The nitty gritty guide. To keep things simple we've generalized the information in this guide, keep in mind that there are always exceptions.
More Grip: Heavy weight skaters will get more grip from their wheels than average or light weight skaters will. You may wish to go one step harder in durometer to compensate. For example if, on your floor, skaters with an average build tend to ride 90A to 93A, then you may wish to try wheels between 93A and 95A.
*Some heavy weight skaters choose to go two or more hardness levels. Start with one step and take it from there.
Wheel Flex - Rigid Cores: When skating some of your stride's energy is lost into the flexing of the urethane tire and core of your wheels. This is called "wheel flex" and can make it feel like you are skating in molasses. Due to extra body weight, heavy skaters suffer from this phenomenon worse than others, so it's important for heavier skaters to get wheels with larger rigid cores. Solid aluminum cores are the best, but any high quality super rigid core will do the trick.
Less Grip: Light weight skaters will get less grip from their wheels than average or heavy weight skaters. You may wish to go one step softer in durometer to compensate. For example if, on your floor, skaters with an average build tend to ride 90A to 93A, then you may wish to try wheels between 88A to a 90A.
Solid Aluminum: In terms of performance these cores are the very best available. They are ultimately rigid and offer superior energy transfer. They tend to be a little on the pricey side. The only downside of this type of core is the weight. As of this writing, the lightest aluminum core wheels that we are aware of are 800 grams for a set of 8. Other aluminum core wheels weigh up to 1kg. For comparison's sake, the lightest nylon cored wheel that we are currently aware of 580 grams.
Nylon Cores: Most affordable wheels have spoked nylon cores. These are light but less rigid. This means poorer energy transfer during skating, which translates into a slower more sluggish feeling. As we explained above this is especially true for heavier skaters.
Hollow Cores: These are somewhat in-between spoked nylon cores and aluminum cores. Usually around the $100 price point for a full set, these wheels are light with minimal wheel flex. The capped cores are nice and rigid even for heavier weight skaters. These cores are made of various materials including nylon, fiber glass and other high quality plastics.
Most skaters strive for a light weight skate setup. The easiest and most affordable way to reduce the weight of your skates is to purchase light wheels. At the time of this writing the lightest wheels we are aware of weigh 530g and the heaviest weigh 1.2kg.
To put that into perspective, an average pair of roller skates weighs between 2kg-5kg, with most skates weighing in at about 3kg. A weight reduction of up to 600g, thanks to lighter wheels, makes a very noticeable difference.