Skateboards are not just sports equipment or hobby supply.
They are vehicles. Modes of transport.
And, like any mode of transport, the better their parts, the better their performance.
A standard skateboard is made up of three major components – the deck, the trucks, and the wheels.
Any of these components can be upgraded to improve a skateboard’s feel and functionality.
If you want optimal performance from your skateboard, you’re going to have to go beyond a pre-made board.
Here are the accessories and upgrades we recommend for every serious skater.
Let’s start straight-up.
While you can use other tools to work on your skateboard, a dedicated skate tool is a must-have skateboard accessory.
This multi-tool includes everything you need to fix or replace just about any component on your board.
Most skate tools are made intentionally small, so they are easy to carry with you.
And some, like this carabiner skate tool, have even more portability.
A skate tool is great thing to have on hand at home and to keep with you at the skate park for quick tightening or repairs.
Our favorite skate tool:
When you want to enhance your skateboard’s steering performance, you’ve got a couple of main options.
Risers are one of them.
Risers go between the deck of a skateboard and the baseplates of the trucks, increasing the space between the two and giving the truck (and wheels) more room to maneuver.
By adding risers to your board, you reduce the risk of wheel-bite (when your wheels touch the underside of the deck, bringing your board to an abrupt stop).
Risers are a necessity for skaters who like to keep their trucks loose or ride on larger wheels.
But it doesn’t hurt anyone to create a little more clearance between deck and wheels and add extra padding to their board’s build.
The softer texture of risers absorbs some of the vibrations when riding on rough surfaces and shock when landing from heights.
This can prevent stress to the deck and loosening of hardware.
It can even spare your body, reducing impact on your legs, feet, ankles, hips, knees, and core.
Typical risers run from ¼” to ½”. Though, there are some thicker risers made if you want to create a truly bouncy riding experience.
Our favorite risers are Sector 9 Angled Riser Pads:
If you don’t want any rise to your board, you should at least install shock pads.
Shock pads provide the same shock absorption benefits of risers without as much lift.
Like risers, shock pads go between the deck and the trucks.
Shock pads are typically around 1/8”, compared to risers ¼” or higher.
Our favorite shock pads are Independent Genuine Parts Shock Pads:
Riser or Shock Pad Bolts
When you install risers or shock pads between your deck and trucks, you’ll need longer bolts to accommodate the height.
These are not additional accessories, but something to keep in mind when choosing your hardware.
Trucks typically come with bushings. But those bushings may not be the right bushings for you.
Swapping out your trucks’ pre-fitted bushings with bushings more suited to your style and weight can make a world of difference in how your board handles.
Generally speaking, cone-shaped bushings are better for turns/tricks.
Barrel-shaped bushings are better for racing/speed.
But bushings can also be mixed and matched, creating a combination that allows for enhanced turning, while still maintaining stability.
Two cone bushings provide for the sharpest turns.
Two barrel bushings provide for the greatest stability.
A cone-barrel combo is ideal for adding flexibility to turns, while still maintaining a sturdy base.
There are a few less-common bushing types as well, such as hourglass and stepped, which add even more maneuverability options to your trucks.
Our best advice for any new skater is to try out several types and combinations of bushings until you find the most comfortable feel for your board.
Whatever type of bushing you decide on, quality matters.
Bushings wear down fast, and the higher the quality, the longer they’ll last.
Our favorite bushings:
- Bones Hardcore Hard Black Black Bushings Skateboard Bushings
- Independent – Standard Cylinder Bushings, Orange, 90A-Medium
Skateboard wax is used two ways in skateboarding.
You rub it on parts of your board, like the bottom of your deck or the truck hanger.
You rub it on the surfaces you want to slide or grind on.
Either way, it has the same effect. It makes contact between a skateboard and surface more slippery, so it’s easier to perform grinds or slides.
Not every skater likes to wax.
But, if sliding and grinding is what you’re into, it’s worth trying out to see if it feels right.
Just be respectful.
Don’t use wax on public property.
Wax can cause damage to surfaces and just irritation from other skaters if you use it at a skatepark.
In public, keep your wax solely on your own board.
Our favorite skateboard waxes:
Like wax, rails are a contentious skateboard accessory.
Some skaters love them.
Some skaters hate them.
Some skaters just don’t see their purpose.
Rails are really just strips of metal or plastic that attach to the bottom of a board’s deck.
If you do a lot of sliding, rails can definitely enhance your board’s performance.
They can also add protection, not just to your graphics, but to your deck itself.
Skateboards rarely break during slides, but regular sliding can wear on your deck over time, making a break more likely in the future.
Rails help prevent that.
Skaters who are practicing grabs can also benefit from rails because it provides an extra finger-hold.
Our favorite rails are Powell Peralta 14.5″ Rib-Bones Skateboard Rails:
Skateboard Accessories for a Custom Ride
When it comes to skateboard accessories, there is no one size fits all.
Different skaters benefit from different additions to their boards.
If you’re new to skateboarding, don’t be afraid to try different accessories on for size.
Whichever accessories lend to your personal riding style are the right accessories for your board.