Skateboarding was originally invented for surfers when they couldn’t get on the water, but it’s since become its own sport with a unique culture and die-hard fans. It even became an Olympic sport earlier in 2021.
There are all kinds of riding styles, board shapes, sizes and parts to choose from. It can be overwhelming! In this guide, we break down twelve of the best boards for freeriding, commuting, carving, and more.
Next, we’ll dig into how to pick the best skateboard based on factors like your riding style, the deck, trucks, and wheels. Still have questions? We’ll close out by answering the most frequently asked ones about skateboards. Let’s get started:
If you're on the hunt for a freeride style board, the Sector 9 Fault Line Perch may be the one of your dreams. It features 9-ply maple wood construction with exposed Teak at the bottom. To lower your center of gravity, it uses a flush-mount drop-down deck with dimensions of 39.5’’ and 9.75”. The flares let you lock your feet in while the skateboard deck top-mounted on the trucks makes it easier to take turns and stay stable. The wheelbase is 29.0’’-31.0’’.
As for the other components, the Perch has large 70mm 78a Nineballs (wheels), 1.25’’ hardened steel bolts, and extremely sturdy 10.0’’ Gullwing Reverse Trucks. The free grip tape is extra coarse, so you can rest assured your feet will stick to the board.
There are also ABEC 5 Blaze Bearings, which are made from stainless steel and designed for easy cleaning. Sector 9 uses these bearings to keep the number of parts to a minimum.
At almost 40 inches, it’s just long enough to fall into the best range for freeriding, though it is also a beast for downhill and commuting! Cost-wise, it’s a bit on the pricier end, but it should last a long time thanks to its high-quality components. This skateboard is a good fit for beginners, but riders of all experiences will enjoy the board’s versatility.
Freeriding is a skateboard style that combines downhill skating with tricks. Because this style is challenging, wrist injuries are common. Check out our article on the best skateboard wrist guards.
For beginners who don’t want to spend a lot of money, the Santa Cruz Classic Dot is a great choice. The 7.25-wide option features a shallow concave board, which provides better stability for those learning how to balance. The 99A wheels are on the smaller size at 52mm. They work well for street skating and performing tricks.
To make the board accessible to more people, you can get the deck in a variety of widths: 7.25, 7.5, 7.8, 8, and 8.25. If you want to focus on tricks, one of the narrower widths will work best. For a better all-around experience, try the 7.8 or 8-inch board. If you want to start with stability, go with the 8.25-inch deck. It can hold up to 220 pounds.
Speaking of the skateboard deck, it’s made from 7-ply maple wood and epoxy. It has a classic double kicktail design. The polyurethane wheels use ABEC-3 bearings, so they’re designed for good abrasion resistance, high elasticity, and good shock absorption. You’ll notice the rating is lower on the Cruzer than some of the other skateboards on this list, but it doesn’t really affect the board’s quality. The trucks have standard kingpins, standard hangers, and tough 90A bushings.
This board from the Drift Bamboo Collection features beautiful graphics from artist Nate Reifke, but it’s much more than its mesmerizing looks. The drop-thru Mini Lookout Wreckage, designed for carving and commuting, has a 5-ply bamboo skateboard deck, caramelized bamboo inlay stringers on the top ply, and solid components.
The trucks are 10-inch Gullwing Chargers, while the 72mm 78a Nineballs wheels come with ABEC 5 Greaseball bearings. The 78a Nineball wheels are soft, which is perfect for rolling over the bumps and cracks you’re bound to encounter while commuting. The softness makes the ride much smoother. The board also has 1.125’’ Truss Head Steel bolts and clear grip tape.
The Wreckage is 37.5 inches long and 9.25 inches wide. Compared to many other longboards, it’s a small board, which is why it’s called “Mini.” It still provides the rider with the stability necessary for long commutes. It costs a pricey $200, but if you want a high-quality commuting board with stunning artwork, you’ll be happy with the Mini Lookout Wreckage.
Cruiser boards give you skateboarding in its purest form - the breeze in your face, open road in front of you. The Santa Cruz Street Cruzer is a durable, reliable board with a traditional 7-ply maple wood construction.
Because the board uses the standard construction that has gone through the test of time, you can be confident that it’s good quality for a reasonable price. The high-quality Krux trucks are designed for making precise, stable turns, while the ABEC 5 shielded bearings are smooth and fast. The wheels are 60mm, which is a good medium size for a smooth, stable ride. 60mm is a nice size for beginners, too. The 78a rating means the wheels are fairly soft, which is ideal for riding over uneven roads. With hard wheels, you’d feel every bump.
