When you’ve mastered the arts of cruising and carving and when you’ve pushed the downhill limits into overdrive, the only parts of the longboarding world left to explore, are freestyle and freeriding. The former is going to help you to learn and master all of the tricks and stunts you’ll require to stay on to of your longboarding game, while the latter will enable you to get, as the die-hard skaters are so fond of saying, “really radical”.
But if you want to really get out there, tear through the glass longboarding ceiling and squeeze every last drop out of the craziest of crazy longboarding juice, you’re going to want to learn how to slide your board.
Sliding is exactly what it sounds like it is. It’s all about going sideways on your board when you’re speeding downhill and sliding into a controlled skid to slow your board down, increase your adrenaline flow and heart rate, improve your riding ability, and longboarding skills and ultimately become the best skater that you can be.
That might make sliding like it’s some sort of mystical longboarding craft practiced by skating guru’s, but the truth is, it isn’t easy to earn how to slide and it’s even harder to conquer its nearly endless variations. Put one foot wrong and you’re history, but when you get it right, the longboarding sky is the limit.
Equipment, and having the right kit, is everything in the longboarding world, and if you want to slide like you were born to ride, you’re going to need the right wheels. Your wheels are your world when it comes to sliding, and just as there are thousands of boards and hundreds of trucks that are all designed to help improve your longboarding experience, there is a multitude of wheels that are made to make sliding easier.
Choosing the right wheels to help you grasp, and vanquish, sliding is essential, but trying to find those wheels is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. That’s why we’ve found five of the best sliding wheels for your longboard so that all you have to do, is choose the wheels that suit your skating style and budget, point, click, fit them to your deck and start sliding.
Top 5 Best Longboard Wheels for Sliding
OUR TOP PICK
Orangatang makes skateboarding hardware. That’s all that they do, and they’re incredibly good at it. The majority of what they do, however, is make wheels. Famous in the annals of the skateboarding world for fashioning the sort of wheels that professionals choose for their boards, it shouldn’t be a surprise that they also make wheels that’ll help you slide your longboard to glory.
The Stimulus is a mid-sized longboard wheel that’s been manufactured to deliver maximum performance for longboard dancing, every freestyle trick under the sun, and freeriding. It’s exactly the right diameter to pick up and maintain speed, glide over every bit of debris that might litter your path, and most importantly, slide. The Stimulus’ rounded lips and ground contact path guarantee that you can start sliding like a champion from the moment you fit them to your board. They’re a smooth ride that’ll let you slide in style.
Orangutan uses their own patented urethane formula that they call ‘Happy Thane’ to create their wheels. It’s a formula that they swear by and have staked their reputation on. It makes their wheels fast and smooth and lets them grip to any surface that you’re skating, but at the same time also lets them slide whenever the mood takes you.
A transitional wheel that’ll let you bounce between cruising, freestyle, downhill, and cruising without missing a beat, the Stimulus is Orangatang’s go-to wheel. It’ll do whatever you want it to, whenever you need it to and it will launch into any and every slide with a simple kick of your board.
- It isn’t just about the slides and sliding, the Stimulus is an all-rounder that’s made to let you slip effortlessly from one discipline and style into another without losing any momentum.
- You’re going to love Happy Thane. The polyurethane obsessed mad skating scientists at Orangatang do, and so do we. And once you’ve seen how much abuse your Orangatang wheels will take, so will you.
- As well as providing an unprecedented level of stability to your longboard, the Stimulus slides like it’s floating on air. It’s the whole secret formula thing in action, and we’re not going to ask Orangatang how it’s done, because we know that they’re not going to tell us. Ever.
- There’s a reason that Orangatang refers to the Stimulus as their ‘Jack-Of-All-Trades’ wheel because that’s what it is. It’s great across the board, but it isn’t outstanding. It does slide like John Travolta on the dance-floor in ‘Saturday Night Fever’ though, so if you all want to do, just like John, is slide, then maybe you should get your boogie on with the Stimulus.
