Grip Tape Guide: What you need to know!

Are you ready to take your skateboarding skills to the next level? If so, then you need to pay close attention to one often overlooked component of your board – the grip tape!

Grip tape is the unsung hero of skateboarding, providing you with the stability and control you need to perform those amazing tricks and maneuvers. In this article, we explore everything you need to know about grip tape, from its purpose to how to choose the right one for you. So, get ready to grip it and rip it!

Key takeaways from this article:

  • Understand the importance of grip tape in skateboarding
  • Learn how grip tape enhances your control and stability on the board
  • Discover the different types of grip tape available and how to choose the right one for your needs

Introduction to Grip Tape

Grip tape is an essential component of a skateboard, providing traction and grip for riders to maintain control over the board while performing tricks and maneuvers. It is a coarse, sandpaper-like sheet that is applied to the top surface of a skateboard deck. In this section, we will delve into the key aspects of grip tape, its purpose, and its impact on a skateboarder’s performance.

  • Purpose of Grip Tape: Grip tape plays a crucial role in skateboarding by ensuring that the rider’s feet have a firm grip on the board. Without grip tape, the smooth surface of the skateboard deck would become slippery, making it nearly impossible to maintain balance and execute tricks effectively. By enhancing traction, grip tape enables riders to perform tricks with confidence and control.
  • Texture and Composition: Grip tape is typically made from a combination of different materials, including gritty sand particles and a durable adhesive backing. The sand particles create a rough texture that provides maximum friction between the skateboarder’s shoes and the deck’s surface. This coarse texture can vary in terms of coarseness, depending on personal preference and the specific brand of grip tape used.
  • Application and Customization: Applying grip tape to a skateboard deck is a straightforward process that involves peeling off the backing paper and carefully aligning the sheet with the shape of the deck. Once applied, it can be trimmed to fit the edges of the deck for a clean finish. Grip tape is available in various colors, designs, and patterns, allowing skateboarders to customize their boards and express their individual style.
  • Maintenance and Replacement: Over time, grip tape can accumulate dirt, debris, and wear, which can affect its performance. To maintain optimal grip, skateboarders often use a brush or grip gum to remove dirt and restore the rough texture. However, there may come a point when the grip tape becomes too worn out and needs to be replaced. This is a personal preference and can vary depending on the frequency of skateboarding and type of tricks performed.
  • Alternative Grip Systems: While grip tape is the most common and widely used gripping system for skateboards, there are also alternative options available. Some skateboarders opt for clear grip or laser-cut grip designs, which allow the graphics and artwork of the deck to be visible through the grip. Additionally, there are specialized grip tapes designed for specific styles of skateboarding, such as downhill racing or longboarding, which offer unique features and performance benefits.

In conclusion, grip tape forms an integral part of a skateboard, providing traction and grip to skateboarders. Its rough texture ensures that riders maintain control over their boards while performing tricks and maneuvers. By customizing the grip tape, skateboarders can add a personal touch to their boards, reflecting their individual style and preferences. However, it’s important to maintain and replace grip tape as needed to ensure optimal performance.

Purpose and Importance of Grip Tape

Grip tape is a crucial component of a skateboard that serves multiple purposes and plays a significant role in a skateboarder’s performance and safety. Let’s explore the purpose and importance of grip tape in more detail:

  • Enhances Traction: The primary purpose of grip tape is to provide traction or grip between the skateboard deck and a skater’s shoes. Its rough surface, typically made from sandpaper-like material with a high coefficient of friction, enables skateboarders to maintain control and stay connected to the board while performing tricks and maneuvers. Without grip tape, it would be nearly impossible to maintain balance and execute tricks accurately.
  • Safety and Stability: Grip tape plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety and stability of skateboarders. By offering excellent grip, it reduces the chances of a skater’s feet slipping off the board during tricks, jumps, or high-speed maneuvers. This feature not only protects the skater from potential injuries but also allows them to gain confidence in their abilities and push their skills to new limits.
  • Customize and Personalize: Grip tape offers skateboarders an opportunity to showcase their individuality and personal style. It is available in various colors, patterns, and designs, allowing skaters to customize their skateboard’s look. This aspect adds an element of personal expression and creativity to the skateboard, making it unique and easily identifiable.
  • Durability and Longevity: Grip tape is designed to be highly durable and long-lasting, ensuring that it can withstand the rigors of skateboarding. Regular grip tape maintenance and replacement is necessary, depending on the frequency of use and the intensity of tricks performed. However, with proper care, grip tape can last for a considerable amount of time, providing consistent traction to skaters.
  • Consistent Performance: Grip tape’s rough texture helps maintain consistent performance on different surfaces, such as ramps, rails, or street obstacles. Regardless of the terrain, the grip tape’s reliable traction allows skateboarders to execute tricks with precision and control. This consistency is essential for skaters as it enables them to improve their skills, adapt to different environments, and perform at their best.

Overall, grip tape plays a vital role in skateboarding, offering traction, safety, customization, durability, and consistent performance. It is an essential component that allows skateboarders to push their limits, express their style, and enjoy their riding experience to the fullest. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced skateboarder, choosing and maintaining the right grip tape is crucial for optimal performance.

Types of Grip Tape

When it comes to grip tape in skateboarding, there are various types available in the market. Each type offers different levels of grip, durability, and performance. Let’s take a closer look at three common types of grip tape:

Standard Grip Tape

  • This is the most commonly used grip tape in skateboarding.
  • It is made from a grainy sandpaper-like material that provides excellent grip and traction for the skateboarder’s feet.
  • Standard grip tape is known for its durability and ability to withstand regular wear and tear.
  • It is available in various colors and designs, allowing skateboarders to personalize their boards.

