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Best Wheels for Bowl Skateboarding I Tested & Approved

Skating bowl is one of the most enjoyable things you can do. Just carving around a bowl is already super fun, and not to mention a great workout.

After skating different types of bowl I learned that the right wheel depends on the type of bowl, rough concrete, slick concrete, slick and sticky concrete, or wood; they all require different wheels for optimal performance.

The best wheels for bowl skateboarding should have a larger radius and a grippy, wide riding surface. The sweet spot is 56mm with a Durometer of 97A for slippery bowls. Wheels for grippy concrete bowls can range from 54mm to 58mm and durometer 99A to 104A.

Skateboarding in a bowl requires the right setup, and wheels are the most important factor. There’s more to it, but with a set of wheels that work for your local bowl you win half the battle.

Me skating in our local bowl

6 Best Wheels for Bowl & Pool Skateboarding

Let’s start with a few tips and what to look for. Sure the wheels I listed work, but don’t take my word for i because there are a couple of caveats.

It isn’t as simple as buying a big soft or hard wheel, much of it depends on what type of bowl you skate. after the suggested wheels make sure to check to the rest of the content. Though my suggested wheels may work for many pool skaters, it might not for work everyone. Here’s some general advice:

  • Look for wheels that are between 54mm and 58mm.
  • Ideally, you want grippy wheels between 95A and 99A for slippery bowls, 97A usually works.
  • The type of concrete can make a difference. Modern bowls comprise grippy yet fast concrete which you can safely ride with 100A+ wheels. You can even pick a smaller wheel if you like technical tricks (54mm).

The worst wheels for bowl skating are super hard a slick wheels while riding on slippery surfaces. You’ll learn this the hard way slamming into conrete. I used to skate 58mm 84B wheels on a wooden dusty bowl. I slammed often and hard. When you gain speed, your wheels will just slide away.

Let’s look at a couple of wheels that really work well, ranging from 54mm/104A to 56mm/97A. I also added a wheel for old and cracked concrete bowls, or riders that only want to carve with maximum grip and stability.

Here’s what I consider the best skateboard wheels for bowl:

  1. Spitfire Formula Four Conical Full
  2. Spitfire Formula Four Conical
  3. Spitfire Classics
  4. Santa Cruz Slime balls Vomit 2
  5. Bones Rough Riders
  6. Bones SPF P5

1. Spitfire Formula Four Conical Full

spitfire formula four conicall full skateboard wheels

Let’s kick off with my current favorite wheels, Spitfire Conical Full. I recently switched from the 99A version to 97A and even though they are just slightly softer, they make a huge difference. At 99A I still had to hold back when gaining speed because as soon as I pushed hard, I sometimes lost grip and slammed.

This also has to do with the fact that our local bowl is indoors and gathers dust. My skate buddies slammed even more often with 84B Bones SPF.

Note that this doesn’t apply to modern concrete, 101A will work great. You will go fast and probably need to take it easy when pumping.

Conical Fulls are wider than average and give you maximum balance when carving transitions. They really give you a confidence boost, the wheels will stick and won’t throw you off your board. Softer versions requirs you to pump harder but you’ll get used to it.

  • Wheel Profile: Extra wide, lots of grip
  • Wheel Shape: Conical Full Shape, better lockings
  • Recommended size: 54mm, 56mm, 58mm
  • Recommended durometer: Wood: 97A – Sticky concrete – 101A – Slippery concrete – 97A or 99A
  • Purpose: All-around bowl skating, mini ramp, skate parks (if you pick 54mm/99a/100A)

Pros of the Spitfire Conical Fulls

These wheels are very grippy and have a huge contact patch compared to the Spitfire classics. Even under the most dire circumstances (except for wet spots) they hold their grip. They will boost your confidence. No more slams or unexpected slides.

I personally don’t experience any downsides when doing coping tricks. They lock-in properly only my boardslides are a bit more difficult nowadays because I sometimes hit the bowl platform.

