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We often talk about the best skateboard brands, but we see fewer discussions about the worst skateboard brands. The ones to avoid at all costs. Now. Most skaters started on some beat-up board. Either inherited from an older brother or simply the cheapest one their parents could find.
We all experienced at least once the trouble of having a soft deck that felt like it was ready to break, stiff trucks that didn’t seem to want to turn, and wheels that simply couldn’t spin for more than half a second before stopping dead in their tracks.
The Worst Skateboard Brands
Let’s have a look at 10 of the worst skateboard brands you should stay away from. Don’t waste your money on cheap skateboards, get a deck or board from a reputable brand but make sure to find out where they are made (which will be covered at the end of this blog post).
1. Kryptonics Skateboards
Let’s start this list by talking about a brand that might be controversial online: Kryptonics Skateboard. While the brand averages 4.8 stars on amazon with over 800 reviews, the average (younger) skater has never even heard of its name. And for good reason.
Often the parents purchase the board and leave a review, not the kid who struggles with the board. They happily give a 5 star thinking it does the job as they left their poor kid with a skateboard even pros would struggle to ride.
However, if we look at the reviews left by the actual customer who tested the product, it’s a little less glorious. The deck is “cheap and feels like plywood”. Someone had the trucks break on him after 4 days, only riding down the street. Moral of the story: don’t trust amazon ratings blindly.
Kryptonics used to be a great brand back in the days, and there is some confusion about the brand. They we’re one of the first to producs wheels that offered bounce and made solid decks late ’70s and early 80s. Nowadays you get inferior quality.
2. Walmart Skateboards
We made an entire article covering Walmart skateboards a few months back, but this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning our favorite, or in this case least favorite, grocery store.
To highlight some points we’ve made in this article, Walmart makes their decks out of inferior quality material, which makes for one of the worst boards on the market. Not only does the deck won’t last long, but it is so bad, it can actually be dangerous.
Avoid at all costs.
3. Intersport Skateboard
Similarly to Decathlon with its Oxelo skateboards, the swiss sport chain Intersport produces and sells entry-price skateboard complete, as well as cruisers and longboards, all over the world. And just like its French counterpart, Intersport skateboards quality have to be addressed.
For starters, the bearings are Abec 1, meaning you won’t go for one meter before having to push again. The deck—who supposedly can sustain up to 100 kilos—is 10 cm shorter than your standard adult sized deck, which makes balancing on the deck a genuine struggle. On top of all that, the axles of the trucks are longer than the trucks themselves.
It’s becoming a trend now. Stay away from large multi-sports retailers if you’re looking to buy a proper skateboard.
4. Mongoose Skateboard
Mongoose skateboards fall in the same category as Kryptonics skateboards. As in, their online reputation poorly reflects the reality of what the product really is. Despite costing twice the price of Kryptonics complete, Mongoose boards barely provide anything better.
Mongoose decks are thicker than your average deck with a 9-ply construction instead of 7 usually. You’d think that the deck will hold up better but there’s a reason most decks comprise 7-ply of maple wood. Above this, the weight weakens the bounce of the deck, making it more prone to snap.
To top it off, the board comes with Abec 1 bearings and composite trucks. The type of truck where you can imagine the kingpin snapping in half mid-grind.
5. Osprey Skateboard
As we’ve seen with some brands mentioned above, high Amazon ratings don’t always translate into great quality skateboards. But what about the worst rated skateboard deck on Amazon then?
That’s accomplished by Osprey Skateboards. To be fair, the brand notifies the skateboard is “not made for professional use”, nor for doing tricks and stunts. In short, Osprey sells a street deck made to cruise around. And even then, the wheels-bearings combo won’t get you far.
Go check out the Osprey skateboard (barely) in action in this video of Braille Skateboarding.
6. Airwalk Skateboards
We couldn’t leave out Airwalk Skateboards from this list. The Canadian fashion brand commercialized some complete skateboard for an affordable, yet higher price than most of the brands of this list.
Well, their skateboard doesn’t justify this price-gap. The bearings fall off simply riding the board. The deck has a 9-ply construction, despite being sold as 7-ply.
But hands down the best indicator as to go with someone with straight up recommended Walmart boards over Airwalk for a better return on investment. You can’t do worse than that.
7. Maple Skateboards
Even though the name Maple Skateboards might not ring a bell, the brand is actually quite popular because of its wide availability in most Best Buy or Walmart skateboarding sections. For the quality of their complete skateboards, well… You’ve guessed it, it’s not glorious.
