I'm going to give you some guidelines on how to pick out your first polypro hoop.
If you are a brand new beginner hooper I recommend that you first check out my guide on How to Pick Your First Beginner Hoop. Using a beginner hoop when you're starting out is great to learn on-body hooping because the larger and heavier the hoop the slower it's going to move and allow you to more efficiently learn the foundational hoop dance moves. When you're ready to level up your flow or would like to get a second hoop as a beginner to practice more off-body movements with then that's when you'll want to get a polypro.
Polypros are much lighter, more responsive and bouncy than beginner hoops. They are thinner and generally smaller in diameter as well. So they are going to have a much faster response time. This is great for a lot of off-body moves because it's not going to be as hard on your hands and as prone to bruising them as a larger, heavier beginner hoop might be.
My personal recommendation as a brand new beginner hooper is to definitely get a beginner hoop, but if you're able to get a second hoop get a polypro hoop as well. So you have one to learn on-body hooping and one to learn off-body hooping.
Then eventually when you really master those on-body core moves you will be able to blend on-body and off-body hooping together and just stick with your polypro hoop to perform all moves and start to create your own unique style of flow.
When using a polypro hoop your movements will naturally have to be a lot faster and more precise. Since they are so much lighter and more responsive than a beginner hoop they are less forgiving and they might be harder to recover the hoop from a precise move. Especially a move where you are quickly reversing the hoop's direction like during breaks on your shoulders and your knees. So keep that in mind if you are transitioning from a beginner hoop to a polypro hoop. Give your body some time to adjust to the new speed and rhythm of your polypro hoop.
There is no one size fits all. Your perfect hoop size is very specific to your individual technique and type of hoop flow.
So that being said, I'm going to familiarize you with all the different polypro options and give you a little polypro vs. HDPE comparison to give you a solid starting point on where to begin in picking out your first polypro hoop.
Keep in mind that this is a guide to help you pick out your first polypro hoop and I can not tell you the exact hoop size to order. Only you can determine your perfect hoop size. Until you feel the hoop in your own hands, practice and experiment with it, and develop your own style of flow, will you really know what type of tubing (polypro vs hdpe) and hoop size is perfect for you.
Let's go over the different tubing thickness options for polypro hoops.
Polypro Tubing Thicknesses
For your first polypro hoop, especially as a beginner, you're definitely going to want to start with the 3/4 inch tubing option. It's a good generic size and it'll give you the most stability and control over your hoop.
The second thing you're going to need to know when ordering your polypro hoop is the diameter. The diameter of a hoop is measured from one point of the hoop to the other. Some hoop shops might measure this from OD which is the outer diameter. Other hoop shops might measure this from ID which is the inner diameter. As a beginner and for your first polypro hoop this isn't going to make a big difference. But this is something to become aware of for when you progress and it does make more of a difference in your flow.
To help you decide on what size to order in the diameter of your polypro hoop, I recommend measuring the distance from you inner thigh to your heel. You'll want to leave a little bit of space at the bottom of the hoop and the ground, because during moves like wedgies, a very popular off-body move, you're not going to want your hoop to be scraping the ground as it'll make the move a lot harder to smooth out and your hoop more likely to break.
So now that you know to order a 3/4 inch polypro hoop measuring close to the distance from your inner thigh to your heel, let's talk about what type of finish to get on your hoop. I'm not going to cover all the options because there are a lot of them. There are taped hoops, bare polypro hoops, reflective hoops, LED hoops and more.
So I'm going to give you my recommendation for your first polypro hoop. Order a bare polypro hoop with gaffers tape on the inside diameter. Gaffers tape is really grippy and it'll make the hoop grip to your body a lot more easily during on-body hooping. Because a bare polypro surface would be much more smooth and it’ll slide right off your body while first learning.
The next thing I want to familiarize you with is the most common type of connection for polypros. Your polypro hoop will generally come with a push-button connection. It’ll come in a little box coiled down. Open it up and just let the hoop breathe a little bit and then when you’re ready to connect it just insert one end into the other until the push button snaps through and secures into the other end of the hoop.
And if you do decide to go ahead and order a taped polypro hoop, that’s fine, I can understand the temptation. They come in so many pretty colors and patterns. But keep in mind that taped hoops are much more delicate than bare hoops and even with the clear protective tape over it they can get torn up very easily. So only use a taped hoop on smooth surfaces like carpet and grass. Avoid rough surfaces like rocks and cement.
Now here is a quick comparison of polypro hoops versus HDPE hoops. Some people prefer transitioning from a beginner hoop to HDPE before polypro. In my personal opinion I prefer polypro and don't necessarily see the need to transition to HDPE hoops before polypros, but I’ll familiarize you with their main differences so that you can make the decision for yourself.
From looking at them you can’t even tell the difference. And as a beginner holding them in your hand and flowing with them you probably won’t even be able to tell much of a difference either. The main difference is that polypro hoops are more responsive and bouncy, having a faster reaction time while HDPE hoops are a bit more stiff and have a slower reaction time. Polypros are best for quick direction changing moves like breaks. Polypro tubing is also slightly lighter.
Another thing to consider is the type of climate that you live in. Polypro hoops hold up their shape better in warmer temperatures than HDPE hoops. HDPE hoops can get wonky more easily and almost feel like rubber when the tubing gets warmed up. Although HDPE hoops are better in colder climates because they’re much more durable and less likely to crack. Polypros are horrible in cold climate because when the tubing gets cold it breaks very easily. And those are the main differences between the polypros and hdpe hoops.
To sum all that up, my recommendation for ordering your first poly pro is to get a 3/4 inch bare tubing polypro with a diameter measuring close to the distance of your inner leg. (29-34 inches), and gaffers tape on the inside diameter of the hoop.
Then as your flow progresses and your skill level improves you will most likely want to down size the diameter of your hoop to accommodate your faster and more precise flow and technique.
I hope you found these tips helpful and please feel free to message me with any additional questions. This was a bit of a crash course on picking out your first polypro hoop. If you’d like a more in depth explanation of all the different types of hoops then check out my online Learn to Hoop Dance Online Course.
Here’s my personal preferred hoop size progression if you are interested. I transitioned from a beginner hoop to a polypro hoop five months into my journey. My first polypro was a bare 3/4th 34” hoop and I loved it! I used it for about three months been downsizing to a 32 inch polypro hoop. Once I mastered on body hooping, switching over to polypros really helped me find my flow and smooth out my transitions and technique. I found that the lightness and responsiveness of polypro hoops is a perfect combination for meditative dance like flow and also for fun ninja like moves. Polypros have become my go-to hoops and I never leave home without them.
Get yourself a polypro and begin your own hooping adventures!