- How to Choose the Best Skateboard for You
- Determine Your Budget
- What About a Longboard/Cruiser Board?
- What Makes a Skateboard Good?
- Components Overview
- Picking the Right Deck Width
- What to Look for in Trucks
- What to Look for in Wheels
- What to Look for in Bearings
- Bushings and Other Upgrades
- No Plastic Skateboards
- Avoid Walmart, Generic Amazon, etc
- Shoes and Clothes to Wear
You're never too old to learn something new, especially if that new thing is skateboarding. In this article, you'll learn all about choosing the right skateboard for an adult beginner.
There are going to be many elements that you're going to have to factor in, such as whether your should get a skateboard, cruiser, or longboard, what your budget is, what build you should get, and much more.
In this article, we are going to focus on the best trick skateboard for an adult beginner. You can learn more about skateboards vs. longboards here. If your aim is more cruiser oriented, you can check out our Best Cruisers Guide.
We've honed down the best skateboards for beginners to the following six. They have impeccable wheels, trucks, bearings, and fit/finish. You'll learn more about that in this article.
These skateboards have passed the test of every mechanical component we're going to be going over in this article that you should learn to anticipate of a good skateboard for you to invest in.
Stoked Ride Shop Complete
- Why it's rad: Hand built in CA. Dragon BUILT Bearings are a premium bearing and the tool + wax are a rad bonus to round out this great deal.
- Buy at Stoked Buy at Amazon
Santa Cruz Classic Dot
- Why it's rad: Santa Cruz is a classic company with a heritage that goes back nearly to skateboarding's inception.
- Buy at Stoked Buy at Amazon
Powell Golden Dragon
- Why it's rad: This is the lowest cost on the list, yet still a pretty good beginner skateboard.
- Buy at Stoked Buy at Amazon
- Why it's rad: This classic graphic is liked by pros and beginners alike.
- Buy at Stoked Buy at Amazon
- Why it's rad: Yep, we actually purchased one of our competitors boards... and we liked it a lot. They have lots of great colors and the price is on point.
- Buy at Amazon
Keeping it simple - The Stoked Ride Shop Blank Complete is an affordable board for pros and beginners alike. Each one of these decks is made from rock hard maple and pop like a champ.
Unlike other price point boards, these have been designed and manufactured here in North America with 7-ply Canadian Maple and are assembled in-house at our California workshop.
This house complete comes with everything you need to get rolling out the box, including a bar of wax and a Stoked Skate T-Tool.
3 Price points to fit your budget:
- Pro Level - Independent Stage 11 Trucks: The best selling skateboard trucks
- Mid Level - Paris Street Trucks: Super high quality + slightly taller than standard street trucks to accommodate for bigger wheels, should you need
- Price Point - Litezpeed Street Trucks: A solid, entry level skateboard truck to get you rolling
Shredding the Streets | Ripping the Bowl | Killing Rails | Technical Flatland Wizardry
- Best for: Tricks
- Made in: USA
- Trucks: Litezpeed Street
- Wheels: Blank 54mm
- Bearings: Fireball Dragon BUILT
- Guarantee: 30 Days
- Extras: Tool + Wax
Don't wait to skate! Get a complete skateboard that comes ready to roll right out of the box! This board comes factory pre-assembled with components from leading distributor NHS (same company that distributes Independent, Krux, MOB, and many others).
Street | Park | First Skateboard
- Best for: Tricks
- Made in: China
- Trucks: NHS Cast Aluminum
- Wheels: Santa Cruz 95a Wheels
- Bearings: Santa Cruz
- Guarantee: Yes
- Extras: None
The Birdhouse Skateboards Tony Hawk Falcon 1 Black Complete Skateboard measures 8.125" wide x 31.875" long, making it perfect for skaters of all skill levels from beginner to seasoned pro.
Factory pre-assembled with Birdhouse trucks, 52mm Birdhouse wheels, bearings, hardware, and grip tape.
Street | Park | Kids
If you're eager to learn but not totally sure how to take your first step, fear not. One of skateboarding's foremost board builders, Powell Peralta, has you covered with the Flying Dragon 2 complete.
