Skateboard wheels look the same to beginners, but there are many differences in quality, performance, and the right wheels for the right purpose.
Before we get to the list of the best wheels for beginner skateboarders, it’s important to have a basic understanding of what makes a good wheel, and what to look for.
I’ll keep it simple since I already wrote a huge guide, but I’ll try to cover the most important stuff and what wheels you should look for if you’re new to skateboarding or started recently and are considering different wheels.
How To Pick Beginner Skateboard Wheels
Before we get to the wheels, I I think it’s important to understand skateboard wheels at a basic level. I’m not going to dive into shapes this time but hardness (Durometer), grip, contact patch (riding surface) and size really make a difference.
I tried to make a diverse list that features wheels for cruising and tricks, technical street skateboarding, and skate parks since these are the most common styles.
The right wheels for you depend on what you want to do, where you ride, and how often you plan to go out there.
Figure Out What You Want to Do
If your purpose it to only learn how to ride, go for big and soft wheels. Softer wheels can handle small rocks, cracks and rough terrain way better than harder smaller wheels.
Big and soft wheels also make it easier to learn how to ride as your board will feel much more stable and the larger riding surface or contact patch provides extra grip and makes it easier to keep your balance.
If you already know how to ride properly and want to get into the more technical side of skateboarding, go with harder and smaller wheels. These types of wheels are less bouncy compared to softer wheels and make it easier to land tricks.
If you don’t really know what to get, 99A/53mm or 99A/54mm wheels, this is always a safe choice. You can go down the durometer scale if the terrain you ride is rough. Softer wheels handle rough terrain way better than hard wheels.
From an economic point of view you could consider buying wheels around 54mm, they will wear eventually so once you’re ready for technical tricks they are the perfect size.
Not all wheels are the same, they may look the same, but there is a big difference in quality, performance, and purpose. Brands like Bones and Spitfire offer the best wheels on the market because of their mix of quality plastics (polyurethane).
Bones and Spitfire both have excellent quality control and use the best raw materials and manufacturing processes. They are a bit more expensive than other brands, but you’ll get a decent return on investment. Quality wheels don’t flat spot easily and you probably need new cheap wheels sooner than later.
Buying quality wheels will be cheaper in the long run, so if you can afford it, I highly recommend getting quality wheels. If you are on a limited budget and setting up your first board, I would get cheaper wheels and use the money you save to buy quality trucks like Thunder or Independent.
I’m convinced beginners will benefit the most from a larger contact patch. The contact patch is the surface of the wheel that is in contact with the ground.
It helps to distribute your weight over a larger area. A larger contact patch will decrease resistance and results in a smoother ride. More balance, less stress, and less sketchy landings when you try to do your first tricks.
I have to admit, when I first started this site, I had no idea about durometer scales. I always asked my friends what wheels to get. It’s pretty simple, actually. Durometer scale is the way we measure the hardness of objects.
Skateboard wheels are mainly measured with the Duro-A scale, but Bones measures wheels using the B-scale.
The closer you get to the end of the Durometer A-scale, the more inaccurate the measurement (there are 4 Durometer scales, wheels only use A or B). So this means not all 99A wheels are the same hardness because of the inaccuracy at the end of the scale.
That’s why Bones uses the B-scale, some wheels go over the limit of the A-scale but there is not such thing as 101A or 104A, this is actually 81B and 84B. It’s a marketing thing, I guess.
Softer wheels means you have more grip and a smoother ride. This will help you as a beginner to keep your balance. They also are less noisy and distracting when you ride rougher terrain. My opinion is that learning to ride is easier when your wheels aren’t too hard. Once you get better, you have a better understanding of what works for you.
If you can, try to ride other peoples setups so you can feel the difference. As a beginner, I wouldn’t overthink this stuff too much. Just get some wheels from the list that you think will work for you.
8 Best Beginner Skateboard Wheels
Let’s look at wheels that are decent and even superb. I selected wheels for the most common styles, and I’m sure there’s a set of wheels on this list that are perfect for your needs.
There is no wheel to rule them all, but there are some that come close. I’ve selected wheels for cruising, cruising and tricks, transition skateboarding, and technical street skating all with beginners in mind.
