Skateboarding is one of the top sports in the United States. With over 2,800 skateparks scattered all around here, the demand for skateboards and clothing is always at an all-time high.
Due to this, brands that pioneered in manufacturing skateboards continue to develop and build high-quality products for skaters — not just in the US, but also in other parts of the world.
But among these companies, which one stands out? In this article, we’ve listed the best skateboard brands that push the limits and boundaries of creativity. These are brands that were tested by professional skateboarders, with the aim to inspire the young generation of skaters to expand their talents and skills.
Top 9 Best Skateboard Brands
The list below consists of the most popular brands in the market today. Some of them may already be familiar because of their collaboration with pro skaters in designing and marketing. Here they are in no particular order.
- Santa Cruz
- Plan B
- Powell Peralta
Santa Cruz from the NHS, Inc. distribution company holds the title of the oldest skateboard company in the world. Established in 1973, this brand was founded by surfers Richard Novak, Doug Haut, and Jay Shuirman. Their skateboard products consist of decks, wheels, and clothing.
Since the founders are surfers, the Santa Cruz brand initially started as a store for surfing equipment; however, it didn’t receive much success. Until one day, they received an order to make 500 skateboards from a Hawaiian company. The boards immediately sold out after that, and this ultimately helped established the name of this legendary brand.
Santa Cruz broke through the market and grew a fan base because of the logos and graphic designs created by Jim Phillips, a well-known surf artist from California. Some of his work includes the Road Rider Wheels, the Red Dot, the Screaming Hand, and the slanted Santa Cruz logo.
For many years, Santa Cruz has been consistent in constructing durable skateboards. They’re also the first ever to introduce concave decks that are made from birchwood. It isn’t as high-quality as Canadian maple wood, but it’s more affordable.
Santa Cruz skateboards are customizable and can be combined with different wheels and trucks from other brands. This makes them good options for beginners who are still learning how to ride and those who are still experimenting on their riding style.
This brand is also known for the ‘Everslick’ coating wherein their graphics are sealed under a plastic layer. They also utilize a method called ‘Powerply’ wherein the nose or tail of the skateboard is reinforced to make it more durable.
One of Santa Cruz’s greatest achievements was when they were inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame in 2013.
In 1992, Johnny Schileneff founded one of the biggest and most influential skateboard companies in the world — Element.
This brand was formerly known as ‘Underworld Element’, but they had to go through rebranding, so they decided to remove the first word and settle with just ‘Element’. From their former base in Atlanta, their team also moved into a creative space known as The Branch in Costa Mesa, California.
Element was first known for its skateboard decks, but today, they also sell completes, wheels, trucks, and other merchandise like clothing, apparel, and accessories. They’re popular for their very affordable prices. For under USD 100, beginners (and even pros) can already have high-quality skateboarding products that’ll last many seasons of pops and slides.
Speaking of pros, another reason for Element’s success is the prominent team of skaters that helped grew their fan base. This includes famous names like Tom Schaar, Donny Barley, Evan Smith, Bam Margera, and Nyjah Huston, just to name a few.
Element skateboards feature graphics that are all about art and nature. One good example of this is their renowned logo inspired by the water, fire, wind, and earth. This brand was created with Schileneff’s ‘Elementality’ vision that focuses on authenticity, sustainability, and taking on social and ethical initiatives in manufacturing products.
One of their notable environmentally-friendly initiatives is the use of a technology called Thriftwood construction. This skateboard manufacturing process doesn’t include the use of wood dyes and other chemicals, therefore, they produce less carbon footprint.
Element skateboards are also made with thin layers of wood that are bound with very strong adhesives. By doing this, they use less wood and make lighter boards.
The brand Anti-Hero was founded in 1995 by Julien Stranger in hopes to create a skateboard trend that sets it apart from the others.
For 15 years, Anti-Hero has only been making skateboard decks made from solid-pressed 7-ply maple wood. They have a distinct concave with a low flex design for comfort and easier maneuverability.
