Skateboard Wheels: Which Are Best for Newbies? (Ultimate Guide)

Explore top skateboard wheels for beginners to enhance control and style on the street.

Ever been in a gnarly debate about whether your deck is as vital as your footwear? I’ve seen it all in the skatepark corners, where newbs and pros clash like wheels on a rough patch. It’s crucial to realize that every part of your skate setup, from the board you pop to the shoes that grip, plays a pivotal role in your ride.

What are the best skateboard wheels for beginners? We’ll dive into that, ensuring you roll away with all the savvy insights.

Key takeaways

  • Medium hardness wheels balance grip and smoothness.
  • Wheel diameter between 52mm to 54mm is ideal for beginners.
  • High-quality urethane wheels resist flatspots and last longer.
  • Your style dictates your skate set-up, so choose wheels that reflect it.

Picking your very first set of skateboard wheels?

Let’s talk rubber meeting the road—or in this case, polyurethane meeting the pavement. If you’re just stepping on the board, you might think any old wheels will do. But, oh boy, the right set can change the game.

Featured image for a blog post called skateboard wheels which are best for newbies ultimate guide.
Featured image for a blog post called skateboard wheels which are best for newbies ultimate guide.

They impact your roll speed, grip, and overall ride feel. So, strap on your helmet, and let’s check out the prime picks for those just beginning to shred the streets.

1. Wheel hardness

When it comes to skateboard wheels, durometer, or wheel hardness, is straight up crucial for a beginner. Look for something in the medium range, around 90a to 99a in durometer. These wheels offer a perfect blend of grip and softness for cruising and trying out tricks.

You don’t want to face a gnarly slam because your wheels were too slick!

Medium hardness wheels ensure you won’t be vibrating off your deck whenever you roll over stray pebbles or those sneaky sidewalk cracks. They’re forgiving enough for a smooth ride but won’t sacrifice the grip you need to stick those landings. And remember, shake off those bails; they’re all part of learning.

Check out this breakdown on the best skating surfaces to pair with your new wheels.

2. Wheel size

Now, let’s talk size. I’m not saying size is everything, but when you’re just starting, wheel size matters. Beginners should aim for a wheel diameter between 52mm to 54mm.

Supplemental image for a blog post called 'skateboard wheels: which are best for newbies? (ultimate guide)'.
Supplemental image for a blog post called ‘skateboard wheels: which are best for newbies? (ultimate guide)’.

This size is ideal to keep you low to the ground for better control and stability while helping you master those basic tricks.

Smaller wheels accelerate faster, which makes them perfect if you’re still getting used to the speed and feel of a skateboard. Plus, lower wheels give you a centered gravity, saving you from wipeouts when you’re working on your technique. Peep the info on how much skateboard size affects your ride to get the whole picture.

3. Build quality

Some new skaters make the rookie mistake of skimping on wheel quality—don’t be that person. Look for reputable brands that offer high-quality urethane. These wheels might cost a bit more, but they resist flatspots and give you a consistent ride over time, which is prime for learning.

High-quality wheels mean they’re built to last. They won’t go oval on you after a few sessions, and they won’t bail on you when you’re trying to nail a new trick. To get a handle on the top brands shaking up the scene, skate over to the freshest updates on the best beginner skateboard trucks.

Supplemental image for a blog post called 'skateboard wheels: which are best for newbies? (ultimate guide)'.
Supplemental image for a blog post called ‘skateboard wheels: which are best for newbies? (ultimate guide)’.

4. Type of skating

Consider what style of skating gets you stoked. If street skating is your jam, you’ll want wheels that are a bit tougher and can handle the asphalt, ledges, and stairs. But if you’re itching to carve up some bowls and ramps, slightly softer wheels might be your ticket for smooth transitions.

Street skaters need wheels that can endure the abuse of grinding rails and pop over gaps without flinching. Those into vert or park skating need wheels that grip the smooth surfaces of ramps and bowls for killer speed and tight carves. Scope out some of the coolest skateparks in the USA to plan your next session.

5. Color and aesthetics

Hey, I get it, performance is vital, but we all want our setup to look sleek. Wheel color doesn’t affect the ride, but it does add some flavor to your style. Don’t be afraid to go bold or keep it classic with some white wheels—just make sure they reflect your vibe.

“Get comfy with your board by riding as much as possible. The more you ride, the better you’ll get – simple as that. Learn the lingo and always wear protective gear, especially a helmet.Better safe than sorry when you’re starting out.”

Having wheels that complement your deck makes a statement about your personality and style. It’s the skateboard equivalent of strutting your stuff. And who knows, maybe those flashy red wheels will give you that extra psych to land that kickflip.

If you want to see some sick setups for inspiration, here’s where you can design your own custom skateboard.

My favorite wheels (at the moment):

Spitfire Classic Skateboard Wheels

Skateboard wheels: which are best for newbies? (ultimate guide) | 61cahmq78ml. Ac sl1050 | skateboard salad
My favorite wheels (at the moment):

Spitfire Classic Skateboard Wheels

These are the quintessential street skateboarding wheels. These wheels are very hard and therefore are not great on bumpy roads, but for street skating tricks, they are awesome and really, really smooth.

