Polypro or HDPE?
Many questions arise around this topic.
Let’s get into it!
Material – what the heck is polypro anyway?
Let’s get technical for a moment. When we talk about polypro we actually refer to polypropylene material, which is a relatively new hoop tubing emerging in the past decade or so. HDPE refers to High Density Polyethylene, which is the tubing you’ll see at your local hardware store and has many uses from irrigation to delivering drinking water. Sometimes HDPE hoops are called “Dance” hoops, as they lend themselves to rocking out on the body. Somewhere along the way hoopers branched out into redesigning the tried and tested HDPE hula hoop and the creation of polypro began, and in MANY colours. Polypro’s become popular tubing worldwide and is highly sought after now.
Both types of tubing come in many fabulous colours. There’s a common myth that only polypro exists in the world in high technicolour, and while that used to be the case with standard black hardware store HDPE tubing (old skool style) it’s easy to find a range of colours now in both types of plastic tubing. Always read the product description to see what you’re buying!
Polypro is a little bit lighter than HDPE hoops. This makes HDPE great for on-body rocking! For a slightly lighter hoop, polypro is the popular choice.
Speed and size
One of the main factors influencing hoop choice is around the size and weight of the hoop and how that impacts speed. If you’re new to hooping, a dance hoop is a great idea for waist hooping and learning. For moves off the body, polypro is hands down the hoop of choice. Zippy, responsive, and a bit lighter than HDPE, it’s pretty forgiving for your hands (though you can still clock yourself, just sayin’) and the go-to for many professional hoop dancers.
One thing to think about is – your style of hula hooping will influence which type of plastic/s you want polypro in your arsenal. There’s no denying that a nice big dance hoop is SUPER fun to rock out with on your waist. Polypro have been celebrated for off-body and zippy moves and are therefore super popular with techy hoopers and people wanting to use multiple hoops (e.g. double or quad hooping). Here’s Buket creating an awesome flower pattern on Instagram.
Due to the popularity of polypro hoops you’re more likely to find collapsible options which can make travel and getting around easier. There have been a huge amount of new connectors and connections emerge in the past decade alone and often its polypro hoops that feature these new more user-friendly connectors. HDPE often breaks down into sectional hoops and polypro has the ability to coil down, which you can get a glimpse of by clicking on my face right here.
One interesting thing is that HDPE is a very hardy material, while polypro needs a bit more lovin’. Bending your polypro hoop in freezing temperatures risks cracking the hoop. Source: my friend went camping in freezing temps and tried to unfold her hoop, and it cracked. It’s not common, but it can happen. While both tubing types have been tried and tested and are generally very durable in most situations and temperatures, HDPE tends to be a little tougher..
What’s the right hoop for you?
Like any product there are pros and cons with both types of tubing.
Ask any hooper who’s been spinning it up for a few years and most will have a range of different hoops for the full range of moves they like to rock out. It can be great to start out on one of the bigger dance hoops, and then expand into polypro when feeling comfortable and a bit more confident to try different moves and tricks.
Some people will gravitate toward a favourite style of hoop, others will switch it up for maximum coverage. Some are hardcore lovers of the simple HDPE hoop, and others will be big proponents of polypro. I’d love to see a debate on this subject from hoopers around the world! Hehe! Over time you might like to accumulate hoops and form your very own “stack” so that you have different sizes and styles to choose from at any time. There’s really no right and wrong here, just a bunch of options, choices, and preferences, like ice cream flavours or cake. And I like LOTS of different cakes.
If you’d like to check out a range of different colourful polypro and HDPE hoops, head to the shop here.