Instead of worrying about how to find the right trucks, wheels, bearings and hardware to hit the streets with, the pros already have it taken care of. This board comes ready for you to start pushing on a 7.625" wide deck and set of the earlier mentioned components that have been meticulously tested and rider approved.
Street | Park | Entering the Cool Kids Club
Element skateboard decks are made with the most cutting-edge technologies and best materials for an unrivaled combination of durability and functionality.
Shredding the Streets | Ripping the Bowl | Killing Rails | Technical Flatland Wizardry
How to Choose the Best Skateboard For You
Choosing the right first skateboard as an adult is a big deal since it's going to be your main introduction to the sport. There are many ways that people's psychology factors in as to how they feel informed as to investing in a product.
They may feel safest investing in a product if one comes recommended by a friend or family member. Or they may feel like buying it if aesthetically, it resonates with them. Some people want something only if it makes sense to them financially. We urge you to blend sort of all these psychological approaches to decide on your skateboard.
Determine Your Skateboard Budget
The first thing to determine for your skateboard is your budget. On the very low end, a skateboard can cost as little as $25. On the higher end, skateboards can go for $200+.
For a first skateboard as an adult, we recommend getting a complete skateboard in the range of $75-$150. This will make sure the components of the skateboard are good enough to not be problematic as well as set you up to like the activity. Within this price range you will also be able to easily upgrade.
If the components on the initial skateboard are too cheap, upgrades are not even worth installing on it. Think installing Casio components on a Rolex. It just doesn't make sense, so we recommend not getting the cheapest skateboard on the market.
You will also want to factor in additional costs for protective gear. When very first starting out, we recommend a helmet and wrist guards until the very basics are down. Yes, you will look like a dork, but it will save you from a costly trip to the ER until you learn how to fall properly.
Proper shoes are also often overlooked by newer riders. You are going to want to spend some money on shoes with flat soles. Running or tennis shoes are not idea as they put your heel in a raised position and that messes up your balance. Vans are our #1 pick for skate shoes. They look great on and off the board, so even if you don't keep skateboarding, you'll have a rad pair of shoes.
If you are planning to hit the skateparks, consider that some cost $5-$10 for entry. This is not a huge deal, but should be in the back of the mind when deciding on what skateboard you're going to get that are ideal skateboards for beginners.
Compared to shooting or being a foodie, getting into skateboarding is actually a pretty affordable hobby. No hobby is free these days, just determine your budget ahead of time and you will be fine.
What About a Longboard/Cruiser Board?
If you're trying to skate mainly as transportation and not do tricks, we recommend a longboard or cruiser board. These boards are generally wider, longer, and come with softer wheels. These features make it so much easier to keep balance. If this sounds like more of your style, check out our article about picking the best cruiser board for you.Cruiser boards are bigger and come with larger, soft wheels for easy riding.
As their name suggests, longboards are longer than skateboards. They are on average 33-60 inches long and 8-10 inches wide. Skateboards on the other hand are 28-32 inches long and 7-9 inches wide.
Again, for the purposes of this article, we are going to be talking about trick skateboards for adult beginners.
What makes a skateboard good?
Perhaps the most obvious way to recognize a bad skateboard is by taking a look at the bearings inside of the wheels. If the bearings have play in any direction other than spinning, this is a huge red flag. Bearings are hard to make well and easy to cheap out on, so bad quality skateboards really highlight this component.
Another one of the things that makes a skateboard good is the deck. Get something that made of maple wood. Avoid birch as it cheap and not as strong.
You know the deck is good if it is lightweight while also being durable and giving “pop” - the right combination of flexibility and rigidity that allows the board to respond during ollies and other tricks. The deck needs to be “popped” off the ground, so this is a critical point.
Other qualities that makes a skateboard good are good wheels and trucks, which I'll elaborate on more below.
The thing about skateboards is that they come with different parts. These are the decks, trucks, wheels, bearings, grip tape, and hardware.
These things are often sold separately and cost different amounts, but all together they usually aren't too expensive. If you're going to invest getting a skateboard, it is useful brushing up on this skateboard terminology to become familiar with what you're going to become a consumer of.
Below is more information about the different components of skateboards.