Some of you may already know how to ride properly, I got you covered. I also picked a few wheels for people who are just getting into tricks and more technical skating.
1. Ricta Clouds 54mm/92A
Even though Ricta Clouds are filmer wheels, they are an excellent choice for beginners. At 92A they are soft (or hard) enough to ride both street and skate parks. You will have fewer issues maintaining your balance because of the wide 34mm contact patch.
They are sticky and provide a smooth ride. Pebbles won’t block your wheels and cracks won’t cause you to get thrown off your board. Great for beginners that want to learn how to ride and move up to basic tricks.
Once you get better, I would recommend replacing them with harder wheels, it’s easier to land tricks on harder wheels because they are less bouncy.
- Sizes: 54, 56, 58, and 60mm
- Durometer: 78A, 92A, 96A, 100A
- Purpose: Street, park, basic tricks, filming
2. Spitfire Full Conicals 54mm/99D
Let’s move on to some quality stuff, which also means they aren’t cheap. I love the Spitfire Conical fulls for their diversity. You can ride these in bowls, skate parks, street, mini ramp, basically anything but vert.
Spitfire classifies these wheels as 99D and I suspect the D stands for Durometer. Even though 99A seems hard, the polyurethane formula (mix of plastics) is of the best possible quality you can get. They don’t feel like 99A but work very well on both rougher surfaces (to some extent) and slippery concrete.
I picked these wheels because of their grip and large contact patch, and they are very forgiving. These wheels will help you stay on your board because of the 34mm contact patch, which is wider than average.
Another benefit is that once you get into power slides, they will not flat spot. It’s almost impossible to flat spot these wheels unless you power slide onto gritty asphalt for a couple of minutes.
These wheels will last you for a very long time and outlast cheaper wheels 3 times (rough estimate). Sure, it’s an investment, but you’ll enjoy them for years.
If you buy them at 54mm, they will wear down to 50- 52mm by the time you are ready to get into more technical skating. Spitfire Conical fulls are the perfect all around skateboard wheels.
- Sizes: Sizes: 52mm, 53mm, 54mm, 56mm, 58mm
- Durometer: 99A, 100A
- Contact patch: 34mm at 54mm
- Purpose: Street, Skate Park, Bowl, Mini Ramp
3. OJ Super Juice 78A/55mm/60mm
OJ super Juice are my favorite cruiser wheels because of their price and performance. Somehow they fit every setup and provide a super-smooth ride. These aren’t wheels for tricks because they are very soft, but you can pull off a few ollies though.
Tricks will feel bouncy, so if you’re into that, skip these wheels. I think these are the perfect wheels for those who want to learn how to ride with confidence. I own the 60mm version and they are smooth as butter. Cracks, small rocks, twigs aren’t a problem and they roll over them as if they aren’t even there.
They are fast, stable, grippy, forgiving, and cheap. These are the best cruiser wheels on a budget and they have never let me down.
You can slap these on cruisers and regular boards and so far I didn’t need any risers to prevent wheel bite. I ride my trucks pretty loose, but if you’re unsure, get a set of 1/8” risers and 1” hardware.
OJ also offers these in 55mm, while I haven’t tested them I suspect they speed up a bit quicker and make your board more responsive.
- Sizes: 55mm, 60mm
- Durometer: 78A
- Contact patch: 38mm at 60mm
- Purpose: Cruising
4. Bones All Terrain Formula 54mm/80A
Sorry for the crappy photo, I didn’t have a great camera when I took this picture.
Jack of all trades, master of none. Bones ATF wheels are great for those who live in an area with a mix of gritty asphalt and concrete.
Even though Bones designed these wheels for rougher terrain, you can skate bowls, mini ramps and slicker surfaces. Transition skating will just require you to push or pump a bit harder because of their sticky nature.
I fried of mine rides these in his local skate park and he’s a skilled street skater. He also does some pretty gnarly stuff in his local concrete bowl. The park is old, and the concrete has lots of cracks and rough spots. If your local park or area resembles this somewhat, Bones’ ATF ’ ATF wheels are a solid choice.
