27 Jan What’s the Best Skateboard for Commuting?
Skateboarding isn’t just about doing tricks, skating parks, and busting ollies and kickflips!
In many ways, skateboarding can be a very effective means of transportation. Not only is it fun, but skateboarding can even reduce your carbon footprint. Instead of using your car to get to nearby destinations, cruising around town on your skateboard can be particularly enjoyable, especially with the right board.
You can use any type of skateboard to get around town.
However, with so many types of boards to choose from, you might find it challenging to choose the best skateboard for your commute. Most of the time, choosing a skateboard comes down to your personal preference.
In this article, you’ll discover the best types of skateboards for commuting, depending on where you live and on your personal skating style. In addition, I’ll show you some of the components like wheels, bearings, decks, trucks, and even completes, that are beloved for cruising and getting around town.
First, let’s go through the different types of skateboards.
Different Types of Skateboards
The popsicle skateboard deck shape is the most common board shape today. It has a symmetrical shape (like a popsicle stick) that allows you to do tricks by popping the nose or tail.
Because popsicle boards are so common, you can find them from many brands and there are many popsicle boards that come as complete skateboards.
The best thing about these skateboards is that they are versatile. You can use them for skating parks, street spots, banks, as well as for commuting! Plus, if you live in a downtown area, you can effortlessly bring your popsicle board with you on public transport, allowing you to get around the whole city without a car.
Pros of Popsicle Skateboards:
- Compact and easy to carry
- Full nose and tail for tricks
- Many options as a complete skateboard
Cons of Popsicle Skateboards:
- Not as stable as other boards for downhill skating
Who are Popsicle Skateboards Best for?
Popsicle shaped skateboards are best for skaters who want a more versatile board for commuting. You can use it to get around downtown areas and use them for skating actual skateparks and spots.
Longboards for Commuting
A longboard can be a lot faster than a standard skateboard.
Longboards are usually equipped with larger trucks and wheels, making your commute more stable and more comfortable. There are many types of longboard shapes, including pintails that resemble a surfboard style, shorter longboards with kicktails, or drop-thru longboards which expose the wheels from above.
Different materials also affect their performance, such as bamboo longboards with flex for carving and solid maple longboards for going really fast.
Photo of me riding a longboard cruising on Huntington Beach Pier in Huntington Beach, Ca. Credits to Nelson Mendez for the snap
Practically all longboard types are excellent for getting around town.
Because of the larger and softer wheels, you won’t feel cracks on the sidewalk and road imperfections nearly as much as a skateboard with harder wheels.
Plus, each push will propel you a much further distance.
Pros of Longboards:
- More stable (especially at higher speeds)
- Smoother ride over rough ground
- Faster than standard skateboard
Cons of Longboards:
- Heavy to carry
- Bulky to bring with you places
Who are Longboards Best for?
A longboard is the perfect weapon of choice for those who just want to cruise around wide suburban areas or school campuses. In fact, some people even use longboards to travel pretty long distances!
Cruiser Skateboards for Commuting
Cruiser skateboards are probably the best type of skateboard for commuting. As the name suggests, these boards are specifically made for cruising. Complete cruisers, such as those from Landyacthz and Santa Cruz Skateboards, are the perfect hybrid of a standard skateboard and longboard.
Cruiser skateboards are usually the same length as a popsicle skateboard, but they’re equipped with wider trucks and bigger, softer wheels for smooth cruising performance. Plus, cruisers usually have a kicktail, meaning you can turn by leaning or pivoting on the tail and you can pop the tail to do basic tricks.
Pros of Cruiser Skateboards:
- Versatile for different types of skating
- A kicktail for easy turns & basic tricks
- Soft wheels for a smooth, comfortable ride
- Wider trucks for stability even at higher speeds
Cons of Cruiser Skateboards:
- Slightly heavier than a standard skateboard
- Not so ideal for technical street skate tricks
Who are Cruiser Skateboards Best For?
A cruiser skateboard is a great option for anyone looking to commute by skateboard.
Whether you’re a beginner or pro, child or adult, cruiser skateboards are one of the best and most versatile options for getting around town on four wheels.
Old-School Skateboards (Shaped Boards) for Commuting
When I started skateboarding in the early 2000s, I didn’t even consider riding an old school skateboard. But nowadays, these boards are making a comeback! They’re like pieces of skate history and I think they’re here to stay.
Not only do they look stylish, the many different shapes of old school decks can be quite functional. Especially from legendary brands like Powell-Peralta and Santa Cruz, you can find decks modeled after original, pro-model deck shapes from the 1980’s.
Whether you want an old school skateboard for the nostalgia or the style, these skateboards make an excellent choice for cruising and getting around town.
Pros of Old School Skateboards:
- Very stylish – often with original “reissue” graphics
- Unique – some boards are even made in limited numbers
- Nostalgic – Totally rad 80’s style!
Cons of Old School Skateboards:
- The unique, sometimes very wide shapes can feel awkward at first
Who are Old School (Shaped) Skateboards Best For?
These boards, just like cruisers, make an excellent choice for anyone and any skill level. If you need a reliable and durable skateboard or deck for cruising and doing some tricks, an old-school skateboard makes a fantastic choice.
If you’re interested in old school skateboards, be sure to check out our article: How to Build Your Own Old School Skateboard!
Surfskates for Commuting
Surfskates are relatively new to the skateboard market. These boards feature very unique trucks that emulate the carving feel of a surfboard on water.
