Hoops aren’t like shoes, where you wear just one size. Sometimes you want an extra large hoop so you can do some sustained spinning or practice a difficult move. Other times you want a super tiny hoop so you can work on complex isolations and body rolls. We offer some suggestions on how to size based on skill level, but you should experiment with lots of hoops, big and small, to find the ways you like to flow
If you are an absolute hoop beginner, or like to dance slowly, you should start with our Large (38″ OD) or XL (42″ OD). The extra weight gives the hoop more momentum as it travels around you, which helps it to stay up. The extra room inside the hoop lets you move a little slower and more gracefully. Note that 42″ is *really* slow while you are hooping, so if you think you will be into a faster hooping style, you may want to purchase a size smaller.
When you start working up some skill, or if you like to dance fast, you may want a Medium (36″ OD). It is roughly the same weight as the Large, but the smaller diameter lends itself to a more varied mixture of on body and off body hooping. The thick tubing holds up well to breaks and reversals.
Once you’ve logged a lot of hours hooping, you’ll notice that you want to hoop for longer amounts of time, but you are getting fatigued. A lighter, smaller hoop like the Small (33″ OD) is not ideal for sustained spinning, but perfect for transitioning back and forth from core hooping and off-body hoop dancing, which is a key component in saving strength during long dance sessions.
Minis (20″ OD) are generally dual-wielded and used to do weaves and other poi-style moves. But you can also perform lots of sophisticated isolations with one or two minis (see Matt ‘Poki’ McCorkle’s videos for an example).
Throughout the course of our history, we’ve experimented with different combinations of hoop diameter and tubing thickness to find the ones that would satisfy the greatest number of people. There are a few combos that we’ve stumbled on that didn’t make the cut for mass production, but are very fun in their own right.
Our original 36″ OD hoops were made with 5/8″ OD tubing. This made them much lighter than our current 36″, but also they were very flexible. One customer described them as “whip like”, in a good way. The lightness gives you versatility and reduces fatigue, while the diameter allows you to hoop slowly and more gently, or even do sustained spinning. This is in contrast to the 33″ in the same tubing thickness, which is much harder to core hoop with for extended sessions.
In a similar vein, we’ve found that 38″ OD in 3/4″OD tubing is a good balance of lightness and large diameter. It has the same characteristic flex of the previously mentioned hoop. There are a certain class of people that love these light, flexy builds, including us! We don’t offer them by default, but they are still worth trying out.
Another size that comes up now and again is the 33″ OD hoop in 3/4″ OD tubing. Our original 33″ hoops used this tubing thickness. Some people really like a smallish hoop that is also a bit more rigid and heavy. You can really beat them up with breaks and reversals and not worry about kinking the way you have to with a flexy hoop. Still, you should always do your worst punishment on your day hoops first, so you know what the natural limits of the tubing are
Fire Hoop Sizing
Each Five Wick Fire Hoop gets your choice of a standard size HDPE hoop, which can also be upgraded to polypro. Since the Fire Wicks are removable, you can choose whichever standard hoop size to add to your current hoop collection. If this hoop will be mainly for fire hooping, it’s good to select a hoop size that is closest to the size of the hoop that you’re most comfortable with/your regular hoop size.
The Fire Wicks will add about 5 inches to each end of the hoop, for a total of 10 inches added to the clearance of your hoop. Your regular sized hoop or a hoop sized slightly smaller is a good option for choosing a size.