Skateboarding requires a one-time investment but if you pay attention you can significantly reduce costs. Skateboarding isn’t expensive but it also isn’t cheap. You can get a decent skateboard for about $100, $70 if you buy a complete. At some point, you need to replace components.
Depending on the frequency and aggressiveness you need to replace your deck about every 3-6 months. Trucks and wheels can last for 6 months or years before you need to replace them. Good bearings can last for over a decade if you take care of them properly.
Skateboarding becomes expensive when you break a deck every month or when your board consists of low-quality parts. In order to save you money, in the long run, it’s important to get quality parts at the best possible price.
So let’s have a look at the individual components and their costs. For this I’ll show you what you can get for 100 bucks, I’ll try to stay under it.
How Much Does a Skateboard Cost?
If you shop around and wait for good deals you can save a lot of money. The price of a complete skateboard is between $70 and $150 depending on the quality of the setup. Blank decks, for example, are very cheap and just as good as printed skateboard decks. If you shop smart you can save a lot of money on your skateboard.
Usually picking your own parts is a bit more expensive than buying a complete but you can decide how to spend your budget yourself. In general, always go for quality skateboard trucks. Trucks are the most durable part and have a huge impact on performance and responsiveness.
The prices here are based on what you pay in the US. If you’re in Europe a skateboard is much more expensive (I paid about 100 EUR for my trucks alone).
Skateboard Deck Price
Many decks are similar in price. There are many skateboard brands out there but all of the decks come from only a few manufacturers. Often brands have exactly the same deck but the graphics are different. Some brands like Powell Peralta, Enjoi, Plan B, and many others use different technology for a few of their decks. Carbon, fiberglass, special slick coating make these boards more durable and more expensive. Other than technology, prices are based on the following:
- The materials of the skateboard deck.
- Length, width, and thickness.
- The graphic or art and the reputation of the artist (Supreme is a great example).
- The shop where you buy your deck.
- The technology used (maple wood, bamboo, fiberglass, carbon etc.)
- Sale, you can often get discounts when new decks arrive.
- The status quo, the first one to raise prices will suffer
So how much does a skateboard deck cost? The average price of a skateboard deck is about $50, you’ll also some nice artwork from a reputable brand. Cheapest skateboard decks are blanks and they cost about $25-30 dollars. More expensive decks like the Plan B Blackice ($75), the fiberglass reinforced Powel Peralta Flight Deck ($90) or the really expensive almost unbreakable Lithe Slate 2 ($199).
Let’s focus on the cheapest deck possible on a $100 dollar budget, pick a blank deck or get a branded on sale. Total budget $100, spend $30 (assuming you got a sale deal), budget left $70.
Cost of Skateboard Trucks
We got 70 bucks left but now we come to the part where you don’t want to cheap out. Skateboard trucks are expensive, at least if you do for quality trucks. The cheapest quality trucks go for around $30 (you get 2 of them for that price) and you can get ‘m as cheap as $25 if they are on sale.
The problem with really cheap trucks is that they will break once you progress a little. They can’t take the impact from ollies and breaking them can cause you to injure yourself. If there’s one thing you shouldn’t cheap out it’s your trucks. Go with brands like Independent, Thunder, Venture, Krux, Tensor or Ace. No need for fancy titanium or hollow trucks (though hollows are standard with some brands) just the basics is fine.
Our budget: spend $30 on a deck, $30 on trucks leaving us with $40. Our budget is getting a bit tight now.
Cost of Skateboard Wheels
Assuming you got a great deal on trucks ($30) you about 40 bucks left. Skateboard wheels prices vary a lot. This is because of the quality of the polyurethane (plastic) and the research that went into it. The most expensive wheels are about $50, the cheapest which still have decent quality go for about $20 (mini logo).
If you go for the cheapest your wheels will wear down faster and you have to replace them sooner. They also provide a less comfortable ride compared to the more expensive wheels.
It’s okay to get a set of cheap wheels when you’re just starting out. They will last you for at least 6 months so you got plenty of time to save for a set of great wheels. I suggest you get some Ricta clouds 92a (54mm) which go for about $30 if you can afford it. Great all-around wheels, pretty forgiving wheels and offer a really smooth ride. Good for street, cruising, and transition, though not excelling in any of them.
Let’s look at the budget. $30 (blank) deck, $30 trucks, $30 wheels, it’s getting tight. Only 10 bucks left!
