9 Best Skateboard Wheels For Rough Roads (2023)

man dropping off a short ledge on his skateboard

If you’ve skateboarded down a rough road then you know how difficult and tiresome it can be. However, you can make it a much more enjoyable ride if you purchase the right set of wheels.

Skateboard wheels come in many different sizes, hardness (durometers), and colors to match your style and needs. Skating on rugged streets can pose many risks and challenges to most skaters which is why finding the best wheels for rough roads is so crucial.

If you want more comfort without compromising your safety and stability, then you’re in luck. In this article, we’ll cover the best skateboard wheels for rough roads as well as some tips to make your ride more comfortable and enjoyable.

Understanding Rough Roads

Let’s dig deeper into the world of rough roads and their impact on skateboarding. When we talk about rough roads, we’re referring to a variety of surfaces that can make your skating experience a bit more challenging. So, let’s break it down and gain a better understanding.

Different types of rough road surfaces:

  • Cracked Pavement: Uneven sections of pavement with cracks can disrupt your flow and make it harder to maintain stability.
  • Bumpy Asphalt: Some roads have bumps and irregularities due to wear and tear. These can affect your speed and overall control.
  • Cobblestones: Cobblestone streets may look charming, but they pose a serious challenge to skateboarders due to their uneven surface and potential for wheel-catching.
  • Gravel and Dirt Paths: Venturing off-road onto gravel or dirt surfaces can be thrilling, but it requires wheels designed for off-pavement adventures.

How rough roads affect skateboard performance:

Rough roads can throw off your balance, decrease your speed, and affect your maneuverability. When your wheels encounter obstacles, they can become unsteady or catch on irregularities, causing you to lose control.

  1. Speed Reduction: Rough roads create more friction, slowing you down and making it harder to maintain your desired pace.
  2. Stability Challenges: Uneven surfaces increase the chances of wobbling or experiencing sudden shifts in balance, which can lead to falls or accidents.
  3. Maneuverability Constraints: Navigating tight turns or executing tricks becomes more challenging when your wheels don’t have the right grip or flexibility.

Potential risks and injuries associated with skateboarding on rough roads:

It’s important to be aware of the potential risks involved when you’re skating on rough roads. By understanding these risks, you can take necessary precautions and equip yourself with the right gear to minimize the chance of injury.

  • Abrasions and Bruises: Uneven surfaces can lead to unexpected falls, resulting in abrasions, bruises, or even road rash if you’re not properly protected.
  • Sprains and Fractures: When your wheels hit an obstacle or uneven surface, sudden jolts and impacts can increase the risk of sprained ankles or even fractures.
  • Wheel Locking: Certain road conditions, like cracks or cobblestones, can cause your wheels to lock or catch, leading to sudden stops or loss of control.

Key Characteristics of Skateboard Wheels for Rough Roads

When it comes to selecting skateboard wheels for rough roads, there are several key characteristics that you should consider. These characteristics determine how well your wheels will handle the challenges of uneven surfaces and provide you with a smooth, stable ride. Let’s dive into them:

Size and Diameter

The size and diameter of your skateboard wheels play a significant role in how well they handle rough roads. Generally, larger wheels are more effective at rolling over cracks and small obstacles, providing a smoother ride.

  • Optimal Wheel Size: Look for wheels with a diameter ranging from 54mm to 60mm or above. Larger wheels help to maintain momentum and reduce the impact of rough surfaces on your ride.
  • Balance of Stability and Maneuverability: Consider striking a balance between stability and maneuverability. Larger wheels offer better stability, while slightly smaller wheels provide increased maneuverability for tricks and tight turns.

Durometer Rating

Durometer refers to the hardness of skateboard wheels, and it’s typically indicated by a number followed by the letter “A.” For rough roads, you’ll want wheels with a higher durometer rating.

  • Ideal Durometer Range: Look for wheels with a durometer rating between 78A and 87A. Softer wheels (lower durometer) are better at absorbing shocks and vibrations, providing a smoother ride over rough surfaces.
  • Grip vs. Slide: Keep in mind that as the durometer rating increases, the grip of the wheels decreases slightly. This trade-off is necessary to ensure better shock absorption and a more forgiving ride on rough roads.

Wheel Shape and Profile

The shape and profile of your wheels can greatly impact their performance on rough roads. Look for specific features that enhance stability and grip.

  • Wide Contact Patch: Wheels with wider contact patches provide more stability by increasing the surface area in contact with the road. This helps prevent wheel slippage and improves overall control.
  • Rounded Edges: Wheels with rounded edges offer better maneuverability and reduce the chances of catching or getting stuck on cracks or irregularities.

