Anyone who’s even attempted a kick flip can understand why riders would want to find the best skateboard brands:
For a skater, the quality of your board is everything.
Of course, simply owning the best boards doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be a good skater. For that you have to put in the work, and spend time honing your craft.
But dialling in new tricks and becoming a better skater is going to be a lot harder if your board is cheap or poorly made.
Fortunately, you don’t have to look very far (or pay that much money) to find high-quality boards:
The modern skateboarding industry offers no shortage of quality skateboard brands that make gnarly, well-made decks, trucks, wheels and skateboard shoes.
In this post I’ll break down three dozen of the best skateboard brands that provide the most bang for your hard-earned buck.
The Top Skateboard Brands
Rounding Up the World’s Best Skateboarding Brands
Plan B Skateboards
Plan B Skateboards was founded by Mike Ternasky, Danny Way and Colin McKay in San Diego way back in 1991, after Ternasky left H-Street company.
(In doing so he also left behind Swedish skateboarding legend and H-Street co-founder Tony Magnusson.)
The company has been through many iterations in the 30 years since, but as a company founded by skaters for skaters, it’s continued manufacturing and selling premium gear throughout.
Almost was founded by professional skateboarders Rodney Mullen and Daewon Song in 2003.
While you can buy a complete skateboard from Almost, along with other gear like clothes and accessories, their bread and butter is decks.
They specialize in decks with 7-ply, 8-ply, and carbon fiber constructions that are bound with resin epoxy glue.
Founded in the mid-1990s by longtime skater Julien Stranger, Antihero is one of the best skateboard deck brands because they take making the best skateboards very seriously. (But themselves, not so much.)
They offer decks rather than complete boards, along with a selection of merch like tees, hats, socks and more.
Founded by pro skater Jamie Thomas, Zero boards started as a clothing company before evolving to manufacture and sell skateboards.
It won three consecutive Thrasher Magazine King of the Road competitions (’04, ’05 and ’06), beating out other respected brands like Girl Skateboards, Toy Machine, Darkstar, Element and more.
Santa Cruz Skateboards
Santa Cruz is old school by skate standards, having been founded in 1973 by Rich Novak, Doug Haut and Jay Shuirman, three surfers from Northern California.
Today the brand is manufactured by NHS, Inc, the same company that makes Independent Trucks, Creature Skateboards, OJ Wheels, Bronson Bearings and more.
Founded by George Powell and Stacy Peralta in 1978, Powell Peralta became one of skating’s biggest brands when the entire skateboard industry started to pick up steam in the ’80s.
They’re famous for the “Bones Brigade,” their pro team that’s featured some of skating’s biggest names, including Tony Hawk, Brandon Novak, Bucky Lasek, Andy Macdonald and many more.
Founded in 1992 by Johnny Schillereff, Element has grown into one of the largest skating brands in the world.
In addition to decks and completes, they sell all manner of skating accessories, including grip tape, wheels, trucks and more.
They’ve also become well known as an apparel brand, selling a full line of both men’s and women’s skate clothes and accessories.
Chocolate was founded in 1994 and is owned by the same parent company that owns Girl Skateboards and a few other well known skate brands, including Fourstar Clothing and Royal Trucks.
They not only carry some of the best skateboard decks for riders of any skill level, but also offer them in a range of different sizes, making them a great place to turn if you’re looking for a wider board, a longer one or a more custom shape.
Founded in 2000 by pro skater Andrew Reynolds, Baker is regarded by many as one of the best skateboard deck brands, but also carries a wide variety of apparel and accessories.
Outside of the skateboarding community, it’s arguably best known as the brand that sponsors Riley Hawk, son of the legendary Tony Hawk.
Known for their great designs as much for their construction and performance, Creature Skateboards was founded in 1994 by artist Russ Pope.
As a brand, it’s probably best known for their cool graphics that stand out from a lot of other decks at the skate park.
As the brand name suggests, Creature’s boards are adorned with Pope’s artwork, which is heavily inspired by his love of the horror genre and feature all manner of monsters and other ghoulish creations.
Girl is owned by Crailtap, a skateboard distribution company that also owns Chocolate Skateboards, Royal Skateboard Trucks and Fourstar Clothing.