Their decks have no concave which makes doing flip tricks a challenge even for experienced riders. The wheels barely spin because of the poor quality of the bearings. To top it all off, the paint covering up the trucks is crazy abrasive, which makes it impossible not to stick while doing grinds, even on buttery ledges.
The Berrics made a consumer report where you can see pro skateboarder Sean Malto skate (not without troubles) and snap multiple Maple decks in less than half an hour.
8. World Industries Skateboards
As much as it pains me to say it: World Industries isn’t what it used to be. Despite being around since 1987 and having such an established brand in skateboarding, the company switched the materials of their complete skateboard to cut cost in the last 20 years.
Steve Rocco sold the company and nowadays World Industries skateboards are all made in China, like many other brands. This doesn’t mean a brand is bad, in fact many brands moved production to China over the years.
However, their decks—made of inferior quality wood—weigh significantly more than your standard 7-ply deck. The trucks’ bushings don’t react no matter how tight or loose you tighten the nut, making it absurdly hard to turn.
The end-product is sadly comparable to a Walmart board, which is a shame for a brand with the past-expertise of World Industries.
9. Decathlon Oxelo Skateboard
The French multinational firm Decathlon designs skateboards through its inline conception team based in Bletterans, France for over 20 years now. Branded as Oxelo, the skate branch of Decathlon follows its mother motto: “Sport for All, All for Sport”. As a result, Oxelo skateboards come way below market price. But at what cost?
In recent years, Decathlon has significantly bettered the quality of their complete skateboards, the end-product still feels cheap. The quality of Oxelo’s deck is way below average, feeling soft and soggy after only a few hours of skating. Perhaps the boards will further improve in the future.
The wheels roll decently well compared to others from this list. Although the trucks truly kill the product as they aren’t reactive nor very trustworthy to grind on. You get what you pay for. A very cheap price for a below average skateboarding experience.
10. Amazon ‘Brands’
It’s actually really easy to find the worst brands on Amazon. The only thing you have to do is searching for “best skateboard” or “best skateboard brands”. A few spammy or unrelated blogs pop up on top, all the boards they mention are utter trash and often unsafe. Here’s a list of cheap Amazon stuff to avoid, there are many more but just to give you an idea:
- White fang
- Cal 7
- Krown Wolf
- KPC Pro
Anything under 75 bucks (complete skateboards) should be avoided, also be careful when buying those cheap $100 longboards, you get what you pay for.
Why Amazon Skateboard Reviews are Unreliable
I was recently approached by some Chinese skateboard manufacturer and they offered to pay me to promote their skateboard ‘brand’.
I don’t review or promote stuff for money, and when someone offers a product I always tell them the review will be unbiased and I will charge a (hefty) fee for the work. They always back off, which I like because I hate the idea of writing paid reviews.
I decided to take a quick look at their Amazon reviews and it was all 5-stars, highly unlikely if you ask me. Some of them looked almost legit, others looked very suspicious so I used a AI-tool to scan all of them. Turns out 90% was fake which confirmed my initital suspiscion.
I told them I didn’t want to work with them but then they started to offer me bribes. That’s the point where I blocked them, taking money for positive reviews is a slipperly slope.
So keep in mind that Amazon reviews are unreliable, people get paid to remove negative reviews and sometimes they try to bribe you when buying a product for a positive review.
Final Thoughts: Investing in the “Good” Skateboard Brands
Here at SkateboardersHQ, we highly encourage newcomers to invest in a REAL (not the brand) skateboard right away. No need to spend big bucks, but you should have a realistic budget for your first skateboard. You’ll end up saving money in the long-run and have a much easier time learning how to skate.
Whether you buy it at your local skate shop, or online, make sure to check where the brand currently gets their decks from. It’s not about the brand it’s about the woodshop. Currently we are testing many skateboard brands to see which are the best but there is no clear answer just yet and I doubt there ever will be.
If I had to make one recommendation, get a deck from PS Stix. Brands like WKND, Thank You, Welcome (USA), Strangelove and many more are a very good choice which I still have to add to my list of best skateboard brands (work in progress).
Keep in mind that many brands now try to get their boards anywhere they can due to supply chain issues, material shortage and high demand. Check out this thread on Slap Magazine for an up to date list of brands and woodshops.