Because these wheels are relatively soft, they are also excellent cruising/tricks wheels. Sure they are a bit more bouncy like every softer wheel, but at 54mm you’ll be able to land ollies and flip tricks and still have a comfortable ride.
Don’t expect to cruise for miles on end, you’ll need bigger and softer wheels for that.
- Size: 54mm
- Durometer: 80A
- Purpose: rough terrain, skate park, comfy rides, gritty streets, cruising and tricks.
- Contact patch: 30mm
5. Mini Logo 53mm/99A
Mini Logo may not be the best wheels, but they are cheap and you get a lot of bang for your buck. For those who don’t want to spend too much Mini Logo are highly recommended. Note that the wheels in the image are smaller and harder, but the 53mm/99A wheels look the same.
They aren’t made of the best mix of plastics and tend to flat spot, but beginners won’t notice this much. Get these wheels if you want to skate parks and quickly want to move on to technical tricks.
The 99A wheels are grippy enough to ride concrete and asphalt but offer less stability because of the small contact patch.
Are you looking for a budget setup? Slap these mini logos on them and save some money to get better trucks!
- Size: 52mm, 53mm, 54mm
- Width: 34mm at 53mm
- Durometer: 99A, 101A
- Contact patch: ..mm at 53mm
- Purpose: Street and skate park
6. Spitfire Bighead 54mm/99D
Let’s move on to some greet street wheels. These may not be perfect for beginners, but I’m sure there are some of you that already know how to ride properly and are ready to move on to more technical stuff.
Spitfire Bigheads are one of the best street wheels you can get (also check out Spitfire Classics!). Go for the 99D/54mm wheels as they offer more grip and stability than the smaller version you see in the image. They are rather small, which makes flipping and landing your tricks a bit easier.
Spitfire offers the best street wheels and these are no exception. Very high-quality wheels that will last for ages!
- Size: 52mm, 53mm, 54mm
- Width: 35mm at 54mm
- Durometer: 99A, 101A
- Contact patch: 19mm at 54mm
- Purpose: Street and skate park
7. Orbs Specter Conical Swirls 53mm/99A
Perhaps lesser known, but I noticed the Orbs Specters have quite a large contact patch for such a small wheel. This makes them perfect for beginner street skaters. Extra stability from the wide surface, and super flippy because of their small size.
Not great for skating bowls or mini ramps, but perfect for skate parks and technical street skating. They come in various sizes, the larger the wheel offers more stability but in general these wheels already have a relatively large contact patch.
- Sizes: 52mm, 53mm, 54mm, 56mm
- Width: 34mm at 53mm
- Durometer: 99A
- Contact patch:22mm at 53mm
- Purpose: Street and skate park
8. Fireball Tinder
For those who want to cruise and do a couple of tricks, I can recommend the Fireball Tinder Wheels. They are soft enough (81A) for a comfortable cruising experience and hard enough so you won’t bounce all over the place when you do a sketchy ollie.
These are rather large (60mm) and if you want to get into more technical skating, skip these wheels. Great for those who just want to cruise around town and ollie a few curbs.
Even though 81A seems a bit soft for tricks, they are harder than you expect. This has to do with the plastic core that makes them a bit more sturdy on rebound.
- Size: 60mm
- Durometer: 81A
- Contact patch: 35mm
- Purpose: Cruising and basic ollies
I tried to list wheels that serve every style, and I hope there is something on this list that works for you. There is no such thing as the perfect wheel, perhaps the Spitfire Conical Full wheels come close, but you can’t cruise, do technical tricks and shred pools using the same wheels. Sure you’ll manage, but something gotta give.
For those who already know how to ride and want to advance to more technical stuff, go for harder wheels. If you are completely new to skateboarding and are looking for your first set of wheels, get softer wheels for a smoother ride and preferably a wider contact patch.
Just want to cruise? Get big soft wheels for a smooth and forgiving ride. Cruising and tricks wheels are still a bit of a trade-off, you need harder wheels for tricks but softer wheels for cruising. This means you need wheels that are somewhere in the middle.
Skate park riders should look for harder wheels, park surfaces are usually smooth and hard wheels work really well in parks. Looking for more options? Check out my best skateboard wheels article.