By considering these key characteristics, you’ll be well on your way to selecting the right skateboard wheels for rough roads. In the next section, we’ll delve into some of the best options available in the market that are specifically designed to tackle those challenging terrains.

Best Skateboard Wheels for Rough Roads

Now that we understand the essential characteristics of skateboard wheels for rough roads, let’s explore some of the top options available in the market. These wheels are specifically designed to handle the challenges of uneven surfaces while providing you with a smooth and stable ride. Check them out:

Ricta Clouds – 52mm, 78A (My Personal Favorite)

Diameter: 52mm
Durometer: 78A

Ricta Clouds are the perfect wheels for rough roads and they are my favorite soft skateboard wheels. They’re small enough to use for any of your regular skateboarding but they’re soft and grippy. 

Obviously they’re not as fast as hard wheels, but they’re extremely smooth and comfortable.

These Ricta’s are made out of high-quality polyurethane. The flexible urethane layer makes it feel like you are hovering over the asphalt. These wheels are amazing for rough roads, streets, outdoor skateparks, and cruising on your skateboard. 

You might sacrifice a small amount of speed, but you’ll gain a wild amount of comfort. Get a set of Ricta Clouds now.

Powell Peralta Bomber III – 60mm, 85A

Diameter: 60mm (You may need riser pads to avoid wheel bite)
Durometer: 85A

The Bomber III’s are some nice, smooth skate wheels. However, because they are 60mm you’re going to need ½ inch riser pads to avoid getting wheel bite. 

The Bomber III by Powell Peralta really is a wheel that you can do anything on. They’re great for cruising, skating at the park, and handle really well on rough surfaces. 

With a durometer of 85A, these wheels are kind of in a perfect place for hardness. They’re soft enough to grip and add comfort without taking away from the speed. There’s a reason that these wheels score 4.7/ 5 stars on Amazon.

Get a set of Powell Peralta Bomber III’s today.

Powell Peralta Rat Bones (Reissue) – 60mm, 90A

Diameter: 60mm (You may need riser pads to avoid wheel bite)
Durometer: 90A

The Rat Bones come in a few different colors. These are another set of skateboard wheels that you’re going to want to get risers for. 

At the same time as they double for cruising wheels that ride right over rocks and flick the rocks right out of your way, they are nice and durable, allowing you to do powerslides.

The Rat Bones reissue wheels are buttery smooth for cruising city streets and sidewalks. If you ever skateboarded in the 1980’s, these are like what you used to ride. They even look retro, like they’re from the 80s.

These are a hybrid of today’s longboard wheels and more modern skateboard wheels.

Get a set of Rat Bones now.

Bigfoot Skateboard Wheels – 53mm, 83A

Diameter: 53mm
Durometer: 83A

The Bigfoot cruising wheels offer a smooth rolling, 83A polyurethane on a typical street-style skateboard wheel. These wheels are fast and quiet, making them ideal for riding the roughest spots. 

Moreover, these wheels are perfect for filmers because of their softness, speed, and quietness.

The 53mm diameter wheel makes it great for skating the street, parks, and bowls. This small, slower wheel gives good stability and is perfect for trick riding. The 83a durometer will allow the wheel to handle rough surfaces well and ensures a smooth ride.

Get a set of Bigfoot Skateboard Wheels now.

Bones Filmers – 52mm, 80A

Diameter: 52mm
Durometer: 80A

Most skateboard wheels are meant for the skatepark, so they’re around 99-100A durometer. Well, if you live in an area with crappy roads, riding a skateboard may feel like dragging a wagon down a gravel road.

These wheels are great for smoothing out rough concrete. My feet don’t go numb from vibrations, and cracks in sidewalks are barely registered.

They’re heavier and grippier than 100A wheels. Ollies and kickflips aren’t terribly affected, but tre flips and tailslides are probably a no-go. I’ve noticed that when I drop my board, it will bounce.

If you want a smooth ride and aren’t trying to do anything more technical than kickflips, I can recommend these easily.

Get a set of Bones Filmers now.

Santa Cruz Slime Balls – 60mm, 78A

Diameter: 60mm (You may need riser pads to avoid wheel bite)
Durometer: 78A

The Santa Cruz Slime Balls are the perfect wheels for a cruiser or longboard, or for just riding around. They come in many bright and cool colors and they’re very high quality polyurethane.

You will most likely need ½ inch riser pads to put these wheels on a regular skateboard. With that in mind, it’s important to know that these are going to be best for a cruising board. You won’t want to do many technical tricks with these wheels.

They’re soft and grippy which makes them underperform on wooden surfaces (indoor skateparks). That being said, they’re going to be amazing on rough roads and concrete parks.

Get a set of Slime Balls now.