More skateboarding tips

Getting the wheels dialed in is just the beginning. To truly own the skatepark, we’ve got to look at the full picture. As you start this epic journey, remember it’s about finding that sweet spot between comfort and progression.

Here are some hot tips to keep you shredding with style:

  • Get comfy with your board by riding as much as possible. The more you ride, the better you’ll get – simple as that.
  • Learn the lingo. Terms like bail, pop, and grip tape aren’t just cool to know; they’re essential to communicate with other skaters.
  • Always wear protective gear, especially a helmet. Better safe than sorry when you’re starting out.

Now, every skater has a list of dos and don’ts they swear by. Here’s a handy chart to keep you on track:

Do start with basic tricks.Don’t rush into advanced tricks too quickly.
Do practice regularly for consistent improvement.Don’t forget to warm up – injuries are a bummer.
Do maintain your board. Tighten those trucks and keep bearings clean.Don’t neglect your board’s maintenance.
Do watch others to learn. Inspiration is everywhere.Don’t compare your progress to others. Skate at your own pace.
Do stay hydrated and take breaks. Skating is a workout!Don’t skate on an empty stomach or when super tired.

These do’s and don’ts will help keep your wheels spinning and your stoke high.

Advantages and disadvantages of choosing the right skateboard wheels

Every choice you make in your skate setup can impact your ride, and your wheels are no exception. Let’s break down why picking the right wheels is a ride-or-die decision.


  • Better grip means more control over your board, leading to safer and more successful learning sessions.
  • Proper wheels reduce the chances of flatspots, extending their lifespan and saving you money in the long run.
  • The right hardness and size can greatly improve the feel of your board, making every ride smoother.


  • Overanalyzing wheel specs can be overwhelming. Sometimes you just need to ride and adjust on the go.
  • More expensive wheels can hike up the initial cost of skateboarding, which might not be ideal for everyone.
  • Focusing too much on wheel choice can distract from other essential skills, like balance and board control.

From what I’ve experienced, wheel choice feels like a combo of science and art that’s not meant to be rushed or taken lightly. I’m no high-flying pro, but I do know your wheels are your connection to the ground, and they need to match your ride style and the terrain. I’ve seen my fair share of people at the skateparks and streets, and it seems like skaters with wheels that fit their vibe just have a smoother, more fluid style.

And let’s be clear, this is just my take as someone who’s still figuring out the transitions from street to vert. If your wheels are giving you a tough time when you’re popping ollies or if the rough pavements are rattling your bones, it might be time to reassess and maybe hit up some advice on the best skateboard decks designed for street skating. Your wheels are almost like your sneakers—they need to feel right, or you’re not going to enjoy the ride.

If you are a visual learner, check out this video titled ‘How to Choose Skateboard Wheels | Tactics’

A video titled “How to Choose Skateboard Wheels | Tactics” from the “Tactics Boardshop” YouTube channel.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

How usually should I replace my skateboard wheels?

This varies widely based on how usually you skate and what kind of terrain you’re tackling. If you notice flat spots, loss of grip, or if they just feel off when you’re riding, it might be time for a switch up. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but staying observant of your wheels’ condition is key.

Can I use the same wheels for both street and vert skating?

Technically you can, but it’s not ideal. Street wheels are typically harder for better slide on tricks, while vert wheels are softer for grip on ramps. If you’re dabbling in both, go for a middle-ground durometer to accommodate a bit of each style.

Do wheel colors fade over time?

Yes, they can, especially if you’re constantly shredding outdoors where the sun shows no mercy. UV rays can make the colors less vibrant over time, but it’s all about how you ride and vibe—performance is king, and style is the royal advisor.

Final thoughts

As we wrap up this ride, remember that while the quest for the perfect skateboard wheels can seem daunting, it ultimately boils down to a simple truth: find what fits your style and stick with it. With the right wheels underfoot, you’ll be carving concrete seas with confidence in no time. Whether you’re rolling through the twists and turns of vert ramps or sliding along street edges, the foundation of great skateboarding begins with that crucial contact point between you and the ground.

How did your first wheel selection impact your ride? Did I cover everything you wanted to know?Let me know in the comments section below—I read and reply to every comment. If you found this article helpful, share it with a friend, and check out my full blog for more tips and tricks on finding the best skateboard wheels for beginners. Thanks for reading and keep rolling towards greatness!

Steven Portrate
Written by Steven Sadder, Staff Writer

Hey! I'm Steven, a lifelong skater, and proud New Yorker. I’ve been skating since I was a teenager. I may be a bit older now, but I'm not slowing down. Follow me for skating tips and latest gear reviews.

Nick eggert.
Edited by Nick Eggert, Staff Editor

Nick is our staff editor and co-founder. He has a passion for writing, editing, and website development. His expertise lies in shaping content with precision and managing digital spaces with a keen eye for detail.

Verified User Black 24dp


Our team conducts thorough evaluations of every article, guaranteeing that all information comes from reliable sources.

Event Available Black 24dp


We diligently maintain our content, regularly updating articles to ensure they reflect the most recent information.

Leave a Comment