Why you should not buy a cheap skateboard from Walmart or Target
People who are getting fond of skateboarding as a hobby, a sport, or a form of recreational activity need the best quality of skateboarding gear. Various kinds of skateboarding gear can be found from many places - such as hardware stores, local skate shops, online stores, brick and mortar stores, toy shops, and so on. These skateboarding gear consist of skateboard decks, trucks, wheels, bearings, helmets, elbow pads, and so on. There are many places to get a skateboard for your kid or loved ones. You may be considering getting a skateboard from Walmart or Target - What the heck! A skateboard is a skateboard, right? It doesn't matter where I get it - This is wrong. It does indeed matter and I will tell you why.
Buying a skateboard from Walmart or Target might seem like a no brainer due to the incredibly low prices compared to those from established skateboard brands, but this also means that the materials used for the construction of these boards are of extremely low quality which is detrimental to the beginner in learning how to ride a skateboard.
Before deciding to buy skateboards from Walmart or Target, it is important to understand the issues involved as it can make the experience of learning how to skateboard difficult and unpleasant.
How much does a Walmart/Target Skateboard cost?
Buying a skateboard can be tough especially when it comes to cost. Expensive doesn't always translate to durability. Sometimes, you're paying for style, brand, or clever marketing. A good rule of thumb is to look for brands that proudly back their gear with generous warranties. That means that a brand makes quality products that they're happy to guarantee.
Walmart/Target skateboards usually cost below $30 for a complete board. They can go as low as $15. The reason why they are so low is that they are usually manufactured by unknown brands that use low-quality materials. Normal skateboards can range from $45 - $170 for high-quality boards used by pro skateboarders. It is always worth going for the more expensive skateboards as the cost is lower in the long term and offsets the cost of replacing a cheap skateboard every week.
Are Walmart/Target Skateboards Good?
Walmart and Target are very well known for their low prices. With how popular skateboarding has become, there are a lot of cheap skateboards available.
Walmart and Target sell cheap skateboards which are dangerous due to the low-quality manufacturing process and materials that are used during production. The decks, the grip tape, bearings, and trucks are all cheap and often made with inappropriate materials. This causes the wheels to fly off while riding and can make the skateboards easily break when performing tricks. Walmart/Target skateboards are not a good experience for beginners who are getting started in learning how to ride a skateboard.
Purchasing a skateboard from Walmart and/or Target tends to make it difficult for beginners to enjoy the process of learning the basic skills of how to balance on a skateboard. Practicing skills on cheap Skateboards is a pain. It could be particularly dangerous as the risk of injury increases which is not a particularly good beginner experience. The experience of learning to ride a skateboard is way better on a branded board sold at skate shops.
Cheap Skateboards VS Normal Skateboards
Walmart/Target skateboards are usually unsafe to ride as the wheels are very often made of plastic and do not have enough spin on them. It is important to wear protective gear when riding on these skateboards because they tend to warp very easily which could cause injury when cruising at high speed.
Normal or real skateboard wheels are usually made of a synthetic polymer material that is designed by well know brands such as spitfire, ricta, bones, mini logo, etc. They are of different hardness in the durometer scale. Skateboard wheels are designed for particular riding styles. These wheels last longer and can withstand rough handling as is usually the case in skateboarding.
Most skateboard trucks are made from cast Aluminium. Aluminum allows the skateboards to be lightweight, make less noise, increase durability, and prevent degradation due to rust. Walmart/Target skateboards are usually made from either plastic or cast iron. These are very inadequate to withstand the level of handling required of a skateboard and it eventually breaks or becomes bent after one or two skateboarding sessions.
Is A Walmart/Target Skateboard Good for Beginners?
You've got your brand new skateboard, you are so excited to take it out for a spin. You get on it and it gets wobbly, you find it hard to maintain your balance, and it eventually breaks. These are some of the experiences we have had on Walmart and Target skateboards. They are like toys, not designed for actual skating.
In addition to your inability to maintain balance on the board, they are also fragile and can easily break when you try to perform simple tricks with your board such as ollies or kickflips. It is important to wear protection to avoid injury when riding on a cheap skateboard as the materials used in the construction are usually of low quality.
Skateboards from top brands like Deathwish are made from 6-7 durable high-quality maple wood sourced from Canada which can withstand extreme pressure and rough handling usually experienced while skateboarding. It will be more cost-effective to save up and buy a branded board than it is to purchase a cheap skateboard. You will use it for years and can pass them on to your loved ones.
The pop on a Walmart/Target skateboard is very poor. Performing tricks tend to be is pretty much impossible as the skateboard feels fragile and tends to break after a few attempts of performing tricks.
How to choose a good skateboard
Finding the right skateboard is very important and will greatly affect your experience in learning how to ride a skateboard. There are many skateboards brands available. The idea is not to go for a cheap skateboard which as we have seen above are made from low-quality materials that are poorly manufactured. The right skateboard will enable you to pick up skills fast. In little to no time, you will be able to learn how to balance and perform tricks.
Does the width of a skateboard matter?
The first thing to consider when attempting to choose a skateboard is the size of the skateboard that is right for you. Selecting the right skateboard size is important for your balance. This requires you to take your shoe size, skating style, weight and height into consideration. We recommend going down to your local skate shop and standing on a few decks. If you are considering buying a skateboard for your loved one use the following table as a guide,
|5 and under
|3'4 or under
|6.5" to 7.0"
|3'5 to 4'4
|7.0" to 8.0"
|4'5 to 5'2
|7.5" to 8.0"
|13 and over
|5'3 or over
|8.0" and over
As you progress in skateboarding, you might find that you like the width of a particular skateboard. For example, a ramp/vert skateboarder may choose a wider deck for stability, while a street skater might go with a thinner width deck in favor of maneuverability.
What is the best measurement for the length of a skateboard?
Skateboards come in all shapes and sizes, but there are 3 different lengths to consider. They are the penny boards, normal skateboards, and longboards.
The length of the skateboard you need will depend on how you want to skate. Generally, Penny boards tend to be at around 20 - 24" long, normal skateboards are about 28 - 30" long, and longboards are on average anywhere between 32 - 40" and above in length.
If you want a skateboard primarily as a means of transportation. For taking a commute from point A to point B, Penny boards and longboards will be perfect for cruising. On the other hand, if you will be performing tricks on your skateboard, you will need a normal skateboard.
Inspect the quality of the skateboard deck
If you are trying to purchase your first board, the safest place is to visit your local skate shop. They usually have the latest boards and can guide you more on the kind of board that you need. Plus you get the added advantage of feeling and touching the skateboard before deciding to buy which can be very helpful when making your first purchase.
Try to avoid skateboards from Target or Walmart. They get away with selling very cheap and low-quality boards. If you don't have a skate shop close by you can check out the online stores such as Amazon, zumiez, and skatewarehouse.
One thing to look out for when checking out your first skateboard is to look out for plastic parts in the trucks and wheels. The more plastic you can find on the skateboard, the more the likelihood that it is made of low-quality materials and will not last very long.
Skateboard wheels should spin freely when properly lubricated. Spin the wheel of the skateboard. If it stops abruptly after a short time or you hear any unnatural sounds, that's a bad sign.
It is best to go with established manufacturers. They have years of experience and some of them also have warranties, this means that if you buy a skateboard and it breaks after a while, you can return it and get it fixed, replaced or you get your money back.
Skateboarding can be a very fun experience when you have the right equipment, getting your skateboard from Walmart or Target tend to diminish that experience due to the poor quality of boards that are sold, it is best to get skateboards from your local skate shop or online retailers.