Even those who are privy to the more technical, mechanical side of skateboarding can suffer from poor buying decisions when finishing off their boards with grip tape. No matter how much you know about trucks or bearings, the relatively simple grip tapes can make or break your experience with a new board. What can go wrong with a few inches of tape? It turns out a lot, so let us help you find the best ones for you and your board.
Below we’ve listed five examples of our favorite grip tape, including entries about each where we’ve described their specs and what they’ll do for your board, as well as their pros and cons so you can see which ones you want to avoid. If you want to learn some more about grip tape and how to identify quality products from subpar ones, we’d suggest you stick around for the buyer’s guide where we go through exactly that.
In a hurry?
If you can’t stick around, then at least let us suggest our favorite grip tape. If you like it, you can get your shopping over and done with in record time and continue the rest of your day. We liked the Grizzly Grip Stamp Grip Tape. You’ve likely heard of the brand before, so the recommendation isn’t coming out of left field, but nevertheless, it’s the tape that topped our list. See why below:
- A nine by thirty-three-inch grip sheet from one of the biggest names on the grip tape market. Grizzly’s stamp on the tape, when applied, lets skaters know which way their board is facing.
- The tape is lined with classic diamond grit that has increased granulation, making it finer but also improving its gripping capabilities. On the tape itself are small perforations that let air pass through it, eliminating bubbles when you apply it.
- Overall, the result is a moderate grip that gets the job done but won’t tear up your shoes in the process, something that’s bound to please beginners and seasoned skaters alike.
Top 5 Best Grip Tapes
OUR TOP PICK
The first tape on our list is from a brand everybody’s heard of at this point, Grizzly Griptape. They’re one of, if not the, leading grip tape manufacturer in the States, and today we’re recommending their Grizzly Grip Stamp Print Grip. The sheet measures in at nine inches wide and thirty-three inches long and comes with a whole array of features that saw it fight its way to the top of our list.
The tape prides itself on being the moderate option, a capable grip tape that’s not too harsh on your shoes, unlike some other brands out there, and so caters to a large base of average casual and hobbyist skateboarders. This also adds a degree of accessibility too, which is only furthered by the anti-bubble properties that the tape has. Tiny perforations allow air to pass through the tape, meaning that when you apply it you shouldn’t be left with those annoying air bubbles that we’ve all had to deal with.
As for the grit on the tape, it’s the standard diamond grit that has been treated to have more granulation, meaning that it’s finer and affords much more control than thicker, clumsier grit might. This agility also plays well into its moderate profile and does wonders for those who need all the help they can get in maintaining balance.
The stamp on the grip tape is handy for skaters to tell which way their board is facing, something that’s especially useful for newbies and other learning skaters. The only hang-up we can imagine people have is over the design. There are those who like all-black minimalist, professional designs but, if you don’t, then you may find yourself disappointed by the Grizzly Grip Stamp Grip Tape.
- A 9x33 inch grip sheet from a big-name brand in the industry.
- A moderate grip that won’t shred your shoes but will get the job done.
- Uses classic diamond grit with increased grain and granulation.
- Anti-bubble properties make application easy and accessible to all skaters.
- The stamp on the grip tape lets skaters know which way they are facing.
- A minimalistic tape design.
The second tape we have for you to check out is the Mob Grip Skateboard Grip Tape. It’s a popular choice among pro skaters, so we’re sure that you can find some use for it. A single sheet measures in at nine inches wide and thirty-three inches long and, where design options are concerned, most of them are subtle and minimalist. What sets them apart, however, is the fact they use a new process that binds the design or illustration into the grit itself, so it won’t come off.
Speaking of the grit, it uses silicon carbide that’s very punishing on your shoes fresh out of the box, so you may want to wear an old pair or some specially designed skater shoes. With that said, many have noted that it starts off very sharp but mellows out into a perfect sweet spot of grip and shoe-friendliness for most of its lifespan.
Whilst the tape may be punished during the first few times you use it, it’s also made to take some punishment of its own too. It can reject water damage very well, making it suitable for wetter weather, and the base paper used for the tape also prides itself on being tearproof. This is all well and good for those who want a rugged grip tape sheet, but it should also be highlighted that it makes it difficult to cut into smaller pieces for alternative applications. It’s just that good.