Like a cruiser, you could consider picking one up to make your cruise across town a lot more exciting!
If you want to experience a different feel when cruising or commuting, surfskates will definitely give skateboarding a whole new meaning!
Pros of Surfskates:
- Unique “surfing” feel while skating
- Even a simple bank or slanted sidewalk becomes super fun to ride
Cons of Surfskates:
- They take a bit of getting used to
- Not really ideal for high speeds
Who are Surfskates Best For?
Surfskates make an excellent choice for skaters or surfers who want to get a very similar surfing feel on concrete. It might not be exactly the same as riding waves, but it’s undoubtedly pretty close, especially on banks!
Other Types of Skateboards for Commuting
Aside from the options mentioned above, here are other types of skateboards that you can use for getting around town.
Penny boards are very light and compact, allowing you to bring them virtually anywhere. Whether you’re cruising around the city or on campus, Penny boards are great for commuting short distances.
Be sure to check out our article: Is the Penny Board a Good Cruiser for You? Find Out Here!
Building a Skateboard for Commuting
Aside from buying a complete skateboard that’s already assembled, you can also build your own ultimate commuting skateboard. You’ll just need to pick out components depending on your skate style and preferences!
My go-to skateboard for commuting is an 8.5” wide popsicle deck that I’ve equipped with loose trucks and soft wheels.
Skateboard Wheel Size for Commuting
When setting up a skateboard for commuting, choosing a good wheel size and durometer is essential.
You’ll want to make sure the wheel size you select is appropriate for the height of your trucks (to avoid wheelbite – aka, the wheels rubbing on the board during turns).
Most likely, you’ll want to use “high” trucks. You can also add riser pads under your trucks to raise their height. Plus, commuting skateboards usually have looser trucks than usual for better turning/carving.
When assembling your skateboard for commuting, you’ll probably look for wheels around 52mm to 58mm.
Skateboard Wheel Durometer for Commuting
Durometer refers to the hardness or softness of a wheel. The lower the durometer rating means the wheel is softer.
So, wheels from 78a to 88a durometer will make an excellent option for commuting. These softer wheels will roll more smoothly over various surfaces, leading to a more comfortable, safe, and quiet ride.
Be sure to check out our full selection of cruiser skateboard wheels here at Cruisin City!
On the other hand, hard wheels (98a durometer and up) make an excellent option for speed on smoother surfaces and when doing power slides.
So, for commuting and cruising, 78a to 90a will offer smooth, comfortable performance on most surfaces.
Wheels 98a and up are ideal if you plan to regularly use your board for tricks or skateparks.
Bearings for Your Commuter Skateboard
Bearings can also affect the smoothness of your ride. Generally, any bearing that’s equipped on a complete cruiser skateboard will certainly do the trick.
You can check out the full skateboard bearing selection at Cruisin City here.
If you have a serious need for speed, ceramic bearings make an excellent choice because they’re faster and longer lasting.
Remember: it’s important to keep your bearings clean! Check out our guide – Keep on Cruisin: How to Clean Skateboard Bearings.
How to Choose the Best Skateboard for Commuting: Factors to Consider
Where You Live
When choosing the best skateboard for commuting, you need to consider where you live.
I live in Los Angeles, so the sidewalks can be pretty rough with road imperfections. Because of the rough terrain, the sharp turns, and the hilly areas, I use a skateboard with a kicktail to get around town.
Photo of me cruising the streets of LA. Credits to Kotter Ramos for the snap
A skateboard with a kicktail will allow you to maneuver over sidewalk cracks, road imperfections, speed bumps, and more. Plus, a kicktail will help you make sharp turns by using it to pivot instead of leaning on your trucks. As a bonus, it allows you to pop ollies and pick up your board with style!
If you live in an urban/downtown area, I highly recommend choosing a cruiser skateboard, an old-school shaped deck, or a standard popsicle shaped skateboard equipped with the right wheels.
If you live in a suburban area, you can choose a bigger board with bigger trucks for carving. However, a cruiser board will make an excellent option as well, especially if you don’t want to carry around a longboard.
Many college and university students like to use a skateboard or longboard to get around. If you attend classes in a school with a large campus, you can use a skateboard to get around quickly and effortlessly. Also, the chances of you being late for your next class will probably be less likely!
Your Skating Style
Your skating style is also a factor to consider when choosing a good skateboard.
If you like to pop ollies and do tricks, a regular skateboard will be a great option.
If you like the carving/surfing aspect of skating, try a longboard or surfskate.
Finally, arguably the most versatile option is the classic cruiser skateboard.
Your Commuting Distance
If you plan on skating long distances (over 3 miles), you’ll want to choose a skateboard with soft wheels or a longboard.
If your commute requires riding a bus or the subway between skateboard rides, something more compact would be ideal.
So, What’s the Best Skateboard for Commuting?
I’ve tried commuting with every type of skateboard mentioned in this article.
For me, the best option that provided the most fun, stability, function, and comfort for commuting is the cruiser skateboard!
The versatility of a cruiser is everything and I’m pretty sure that you’ll love getting around town on your own cruiser!
Related Questions for Commuting by Skateboard:
Should I wear protective gear when skating?
Yes, you should definitely wear protective gear! Protective gear is essential when you are a beginner – falling is a natural part of learning to skate.
Is it legal to skate on sidewalks and roads?
In some cities, laws restrict people from skating on sidewalks and roads. However, skateboarding is now being recognized as a means of transportation in many world cities. Check your local laws to be sure before skating.
Text by GB Castillo