Another benefit is that they also perform great in mini ramps, but you have to pump harder compared to Bones SPF.

Cons of the Spitfire Conical Fulls

While I don’t experience any limitations, my friend switched to Classics because he’s a more technical skater and feels like the wider profile limits his coping tricks.

They aren’t great for street skating over 54mm, not everyone likes 56mm street wheels. At 97A they are just a bit to soft for the techy street and park skaters.

If you want to do more technical coping tricks, the Classics might be a better choice. Lately, these wheels are hard to get, especially the 56mm.

At 58mm consider 1/8” risers, especially when you skate your trucks loose to prevent wheel bite.


2. Spitfire Formula Four Conical

The Spitfire Formula Four Conical solves the problem I mentioned earlier. These are a good combination of a wider contact patch, speed, and locking-in coping tricks with less effort.

You get a bit of everything which works well for basic 50-50 grinds, axle stalls, smith grinds, and whatnot. Still not ideal, for those you really want to get the Classics.

I love these wheels for their grip and speed, but still managed to lose my grip at very sharp turns in slippery wooden bowls. Concrete works fine though! I’ll add a photo soon, sorry.

  • Wheel Profile: Wide enough for stability and more technical skating
  • Wheel Shape: Conical Shape
  • Recommended size: 54mm, 56mm
  • Recommended Durometer: 99A for slick concrete/ 101A for grippy concrete
  • Purpose: Carving bowls and coping tricks, at 53mm and 54mm you can take them to the park.

Pros of the Spitfire Conical Fulls

Great for the more technical bowl skater that wants both speed and proper coping lock-ins. They also work fine in mini ramps. If you pick the 54mm you also wont have trouble skating parks and street.

No more switching wheels around before a session, perfect for all-around skateboarders that love to drop into a bowl and then hit the skate park.

Cons of the Spitfire Conical Fulls

At 54mm you have to push a bit harder and have less grip compared to the 56mm, even more so compared to the Conical Fulls 97A. Unfortuantely the Concical wheels are only available in 99A and 101A.

Other than that, really a wheel to consider. They are expensive but totally worth the premium.


Spitfire Classics

Spitfire Classics 99a

I’ve skated both 99A classics but gave them away and started skating 97A classics, then I moved on to the Conical Fulls. The funny thing is that my buddy did the complete opposite. Skating is, after all, about personal preference and the type of bowl you skate.

The harder version works great when riding concrete bowls, given the concrete is grippy. If not, get softer conicals!

The Spitfire classics have the slimmest contact patch on this list. At 97A, they still provide a very grippy ride without having to sacrifice much of your slides. Reverts need a little extra kick compared to their 99A counterpart.

  • Wheel Profile: Slim
  • Wheel Shape: Rounded
  • Recommended size: 54mm, 56mm
  • Recommended Durometer: 97A for slippery bowls – 99A for slick concrete – 101A for grippy concrete
  • Purpose: Carving bowls and more technical coping tricks that require locking in.

Pros of the Spitfire Classics

Spitfire classics are about the best wheels you can buy. They don’t flat spot, are great for street and transition, and the slightly softer variant works well for skate park objects, bowl, vert, and street skating.

Great for tricks like 50-50’s, Smith grinds, Krooked grinds, or anything that requires coping skills.

Even the 97A version is still very fast and you’ll have more time to focus on your line or next trick. Recommended for those that really want a good balance between speed, carving, and technical bowl tricks.

Cons of the Spitfire

Because of the slimmer contact patch they are less grippy. Nothing dramatic, but at 99A you still could slip when you make a mistake or hit a dusty spot. The 97A doesn’t have this problem but requires you to push a little harder.


4. Santa Cruz Vomit Mini 2 Slime Balls 97A

Santa Cruz Vomit 2 wheels

Street on the outside bowl on the inside, or is it the other way around? Santa Cruz Vomit offers the best of both worlds. When you’re done carving the bowl and want to move on to the park you can swap the wheels around.

