Lately, prices have gone up due to supply chain issues and a new golden age of skateboarding, there is a huge demand but stock is limited.
Skateboards don’t have to be expensive but under a certain budget, you get an inferior setup that’s just a frustrating ride. So how much does a good skateboard cost?
A skateboard costs between $75 and $150 depending on the quality of the parts you select. High-quality components add up to the total sum of your skateboard. Additional costs come from shoes, skate parks, protective gear, and apparel. Here’s a breakdown:
- Decks cost between $30 and $90
- Wheels cost between $20 and $40
- Trucks cost between $30 and $50
- Bearings go from $10 bucks to $100 bucks
- Grip tape costs between $5 and $10
- Protective gear up to $200
- Skate park fees vary from $0 to $10
- 2-3 pair of shoes a year between $100 and $180 if you do lots of flips and ollies
Let’s dive into why skateboarding can be expensive, hidden costs, ways to save money, shopping at the right place, and a few tips on how to take care of your gear. Oh, and let’s look at the most expensive skateboards up to 59,000 bucks!
Breaking Down the Cost of Skateboarding
Buying a skateboard is just the beginning. The additional costs are often overlooked and it can add up depending on the style you prefer. Street skaters often need to replace their shoes as the grip tape eats through the suede.
Buying cheap stuff means you have to replace parts sooner, premium wheels can last for your but cheap wheels flat spot easily. The same goes for trucks, cheap trucks wear out way faster than premium trucks.
It’s all about investing in the right parts within your budget, if you don’t have much to spend buying a used skateboard is a good option.
To be fair, any hobby or sport will cost you. Running, for example, seems cheap but clothing and shoes add up. And just like skateboarding, you need to replace gear frequently. Cheap or expensive, is just how you look at it.
Cost of Skateboard Decks
Sometimes you can pick up a deck for less than 30 bucks on a sale but the average cost of a deck is about $50. Not all decks are equal, make sure you pick one from a reputable woodshop or brand.
Then there are blank decks that are cheaper compared to the ones with a graphic. Buying in bulk reduces the price but you run the risk of buying decks that are pressed a dozen a time resulting in warped decks.
Around 45 bucks you should be safe through some decks go up to as high as $200. Powell Peralta Flight decks go for almost 100 bucks but consist of special constructions and material to make them last longer. Technology like Dwindle impact, Santa Cruz VX, or Lithe skateboards all cost a premium due to their advanced construction.
Cost of Skateboard Trucks
Trucks also vary in price a lot. For $20 you can get CCS or Mini Logo trucks that aren’t durable but will be fine for a season or two. Independent Titaniums go for around 75 bucks, that’s a huge difference.
Most of the time expensive trucks are far better than their cheap counterpart. They also respond better and really make a difference in landing a trick or eating sh*t. Beginners will hardly notice though, but as soon as you get better you will feel the difference.
A decent quality set of trucks will cost you around 40 bucks, and they will last for ages. I wouldn’t cheap out on trucks, it takes time to get used to new trucks and why not invest a little more? In the long run it will be cheaper.
Cost of Skateboard Wheels
There are so many wheels to pick from and prices vary so much that you get lost easily. Street skateboard wheels from Mini Logo cost around $20 while Spitfires can go up to $40. You get what you pay for, Mini Logo wheels will wear down faster where Spitfires are almost impossible to flat spot.
Why is there such a huge price difference? Mainly because of the quality of the plastic mix (or polyurethane). Mini Logo probably uses cheaper plastics where Spitfire or Bones use high-quality stuff. This results in mediocre wheels that wear down in one or two seasons, or wheels that can last for years.
Pro tip: You can swap wheels around when they start coning, this will make them last longer.
Cost of Grip Tape
There isn’t much difference in gip tape, some are more gritty than others and sometimes they come with prints adding to the costs. Usually, the cheapest grip tape that often comes with a deck is fine. I wouldn’t worry too much about it.
If you need to replace or grip tape decks often, a roll is probably a good investment. A single sheet can go from
Bearings: No Need for Expensive Stuff
The good news is that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg, usually, standard Bones Reds are fine and cost around $15, ceramics are a different story and go up to $100 bucks. There are even more expensive bearings but the high-end bearings are mainly for extreme speeds.
Hardware is Cheap
Hardware is cheap, the bolts and nuts cost between $2 and $6. Just make sure you get the ones with the plastic rings inside so they won’t come loose when you ride.
Shoe Costs Are no Joke
Shoes go from $30 (on sale) to $100 for expensive Nikes, this is where it gets expensive especially when you do al lot of flips, shuvits, and ollies. Grip tape will chew through your shoes so make sure to get suede shoes, you get holes in canvas shoes within a day.
Some skaters need to replace their shoes every four weeks (don’t worry though this is an edge case). If you skate every day and ride new grip tape, your shoes wear down fast. Pro tip: sand down your new grip tape before you ride. There are more ways to make your skate shoes last longer, read this article on how the make your skate shoes more durable.
If you ride bowls, mini ramps, or vert, shoes will last a very long time. The same goes for decks by the way.
You will need some sturdy pants that also feel comfortable, fortunately, they last a lot longer if you buy the right pants. 874 dickies, cargo pants, Volcom seem to hold up for a while. Pants go from $30 to $50.
Not everyone wears protective gear but if you consider a helmet and pads you really want something that’s comfortable and reliable. You can often get combo packages which save you a few coins, which might be worth considering.