Cost of Skateboard Bearings
Bearings range from $15 to $200, cheap Bones bearings are fine and will last for a long time if you take care of them properly. So the good news is that bearings are cheap and you still get decent quality! Clean them every season and lube them with bones speed cream to get the most out of your bearings.
I had bearings that lasted me for over 10 years, just make sure to keep them out of the rain. The bad news is we’re passed our budget, but if you shop smart you’ll be able to save money.
But wait, I forgot about grip tape and hardware (sorry), you’ll need some bolts ($3) to attach your trucks to your deck. Mission failed I guess and I would also get some spacers ($2) to protect your bearings from friction and dirt. So the grand total is $115, sorry about that.
Now the good news is that when you buy all the parts at the same store you often get free grip tape, leaving the total costs at $110, this really isn’t bad considering the quality! I’ll let you in on a little ‘secret’, picking your own parts is usually more expensive.
You have the freedom to pick the parts you want and get a better quality skateboard, but complete skateboards are cheaper.
What Is the Cheapest Decent Skateboard
Toy skateboards are the cheapest but they will break in an instant and you’ll have a hard time learning how to skateboard. Go with the cheapest skateboard which still has decent components. Consider buying a complete skateboard and save a few bucks. Complete skateboards are way cheaper than getting all the different parts yourself.
These are mass-produced boards and some come at a great price. I recently tested a cheap but great complete skateboard for about 70 bucks. It has decent components and I would totally recommend this if you’re a beginner. The wheels aren’t that great but if you’re just starting out they are fine. Save up for a couple of decent wheels in the meantime.
Hidden Costs of Skateboarding
It’s not only your skateboard that costs money. Be aware that skate shoes can wear down pretty quickly especially on fresh grip tape. If you want to skate indoor be ready to pay a fee each time you enter. Also, think about shoes, protective gear, and pants, socks, sweaters. Any sport costs money, but I think it’s safe to say skateboarding is relatively cheap.
Many outdoor skateparks are free but some require an access fee. Most indoor parks cost you between 5-10 bucks each visit. This isn’t a problem when it’s always sunny but in the winter you probably want to visit an indoor park at least once every month (if you have one close by).
Indoor parks are well maintained and the objects are usually made out of wood. Many are run by volunteers so your fee is used to maintain and improve the park, totally worth the money.
Let’s start with shoes, they can be a hit and miss. You can get cheap ones on sale for $40 to $50 dollars but make sure you get quality suede shoes. Suede lasts the longest and resist wear and tear from grip tape way more than canvas shoes. Don’t ever buy canvas shoes unless you only want to cruise.
Shoes can last for 6 months depending on your level and how often you skate. If you skate every day, be prepared to buy new shoes every 2-3 months.
If you only skate transition, bowl or mini ramp, they’ll last you for at least a year. It all depends on how often you ollie, kickflip or any trick that causes your grip tape to wear down your shoes. There are a couple of lifehacks you can use to extend their lifespan. Suede patching and shoe goo are your friends.
At least get a helmet when you try something new you aren’t comfortable with. Wearing a helmet can save your life and it’s getting more common nowadays, I wear a helmet when I try new stuff or in case of an off day. Skateboarding helmets cost around $40 to $50 bucks.
I’m an older skater and I wear knee pads and sometimes a helmet. I made sure to buy pads that I never have to replace again but they cost me around 100 bucks. This may seem like a lot of money but the doctors’ bill is usually way more. It’s a one-time investment but it saved me from injuries and allows me to go to work the next day (and not being a burden on my family).
Elbow pads go for around $30, wrist guards about $25. If you have a bad elbow or tend to fall on your wrists it’s worth it. It just sucks to be out for a couple of weeks and you probably get back into it before you properly healed.
Pants, sweaters, shirts. If you’re looking for quality pants go with Dickies, they are pretty solid and can take a beating. Of course, you can wear most of these in your daily life as long as they still look fine.
Skateboarding is a relatively cheap sport depending on how often and how aggressive you skate. Breaking a deck occasionally is expensive but investing in a deck that can take a beating might save you some money in the long run. Startup costs are expensive, but this isn’t any different from other sports.
If you’re a runner you need new shoes every 3-6 months and buy clothes for summer and winter. Skateboarding is a great exercise and a ton of fun. It’s the only sport that makes my brain stop worrying and focus on the moment, go for it but know your limits!