Skateboard wheels were originally made from clay. In the early 70's until the first urethane skate wheels were made.
Since then skateboard wheels have changed a lot due to different technologies being developed and different types of skateboarding becoming more popular. During the 90’s when street skating was becoming increasingly popular, wheels started to shrink until they became literally tiny (many wheels that were commonly available were only 42mm).
Today wheels are commonly around 50-60mm, and there are many different kinds available, depending on your style of skating, and the terrain which you are riding on . Smaller wheels (50mm-54mm) are better for street and technical skating, as they accelerate faster and are lighter than larger wheels.
However the disadvantage of this is that they have a lower top speed than larger wheels, and are more prone to being affected by rocks and debris. Larger wheels (55mm+) and are better for skating which requires a lot of speed, such as transition skating. They are also a lot more forgiving than smaller wheels on uneven surfaces.
Urethane comes in many formulas and hardness ratings known as the durometer of the wheel, you can find out more about this on our buyers guide page. Harder wheels are better for sliding (tricks such as noseslides, reverts, blunts, which require the wheels to slide across a surface). However softer wheels give a much smoother ride, ideal if you are filming skateboarding, or just cruising around the streets.
In the last years a few notable wheels have been launched such as the Spitfire Charger and Dragon wheels from Powell. Both styles carry a super high rebound Urethane that retains most of the speed and slide of harder wheels without the bone shaking hardness on the street of regular 100A wheels. This make them really suited to begginers or older folk who suffer the harder wheel rattle.
We stock almost every skate wheel brand, and have one of the largest urethane Skateboard wheel selections in the UK. Ricta wheels are a favourite of many skaters, and often feature specially constructed cores, some are even hollow for a more lightweight ride. Spitfire Wheels are also popular amongst many skaters, they also boast an impressive pro team, featuring skaters such as Dennis Busenitz, Kyle Wilson and Tyshawn Jones.