Girl was the company’s first brand, and started in 1993 when Rick Howard, Mike Carroll and a number of other riders from World Industries decided to split off and form their own company.
Today the brand has grown into one of the best known in the industry, although ironically it took a long time before they finally sponsored their first female rider:
Breana Geering joined the team in 2019, becoming Girl’s first ever… well, girl.
Founded in 2000 by pro skater Marc Johnson, Enjoi is another company known as much for their designs as for their construction and quality.
They sell a wide variety of decks, completes and apparel, but the brand has been marked by controversy over the years thanks to some off-color jokes printed on their merchandise.
Co-founded by Tony Hawk and Per Welinder, Birdhouse is one of the most popular skateboard brands, both within the skateboard industry and without.
Birdhouse specializes in making decks, completes and wheels, but also carries a pretty wide variety of apparel and accessories.
Thanks to Hawk’s fame, it’s one of the better known skateboard brands, and one that parents frequently turn to when buying a first board for their kids.
Toy Machine was founded in 1993 by Ed Templeton and has counted some skating legends among its team members, including Bam Margera, Chad Muska and Jamie Thomas, among others.
Today the brand is well respected for its lines of decks, hardware accessories and apparel, which includes hoodies, tees, socks and more.
Blind Skateboards was founded by Mark Gonzalez in 1988, who chose the name as a dig at Vision Skateboards, his former sponsor.
Interestingly, the first pro skater to join the team after Gonzalez was Jason Lee, who would go on to transition from skating to acting when he starred in Kevin Smith’s movie Mallrats, opposite Ben Affleck, in 1995.
Today the brand makes decks, wheels and merch, much of it adorned with their signature grim reaper character logo.
World Industries is a skateboarding brand founded by in 1987 by Steve Rocco, who was joined shortly thereafter by fellow pro skaters Rodney Mullen and Mike Vallely.
World’s ownership has changed hands multiple times over the years, but today they’re still a major brand that offers good quality decks, shoes and other apparel.
Real Skateboards is a fake skateboard company that doesn’t exist.
Just kidding! (Sorry—couldn’t resist.)
Real does indeed exist, and prides itself on selling the exact same decks that its pro team rides to the general public.
It’s an ideal choice for skaters of all skill levels, from advanced skaters all the way down to newbies looking for their first board.
Welcome stands out from the other best skate brands by focusing on what it calls the “ever-shrinking” sub-cultural side of skateboarding.
(Meaning the creative, individualistic and decidedly less commercial) side of the skating community.)
For Welcome, the most important things about a board aren’t visual or even technical.
Instead, they believe the perfect skateboard is the one that has the right combination of high quality parts and killer aesthetics, so that it makes you feel excited and fired up to ride every time you look at it.
Founded in 1990 by Chris Carter, Mike Hill and Neil Blender in Dayton, Ohio, Alien Workshop is one of the few skateboard companies not based in California.
The company has changed hands a number of times, but today is back in Ohio, independently owned and still making high quality skateboards and accessories.
Minority boards are definitely on the more entry-level end of the spectrum, and cheaper than most of the brand-name completes you’d find at your local skate shop.
A lot of people start out with a Minority, but then graduate to some of the (higher quality) different brands on this list after they’ve progressed and they’re ready to upgrade.
Like Minority, WhiteFang is very much a beginner’s skateboarding brand.
If you go to Amazon to search for you first board, WhiteFang will likely be one of the first brands that pops up.
For the price (about 90 bucks or less), it’s actually a decent complete, but most people will want to graduate to something of higher quality once they get going.
Best Skateboard Truck Brands ↓
Independent Truck Co.
Founded in 1978 in Santa Cruz, California (which has always been a central hub of skating in the United States), Independent was started by Richard Novak, Jay Shiurman, Fausto Vitello, and Eric Swenson.
Long known as one of the best skateboard truck brands, their trucks have gone through various Stages over the years, with the newest Stage, Stage 11, having been introduced back in 2012.
While the exact parameters have changed with each stage, the trucks have always been made with high quality aircraft grade T6 aluminum alloy, high tensile SAE 4130 Chromoly alloy steel axles and high rebound formula stock bushings.
