Like most other situations, I personally think black wheels have to benefit the rest of the look to work. Yes, I'm a fan of them, but only on certain wheels, against certain vehicle colors, with certain hardware behind them, and so on. Some of my guidelines:
- Brakes should be fairly large and fill well more than half of the negative space within the inner rim. Also, the fairly recent trend of coloring calipers has a direct correlation to the black-wheel trend because black wheels make these pop more.
- Good colors: Most bright flat colors and darker blues and grays. Bad colors: Most metallic colors (silver, gold, champagne, etc.). Best color: White, or a bright flat color like that Lava Orange.
- Good wheel types: Ones with light, thin spokes or no more than six thicker spokes. The former de-emphasizes the size-reduction illusion effect, while the latter increases it.
Also, some historical background: Black wheels first gained a foothold among autocrossers and track-day addicts who realized that keeping traditional alloys looking clean -- particularly the polished and machined ones that were popular 10-15 years ago -- was far, far easier if they were dark colored. With a black wheel, all one needed to do was hose it off and it looked relatively clean. Also, brake dust and other solvents naturally corrode aluminum, so that eventually wheels that weren't cleaned regularly would begin to suffer pitting that was far more noticeable on lighter-colored wheels. Most black wheels of this time were matte in color so that polishing wasn't necessary; the high gloss of many black wheels on passenger cars today is simply bling.