Picking the right deck and width
When deciding to pick the deck of your board, it depends on your personal preference and size of your feet.
Do you see yourself trying flip tricks or riding bowls? Flip tricks are easier with thinner widths and bowls are best with extra width for grip.Use this to help pick your first skateboard width.
It's all about whatever you envision the function of your skateboard to be.
What to Look for in Trucks
The skateboard steering devices on the bottom of the skateboard are referred to as the trucks. This is the metal or plastic component that holds the wheels to the deck. We never recommend buying plastic trucks as they are very cheap and never a quality component.
Trucks have three main components, the baseplate (mounted to the base of the skateboard itself), the hanger (axle where the wheels attach), and bushings (the two urethane cushions). The hanger pivots on the bushings and a pivot point and that allows the truck to turn.
When purchasing a new set of skateboard trucks, the first thing for you to know is the deck width you will be using them with. For the perfect truck size, you need to match the deck width to the truck width. This can be a little tricky because measurements of trucks are in millimeters and decks are in inches. You can learn more about this in our Ultimate Truck Guide on Hanger Width.
What to look for in Wheels
The first thing I always like to do when checking wheels is just feel them. Cheap wheels will feel like injected plastic. Quality wheels will have a bit of a premium vibe about them. They almost feel matte in the hand. You'll know it when you see it.
The two main specs to check when choosing wheels: size and durometer.
Skateboard wheel size helps determine how fast you'll go and how quick you can accelerate. Larger wheels allow you to have a smoother, more comfortable ride. They are ideal for riding through more difficult terrains. Generally though larger wheels are heavier and slower turning.
Smaller wheels are better for performing technical tricks and max acceleration. They are also lighter, making ollies, etc easier.
For our purposes for a first trick skateboard, aim for 52mm-60mm wheels.
Durometer is the hardness of the wheel. The lower the durometer, generally the more grip you can expect to have and the smoother ride. Park and street wheels are usually hard wheels ranging 90a-100a+. These are the best skateboard wheels for park and street skating because they are lightweight, roll fast on smooth surfaces, and are forgiving for imperfect landings and grinds. A wheel that is around 55mm/100a will make it easier to do ollies, flip tricks, power slides, and other technical tricks.
To learn more about wheels features, you can check out our Ultimate Wheel Guide
What to look for in Bearings
Skateboard bearings are another part of the skateboard that are essential to know about. They are the small circular devices that make your wheels roll, and will determine how fast and smoothly they rotate. Skate bearings are made up of 5 major parts: the shield, the inner race, the balls, the retainer, and the outer race. A skateboard is made up of a set of 8 bearings, 2 for each wheel.
For you to maintain your wheels rolling smoothly, you will need quality bearings. It is up to you if you want to fill the space between them with a spacer. The average lifespan of skateboard bearings is 1 to 2 years if given proper care and maintenance. Bearings are commonly damaged so be careful around an excess of wet/dirt environments.
Bushings and Other Upgrades
Skateboard truck bushings are the rubbery rings that fit around the kingpin on your skateboard trucks. Usually consisting of polyurethane, the bushings aid in allowing your board to turn and pivot smoothly. There should be two bushings on each truck (four total). There are a lot of different types of bushings but not all are suitable for every skateboard. If you ride a regular skateboard barrel/cone bushings with a hardness between 87A and 92A should be fine.
Skateboard Accessories to consider
There are a ton of add on items that you could add to your skateboard purchase. However, there are really only a few that we would consider the most essential. A skateboard backpack is awesome if you are traveling regularly.
The Stoked Ride Shop Complete and CCS Complete also come with skate tools, which is a great added bonus. While a skateboard can be adjusted with standard tools, a skate tool just keeps everything you need in one neat item.
With this article geared to those riders that want to do tricks, skate wax could also be a good add on. Again, this is also included with the Stoked Ride Shop Complete further adding to that value deal.
Wearing Protective Gear
Protective gear is important if you're an adult trying skateboarding for the first time! I remember my mom tried skating for the first time in her thirties and then busted up her elbow really bad because she wasn't wearing any protective gear. I guess she thought it would look embarrassing to wear elbow pads, but it was more embarrassing to her to wear a sling for eight weeks and to explain to people at her work that she had gotten into a skateboarding accident. Whoops!Check out 187 Pad Pack for a great deal.