Their decks feature striking graphics created by Todd Francis. In 1996, he designed Anti-Hero’s logo, along with several deck designs that feature his artworks. Some of Anti-Hero’s famous deck designs include the skull, the trainwreck, the bald eagle, and other different animals.
To further promote their skateboard lifestyle theme, Anti-Hero collaborated with pro skaters such as Jeff Grosso, a prominent skater and documentarian. Their team is also joined by Grant Taylor, Tony “T-Mo” Maiorana, John Cardiel, and Ryan “Peabody” McWhirter. They’ve also partnered with other famous brands like Girl Skateboards to promote the video documentary ‘Beauty and the Beast’ that featured their Northwest tour in 2008.
Today, Anti-Hero is owned by Deluxe Distribution, and it is still considered one of the bests in the skateboarding industry.
Next on the best skateboard brands lineup is a company that’s famous for selling premium skateboarding gear. For 30 years, Plan B brand remains one of the best professional deck companies. However, their journey, like other brands, consists of its own ups and downs.
Plan B was founded by Mike Ternasky who first worked for H-Street along with Tony Magnusson. After he realized that H-Street is a company owned by business owners that was only focused on profit, Ternasky decided to build his own company with the hope of reviving the skateboarding industry.
Upon quitting, Ternasky brought with him a team of riders, which is much to Magnusson’s surprise. He also partnered with Colin McKay and Danny Way who was also from another well-known skateboarding brand, Powell Peralta.
During that time, Plan B was sponsoring skaters who were always winning. The brand became the talk of the town, and this resulted in the business getting more sales. In 1994, however, Ternasky died in an accident, and in 2005, McKay and Way had to relaunch the brand. Although they had more products, they were not as successful as they were before.
Today, Plan B is known for their fully customizable skateboards that can be delivered assembled or unassembled. Their long list of products includes the 7-ply maple wood deck, graphics, wheels, trucks, and bearings. They also produce toolkits and hip clothing for young skaters.
Plan B’s current team of pro skaters include Felipe Gustavo, Ryan Sheckler, Chris Joslin, Pat Duffy, and PJ Ladd.
Almost is a young company compared to the other ones on this list. Founded in 2003, this premium brand for skateboards is known for their endorsements and collaborations with many skateboarding personalities such as Yuri Facchini, Youness Amrani, Cooper Wilt, and Sky Brown (grom).
This brand was created by two skateboard pros — Daewon Song from Artafact and the legendary, Rodney Mullen from Enjoi. If you’re unfamiliar with Mullen, he was the one who pioneered in doing tricks like ollies. He also invented the skateboard shape other brands still use today.
Almost is part of Dwindle Distribution, an American skateboard distributor based in California. Aside from their decks’ fun designs and graphics, Almost is also known for how they utilize eco-friendly resins made with recycled bio-based and renewable ingredients.
Among this brand’s other innovative features is the Uber Light technology wherein their 7-ply deck has an inner layer made with carbon fiber and foam core. There’s also the Impact Support feature that uses carbon fiber discs to prevent pressure cracks on 8-ply decks.
Almost’s other products and collection include completes, wheels, trucks, bearings, and other skateboarding accessories which are all customizable. Their products lean more on the high-end price range, but they’re all good value for the price — this brand is known for making boards that’ll last you for years!
If you’re a beginner who wants to stay away from cheap, pre-built boards and want a custom board made for you instead, then you should look into Girl.
Girl is known for its prominent logo of the girls’ bathroom, which is designed by their in-house artist, Andy Jenkins. It was founded in 1993 by Mike Carrol, Rick Howard, Megan Baltimore, and Spike Jonze — all of whom wanted to create a company that focused on fun instead of business profits.
However, the journey of Girl wasn’t always smooth sailing. Its two founders, Carrol and Howard, who used to work for World Industries, weren’t on good terms with Steve Rocco (owner) when they left his company.
This led to delays and a temporary halt in Girl skateboards’ production when Rocco threaten shops to stop distributing boards for Girl. World Industries also created ‘Bitch’ skateboards, a brand that’s made to rival and attack Girl.