Another company that focuses exclusively on trucks, Thunder Trucks makes trucks in various styles, sizes and colors.
They pride themselves on being “the leader in control” thanks to their lightweight and responsive trucks that use premium grade kingpins and have a 50 MM axle height.
Venture Trucks is owned by Deluxe Distribution, the same company that owns and distributes Anti-Hero and Thunder Trucks.
Like Thunder, they come out with new styles and variations each season, along with various lines of merch and apparel.
Grind King Trucks
Grind King was founded by Donald Cassel, who was unsatisfied with the state of trucks in the 1990s, and set out to solve what he saw as the issues that plagued them:
Namely bushing design, strength and lightness, all of which were hindering overall performance.
Grind King’s GK-9 trucks have curved edges that help to evenly disperse the stress of impact, which help extend your board’s lifespan by reducing the amount of wear and tear it gets from each grind.
Best Skateboard Clothing Brands ↓
Though it’s one of the brands that the general public most frequently associates with skateboarding, Vans doesn’t actually make skateboards or skateboard parts.
Instead, they’re one of the largest and most mainstream manufacturers of skating apparel and accessories, offering everything from shoes and socks to sunglasses and wallets.
Another apparel company, Etnies was launched in 1986, but really took off when it was joined by pro skater Pierre André Sénizergues.
Sénizergues not only started designing shoes, but brought the brand to the U.S. (previously it had been gaining steam in Europe), where it’s been one of the most popular skateboarding shoe brands ever since.
Founded in 1994 by Damon Way and Ken Block, DC Shoes has grown to be one of the biggest skateboard/snowboard apparel companies in the world.
They’ve expanded well beyond shoes and now offer a full line of apparel and accessories for both skating and snowboarding.
Easily one of the world’s top sneakers companies, New Balance has a full line of skateboard shoes that combine the company’s trademark comfort with all the necessities of skating:
Their shoes feature vulcanized rubber soles that help cushion your landings and double or triple stitching that keep the soles and the uppers together, even after hundreds of tricks, jumps and landings.
éS is a skateboard footwear brand founded in 1995 with a focus on the most technical skateboarder.
Though it started with an intense focus on developing advanced skate shoes, the company has since expanded into a wide range of footwear, apparel and accessories.
Lakai Limited Footwear
Created by Mike Carroll and Rick Howard, the founders of Girl Skateboards, Lakai was born from their desire to make a contribution to the world of skating shoes, rather than just be sponsored by a company.
Today the company is still going strong, with a full collection of shoes, clothing and apparel, and (somewhat ironically) its own team of sponsored skaters.
As the world’s biggest manufacturer of shoes and athletic apparel, it’s no surprise that Nike has muscled its way into the world of skateboarding.
Nike’s “Nike SB” offers a range of shoes, tees and other apparel designed for skateboarding and made with Nike’s signature quality and attention to detail.
Best Skateboard Wheel Brands ↓
Bones Wheels specializes in quality urethane skateboard wheels, which they say provide 100% fewer flat spots.
And as any skater knows, fewer flat spots are key.
Good wheels help provide both a smooth ride and more safety when you’re rolling at high speeds, making Bones a good choice for both amateur and pro skaters alike.
Best known for their Formula Four and Classic skateboard wheels, Spitfite is another wheels company that puts an emphasis on reduced flat spots and increased speed.
In addition to wheels, they also have a wide selection of merch and apparel that includes tees, hats and other accessories.
Mini Logo makes and sells all of the parts necessary for skateboards, including decks, trucks, wheels, bushings, bearings and grip tape.
And like so many of the other brands on this list, in addition to board components, they also offer a line of clothes and accessories.
Best Skateboard Bearings Brands ↓
Bronson Speed Co.
Bronson is best known for their high quality bearings, which are available in both raw and ceramic variations.
They’re best known for their G2 and G3 product lines, which are among the most popular and best-respected bearings in the business.
Not to be confused with Bones Wheels, Bones Bearings specializes in bearings and boasts a wide selection of bearings in various colors.
Their team consists of an impressive list of both pros and amateur riders, and in addition to bearings they also sell (you guessed it) clothes and accessories.
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Banner image via Jan Kopřiva / Unsplash (Thanks Jan!)