Everything you ever wanted to know about Roller Skate Cushions
Roller skate cushions, also known as bushings in the USA, are small rubber or urethane blocks that are located between the trucks and the plates on your skates. They help to absorb shock and vibration, and they also affect the way your skates turn.
The hardness of a cushion or bushing is measured in durometer (A). A harder cushion will give you more stability and less turnability, while a softer cushion will give you more turnability and less stability. In general, harder cushions are better for speed skating, while softer cushions are better for tricks and agility. Some typical cushion hardness are:
- 78A – Soft
- 83A – Medium
- 88A – Medium/Hard
- 93A – Super Hard
The shape of a cushion can also affect the way your skates turn. Barrel cushions are the same width top and bottom, while cone cushions are narrower at the bottom and wider at the top. Barrel cushions provide more stability, while cone cushions provide more turnability. Some skaters like to ride with one barrel cushion and one cone cushion per truck while others like two barrel cushions. It is a matter of personal preference.
The urethane used to make cushions can also vary in quality. Higher-grade urethane can provide more rebound than cheap urethane. Rebound is the amount of energy that is returned to the skater when they turn. A higher rebound cushion will make your skates feel more responsive and agile.
When choosing roller skate cushions, it is important to consider your weight, the type of skating you do, and the quality of the urethane. Heavier skaters will need harder cushions than lighter skaters. If you do a lot of tricks, you will need softer cushions than if you do mostly cruising. And, if you want the best possible performance, you should look for cushions made with high-grade urethane from a reputable roller skate brand. There are a number of no-name brands selling cushions on Amazon and from my experience, they are made with low-grade urethane and are not a step up from the cushions that came with your roller skates. I tested brands such as FYANER and VKEDA and the rebound was very low. It is best to buy from a reputable skate brand such as Bont, Sure-Grip or Atom.
Here are some additional tips for choosing roller skate cushions:
- Consider your weight. Heavier skaters will need harder cushions than lighter skaters.
- Think about the type of skating you do. If you do a lot of tricks, you will need softer cushions than if you do mostly cruising. If you want to speed skate, choose harder cushions.
- Talk to your skate shop. They can help you choose the right cushions for your needs.
- Look for cushions from a roller skate brand. Do not purchase them from an unknown brand on Amazon because the urethane quality is likely to be poor.
Here is a table that summarizes the different factors to consider when choosing roller skate cushions:
|More experienced skaters
|Tricks that require stability
|Tricks that require agility