The smaller the hula hoop, the faster it spins and the harder it is to use. This is the main reason that you may have had trouble with hula hoops from the toy shop, or even the 'sporting goods' store. When standing on the ground beside you, a hula hoop should generally come to somewhere between your femoral trochanter (the bony side of your hip, around the same level as your groin) and your belly button. Beginners, children and people with larger waists (see below) should aim for belly button height, or even larger will be fine - it is surprisingly easy to use a hoop that is even larger than you are, but this won't allow you to do much more with it than spin it around your waist in big slow circles. Experienced hoopers generally move down to smaller hoops, which are easier to manipulate through a wide range of tricks.
Technically, it is not the size of the hoop that determines how fast it spins but the ratio of hula hoop size to waist size. This means that a larger waist requires a larger hoop, sometimes a much larger hoop (if you double the waist circumference then ideally you would want to double the hoop size, but there is obviously a point where is becomes impractical). We recommend our large travel hoops for people with large waists and we are able to make extra large hoops too - contact us for details.
16mm polypro? 25mm HDPE? What does this all mean??
Well, 19-20 mm is the standard width for a hula hoop, 16mm is thin and 25mm is thicker but about right for larger adult hula hoops. The weight probably matters more than the width, although the two are related. Refer to the table below when deciding what is best for your application:
|Hula Hoop Tube||Qualities||Recommended Applications|
|16mm Polypro||Thin, light||Smaller hoops, hand-hooping, numbers/hoop slinky|
|18mm HDPE||Somewhat thin, very light||Intermediate-advanced hoopers with smaller hoops/hand-hooping|
|19mm Polypro||Standard, light||Intermediate-to-advanced hoopers and enthusiastic beginners|
|20mm HDPE (blue line)||Standard, weighted||Beginner-to-intermediate hoopers|
|20mm HDPE (custom)||Standard, slightly heavier||Rhythmic Gymnastics, where there are minimum weight restrictions|
|25mm HDPE||Thick, weighted||Beginner-to-intermediate hoopers with large hoops|
*Different hoop tubes are available in different hoop sizes; large hoop tube is no good for very small hula hoops and vice versa.
Many hoopers get very passionate about plastic but most do not really understand the differences, which frankly are modest. Polypropylene is more rigid than high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which allows you to make lighter hoops without them becoming floppy and can give a more springy feel to the hoop. Rigidity is also a function of the wall thickness though, so an HDPE hoop with a thicker wall can be more rigid than a polypro hoop with a thinner wall. We use the the plastics in different dimensions to make the most of the differences, which means that you cannot make an apples-with-apples comparison using our tube. If you've felt a 'polypro' or 'HDPE' hoop and loved it before, it was probably because the size and weight were right for you, more than because of the type of plastic. We suggest choosing your tube based on the recommendations in the table above, rather than on the type of the plastic.
As any hooper knows, hauling a hula hoop around can be a right pain in the neck. A travel hoop on the other hand breaks down into sections that will fit into your backpack or sports bag. A travel hoop also has the added advantage of being flexible in size; you can use your travel hoop with either 5 pieces or with 6 to make it larger or smaller.