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Beginner’s Guide to Outdoor Wheels

If you are just learning to skate, or if you are hitting the streets for the first time, you are going to need the right gear. Chances are really high that if you found a pair of back or white leather skates in a closet or at the thrift store, they have rink wheels on them. How to tell?

You look at the number! 85-103a are the hard wheels, these are meant for indoor skating. 73-85a are the softer wheels, which are good for outdoor skating.

Why does hardness matter? It has to do with the surface. In the rink, you are unlikely to encounter any change in surface or debris. You can have a wheel that is nice and hard, which allows you to go faster and makes your skates more reactive. This is great for indoor figure skating, speed skating, or freestyle skating indoors. When you are outside, you want the wheels nice and soft so that they can adapt to the changing terrain. Also known as gummy wheels, outdoor wheels can go over bumps and cracks better, and they will give you a fighting chance to stay upright if you hit a rock or other random small object.

There are lots of great resources out there to learn about which wheels you should choose, but a great place to start is with this rundown from Dirty Deb.

When you buy a pair of skates, be sure to check out the number associated with the wheels. Lots of skates these days are coming standard with an outdoor wheel, which is super handy. Getting the right wheels for your terrain is the difference between a fun skate and a lot of time spent on your butt!

Don’t forget to check out the post about safety gear, and the post abut how to fall safely. Even if you don’t want to fall ( no one does!) you will fall at some point. It’s much better to be prepared for these falls when you are learning to skate, so that you don’t get hurt and have to quit.

If you are heading out to skate, you need an Attack Cat Bag on your waist! They are super stylin, and protect your gear. One of the most important parts about skating is those headphones, am I right? You need to keep that phone close so that they still work. Our bags are the perfect solution! Look good, rock out, stay safe!

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