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Roller Skates 101

Difference between an "Outdoor Skate" and "Indoor Skate"

Difference between an "Outdoor Skate" and "Indoor Skate"

Indoor/Outdoor Roller Skates

What exactly makes an indoor skate an indoor skate, or an outdoor skate an outdoor skate? The difference is the wheels!




Wheel hardness is measured in durometer, usually indicated by a number followed by an "A". If you're skating on rough or uneven surfaces like asphalt roads, sidewalks, or trails, softer wheels (e.g., 78A, 82A).can help smooth out the ride and provide better traction. They are also effective at rolling over small debris and cracks. This is why you will find that generally, outdoor skates feature wheels that are softer (have a lower durometer number). 

Because outdoor terrains can vary widely, from smooth pavement to rough asphalt and uneven sidewalks, we also offer outdoor wheels that are harder for smooth surfaces such as skate parks. For example, Moxi Fundae wheels are 98A (hard) because they are designed for slick park surfaces. 


A common range for outdoor roller skate wheels is around 58mm to 80mm in diameter. Here's a general breakdown:

  1. 58mm - 62mm: These are considered smaller outdoor wheels. They offer better maneuverability and are suitable for a mix of smooth and slightly uneven surfaces. They're also great for beginners who want more control.
  2. 65mm - 72mm: This range is a popular choice for outdoor skating. These wheels provide a balance between maneuverability and stability, making them suitable for various outdoor terrains.
  3. 75mm - 80mm: Larger wheels in this range are best for tackling rougher outdoor surfaces. They provide better stability and roll over cracks, bumps, and debris more easily.

It's important to consider the terrain you'll be skating on. If you're primarily skating on smooth pavement, smaller to medium-sized wheels might be suitable. If you'll be skating on rough roads, trails, or uneven sidewalks, larger wheels would be a better choice.



The hardness of the wheels plays a crucial role in indoor skating. Harder wheels (higher durometer) provide greater speed because they have less grip. Indoor skating surfaces are usually clean and smooth, so you can lean towards slightly harder wheels compared to outdoor skating.

We recommend wheels that are at least 86A (durometer) for indoor skating. 

  1. Medium (86A - 90A): Medium-hard wheels strike a balance between grip and speed. They offer good control while still allowing for some speed. These wheels are suitable for various indoor skating styles, including roller derby, speed skating, and general recreational skating on roller rink floors.
  2. Hard (91A and above): Harder wheels are chosen for their speed and durability. They roll smoothly and provide less resistance, making them ideal for speed skating and roller derby competitions on indoor tracks. If you're confident in your balance and looking to maximize your speed, harder wheels can be a good choice.


For indoor roller skating, the choice of wheel size depends on the type of indoor surface you'll be skating on, as well as your personal preferences and skating style. Indoor skating surfaces are usually smooth and well-maintained, so you can opt for wheels that prioritize speed, grip, and maneuverability. Here's a general guideline for indoor roller skate wheel sizes:

  1. Indoor Rink Skating (Smooth Surfaces): If you'll be skating primarily on indoor roller rinks with polished and smooth surfaces, you can choose wheels in the range of 58mm to 62mm. These smaller wheels offer excellent maneuverability and control for dancing, figure skating, or general recreational skating.
  2. Roller Derby and Speed Skating: For roller derby or speed skating on indoor tracks, wheels in the range of 59mm to 62mm are often preferred. These sizes provide a good balance between agility and speed, allowing for quick movements and precise control.
  3. Artistic and Dance Skating: If you're into artistic or dance skating on indoor surfaces, wheels around 57mm to 60mm are commonly used. These sizes offer a great combination of stability, control, and agility for intricate footwork and maneuvers.
  4. Jam Skating: Jam skating often involves a mix of dance, acrobatics, and freestyle moves. For this style, you might consider wheels in the range of 57mm to 60mm for their versatility and ability to handle quick direction changes.


There is also a category of wheels called "Hybrid" or Indoor/Outdoor. These wheels are typically around 85A hardness, which is soft enough to skate outdoors and hard enough to skate indoors. These are generally used on more beginner skates. For best performance, we recommend switching your wheels when you move from outdoor skating to indoor skating.

For more information on wheels, see our wheel FAQ.