You don't want to make that mistake. Be sure that when you skateboard, you wear a helmet and something to protect your wrists, elbows and knees. Who cares if you feel like a giant dork at first? You'll save a bunch in medical bills.
Once you get a little better at skateboarding, perhaps you can flirt with the idea with doing without your elbow pads or knee pads, but for now, stick to the basics. You have to be sure to protect yourself out there. There are cars that literally come out of nowhere, other skateboarders going a lot faster, bikers, annoying scooter kids, and more.
We do not recommend plastic skateboards, they suck
It may be tempting, if it's your first time skateboarding, to test your luck with a plastic skateboard, but it's a bad investment. Your logic may be, "Hey, I don't even know if I'm going to be really into this, so I don't want to spend any real money until I know if this is right for me." Trust me, it's not going to be any fun (or any safe) with a plastic skateboard.
Simply put, plastic skateboards suck! You're much better off dropping a hundred dollars on a regular skateboard and trying it out than investing twenty dollars on a piece of crap that's going to take you out of the experience altogether.
Using a plastic skateboard is not an accurate experience of what it is like to skateboard. It is a lot more limiting and simply not as smooth as a ride that you can get like you can with a real skateboard. So invest in good quality product to get the most from your new hobby.
Avoid Walmart, Generic Sports Stores, Amazon Only Brands, etc.
It could be tempting to just go to Walmart and spend twenty dollars on a skateboard. That is a big mistake. You may think you'd be saving a lot of money and you're just "trying out" skateboarding anyway, but the experience is not the REAL skateboarding experience, and let me tell you - it will turn you OFF to skateboarding.
You may think you'd be saving a lot of money, but your skateboarding experience will be subpar.
You aren't going to get your money's worth and you're going to be cheated out of what you THINK the experience of skateboarding is.
Be sure to avoid stores like Walmart, even if you think you're going to get a better deal. You're not. Not in terms of quality nor in terms of experience when it comes to skateboarding. It is better to save up and treat yourself to the best quality skateboard you can.
What shoes/clothing to wear?
If you're an adult trying skateboarding for the first time, I would recommend skating with a pair of Vans or other comfortable "skate shoes" (shoes with a flat sole). One common mistake is to try to skateboard in running shoes. The raised heel messes up balance.A classic pair of Vans.
For other clothes, just a T-shirt and comfortable pants or shorts are fine. You definitely want to wear something that isn't going to get in the way of your protective gear or bunch up with it. You don't have to spend money on wearing anything special to skate with unless you want to. Workout clothes or something similar is usually sufficient. You just want something that you don't mind getting dirty/ripped if you fall and that you can sweat in.
Things you don't want to wear when you're skateboarding are tight-fitting clothes, things that you would be upset about if they got torn or dirty, shoes that are open-toed (at least at first), dresses, skirts, things that would get you too warm, etc.
It's also important to make sure that if you wear glasses or contacts, that you are wearing them and that your vision is 20/20. Make sure that your hair is completely out of your face by either a headband or an elastic band. Make sure you are just completely efficient when you are riding this skateboard as a beginner.
As an adult, you shouldn't be afraid to start a new skateboarding hobby even if you deem it to be sort of juvenile. Skateboarding is for everyone that is physically capable of enjoying it. It's never too late to start.
However, before you start skateboarding, it is important to empower yourself with knowledge that comes with everything that has to do with skateboards and all of their components. It's only going to give you a leg up when you start looking to purchase what you need. It will also help you know what you DON'T need so you don't get tempted into purchasing things that are frivolous. The six types of skateboards we recommend are the Arbor Whiskey, Stoked Ride Shop, Element, Powell Golden Dragon, Tony Hawk, and CCS Complete.
These skateboards have a great reputation and are guaranteed to make your skateboarding experience a good one. So, use all the information you learned in this article to start shopping for your next skateboard as a beginner! You can't forget about protective gear! You know what you need to know now and you should splurge on a good investment for yourself.