That paper base we mentioned also features hundreds and hundreds of tiny perforations in it. They’re practically invisible but upon application their effect is obvious, eliminating air bubbles with very high efficiency when you first lay the tape onto your deck. This makes what we’d consider an otherwise high-end grip tape product very accessible to newbies who just can’t nail that first application without bubbles occurring.
- Designed to be both waterproof and tearproof.
- Super sticky adhesive doesn’t peel when exposed to extreme hot or cold.
- Perforated design ensures a bubble-free application.
- Mellows out to a perfect high-grip but shoe-friendly tape.
- A set of minimalist designs are locked right into the grit.
- Difficult to cut into smaller pieces.
Here we have the Black Diamond Grip Tape, arguably the most customizable and creative grip tape that is getting featured on this list. We say this because it has about twenty different designs, ranging from all the colors of the rainbow to common patterns like checkers and camouflage, so we’d be surprised if you don’t find a look that you like among them.
As for the specs, the sheet is nine inches by thirty-three, a common sheet size for tapes since it’ll have the average board covered. If you have a smaller or slightly larger board, you can cut the Black Diamond Grip Tape and jury-rig it, allowing you to place it in custom and unorthodox ways to fit your board.
The tape itself boasts an eighty-grit silicon carbide surface, one of the best materials in the industry for heavy-duty friction and traction generation, so you’d best believe that it’s quite sharp and up to the task. When laid onto the board, an industrial-grade glue adhesive is used to secure it in place, ensuring that it doesn’t go anywhere unless you explicitly want it to.
Once applied, the tape maintains its sharpness for a long time, too, and is even designed from the ground up to be durable and resistant to the weather, including water and moisture damage that’d see lower-end grip tapes flaking and splitting. While it may resist the damage that water and moisture causes, it can be slippery to stand on when wet, so that’s something to keep in mind if the weather near you is often dreary.
- The most design options out of any tape on this list.
- The 9x33 inch sheet is easily cut, making custom applications a possibility.
- 80 grit silicon carbide surface provides great traction.
- The tape is made to be strong and weatherproof, including waterproof.
- Uses industrial-grade glue to keep the tape firmly joint to the deck surface.
- Slippery when wet.
Next, we have Jessup’s humbly named Skateboard Griptape Sheet. Jessup is another of those brands that many skaters will know, so again you can rest assured that they tend to deliver quality and when they don’t, you hear about it. The product listing link will take you to some tape that’s the standard nine inches in width by thirty-three in length but you’ll see that they have extensive size options so you can pick how much you want. This is great for those who want to use it on other boards, like longboards.
As for the tape itself, you’ll notice it markets itself as the aggressive grip tape. That isn’t to say it’s just for skilled skaters, most skaters can find use with it and it’s also surprisingly shoe-friendly, just that it relies on a combination of aluminum oxide and silicon carbide grit to root you in place during all but the most hardcore of maneuvers.
We’d even suggest that so-called non-aggressive skaters try the tape, because the flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and this tape does mellow out faster than other tape brands out there. This means that those who take it easy could theoretically get more use out of the tape than those who run it smooth in record time.
The most grippy grip tape in the world is useless without a strong adhesive foundation keeping it in place. Jessup’s grip tape sheets use a solvent-based adhesive to make sure that the tape, and you on it, aren’t going anywhere.
- You choose the size of the grip tape you want.
- Rough aluminum oxide grit delivers high traction and improved control over the board.
- Solvent-based adhesive ensures that the tape doesn’t go anywhere once it’s in place.
- Is easy to use by mellow and aggressive skaters alike.
- Mellows out faster than other tapes.
The last example of grip tapes we have on the list is the Black Widow Skateboard or Longboard Grip Tape. Black Widow is owned by Yocaher which, if you’re into the longboard and cruiser scene, you’ll know they’re a manufacturer of larger boards that have been around for a few decades now. The sheet itself measures in at nine inches wide and thirty-three inches long, a decent amount for the price tag.
