Foam Filled vs Air Filled Tires Stroller: Tough Hide or Smooth Ride

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There’s a huge range of strollers to choose from, many with appealing features and capabilities that may fit your lifestyle perfectly. But do you consider the type of stroller wheel each model has when deciding what the right model is for you?

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Because my full-time job is being mom to 2 precious daughters, and I know a thing or two about strollers. Besides personal experience, I get feedback from other moms who use these strollers every day and put all that research into our unbiased stroller buying guides

- Kyli

First of all, you’ll need to determine how and where you plan on mainly using your stroller. Are you looking for a smooth push on rough ground? Are you intending on taking your child to the beach or to the park in the stroller? Or do you only plan on taking your stroller on trips to the mall?

In this article, we take a look at stroller wheels, specifically foam filled and air-filled stroller tires. You’ll soon see that the kind of stroller wheel on your preferred model will determine whether your choice will fit with what you want to do and where you want to go.

Foam-filled tires

The creation of foam-filled tires addressed the problem of air-filled tires constantly going flat. That’s a big issue if you find yourself stranded somewhere away from home. A flat stroller tire and a tired, angsty infant don’t exactly mix well.

Foam-filled tires are filled with a rubberized foam instead of air. That means they’re puncture-proof and don’t require maintenance. Strollers with foam-filled wheels are generally heavier and harder to push than those with air-filled tires.

Foam-filled tires offer almost the same benefits as pneumatic, air-filled wheels do, but without the problem of leakage through punctures. All air-filled tires lose air over a period of time, which means that you’ll need to continually check the tires on your stroller, pumping them up as and when needed. That’s not a job you’ll need to do if you choose a stroller with foam-filled tires.

In general, foam-filled tires last longer than air-filled ones. However, foam-filled tires are typically harder to push than air-filled ones because they’re heavier. Also, air-filled tires provide a smoother ride for your child that foam-filled ones. That’s because air-filled tires have the ability to bounce gently over bumps, whereas foam-filled ones don’t.

Stroller manufacturers have taken steps to counteract the potentially rough ride that foam-filled tires would give by developing clever and innovative suspension systems.

For example, the Quinny Buzz Xtra stroller has a rear wheel suspension system that smooths out the bumpiest rides when going over cracked sidewalks or an uneven boardwalk. The Buzz’s foam-filled rear wheels measure 12 inches in diameter, making pushing the stroller over rough terrain a breeze.

The Baby Jogger City Select is a regular stroller that can be transformed into a double buggy when number two arrives! This stroller has pneumatic, foam-filled front and rear wheels that are eight and 12-inches respectively, ensuring a super-smooth ride, especially over uneven surfaces.

Air-filled tires

There are several different types of air-filled  stroller wheels.

Basic air-filled tires are similar to bicycle wheels. They give a very smooth, bump-free ride. Plus, the design allows for ease-of-use on slightly uneven surfaces such as city street sidewalks.

The composition of pneumatic tires includes reinforced rubber and compressed air. These tires are more robust than standard air-filled tires, so jogging strollers frequently utilize them.

You can also find strollers that have air wheel tires with sealed ball bearings. These are generally larger than standard air-filled tires and give a super-smooth ride. The bigger the wheel is, the smoother the ride it will give. That’s why this kind of wheel is usually used for all-terrain and jogging strollers.

Air-filled tires do require frequent maintenance and you’ll need to top up the air with a pump from time-to-time. Foam-filled tires don’t require any maintenance, but they will need replacement or refilling when they become worn down through heavy use.

Air-filled tires can be replaced or repaired if you get a puncture, but that can be a hassle you don’t want.

Many of leading stroller brand, Phil and Ted’s buggies have air-filled tires. Their iconic, all-terrain sport buggy boasts a set of 12-inch air-filled tires that glide smoothly over bumps in the road.

Wrapping it up

The choice between air-filled and foam-filled stroller wheels will depend on which one is best for your lifestyle and what you’re looking to get out of the stroller you choose.

For example, as durable as foam-filled stroller wheels may be, they do tend to make the stroller heavy to push. And you’ll need to make sure that there’s a good suspension system in place to ensure a smooth ride.

Although air-filled tires do require some maintenance, the cushioning effect of air-filled tires will act as a shock-absorber when you roll over a sudden change in landscape. Add to that a superior-quality suspension system and build and your child is sure to enjoy a silky-smooth ride no matter where you go.

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Alison Page