We like this complete skateboard for cruising, though it’s also a great choice for beginners and younger riders. It measures just over 29 inches long and 8.79 inches wide. Because the trucks are on the shorter side, it lowers your center of gravity. You’ll find it easier to balance.
Carving is like surfing but without the waves. Technically, you can use any longboard for carving, but it’s easier when the board has a good amount of deck flex.
We absolutely love the Chamber Vortex, an 8-ply maple board from Sector 9 designed for carving. It’s part of the Tropic Teak Collection, so it features exposed Teak wood on the bottom and a stunning graphic of koi swimming over a spiral design.
The flush-mount drop-thru deck, a favorite from this brand, uses ultra-reliable 9-inch Gullwing Sidewinder II trucks. These are specifically designed for carving and cruising. They feature premium 89a cone and barrel combo bushings. Because the trucks are made for carving, you should not use this board for downhill skating.
As for the wheels, they’re 69mm Nineballs. They have a 78a rating, which is the most popular durometer for longboard wheels. They ensure a soft ride over rough terrain. The bearings are ABEC 5 Greaseballs.
The deck shape is worth mentioning, too, as it makes this skateboard stand out from Sector 9’s other offerings. It’s not the cheapest option (it’s about $200 before shipping), but if you’re looking for a unique board designed for smooth carving, the Chamber Vortex is the best skateboard out there in our opinion.
Available in different sizes, this skateboard is a fine choice if you want to keep your riding options open. Whether you want to try street skating, flip tricks or anything in between, the Element Section offers a classic, reliable ride.
The sizes range from 31.25’’ to 32’’ in length, while the width starts at 7.5’’ and goes up to 8.25’’. The wheelbases for the 7.5" and 7.75" widths are 14 inches, while the other options provide a 14.25" wheelbase. The deck is made from a Featherlight high-quality 7-ply maple construction, which consists of thin wood veneers pressed with special glue. This keeps the board light (which you need for tricks), but without compromising strength.
The trucks are 100% stainless steel with 60mm 78a 100% polyurethane wheels. The softer wheels roll a bit slower than harder ones, but they have a better grip. The ball bearings have an ABEC 5 rating. Price-wise, this is a very affordable skateboard! It tops out at around $100 when it’s not on sale. As a complete skateboard, it comes with everything you need including the wheels, ⅛’’ riser pads, trucks, and clear grips.
1970s Southern California inspired this drop-thru skateboard. It’s got a black maple bottom veneer, die-cut colored maple inlay, and drop rocker mold. The sharp rails help provide great control and extra grip.
Moving away from the skateboard deck, you’ll find 10-inch Gullwing Reverse trucks, 70mm 78a Nineballs, and ABEC 5 Blaze Bearings with built-in spacers. These nicely-sized, softer wheels are excellent for acceleration and grip. You’ll also get a nice grip from the extra coarse tape. Why reverse trucks? These sit lower than standard trucks and ensure a stable ride. This is important for going downhill riding. You can also find reverse trucks on boards designed for cruising and freestyle, so this board is a good choice for those, too.
In terms of size, the Dropper Mosaic is what you’d expect from longboards. It’s 41 inches long, 9.625 inches wide, with a wheelbase of 29 inches. That makes it one of the longest skateboards on this list. Downhill skating can be tricky, so be careful if you’re a beginner and always wear safety gear.
This board works for just about everyone, including kids! The reason we picked this particular board for children is the low price. It’s a great choice for a kid who is interested in skateboarding but doesn’t know if they’ll love it yet.
If they end up deciding skateboarding isn’t what they expected, you wouldn’t have spent an arm and a leg. The Hiboy Alpha has a 7-layer Canadian maple deck that holds up to 220 pounds. It has a double kicktail concave design, 5-inch metal alloy trucks, PU bushings, ABEC 11 bearings.
The wheels are 54mm 95a Hiboy graphic wheels, which ensure a smooth ride. 95a wheels are on the harder side, so they provide high speeds with a bit of grip for rough surfaces. You get a good grip on the deck itself, too, with the high-density 80AB emery non-slip grip tape. At 31'' x 8'', this is a versatile, wider board that's great for cruising, sliding, and doing tricks. It’s also fairly light at just 4.6 pounds, which helps make this our top pick for the best skateboard for kids.