OJ Plain Janes – 58mm, 87A

Diameter: 58mm
Durometer: 87A

The 87A soft urethane formula makes OJ Plain Janes the perfect wheels for a cruiser. 

OJ makes the juiciest, highest quality wheels for skateboarding. Whether you’re cruising to the liquor store, skating the park or hitting a grimy street spot, OJ urethane has you covered.

These wheels are super smooth. If you notice any signs of wheel bite, try tightening your trucks slightly or get yourself some ¼ inch riser pads. Considering that these wheels are 58mm you shouldn’t need risers unless you prefer loose trucks.

Get a set of OJ Plain Janes now.

OJ III Mini Super Juice – 55mm, 78A

Diameter: 55mm
Durometer: 78A

The OJ Mini Super Juice is very grippy and extremely soft. It will feel as if you’re gliding when you ride them. 

These will be perfect wheels to use on your cruiser or even your skateboard. With that in mind, you should consider that these will limit you to riding certain surfaces because of how soft and grippy they are.

However, they’re pretty amazing on most types of terrain. Just be careful when riding on wooden surfaces.

I have to say these wheels are amazing. They are like butter smooth cruising. If you pair them with some Bones Super Swiss bearings, you’ll be flying down hills.

Get a set of OJ Mini Super Juice now.

OJ Hot Juice Orange – 60mm, 78A (Longboard Wheels)

Diameter: 60mm (You may need riser pads to avoid wheel bite)
Durometer: 78A

The Hot Juice Orange wheels by OJ are longboard and cruiser wheels. I know. These will be the perfect wheel for camerafolk and filmers. 

You can still use Hot Juice wheels on a regular skateboard but you’re definitely going to need riser pads. 

These wheels will limit your tricks but you’ll be able to fly down hills, remaining stable, confident, and comfortable the entire time. 

Get a set of OJ Hot Juice now.

Remember, the best wheels for rough roads may vary based on personal preference, skating style, and the specific conditions you encounter. These recommendations should serve as a starting point for your exploration of suitable wheels.

Don’t forget to pair your chosen wheels with high-quality bearings for optimal performance. Regular maintenance and inspections of your skateboard are also crucial to ensure a safe and enjoyable riding experience.

Tips to Enhance Your Rough Road Skateboarding Skills

Skateboarding on rough roads requires a combination of skill, technique, and adaptability. To help you navigate those challenging terrains with finesse and confidence, here are some valuable tips to enhance your rough road skateboarding skills:

  1. Maintain a Balanced Stance: Balance is key when riding on rough roads. Keep your knees slightly bent and your weight centered over your board. This will help you absorb shocks and maintain stability as you encounter bumps and cracks.
  2. Pump and Carve: Instead of relying solely on pushing, utilize pumping and carving techniques to generate speed and maintain momentum. Pumping involves using your legs to generate energy by bending and extending them while riding. Carving refers to making smooth turns by shifting your weight and using your body to guide the board.
  3. Find the Smoothest Lines: On rough roads, it’s crucial to identify the smoothest paths and lines. Look for areas with fewer cracks, bumps, or debris, and try to ride along those paths. This will help you maintain a smoother and more controlled ride.
  4. Use Your Arms for Stability: Engage your arms to aid in maintaining balance and stability. Keep them slightly out to your sides, using them as counterbalances to help you stay centered over your board and absorb any unexpected jolts.
  5. Adapt Your Foot Position: Experiment with adjusting your foot positioning to adapt to different road conditions. Placing more weight on your front foot can provide better control when encountering rough patches, while shifting weight to your back foot can help with stability during bumps.
  6. Start Slow and Progress Gradually: If you’re new to rough road skateboarding, start with slower speeds and gradually build up your confidence and skills. As you become more comfortable, you can increase your speed and attempt more challenging maneuvers.
  7. Practice, Practice, Practice: The more you skate on rough roads, the better you’ll become at handling them. Regular practice will help you develop muscle memory, improve your balance, and enhance your overall skateboarding skills.

Remember, every skater has their own style and preferences. These tips are meant to serve as guidelines to help you improve your rough road skateboarding skills. Embrace experimentation and find what works best for you.


Skateboarding on rough roads may present its fair share of challenges, but with the right wheels, techniques, and precautions, you can conquer any terrain that comes your way. By selecting wheels designed for rough roads, maintaining your skateboard, and practicing the necessary skills, you’ll be able to confidently navigate uneven surfaces while enjoying the exhilaration and freedom that skateboarding brings.

So, gear up, embrace the bumps, and embark on your rough road skateboarding adventures. Embrace the thrill of conquering challenging terrains, and let your wheels be the catalyst that propels you to new heights of skateboarding mastery. Keep pushing your limits, and remember to always stay safe and have fun!

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