Hand Skateboard Featured Image

In many parts of the world, summer’s in full swing. That means an abundance of sun, fun, and outdoor activities. If you’re one of the many who yearn for a magnificent adventure, it’s likely that you’ve dabbled in common forms of warm-weather transportation -- including bicycling, rollerblading, and skateboarding -- to get you where you need to go. Regardless of your preferred method for traveling from “point a” to “point b,” it’s safe to say that the adrenaline-filled medium of skateboarding can offer you more than you might imagine in terms of fulfillment, freedom, and personal expression.

If you’ve been on the fence regarding the purchase of a new skateboard, there are a few things you’ll need to know. For the purpose of this guide, we’ll be focusing on one of the action sport’s most-asked questions: “what size, is the right size?” And, to clarify even further, we’ll dive into some industry secrets that will help you source the perfect deck. Whether you’re an amateur skater or a veteran who’s been riding handrails, pool coping, or ramps for years, this guide should help to clear the proverbial “fog” that surrounds the (somewhat) complex world of board sizing.

Skaters Graphic

The Nitty Gritty

First, we’ll take a look at the two components that make a skateboard deck, a skateboard deck: length, and width. These measurements are often represented in inches, and come in varying flavors, depending on the type of riding/terrain that you prefer. In contemporary skate culture, common widths range from 7.00” (inches) to 8.50” (inches). Of course, there are always outliers, but decks outside of this range are often customized for a specific purpose (ie., longboard, cruiser, and penny variants). Since we’re a traditional skate shop, we’ll focus on the former.

Skateboard Wall Graphic Body Image Now, we warned you earlier that board sizing can be somewhat complex. This isn’t due to the actual “recommended” sizing that has become the industry standard for vert, street, or park skating. Instead, it has to do with the subjectivity of those sizes, how they’re used, and where they’ve seen conventional acceptance within the world of skateboarding culture.

In the 1980s and 1990s, it was generally (and widely) accepted that wider boards (8.00” and above) were used for things like vert and pool skating. Naturally, a wider board meant more surface area – which, in turn, meant more balance while navigating transitions, sliding on pool coping, or reentering the vertical takeoff of a ramp. Legendary skaters like Steve Caballero, Mark Gonzales, Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva, and Tony Hawk preferred larger boards, due to their increased stability. Alternatively, it was believed that boards in the middle-to-high end of the 7.00” range were lighter, slimmer, and more responsive. Because of this, these deck sizes were adopted by street and freestyle skaters who spent their summer days seeking out the world’s best rails, stair sets, and hubbas. These days, however, skaters are subverting the normalization of these sizes by skating larger, more cumbersome decks, without sacrificing the technical tricks that used to take place on smaller boards.

By now, you should have a general idea of where you stand in the spectrum of skateboard sizing. With that in mind, let’s look at the more technical aspects of picking the correct length and width for your style of skating.

Board Width & Length Graphic

Skateboarding's General Guidelines

As a general rule, 7.00” - 7.50” decks should be utilized by smaller youth. These are great starter decks that provide the perfect foundation for young skaters who are looking to maintain the technicality of slim boards, without riding something too heavy for them to flip, spin, and maneuver.

Next, we’ll take a look at 7.50” - 8.00” decks. These are considered a healthy “middle ground” for many of today’s more technical skaters. That being said, these sizes have become increasingly rare, due to the community’s unified push for larger sizes. Looking for the perfect mix of agility, maneuverability, and strength? These decks might be exactly what you’re looking for – especially if you’re not the tallest (or heaviest) skater at the local manual pad.

Now, we’re taking a look at today’s most prominent deck sizes: 8.00” - 8.50”. Within this range, you’ll find a variety of boards that can tackle any terrain, transition, or rail that you’ll be able to throw their way. Due to the versatility of these board sizes, they’ve been adopted by the vast majority of the skateboarding community, placing an emphasis on control, rideability, and surface area, instead of weight.

Finally, we’ll speak on the industry’s larger board sizes. From 8.50” and onward, you’ll find an increased surface area that creates prime real-estate for larger transition skating, heftier street tricks, and general rideability. This is why you’ll see longboards, cruisers, and more substantial decks in this width range. The downfall? Immense weight makes it difficult to maneuver these boards while in the air, making them less frequented by street and park skaters looking to keep things responsive.

The truth is, most of this stuff is common sense. If you’re smaller, or you want a board that’s more responsive when you flick, you might want to go for a smaller deck. If you’re tall, have large feet, or prefer the stability of a bigger board, you’ll need to size up.

General Guidelines

Human Size:
5’6” and below: Pick up a 7.50” to 8.00” board.
5’6” and above: Pick up an 8.00” to 8.50” board.

Simple, but ambiguous.

When it comes to board length, the rules are more clear-cut. Take a look at this general guideline, courtesy of the guys at Autonomy.

Board Width: 7.25" = Length: 29.50" (Wheel Base: 12.50")
Board Width: 7.50" = Length: 31.12" (Wheel Base: 14.00")
Board Width: 7.75" = Length: 31.12" (Wheel Base: 14.00")
Board Width: 8.00" = Length: 31.38" (Wheel Base: 14.00")
Board Width: 8.25" = Length: 32.00" (Wheel Base: 14.38")

Shoe Size vs. Deck Size

Last, but not least, we’ll take a look at shoe size. The size of your feet should play a huge role in your selection of deck – but how can you tell what’s right, and what’s wrong? As a rule of thumb (or toe?), you’ll want a deck that spans (in width) from the midsection of your toes, with a small portion of your heel hanging off the rear. If the edge of the board spans from the ball of your foot to the midsection of your heel, the deck is too small. If your entire foot can fit on top of the deck without any overlap on the edges, the board is too big.

Still confused? We’ll add a snazzy graphic so you can see what we’re talking about.

Shoe Size Vs Deck Width Graphic

Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned rider, you’ll need the right skate shoe to bring out your deck’s potential. Check out some of Billion Creation’s durable, dependable, and comfortable professional skate shoes -- from brands like Vans, Emerica, DC, Supra, New Balance, and others -- below.