Part of the Sector 9 brand's Signature Collection, this complete board is perfect for park skating and cruising. It features a Pro Model classic shape and black-and-white illustrations by artist Daniel Sheridan. This double-kick Sector 9 consists of a 7-ply maple skateboard deck, printed grip tape, and neon ink bottom art. For the components, we start with the 61mm 78a Nineballs. This durometer rating is on the soft side for skate parks, but it’s also designed for cruising, which is why these wheels aren’t as hard as other skate park boards.
The bearings are ABEC 5 Greaseballs. 8.5-inch Gullwing Shadow Trucks and hardened steel bolts round out the rest of the components. Shadow trucks use a traditional kingpin style, which makes them ideal for skating parks and cruising. To extend the truck’s life, there’s extra aluminum on the grinding surface. At around $150, this is one of the more affordable Sector 9 skateboards on this list.
Cheap skateboards can have questionable quality, but this affordable option doesn’t skimp on the important specs. The deck is made from 7-ply Canadian maple and boasts a medium concave, so it’s a good choice for a variety of riding styles.
The components consist of high-quality Havoc trucks and ABEC 7 bearings. Havoc trucks are made from materials like maple and aluminum alloy, so they’re durable but still lightweight. The wheels are 52mm 99a, which is a harder durometer and good for all-around park and tricks skating. Everything is fitted perfectly, so you can start riding the board right out of the box.
Because of this board’s good deck and components, it’s a strong choice if you don’t want to spend much money on a big skateboard brand, but you're still concerned about quality. It’s unlikely to last as long as some of the more expensive boards out there, but it works well as the first skateboard for a beginner on a budget. You can also swap out and upgrade some of the components if you want to be sure they’ll last longer.
What are pintail boards? These longboards are designed for relaxed cruising and carving. You can recognize them by their distinct shape. The Hana longboard from Magneto has a classic deck with wheel cuts in the bottom of the deck. This prevents “wheel bite,” which is when the wheels contact the board during a stop and mess up your balance.
The deck also has a subtle W-concave that helps you lock your feet in place. It’s made from an 8-layer laminate with a hard maple core and bamboo top and bottom. As for the components, there are 70mm wheels with a soft 78a durometer, ABEC 5 bearings, and 7-inch gravity-cast aluminum trucks. The bushings have a medium stiffness for good stability. It comes with a skate tool, as well.
Everything about this longboard was designed for smooth, easy cruising. The wheelbase is 31-inches, which is the shortest of the Hana collection, which gives the board very responsive turning. Having a wider deck is also more comfortable while cruising. If you’re just getting into longboards, this pintail is a good choice.
As the name implies, dropdown decks are closer to the ground. They are essentially a normal mount deck, but they have a deep drop in the middle, so you stand lower than your trucks.
This lowered platform makes these skateboard decks ideal for freeriding, cruising, and street skaters. The Low Glider from Magneto features an 8-layer laminate board made from bamboo and a hard maple core. It’s 38 inches long and 9.5 inches wide.
Moving away from the deck, the Low Glider has big 100mm polyurethane wheels equipped to handle most terrain, including bumpy roads. The 7-inch trucks are made from gravity-cast aluminum with 90a bushings.
If you’ve always wanted skateboarding to feel like surfing, this is a great board to check out. The wheels are designed to spin longer than regular wheels, so each push gets you a good distance. Long, relaxing rides will be comfortable and easy. You even get a free skate tool with your purchase!
You may be overwhelmed with your buying decision at this point, but don't worry. We'll now help narrow down the list to a set few based on your requirements and preferred riding style.
As the name indicates, a complete skateboard comes with everything you need right in the box. You don’t have to go out and pick the wheels or the trucks or anything like that. For beginners, a complete skateboard designed for your desired riding style is the better choice. You don’t need to worry about picking the wrong part.
It’s also better because you can get started skateboarding right away and see if you even like it. With a custom skateboard, it takes time to choose the right parts. You don’t want to spend a lot of time building a board only to find out that skateboarding isn’t your cup of tea.
The last reason? Complete skateboards are usually cheaper. Depending on the board you get, you can usually swap out certain pieces (like the wheels and trucks), so you get a taste of customization without needing to start from scratch.
If you’re a more experienced skateboarder, a custom skateboard gives you control over each part. Keep an eye out for our upcoming article on how to assemble the perfect custom skateboard.
There are six main ways to ride a skateboard:
Cruising refers to long-distance riding without doing tricks or stopping. Cruiser boards designed for this style are typically shorter with a shorter nose and soft wheels, though you can cruise on just about any board.