- While the Stimulus is available in three different colors, you’re going to be stuck for choice according to your preferred wheel durometer (hardness). We’re guessing that someone forgot to tell Orangatang that variety if the spice of skating wheel life. And yes, there is a massive price differential. And it’s all to do with, and determined, by the durometer of your chosen wheel.
Do you want to know why a company would call their wheels Butterballs? Because they slide like butter off a hot knife, that’s why. These longboard wheels from Sector 9 were made to let you slide and glide your longboard whenever the mood takes you and that’s exactly what they’ll do if you let them.
Sector 9 is infamous for the amount of testing that they do on all of their wheels. They design them, test them, take them back to the drawing board, then test them again, redesign them and yes, you guessed it, they test them again. They test their wheels beyond any, and all, expected performance parameters, and it’s only when Sector 9 is one hundred and ten percent happy that their wheels will do everything that they’re supposed to and more, that they even begin to think about fitting them on other skaters longboards. They test their wheels to destruction so that you’ll always be safe.
And all that testing gave the skating world the Butterball. A wheel that rides like a cruiser and slides like the devil on the slippery pole to Hell. Butterballs are stone-ground to increase normal riding grip, but their rounded lips mean that with a single flip of your deck you’ll find yourself in the middle of sliding territory.
They might not be the fastest wheel in the world, but they are amongst the most slippery of sliders and are made from precision urethane to ensure that they won’t rub flat after a couple of sessions and will keep right on rolling and sliding.
- A near-perfect wheel to learn to slide with, Butterballs aren’t too fast and they’re not too slow, which means they can let you slip between cruising and freeriding in the blink of an eye.
- They’re a Sector 9 wheel so you know that they’ve been tested to ridiculous levels of performance and that they’re going to do exactly what they say they will on the tin. That might seem like it’s a little predictable and “safe”, but believe us, when you get out there and start sliding, you’re going to see, first hand, the virtues of predictability.
- They’re not going to make you cry when your bank statement arrives. They’re not cheap, but they’re not exactly expensive either. They’re a center ground sliding wheel that costs center ground money. And contrary to popular opinion, the middle is a great place to be. Just ask Malcolm.
- It’s all a question of speed. As we’ve already pointed out, Butterballs aren’t the fastest of wheels, but they’re not the slowest either. They’re a middle ground cruising wheel that excels at one thing and one thing alone, sliding.
- If you’re looking to set the skating fashion world on fire with Butterballs, then get ready to take the train to Disappointment Town, as they only come in one color. A rather drab and bland white that’s offset by either green or yellow inserts according to the durometer (wheel hardness) that you prefer. They may be good at what they do, but looks-wise, Butterballs leave a lot to be desired.
Our third choice is from another serious longboard wheel manufacturer, Blood Orange. This Santa Cruz brand dispenses with all the other “frivolous” skating hardware and focuses on wheels and wheels alone. And the pick of their product is the signature Liam Morgan line. A professional rider, Morgan has a laidback skating style that’s purposeful and determined and incorporates a lot of, you guessed it, sliding.
Like the man they were fashioned for, the Liam Morgan Freeride is made to do a lot sliding. And when we say a lot, we mean a LOT. Made from high-quality urethane, their rounded edges and relatively soft construction mean that the Freeride is made to take an insane amount of punishment and keep rolling, no matter what.
One of Morgan’s trademarks involves “leaving a lot of thane” (which means leaving a visible mark on any surface that’s you’ve been sliding) and his trademark wheel does the same. It’s designed to leave thane (from the wheels urethane construction) marks which is like adding your signature to any surface that you’ve been sliding. It’s skate graffiti that only the bravest and boldest know how to make.
Smooth and speedy, the Pro Series Freeride is as comfortable cruising the streets as it is sliding down hills and carving concrete. It’s not the fastest wheel you can fix to your longboard, but with its in-built ability to leave ‘thane marks’, one thing is certain - every other longboarder worth their salt, if you ride on Liam Morgan’s, will know where you’ve been sliding. This wheel doesn’t know how to go quietly into that good night.