Honestly, who would do this? But the Vomits can do it! For those on a budget that don’t like to bring 2 setups or exta wheels, the Vomits fill the gap between park skating and street/park.

I’m currently still in the process of testing the Vomit Mini 2 Slime Balls and will update my findings soon. I really like these wheels because of the asymmetrical shape, both conical and rounded, makes them ideal for locking in my 50-50’s and my limited arsenal of coping tricks.

Obviously I put the conical side on the inside and the rounded side on the outside when skating bowl. For those who also like to skate street and parks the combination of a rounded shape and a conical shape creates the best of both worlds.

So far they haven’t let me down but I still like my Conical Full’s more. After some more testing, I might switch back because I’m not a street skater.

I like a very wide contact surface, but 22mm still works for me. Further testing is needed to give a decisive answer, stay tuned.

  • Wheel Profile: Slim
  • Wheel Shape: Conical
  • Recommended size: 54mm, 56mm
  • Recommended Durometer: 95A or 97A for slippery bowls
  • Purpose: Carving bowls and more technical coping tricks that require locking in.

Pros of the Vomit Mini 2 Slime Balls

A great option if you like both street/park skating and bowl skating. The asymmetrical shape makes locking in easier when riding bowl and the rounded shape helps to increase your grinding and slides abilities.

They are cheaper than Spitfires but not by much. Sure a lot cheaper than having to bring two types of wheels!

Cons of the Vomit Mini 2 Slime Balls

A smaller diding surface and therefore less grip, but at 95A or 97A this shouldn’t be much of a problem. They are less perfect grippy concrete bowls. More cons to come, I still have to make a couple of slams first.


5. Bones ATF Rough Riders 56mm/80A

Bones rough riders skateboard wheels

For those that ride gnarly bowls with lots of wear, Bones Rough Riders could make your life easier. They offer and extremely wide contact patch and at 80A they ignore virtually every crack or rough patch you run into.

Another benefit is that you can grab your board and cruise to your skate park and drop in your local bowl. they are great for cruising and still work in bowls.

Pros of the ATF Rough Riders

As aforementioned, they are great for those that ride worn parks. You can easily compensate when you hit a crack of hole instead of slamming into concrete. The plastic core makes them faster but as fast as a 97A wheel.

Great for cruising around and carving a bowl. You need to work hard, so I guess you will gain some extra leg muscle.

Cons of the ATF Rough Riders

They require you to push hard and you probably get tired quickly compared to harder wheels. They aren’t great for coping tricks or ollies because of their bouncy nature. I also find it really hard to do tail-slides because they stick to the wall of the bowl.

  • Wheel Profile: Very wide
  • Wheel Shape: Conical
  • Recommended size: 56mm
  • Recommended Durometer: They only come in 80A
  • Purpose: Carving rough and worn bowls with lots of cracks and cruising.

6. Bones SPF P5 84B

Bones SPF P5 - 58mm and 56mm

For those that have the luxury of a modern bowl with fast and grippy concrete, a hard wheel works amazing. The Bones SPF P5 are extremely fast, don’t flatspot and I love how they lock-in.

If you’re used to a slower wheel you might be surprised when you drop in for the first time. You might even want to slow down a bit.

Bones SPF P5’s require less pumping meaning you won’t be exhausted after 30 minutes. Despite the wheels being super hard, they are still grippy given you ride a grippier surface.

Really easy to slide and reverts don’t require much effort. The conical shape reduces friction when grinding the coping, making your grinds longer and faster.

  • Wheel Profile: Medium
  • Wheel Shape: Conical
  • Recommended size: 54mm, 56mm
  • Recommended Durometer: 84B for grippy concrete
  • Purpose: Carving quality bowls and more technical coping tricks, mini ramp

Pros of Bones SPF P5

Not the most expensive wheel on the list but superb perfomance in the right type of bowl. They also are great for mini ramps but less suitable for vert skating.