- Helmets go from $30 to $60
- Knee pads can cost up to $100 (heavy duty), but $40-$60 should do it
- Wrist guards start a $20
- Elbow pads also start at $20
Skate park fees, gas, replacing parts, they all add up it depends on where you live. If you have a free skate park or one nearby it already saves you quite some money. Not everyone lives near free skate parks but you can always find a free spot to shred.
Shoelaces break often so get shoes that are designed for skateboarding and get an extra pair of laces.
How much Does it Cost to Produce a Skateboard?
The production costs of a complete skateboard depend on the quality of the material and where it’s manufactured. Roughly the entire manufacturing process cost between $30 to $35. After So that’s straight out of the factory but you’ll end up paying between $75 to $150.
Take these numbers with a grain of salt, the prices are estimates and I picked looked it up but the info came from a comment from 2014 and a manufacturers in China. It should give you some idea of what goes into manufacturing a skateboard and why you pay much more than the actual production costs.
Decks cost only between $8 and $10 to produce, once ready they are sold to skateboard companies, usually by contract. Skateboard companies sell them to distributors and you end up paying the full retail price.
Wheels cost only a few dollars to produce but the better brands devote a lot of time in R&D to make the best wheels possible. The same goes for trucks, producing trucks with quality materials is more expensive but they cost around $10to produce (estimated).
Why is that? Well, brands need to sponsor their skaters, organize contests, market their products, and are always looking for ways to improve products.
Most Expensive Skateboards
Some skateboards aren’t meant to be trashed, rare collectors editions and vanity skateboards go up to $45,000! It’s insane if you think about it, fortunately, many of the boards listed here are auctioned and the money goes to charity. Let’s look at some of the most expensive skateboards ever.
6. The Golden skateboard – $15,000
Matt Willet and Peter Willet in New York created a $15,000 skateboard of 99.99% pure electro-plated gold. Even the trucks, wheels, bearings, and grip tape have a gold finish. The wheels spin but it’s not something you can actually ride.
5. The Supreme Mundi skateboard – $20,000
Not really a skateboard but an artistic impression. Adrian Wilson painted the Supreme logo on a painting palette and added trucks and wheels. Wilson wanted to take a stance against the art industry and snobbism and sold it on eBay for $20,000.
4. Tony Hawks Beatles Skateboard – $27,000
Tony Hawk sold his Beatles skateboard at a fundraiser for the Tony Hawk Foundation for $27,000. The deck has both handwritten lyrics from the Beatles song Blackbird and Paul McCartney’s signature.
3. Deck Set of Skateboards – $35,000
Not really a skateboard but worth mentioning. Again, this took place at a Tony Hawk action to raise money for the Tony Hawk Foundation. Someone dropped $35,000 for four Bucky Lasek decks with handwritten lyrics from the song Bodhisattva Vow by the Beasy Bows, written and signed by Beastie Boy Adam Yauch.
2. Blowin in the Wind Skateboard – $38,000
Another auction piece, this time at the Boards and Bands auction for only $38,000. Lyrics seem to do well, and this time the Bob Dylan wrote the lyrics from the song Blowing in the wind and signed the deck. To top it off, the deck was also signed by Jamie Thomas, owner of Zero skateboards.
1. Louis Vuitton X Supreme – $59,000
The most expensive skateboard ever is the Louis Vuitton X Supreme that Jeffree Star bought as a present for his boyfriend (Nathan Schwandt). This may seem outrageous to us peasants but to be fair, it came with a nice box and a skate tool.
Nathan couldn’t enjoy it for long as he managed to crack the deck near the trucks, maybe it’s worth more now? Guy shreds though!
Recommended Cheap Skateboards
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If you shop smart you can get a decent complete setup for cheap. Stoked Ride Shop offers a great setup for a really good price. You can either go for a cruiser-street hybrid setup or a street setup.
The Cruiser-street setup consists of a blank deck with Jessup grip tape, Paris Street trucks (very decent), Fireball bearings (fast!), and Fireball Tinner wheels (60mm 81A). This is about the cheapest complete you can get with quality parts for only 85 bucks (currently sold out).
The street setup comes with Mini Logo wheels with a diameter of 53 mm and hardness (Duro) of 99A. This is a great starter setup and gets you the best bang for your buck at only $75.
I can also recommend the CCS complete but you get lesser parts and it’s more expensive.
Lastly, see if you can find a used skateboard and make sure you can inspect it before you decide to buy. Often you can get a great skateboard for cheap, lots of people give up after a few weeks! Check if the bearings still spin properly and check for oxidation and squeaky sounds (dirt, water) Make sure the wheels don’t have flat spots or are at the end of their life cycle.
Decks that are completely destroyed won’t have much pop. Sometimes decks are waterlogged if the owner left it outside in the rain, this also affects pop. Don’t forget to inspect the trucks, make sure the axles aren’t bent or show signs of cracks. Negotiate accordingly to the condition of the board and don’t be afraid to walk away.
The average price of a complete skateboard costs between 75 and 150 bucks depending on the quality of the parts you pick. That’s just the start as there are many costs involved you might not have considered. Longboards for example cost more but are way less expensive in the long run.
Being smart about gear investments and buying stuff on sale (or even used) can save you a lot of money. Taking care of your gear properly, patching your shoes, swapping wheels around will make your gear last longer.
I believe skateboarding isn’t expensive when you compare it to other sports but if you don’t have much, make sure to use your money wisely.