- Other skaters might not see you coming, but they’ll know exactly where you’ve been thanks to the Pro Freestyle leaving thane wherever it slides.
- They’re a signature professional wheel, made to the exacting standards that Liam Morgan demands. It’s the sort of stamp of approval and quality that’ll give you the peace of mind and confidence to slide your days and nights away, safe in the knowledge that these wheels won’t let you down.
- Because they’re made to be skated hard, they’re an easy wheel to slide at speed. The faster you’re going, the easier it is to kick these wheels into a slide.
- For a signature wheel, the Freestyle is surprisingly affordable. In fact, they’re ridiculously affordable given who they were designed and made for.
- Liam Morgan doesn’t do anything slowly, and neither do the wheels that bear his name. They’re difficult to flip into a slide at the sort of speeds that beginners want to learn to slide at. If you’re not traveling at warp speed on Freestyles, odds are, you won’t be able to slide.
- And that’s why, despite their amazing price and ridiculous appeal, these wheels are more suited to the experienced skater rather than a beginner. We all have to start somewhere, but the Freestyle isn’t the wheel to begin your sliding journey with.
Arbor plows their quarter of a century of experience in the worlds of skating and snowboarding into everything that they do. They started with a simple mission and its a mission that they still, and will always, pursue with passion. To combine craftsmanship and innovation and use sustainable materials in the manufacture of their products. It’s an undertaking that makes Arbor stand out in the board sports scene. They’re a company with heart and soul and they pour a little bit of themselves into everything that they do.
That’s one of the reasons why their Mosh Thane wheel has made our list. But it’s not the only reason that it’s on here, as the Mosh Thane is a pretty astonishing wheel that’ll let you, if you’re good enough, slide into longboarding legend. It’s fully rounded lips and slightly softer than average durometer make the Mosh Thane a perfect combination cruising and freestyle ride that let you slide to your heart’s content with the merest kick of your longboard.
Made for the longboarder looking to take their initial tentative steps into the slightly intimidating world of freestyle skating, the Mosh Thane will let you jump between disciplines with ease and keep skating after a full session of sliding. Every single time you want to slide, the Mosh Thane will slide with you and will turn right around and beg you to slide again and again and again. If you’re looking for a wheel to start sliding with, you won’t go far wrong with the Mosh Thane.
- The Mosh Thane hasn’t just been designed with the beginning freestyler and slider in mind, it’s also been priced accordingly. It’s the least expensive wheel on our list so far and the perfect entry-level wheel for any would-be slider.
- One of the best pieces of advice that we were ever given when we started our skating journey was always read the reviews. Well, the Mosh Thane’s reviews speak for themselves. They’re universally adored by every longboard who uses them. That kind of says everything that you need to know about them, doesn’t it?
- If that wasn’t enough, they’ve also got the sort of disco-centric retro drop-dead good looks that’ll make your fellow longboarding devotees do a double-take and seethe with jealousy. They don’t just ride and slide well, they also look good while they’re going sideways.
- Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, we’re going to give you a double dose of good news. And that’s that there is no bad news. Seriously, these Arbor wheels score a full ten across the skating board.
And we’re finishing our list with the same brand that we started it with, Orangatang. When it comes to longboarding, Orangatang’s reputation speaks for itself. It’s worth its weight in gold and rightly so. They’re among the best at what they do and the quality of their wheels reflects that.
Sure, we could repeat ourselves and tell you, all over again, why Orangatang’s wheels are our first and final choices, but we won’t. Instead, we’re just going to tell you about the Kilmer and why it’s an ideal sliding wheel for longboards. Rather than the traditional ‘Happy Thane’ that Orangatang use to make the majority of their wheels, the Kilmer uses ‘Peachy Thane’ which is softer, making the Kilmer a consummate sliding wheel.
