Picking the perfect hoop
So you are ready to enter into the wonderful world of hooping, or you are ready to level up your flow - just one problem, you don't know what hoop to get.
The hoop community has come a long way since 'wham-o' introduced hula hoops to the world. We've evolved from a 'one-size-fits-all' toy store hoop to SO MANY OPTIONS.
It can be overwhelming and hard to know what is best for you.
After reading this blog, my goal is for you to be confident in exactly what type of hoop(s) are best for you! Let's break down some of the most common types of hoops and who they are for.
Type of tubing: Polyethylene (PE) tubing
Pros: Great for kids, new hoopers and adults. The additional weight slows the hoop down making on body skills easier.
Cons: Only comes in black tubing. Heavier hoops may make learning off body moves more challenging and can cause bruising when drilling tricks.
*Don't confuse this with 'PE' hoops from amazon. Those listings will give you cheap, plastic hoops in bulk for PE gym classes in schools. These are not ideal for new hoopers or on-body and are super prone to kinking*
Also known as beginner hoops, fitness hoops, dance hoops and Irrigation tubing.
Description: Thick black tubing that can be purchased at hardware stores and is great for DIY hoop makers. PE hoops are generally taped with both deco and grip/gaffer tape.
Available Tubing Options:
- 1'' OD (3/4" ID)
- 3/4" OD (1/2" ID)
Who it's best for:
Adults hooping for fitness
On Body style hoopers
1'' OD (3/4" ID) - This is a great size for brand new hoopers, especially those with limited hoop experience who struggle to keep a hoop spinning around their waist or with fitness goals. The additional weight of this tubing, coupled with a large diameter and gaffer tape, will slow down the hoop making it easier to keep up. There may still be a bit of a learning curve, but this is your best option if you need to build some confidence. Plus the extra weight burns extra calories. A standard beginner fitness hoop should come up to your belly button or have a diameter of about 35" - 42". Remember, bigger = easier to keep up. Give yourself an extra advantage by adding a strip of grip tape to the inside.
3/4" OD (1/2" ID) - This size is great for hoopers who have some hoop experience or are confident in their ability to keep the hoop spinning around their body. This size is significantly lighter than the 1" tubing, but still has enough weight to help you master those awesome 'on-body' moves like chest & shoulder hooping, but it isn't so heavy that off body tricks become too difficult. We'd recommend 30" - 36", depending on your desired style and skill level. If you are interested in learning hoop balancing, this is a great option. We recommend adding a strip of gaffer or 3M grip tape to the outside diameter of your hoop to help with balancing the hoop on your fingertips, arms, forehead, etc.
- Hoops with only one connector and no push button will not collapse.
- By adding in an extra connector, hoops fold in a figure 8 pattern or they can be coiled down by adding a pushbutton.
- PE hoops can be made into multiple equal sections called 'sectional hoops' and are connected by push buttons. Add and remove sections to customize the size and for travel.
Hoops can also be completely taped, partially taped or bare depending on your budget and preference. We recommend adding grip tape for new hoopers!
Type of tubing: Polypropylene (Polypro)
Light weight, fast and bouncy. Loved by hoopers of all skill levels and hoop styles. Variety of tubing options to choose from. Bright and colorful tubing.
CONS: Polypro tubing may be too light for some hoopers and be challenging to learn on body skills. Polypro hoops are known to be brittle and at risk for breaking and cracking, especially with cold temperatures or aggressive hoop moves like breaks, wedgies or missed tosses.
Description: Milky white, semi transparent or bright and colorful plastic like tubing.
Available Tubing Options:
Who it's best for:
- New and experienced hoopers, on body, dance style, tech style, multi hoopers and performance/circus style hoopers.
3/4" - Best for new hoopers and those who are transitioning from PE hoops. Great for dance and on body style flow. We recommend 28"-36" for these styles, keeping in mind that bigger hoops move slower making this a good option for on-body split and circus style hoopers.
5/8" - This is both lighter and thinner than the 3/4, making it a great option for a slightly more advanced Hooper, tech style or those interested in doubles or multi-hooping. If you choose this option for double hoops, I recommend getting the smallest size you can comfortably waist hoop with. If you love that 'fast and furious' type hooping with lots of off-body tricks, this is a great option for you at somewhere between 25" - 29". If you prefer a mix of on-body & off-body, slow & fast - you may want to stick with 29" - 33" depending on your skill level and desired style. Because this tubing is thin, anything bigger than 34" will begin to get a bit flimsy.
11/16" - Sometimes called the 'goldilocks' of hoop sizes. It combines the thinner tubing of 5/8 with the weight of 3/4. Its good for those in-the middle hoopers who explore a variety of styles.
1/2" - This is a great option for minis and multiples. The super thin and light weight tubing makes it easier to hold 2+ hooping in your hand at the same time and is great for drilling tech-y type skills without turning your arms to jello.
Mini hoops typically range anywhere from 14" - 24" while doubles, triples and quads can range from 24" and up. The light weight nature of this tubing could mean that on-body hooping becomes difficult or impossible for some hoopers. Again, keep in mind that the thinner tubing will begin to get flimsy and floppy if the diameter gets too big.
-Friction fit means there is no push button. With enough pressure this can easily come open during flow, so I don't recommend it.
-Rivet only means that the hoop is permanently connected using a rivet gun. This option works if you don't plan to travel with your hoops.
-Push Button means the hoop is connected via a push button and rivet. These hoops are the most common when shopping for polypro and are great if you plan to travel or collapse down your hoop for any reason. You can also connect multiple push button hoops, creating a mega hoop!
-Sectional hoops are an awesome option for those who like customizable and travel hoops. Just as with PE, these come with equal sections that connect with push buttons.
- Polypro hoops can be bare/naked tubing, completely taped or partially taped. Grip options include sanding the inside, hoop wax on the inside or a strip of grip tape on the inside.
Type of tubing: High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
Pros: Similar to polypro in texture and in regards to available sizes and color options. More durable than polypro, less likely to crack or break at low temperatures.
Cons: Weight is slightly heavier than polypro, and less flexible and bouncy.
Description: Milky white or bright and colorful plastic like tubing.
HDPE and Polypro, for the most part, both have the same options when it comes to available tubing sizes, connection, tape and grip. My size recommendations for both types of tubing are the same and will be based on your desired style and current skill level.
When it comes to HDPE vs. Polypro, it is a personal preference and there is no 'right or wrong' here. However, if you live in climates that often have extremely cold temperatures, you may want to opt for HDPE as it will be the most durable option for you.
Personally, I use both polypro and HDPE interchangeably and love them both!
As far as WHERE to buy, options are limitless, but not all hoop shops are created equal. We highly recommend doing your research. Read reviews to be sure the hoop shop is reputable. If you are unsure about anything, the shop owner should be able to guide you to the hoop that is best for you!
We hope you found this info helpful! Let us know which tubing option is YOUR favorite!