Grip is the word of the day with Poison Slims. They’re INCREDIBLY grippy. As such I’d totally recommend them to fresh meat.
The narrow profile is the interesting thing for me. Firstly, being on the smaller side (4’8″ and 115lbs) I’ve always struggled with grip in my wheels. For those of us who are smaller, narrow wheels can provide more grip than wider wheels (of the same durometer) for two reasons: wheel scrub and pressure over area.
Wheel scrub develops due to the difference in distance travelled between the two edges of the wheel when turning. The edge that has less pressure on it is more likely to slip. This ties into pressure – a lighter skater needs narrower wheels so that there’s more pressure over the smaller area. Wider wheels disperse the pressure over a greater area, meaning a higher likelihood of wheel scrub (and slippage) on turns.
On straightaways you won’t encounter wheel scrub but a lighter skater can’t put down as much pressure per inch over the wider wheel than they can over the narrow wheel. More pressure = more wheel surface area on floor = more grip.
Second, narrow profile means lighter wheels. A big complaint about the Poison Slim’s big sister is that they are HEAVY. Narrowing the wheel takes certainly shaves off some weight.
Another benefit is that they’re an indoor-outdoor hybrid. They’re not comparable to a true outdoor wheel (no hybrid wheel is) but it is certainly handy to have some versatility in your wheel. The wheel’s feedback does suffer for it (given the softness of the urethane) but for such grip, the compromise doesn’t seem so bad. The crappier your skating surface is in terms of grip and smoothness, the more you’ll ultimately like these wheels.
With that said, comparing them to other narrow, harder wheels is like comparing a a winter tire to an all-season radial. They’re different wheels for different surfaces. You will not get the same roll and agility in these wheels (with a durometer of 84A) as you would with wheels with 90A+ duros.
They’re a great value ($60 for a set of 8 currently). I definitely recommend them for lighter-weight freshies starting out in derby who also want to also do some skating outside to build up their skills. It’s one less set of wheels (not to mention bearings) you have to buy to skate outside.
Atom isn’t a slouch when making wheels – these are high quality wheels. Buy them with a purpose and you’ll be happy. And you might also get used to the glow-in-the-dark green colour. Maybe.