It’s rounded lips and softer durometer means that you can kick the Kilmer into long slides and it’ll wear evenly and won’t flatten out. The Kilmer was made to freestyle and born to slide and hits all the marks that a sliding longboard wheel should. It’s Orangatang’s worst kept, most well-known sliding secret and if you’re looking to push yourself harder, and slide further than you thought possible, it’s almost certainly the wheel that you’re looking for.
- As it’s made from Peachy Thane instead of Happy Thane, the Kilmer is designed to slide further and faster than any other Orangatang wheel.
- It won’t, again thanks to Peachy Thane, flatten out while you’re sliding and ruin your ride and spoil your day.
- It’ll cruise as well as it’ll slide and freestyle, so you won’t have to worry about swapping your wheels when you hit the hills. You can ride and slide on the same set of wheels all day long.
- That Peachy Thane? It’s not exactly cheap and neither are Kilmers. If you want to slide further, you’re going to have to pay extra for all of that extra distance.
- While we’re kind of smitten by its seventies funktastic color scheme, the Kilmer probably won’t appeal to anyone who doesn’t remember ‘Charlie’s Angels’ or The Osmonds.
Best Longboard Wheels for Sliding Buyer's Guide
How To Choose The Right Sliding Longboard Wheels
When it comes to choosing the right wheels for sliding on your longboard, you’re going to come up against that age-old dilemma. What you want and what you, ideally, need. So let’s look at both and hopefully, by the time you’ve finished digesting what you want and what you need, you’ll have a better idea of which wheel on our list is the right one for you.
What You Want From A Sliding Wheel
The first thing you’re going to want from your wheel of choice is some sort of decent longevity. You’re going to want to know that it’s going to last and won’t give up, or give out, on you in the middle of a sliding session.
More importantly, you don’t want it to cost you a small ransom as with the amount of abuse that your wheels are going to take thanks to sliding, they’re not going to last long. You want to make sure that they’re going to do what they’re supposed to do, that is slide, but you’re going to want them to be relatively cheap.
Trust us, when you start sliding and burning through wheels, you’re going to be glad that you didn’t blow your entire budget on a single set of wheels.
What You Need From A Sliding Wheel
Ideally, you’re going to need a narrow wheel with a similarly sized contact patch (the part of the wheel that rides on whatever surface you’re skating) so that you can easily kick, or flip, into a slide.
Make sure that the wheels have a solid, or supportive, core. You’ll be glad that you did when your wheels wear down, and out, and you need them to keep rolling without throwing you headlong into oncoming traffic.
Then there’s the durometer, or hardness, of the wheel. A good sliding wheel should have a middling to hard durometer (which is measured between 1 - 100, the higher the number of the durometer, the harder the wheel is) which should ensure that they last long enough for you to learn how to slide. The softer a wheel is, the more thane (short for urethane, the material that sliding wheels are made from) marks a wheel will leave on any concrete or hardened surface when sliding.
Lastly, you’re going to want to find a wheel with a rounded edge or lip to slide with. Flat edged wheels are a no-no as far as sliding is concerned as they generate increased resistance when you’re kicking your longboard into a slide. And the more resistance you encounter, the more likely you and your board are to part ways. Remember, rounded edge good, flat edge bad.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Sliding Wheels Are Right For Me?
That depends on a number of important factors - predominantly your skill level and budget. If you’re venturing into the freestyle and sliding world for the first time, you’re going to want a wheel that’ll act as an intermediary between the cruising and freestyle scenes that’ll be forgiving enough to let you develop, and learn to slide, at your own pace. Which is why we’d recommend the Arbor Mosh Thane. It’ll get you to wherever you’re going and back again, and give you some much need sliding time, in one piece and won’t give up the ghost after a single session.
If you’re already on your way to becoming a master of the freestyle arts with a black-belt in sliding, then you’re going to want something faster and slicker to ride on, which is why we’d suggest you fix Blood Orange’s Liam Morgan Pro Freestyle wheels to your board and follow in the footsteps of the sliding sensei.
Whichever wheels you end up choosing though, remember to always follow the first rule of longboarding. Have fun, skate hard, and be safe.