As a way to retaliate, Girl pulled a successful marketing stunt that shot their way towards fame. The founders, together with their team of riders, went on a trip where everyone was wearing a shirt with their logo. This got everyone talking about the brand and resulted to their products selling out of local shops.
Girl was first distributed by ExtraLarge, one of the pioneers in streetwear. But currently, Girl is distributed by a company called Crailtap that also handles other skateboarding brands like Chocolate, Royal, and Fourstar clothing.
Girl became more popular because of their team that consists of legendary skateboarders like Andrew Brophy, Sean Malto, Mike “Mo” Capaldi, Corry Kennedy. In 2019, they were able to team up with their first-ever female rider, Breana Geering, and this ultimately helped with their branding.
Apart from their team, the success of the Girl brand is also because of their merch and high-quality 7-ply maple wood construction decks. Their reputation of being consistent in their structure and style is what makes them the go-to board of many skateboarders until today.
Did you know that before they manufactured their best-selling skateboards, Zero started as a clothing company? This multi-awarded brand was founded by pro-skater Jamie Thomas in 1996. It has two manufacturing plants, the first one being located in Tijuana, Mexico, and the second in Carlsbad, California.
Zero became a skateboard company when Thomas became this brand’s first professional team rider. Years after that, Zero went through different transitions when it comes to the distributors and sponsored skaters. Their skateboards were first distributed by Black Box, owned by Thomas himself, and then, later on, the rights were transferred to Dwindle Distribution.
Whether you’re a pro or beginner, you’ll surely love Zero. This brand’s products consist of different skateboarding parts and accessories such as completes, trucks, and wheels. Their decks have a distinct concave, and they give a good pop due to the 7-ply maple wood construction. What’s better is that these decks are also customizable according to your size.
A significant increase in Zero’s popularity happened when they won and became the winner of Thrasher Magazine’s King of the Road competition for three consecutive years (2004 to 2006). In 2007, however, they had to decline defending their title because they went on a tour with the Mystery skateboarding team.
Currently, Zero’s team consists of famous skateboarding personalities like Chris Cole, John Allie, Adrian Lopez, Chris Wimer, Dane Burman, and Tony Cervantes.
Lest we forget, Zero is also known for their video and magazine production. Some of the films they’ve produced throughout the years are ‘Misled Youth’ (1999), ‘Cold War’ (2013), and the latest one which is ‘Damn it All’ (2020).
Our next skateboard company is Creature, a brand that’s popular for their horror-genre designs that stand out from the crowd. As of writing, their products only include their signature wide decks and skater clothing.
Creature’s theme features cool graphic designs inspired by B-movie iconography and dark pop culture that features ghouls and monsters. This brand’s logo was based on the 1954 film, ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’.
Creature was founded by Russ Pope, an artist and also the owner of Transportation Unit — a company that’s completely in contrast with Creature’s aesthetics. Together with Pope in building Creature are Barker Barrett, Jason Adams, and the team rider Darren “The Vertical Vampire” Navarette.
In 1995, Pope and Adams left Creature to start a new skateboarding company known as Scarecrow Skateboards. This led to Creature’s production hiatus that lasted for about half a decade.
Creature went back to the skateboarding industry in the early 2000s when NHS, Inc. (same distributor as Santa Cruz) revived the brand. This time around, they’ve marked their name in the sport with their steep concave and larger boards. Among the crowd favorites is their Keyholder deck that surprisingly measures 8.8 inches in width and 32.57 inches in length.
Last but not least we have the brand that makes the strongest decks and completes — Powell Peralta. This skateboard brand is on the expensive side of the spectrum, but every board is worth your investment because of its superb quality and how long each one of them lasts.
Powell Peralta was founded by George Powell and Stacy Peralta in 1978. Powell, who began making skateboards in 1957 showed interest in creating boards again when his son complained about the skateboard he was using. After multiple tests and developments, Powell finally asked Peralta to do a test ride of the slalom board he made, and the rest is history.
Aside from Peralta, this brand also featured other top-notch riders and promotional advertisements that caught everyone’s attention. Another thing that caught people’s eyes are the illustrations created by none other than Vernon Courtlandt Johnson.
