes. Finding the best wheel for a longboard is a rather straightforward task oftentimes, but it when it comes to choosing the best all-around park and street skateboarding wheel it can become more complicated.
This is due to the fact that park and street combo skateboarders tend to have complex, individualized riding styles that will be suited by very specific wheel selections. All of the wheel parameters have to be considered in the context of each skateboarder’s preferences. This is to say that, for example, if a skateboarder incorporates a lot of flip tricks into their skating they will want to have a smaller diameter wheel for lower board clearance and easier catching during tricks, as well as a marginally lower center of gravity. For the benefit of all-around park and street skateboarders, some helpful information concerning choosing the best skate wheels will now be offered here.
Starting out with the basics of selecting the best all-around skateboard wheels for street and park, the first wheel characteristic to evaluate is likely going to be hardness. The durometer of any skateboard wheel is a method for measuring hardness of any wheel design, and falls within the “A” range with other similar soft plastics that are comparable to polyurethane (the specific plastic that composes skateboard wheels). This means that when looking for and comparing all-around skateboard wheel designs, one will be reviewing hardness ratings that have a two-digit number next to the letter “A.”
Given that all-around skateboarders will likely be skating on a wide variety of surfaces between both park and more organic street setups, it helps to choose a wheel hardness that can accommodate all kinds of skating terrain. Finding a happy medium between a wheel that is too hard and one that is too soft will be absolutely critical, and this happy medium range is probably going to be anywhere from 82A and 92A. Confining the range from 82A to 92A allows for a selection to be slightly on the softer side, down towards 82A, or potentially slightly on the harder side, up higher towards 92A.
A softer wheel is going to yield better control and board feel on rougher surfaces, such as some of the grittier street spots that many skateboarders enjoy. A harder wheel on street or non-park locations will typically yield a lot of vibration and can make it difficult to effectively achieve good feel on the board while skating. The range of 82A through 92A is a good range to confine options to for a great all-around park and street wheel, since it gives a range of choices without allowing for any choices that would either be excessively hard or soft for an all-around wheel.
Generally speaking, for skateboarders who are all-around riders frequenting both street spots and park spots, the advantages of an all-around wheel between 82A-92A hardness rating include being able to skate effectively and comfortably across many environments. If a wheel hardness is not roughly within this range, then the chances are it will either be too hard or too soft to effectively serve as an all-around skate wheel since in certain settings and skate spots it will not perform optimally. A highly specialized wheel is only really good for skating in the specific area it is intended for, and for this reason a more generalized all-around wheel is desired by a lot of more versatile skateboarders.
In summary so far, some of the most important and critical things to know before making your all-around skateboard wheel choice include both specific wheel hardness ranges, how to determine hardness along the durometer scale system, and understanding how wheel diameter comes into play. Wheel diameter is also extremely important when it comes to choosing the best all-around wheels, and like hardness, it helps to find a sort of median diameter range as well. Larger diameter wheels are designed to go much faster than smaller wheels, and they also accelerate more quickly too. Smaller wheels create a lower center of gravity and board clearance from the ground, making them ideal for flip tricks and more technical maneuvering.
With regard to an effective range for all-around skateboard wheel diameter, 54mm-64mm is a good range to stay within since it leaves a bit of room for personal preference without compromising the wheel’s ability to be effective on a wide range of surfaces and skate venues. For all around skateboarders that are preferential towards vert and park surfaces, a diameter closer to 64mm is going to be advantageous for some extra speed and handling abilities. For those preferential toward street surface skating and technical tricks, a diameter closer to 54mm is recommended.
For the money, it is definitely going to be tough to beat the OJ Wheels Keyframe Plain Jane all-around skateboard wheels for both park and street. These wheels happen to fall neatly into both the hardness and diameter ranges established for all-around wheels, making them effective for an all-around skateboarder’s riding setup. With a hardness rating of 87A and a diameter of 56mm, these wheels are going to have an extremely high level of versatility across different skating surfaces. Although 56mm is toward the lower end of the median diameter rating scale discussed earlier, it is sufficient for vert and park applications, while still being small enough to feel comfortable for street, flip trick, and more technically oriented skateboarding styles.
The 87A hardness rating will be soft enough to provide board feel on the rougher street spots, while remaining hard enough to provide pop and control on smoother vert or park locations. The OJ Wheels Keyframe Plain Jane model all-around wheels are a great wheel for the money, given that they can be found for roughly $20.00 to $25.00, which is quite low considering the premium quality of this particular all-around skate wheel design. In addition to both effective hardness and diameter ratings, and a great price point, these Keyframe Plain Jane designed all-around wheels from OJ Wheels are also attractively designed, with a retro sort of old-school orange logo emblazoned on the pure white color of the wheel. This creates a clean, stylish look for these effectively designed all-around skateboard wheels.
The number one top product selection for the best new all-around skateboard wheels to come out in the last few years has to be the Powell Peralta Rat Bones Re-Issue Skateboard Wheels. This is a wheel so expertly designed and fabricated that it is actually being re-issued from an earlier iteration. Some of the reasons this wheel is so completely perfect as an all-around skateboard wheel selection is that it comes in a 60mm hardness, which falls roughly in the center of our previously established median hardness range for optimal all-around skateboard wheels for both park and street riding.
Additionally, the Powell Peralta Rat Bones Re-Issue wheels have an 85A hardness rating, which also falls within the median range established for optimal wheels hardness for all-around street and park riding. Aside from being a near perfect fit in terms of both wheel hardness and diameter, these Powell Peralta wheels are really cool looking in jet black with a minimalist logo design on the outside wheel-wall. These wheels are not only very highly rated by consumer reviews, and a great fit according to all-around wheel parameters and specifications, but they are also quite affordable at anywhere between $30.00 and $40.00 for a set depending on the retailer.