Carving resembles surfing and involves quick turns back and forth in an S-shape. This allows the rider to build up speed.
If you use your skateboard for commuting, you want a skateboard that sits lower to the ground and is designed to travel long distances.
Cruising, carving, and commuting are good styles for a beginner to start with.
Downhill skateboarding is self-explanatory. You skateboard down a hill. Boards designed for this style require high-quality components that can handle more stress and more complex molds.
Freeriding, a form of downhill skateboarding, includes technical tricks and carving. It’s best for experienced riders.
The last riding style - park skating - is when you take your board to a skate park and perform tricks, transitions, and so on.
Trying to master your riding style and get better at skateboarding? Check out our guide on how to improve your skills.
Let's take a look at some of the main components that make up a skateboard and how they form your riding experience.
When it comes to picking the best skateboard decks there are few factors to consider:
Deck sizes are nearly always measured in inches. A normal skateboard is between 28-33 inches long and 7.5-8.25 inches wide, while a longboard is between 33-59 inches and 9 inches wide. Wider boards tend to give you more stability and they’re more comfortable to stand on for long periods. If you want to focus on cruising or commuting, longboards are often better than regular skateboards.
Wider is not always better. If the deck is too wide compared to your shoe size, you'll have trouble turning, carving and controlling the board in general.
Skateboards vary in their shape, too. The “concave” refers to the longitudinal curvature of the deck. The higher the curvature, the easier it is to flip and steer the board. You can find boards with low, medium, and high concave, though for beginners, a medium concave is usually the best choice.
The nose and tail determine the shape, too. If the nose and tail are the same shape, you’re looking at a Twin-Tip or a popsicle-shape board. For years, these have been the shape for standard skateboards. Decks with more pronounced concave and curved noses/tails are designed for park or street skaters who want to do tricks.
What about materials? Most skateboard decks are made from wood - usually Canadian maple - because of its natural durability and stability. You'll also see bamboo ever so often. Layers of the wood (usually seven) are pressed together with glue or a special epoxy resin.
The last deck consideration - the flex - determines the board’s stiffness. This affects the shock absorbance and stability of the board at varying speeds. If you want to go fast, the best skateboard deck will have low flex to ensure stability. If you want to perform tricks, you want a thin, flexy board for responsiveness. Flexible boards are also good for cruising. With more rigid skateboard decks, you tend to feel every bump in the road.
Trucks are the metal T-shaped pieces on the underside of your skateboard. They keep the wheels and bearings attached. They’re easily adjustable. Trucks have a handful of parts - the axles, hangers, kingpins, and bushings - attached via mounting hardware.
Every part matters, so choosing the right ones (especially if you’re building your own skateboard or switching the trucks on a preassembled board) is important. As an example, softer bushings ensure responsive turning while hard bushings provide the stiff turning you need for downhill skating.
The truck size is measured by the hanger or axle width, which is how far apart the wheels are. Most boards are set up so the truck axle is the same width as the deck. This is often considered the ideal setup and is what we recommend for practically all riders. This gives you more stability. For size, you can find low, mid, or high trucks. Low trucks are designed for small wheels (50-53mm) and provide stability for tricks like flip tricks. Mid-level trucks (53-56mm) work for most riders, especially park or street skateboarding.
For most riders, mid-sized trucks work. High trucks, which work best for wheels bigger than 56mm, are great for carving, cruising, and longboarding. Most boards use aluminum hangers and steel axles. Experiencing annoying wheel bite? Riser pads (or shock pads) can be inserted between the trucks and deck to raise board.
Skateboard wheels use two measurements: diameter and durometer. The diameter is the wheel’s size (measured in millimeters) while the durometer indicates the wheel’s hardness. Most wheels range from 50-75mm.
Why does wheel size matter? It affects how fast you accelerate and how tight your turns are. If you want to go fast, you’ll want large wheels. Small wheels, which are lower to the ground, are better for making tight turns, performing tricks, skating at parks and accelerating faster.
For beginners (or skaters focused on cruising and commuting), the right skateboard will likely have larger wheels. Most wheels over 65mm will serve well for that as this is the transition area into longboarding wheels.
The wheel’s hardness matters, too. Most manufacturers use the Durometer A scale, which is a 100-point scale. The higher the number, the harder the wheel. The average durometer is 99a.