Powell himself engineered the skateboards. The technology he developed called the Flight Deck features decks that are a mixture of maple mixed with fiberglass. This procedure makes the boards strong and almost indestructible, which is perfect for heavy riders.
Powell also helped develop the integration of the skateboard wheels with polyurethane. This innovation will, later on, become the ‘Bone Wheels’, the #1 wheels in the skateboarding industry. Among Powell Peralta’s other achievements include their induction in the Skateboarding Hall of Fame in 2016.
Buyer’s Guide: Tips in Buying Skateboards
The brands mentioned above make the best skateboards in the world; however, keep in mind that their high-quality boards won’t make you a good skater, as this will only come as a result of your hard work and practice. Instead, these boards will only make it easier for you to learn the different skills and techniques of skateboarding.
That said, you should get a board you’re most comfortable with. Here are some guidelines to follow.
Material and Construction
When it comes to choosing skateboards, popular brands with bold and daring designs aren’t simply enough. You must also take into account the overall quality of the materials they used and the methods of how the skateboards were constructed.
High-quality skateboard decks are made with materials such as birch or Canadian maple (a.k.a. hard rock maple) because they’re more stable and durable compared to other kinds of wood. They’re also shock-resistant, which is what you just need when performing pops and other stunts.
Skateboard decks are constructed by bonding 7 to 9 thin sheets of wood using a high-pressure press machine. With this, manufacturers are able to create a responsive, and lightweight single piece of wood.
In addition, good skateboards are also customizable with parts that can be easily replaced.
Aside from the deck, the skateboard’s truck should also be considered. For the trucks’ construction, most brands use aluminum, steel, brass, and alloys. Meanwhile, wheels are often made from synthetic rubber polymer, and their cost depends upon the material’s fiber quality.
The construction of these parts will also contribute to the board’s maneuverability. Brands that are known to make quality trucks and wheels provide skaters with smoother rides and mobility control in their skateboards.
Your skill level and your body’s weight and height are crucial details when choosing the right skateboard size for you.
The standard width of a regular deck is 8 inches, which is best used for street skating and other recreational rides. Meanwhile, boards that are 8.25 inches to 8.50 inches wide are more stable. These boards are great for beginner riders and for those who perform stunts in parks and ramps.
There’s also a notion about narrow boards or mini-sized decks being more suitable for groms because they’re lighter than adults; however, this might be impractical in the long run. Wider boards are more stable, so they’re easier to progress with especially when learning about pushing, carving, and turning.
Style and Other Features
There are different kinds of boards for the different styles of skateboarding (freestyle, modern street, slalom, bowl skating, downhill racing, freeride longboarding, big-air skateboarding, etc.) that’s why you must buy a board that’ll suit your riding style best.
Regular double-kick boards are best for performing tricks in local ramps. And if your purpose of getting a skateboard is for cruising or going from point A to B, then getting a longboard or cruiser board is more ideal because of their wider wheels.
There are also electric skateboards available nowadays which make skating much more convenient and relaxing for other skaters. But since they come with motors and boosters, these cost more than regular skateboards. In some places, they may also be illegal.
Determining the best skateboard brand for you is objective because a lot of brands have similar distribution or manufacturing companies. They also offer different sizes, concave shapes, and designs, therefore it’s up to you to decide which one suits your skill level and riding style. The best way to know which skateboard’s best for you is to go to the physical stores of these brands mentioned above and get a good feel of how their boards feel under your feet.
We hope that this article enlightened you on the best skateboard brands today. If you’re looking for the best surf skateboards, go and check out this cool article.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What brands make the cheapest beginner skateboards?
Typically, the price of beginner skateboards costs around USD 70 to USD 150 and may increase depending on its special features and construction made. Well-known brands that sell cheap, but high-quality skateboards are Almost, Anti-Hero, Element, Girl, and Creature.
Q: Which skateboard brand has the best deck graphics?
Anti-Hero stands out among other brands when it comes to their skateboard deck designs. This company’s striking logo was created by Todd Francis, an American artist known for his skateboard artworks. If you’re into horror and ghoul-themed deck designs, however, you should check out Creature.