It’s the fastest wheel I tested so far and doesn’t require you to pump much. Longer sessions, longer grinds, and great at locking in tricks.

Cons of Bones SPF P5

They fail when skating dusty wooden bowls and it will be a very frustrating experience, not to mention you’ll feel pretty sore the next day from the slams.


Picking the Right Wheel For Skating Bowl

The best wheels for skating bowl are ones with a diameter of 54mm to 58mm, with a durometer between 95a and 104A depending on the bowl’s riding surface. Look for a wider contact patch if you love to carve and do basic coping tricks. Get a slimmer contact patch if you mainly focus on airs and coping tricks.

Ultimately, you want a fast wheels that offers grip and stability. Even though I recommend 56mm, lots of bowl riders ride 60mm and up. Bigger is great for carving but makes tricks difficult. Something to consider for those who only want to carve.

Another factor is the type of bowl you skate. When skating medium bowls yo can get away with a smaller to medium size. Bowls with a steeper transition require something that rolls fast for those tight turns.

Why Wheel Size Matters

In general, bigger wheels work great for those who need speed and don’t want to be exhausted after 5 minutes. A bigger diameter gives you more speed and stability, more time to think about your next trick instead of pumping like your life depends on it.

Small wheel means quick acceleration, at the cost of speed. A big wheel speeds up slower but gives you more speed and momentum.

Smaller and harder wheels can work, but only if the concrete’s riding surface is hard and grippy.

Durometer For Bowls

The hardness is a tricky one, make sure to check your local bowl and see if it’s grippy, rough, or slippery. Ask local skaters about the wheels they use and what they like about them.

  • Slippery bowls bowls require wheels between 80A and 97A. This solves the problem of losing your grip.
  • Grippy bowls require hard wheels between 100A and 104A (or 84B). These wheels are the fastest you can get for bowl skating.

Contact Patch or Riding Surface

To some extend this is subjective but also depends on the type of skater. A wider contact patch is great choice for beginners and intermediate bowl riders.

A smaller contact patch is a good choice for bowl riders that enjoy technical tricks. What works for you is something you have to find out yourself.


Different Types Of Bowls & Wheel Type

skateboarder in a bowl

Most bowls are made of concrete, but there are also bowls made of wood. Slightly softer and grippy wheels can work for both, but if the concrete is old and cracked, you might even want to go softer.

Let’s look at the different type of materials and what type of wheel and what to avoid.

Tip: Take a broom and remove sand and dust from the bowl before you drop-in.

Concrete Bowls

concrete skate bowl

A couple of factors might influence the type of wheels that work:

  • Some bowls can be slippery depending on the concrete formula used and require softer wheels.
  • Cracks and wear from the environment also requires a softer wheel to compensate for the instability, if its not too bad you can ride harder wheels.
  • Some bowls gather a lot of dust if they are near a busy road, this makes them slippery.
  • Some bowl are made concrete that is fast and grippy. These allow for the hardest wheels you can get (like Bones SPF P5 84B).

Wooden Bowls

skateboarder in a bowl

I love wooden bowls, mainly because falling doesn’t hurt that much. Bowls made of wood are typically more slippery and require wheels with a firm grip. Go bigger and softer, especially when they are located in an old building. Dust really is a pain!


Final Words

Riding bowls is one of the best feelings, and a great workout. Make sure to train those legs for longer sessions. Take a break regularly to catch breath and look at other skaters to pick the perfect line. Also check out my recommended setups for bowl skating, a wider deck, carvy trucks, and the right bushings will make your session even more enjoyable.

The first time skating a bowl can be frustrating, but learning from your peers will help you get better. It’s also a great way to socialize, I love talking to fellow skaters and cheer for them. Bowl skaters are usually pretty laid back no matter their skill level.

Make sure to pad up, wear a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads. You never know when you make your next slam.

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