You may see some using the B scale, which is an 80-point scale. A wheel with a 70b durometer has the same hardness as a 90a durometer. Wheels with a higher durometer are designed for high speeds and a smoother ride. Skateparks are a good place to have harder wheels. Softer wheels provide more grip, so they’re better for street skating.
Ball bearings are what allow a skateboard’s wheels to turn. You can find ball bearings made from materials like steel (the skateboard industry standard), ceramic, and titanium. Ceramic and titanium bearings give your skateboard a longer lifespan, but they are more expensive.
Check out the ABEC rating on the bearings. Higher ratings mean the bearing can handle high speeds, though because skating results in relatively low RPMs, you would never need a really high ABEC. Basically, choosing a skateboard with an ABEC rating of 5 over one with a 3 rating isn’t going to make a difference in your ride or its quality. Keeping the bearings clean and rust-free is more important than anything else.
Time to clear up some of the uncertainties that many beginners have. If you don't find the answer you're looking for below, feel free to send us an e-mail and we'll try to help you to the best of our ability.
Earlier, we explained the six main skateboard riding styles. For beginners, we recommend cruising. This more relaxed style helps you learn how to balance, maintain speed, slow down, and stop. Trying to start with tricks or other types of riding will be harder and potentially more dangerous. Once you’re more confident with cruising, you can try carving, which is similar except for the S-shapes you make with the board.
Once you’ve picked your board, it’s time to find your stance. There are two options: regular or goofy. Regular is when you stand on the board with your left foot forward and your right foot near the board’s tail. Goofy is the opposite - your right foot is forward and your left foot is back. Neither is better or worse; it all depends on what feels the most comfortable to you.
How do you figure this out? Often, it’s determined by which foot is stronger and dominant. If you’re right-handed, odds are your dominant foot is your right foot. That’s not always the case, though, so if you try this stance out and it doesn’t feel right, try switching to a goofy stance.
Skateboards come in a range of prices. Generally, a complete skateboard costs between $70 to $150. Our budget pick on this list costs about $100, while our choice for the best freeriding (the Fault Line Perch) will set you back about $225. The quality of the board plays into the price, as does the decoration.
A board with a unique print on the deck will cost more, so if that doesn’t matter to you, you can easily find less flashy, but still high-quality ones. You can also consider getting a second-hand skateboard, though you’ll want to try the board first to make sure the quality hasn’t deteriorated too much. Even then, you can replace certain parts (like the wheels, bearings, or trucks) if that ends up being less expensive than buying a brand-new board.
Whether you want a narrow or wide board depends on your personal preference, but there are some general guidelines based on your height and shoe size. Here’s what to start with based on shoe size:
When choosing the best skateboard for you, width is more important than length, but there are guidelines for skateboard length based on your height:
Speaking generally, if you wear an adult shoe size (Men’s US 8+ or equivalent), a full-sized skateboard that’s 7.5-inches wide will work for you. If speed is your goal, wider boards are best. You’ll often see different guides or manufacturers recommending sizes based on age, though there can be a big range if you rely on that measurement. Sizing your board based on your shoe size and/or height will likely work better.
Many people are wary of skateboarding because of safety concerns. While skateboarding is risky, football, cycling, and basketball actually report more injuries. That doesn’t mean you should grab your board and throw caution to the wind, however.
Falling is just part of skateboarding, especially when you’re starting, so you need to wear gear to prevent serious injury. Common injuries include broken wrists, ankle injuries, and facial injuries like broken noses. Beginners experience about ⅓ of injuries. Skateboarding in the street is more dangerous than riding at a skatepark. To avoid serious injury, invest in good gear. Helmets protect you from severe trauma, while wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads protect you from the more common injuries. Some skateboarders also like wearing gloves to shield against cuts and scrapes.
The best skateboard safety rule? Actually wear the gear you buy.
The answer to this question is different for everyone. It depends on factors like how much time you spend training and your goals. For beginners focused on the basics, it can take a month or two - with at least 5 hours of weekly practice - to get really comfortable with the board. If you commit to riding every day, it will obviously take less time to see improvement than if you’re only riding a few times a week.
Tricks can take a long time to master, but again, it depends on the individual rider and if they’re using good techniques. There are countless guides and videos online that can make this process a bit easier, though at the end of the day, it’s all about practice and patience.
Paul is an environmental engineer turned micromobility expert. With a mechanical background and hands-on experience with more than 150 personal electric vehicles, Strobel is one of the leading specialists in the PEV scene. He handles everything from technical guides on the inner workings of vehicles to industry development news.