The slippage resistance that it offers you and your board is excellent, too, but as far as grip tapes go it isn’t a Grizzly or Jessup product. It even performs well in extreme temperatures, its adhesive refusing to budge to stay firmly on the board and keep you on it too. This is true for both hot and cold climates, but this does come with a huge caveat, that being the tape will do fine on dry hot or dry cold days but if it gets too wet then it will tear, hence its position at the bottom of our list.
It's great for those who may want to get a different product in the future since you can apply and remove it so easily when you want to, and it won’t easily come off when you don’t want it to. The tape comes in a small selection of colors and basic designs, nothing more extensive than what we’ve seen in this list already but still, it’s nice to have some variety.
- A 9x33-inch grip tape sheet from a known cruiser board manufacturer.
- Offers excellent slippage resistance for an affordable price.
- Its adhesive doesn’t peel in extremely hot or cold weather.
- A small selection of colors and basic designs are available.
- Can tear if it gets too wet.
Best Grip Tapes Buying Guide
How To Choose The Best Grip Tape
If you’re unsure of what makes a good grip tape good and a bad grip tape bad, then this buyers’ guide sounds like just what you need. Just like how it’s valuable to know the ins and outs of your other board components, it’s also handy to know the same details about your grip tape too. Sure, it’s not the most technical part of your board, but you’ll be surprised by how much goes into them.
We judged the grip tapes by separating the different features that grip tapes have. By separating them into categories, we could rank each one and see where certain grip tapes excelled and where others failed. The categories were as follows: the size and customizability of the board, since they go hand in hand, the grit on the board, the durability of the board, the ease of use, and last but certainly not least, the board design.
Size and Customizability
We’ve thrown these two together since there is some overlap here, you’ll see why in a moment. You absolutely need your grip tape to satisfy the dimensions of your board, otherwise it’ll be mathematically impossible for you to use it, and buying tape with the incorrect dimensions is a great way to throw your hard-earned cash away. As you may have noticed if you read the above list, the average sheet is thirty-three inches long and nine inches wide.
This is an established standard because it’ll fit most boards, but what if it won’t fit yours? There are two options from that point. You can either find a larger sheet, which many of the larger brands do offer, that’ll accommodate a larger board like a cruiser or a longboard. Otherwise, if the board is only slightly larger than the tape you have left lying around, you can take a DIY approach and cut up the remaining tape, using it to fill in the gaps.
The caliber of grit that you want will depend on preference. Some want aggressive grips that, whilst anchoring you to the board, will also shred your shoes much faster if you’re not wearing specially designed kicks. On the flip side, others who have more casual skating in mind will want some grip but can otherwise deal with a softer and gentler tape that won’t ruin their footwear. Most skaters fall somewhere in between. In the list above you’ll find a variety covering all of these preferences.
There are three main points that should be covered by tape to be considered fully durable against most that you will throw against it. They must be weatherproof, tearproof, and sticky.
Weatherproofing is durability against two main environmental factors, temperature and moisture. The best tapes will survive in climates of both extreme heat and cold, and if they have explicitly waterproof capabilities then that’s even better.
Tearproof is just the physical durability of the base paper upon which the grit is laid, and grip tape tearing is lethal for the surface of your board and requires a replacement, so you want to be insured against these accidents. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as tape that’s too tearproof. If you want to cut up and customize the tape you’re working with, having it be almost unbreakable is going to be a problem.
Tangentially linked to how tearproof a tape is, the stickiness of the adhesive that binds the tape to your deck can also drastically change the overall durability of the tape. After all, the most weatherproof and tearproof of tapes is ultimately useless if it’s sliding off of your board at every opportunity.
Ease of Use
By ease of use, we mainly mean ease of application. The foremost of these is an anti-bubble precaution which mainly takes the form of perforated holes in the tape. These allow air to pass through, reducing the chance of bubbling when you first apply the tape.
A more niche accessibility feature is also when a board has an asymmetrical design, or a design that lets the skater know which way the board is facing.
Finally, it should have a design that looks cool. Pick a color or illustration with an aesthetic you like and have fun with it. The best grip tapes aren’t always straight-edge, pro skater minimalist designs.