Clear Grip Tape

  • Clear grip tape is similar to standard grip tape in terms of performance and durability.
  • The main difference is its transparent appearance, which allows skateboarders to showcase the graphics or artwork on the bottom of their skateboard decks.
  • This type of grip tape is popular among skaters who want to preserve the aesthetic appeal of their boards while still maintaining optimal grip.

Long-lasting Grip Tape

  • Long-lasting grip tape is specifically designed to provide extended durability and grip.
  • It is made from a stronger adhesive material that ensures the grip tape stays securely attached to the skateboard deck for a longer period.
  • This type of grip tape is ideal for skateboarders who engage in heavy use, such as those who perform tricks and stunts regularly.

Please note that the effectiveness of grip tape can vary depending on external factors such as weather conditions and the quality of the skateboard deck. It is also important to regularly clean and replace grip tape to maintain its performance.

The table below summarizes the three types of grip tape:

TypeAppearanceGrip LevelDurability
Standard Grip TapeGrainy, coloredExcellentHigh
Clear Grip TapeTransparentExcellentHigh
Long-lasting GripGrainyExcellentVery High

Remember, the choice of grip tape is a personal preference and can vary depending on your skateboarding style and preferences. Experimenting with different types can help you find the one that suits you best.

Factors to Consider when Choosing Grip Tape

When it comes to choosing grip tape for your skateboard, there are several factors to consider. Grip tape is a crucial component of any skateboard setup, as it provides traction and grip to keep your feet firmly planted on the board. Here are four important factors you should keep in mind when selecting grip tape for your skateboard:

  • Texture: Grip tape comes in a variety of textures, ranging from coarse to fine. The texture of the grip tape determines how much grip it offers. Coarser grip tape tends to provide more traction and is recommended for riders who prefer a secure and grippy feel under their feet. On the other hand, finer grip tape offers a smoother feel and is ideal for riders who enjoy a more effortless slide and maneuverability. Consider your personal preference and riding style when deciding on the texture of your grip tape.
  • Durability: Grip tape undergoes a significant amount of wear and tear as it is subjected to constant contact with your shoes and the rough surface of the skateboard. It is important to choose grip tape that is durable and able to withstand the rigors of skateboarding. Look for grip tape made of high-quality materials that offer long-lasting performance. Additionally, consider how frequently you skate and the type of tricks you perform, as these factors can also impact the durability you require.
  • Adhesive Quality: The adhesive quality of grip tape is crucial for it to stay firmly attached to your skateboard deck. A good grip tape should have a strong and reliable adhesive that will keep it securely in place, even during intense skate sessions. Look for grip tape that is specifically designed for skateboarding and known for its adhesive strength. It is also important to ensure that the grip tape adheres well to your deck without any air bubbles or wrinkles, as these can affect your ride and increase the chances of the grip tape peeling off.
  • Design/Style: While functionality is the primary purpose of grip tape, it doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style. Grip tape comes in a wide range of designs, colors, and patterns, allowing you to personalize your skateboard and showcase your individuality. Whether you prefer a solid color, a graphic design, or a collaborative artist-inspired grip tape, there are ample options to choose from. Consider the overall aesthetic of your skateboard setup and select a grip tape that complements your style.

Ultimately, choosing the right grip tape for your skateboard is a matter of personal preference, taking into account factors like texture, durability, adhesive quality, and design. Experimenting with different grip tapes can help you find the perfect fit for your riding style and enhance your overall skateboarding experience. Additionally, don’t be afraid to seek the opinions and recommendations of fellow skateboarders to discover grip tape options that might suit your needs.

Proper Installation of Grip Tape

Installing grip tape is an essential skill every skateboarder should possess. Grip tape provides traction and grip, ensuring that your feet stay firmly planted on the skateboard while performing tricks or riding. Properly installing grip tape is crucial for achieving maximum grip and control. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to install grip tape correctly.

Gather the necessary materials

  • A new sheet of grip tape
  • A skateboard deck
  • A razor blade or grip tape cutter
  • A screwdriver or other tool for poking holes in the tape

Clean the skateboard deck

Before installing the grip tape, make sure the deck is clean and free from any dirt, residue, or old grip tape. Use a cloth or brush to wipe away any debris and ensure a smooth surface for the tape.

Remove the backing

Start by carefully removing the backing from the grip tape. Peel a small section of the backing away without touching the adhesive side. It’s important to be cautious during this step to prevent the grip tape from sticking to itself.

Align the grip tape

Position the grip tape over the skateboard deck, making sure to center it properly. Leave a small amount of overhang on all sides of the deck. This extra grip tape will be trimmed later.

Apply the grip tape

Once you have aligned the grip tape, slowly begin to stick it onto the deck, starting from one end and moving towards the other. Apply even pressure with your hands, smoothing out any wrinkles or air bubbles as you go. Make sure the grip tape adheres firmly to the deck.

Trim the excess grip tape

Using a razor blade or grip tape cutter, carefully trim the excess grip tape along the edges of the deck. Take your time and use steady, controlled cuts to achieve clean and precise edges. Remember to exercise caution while handling sharp tools.

Poke holes for hardware

Use a screwdriver or other tool to poke holes through the grip tape where the truck mounting holes are located. This will allow you to attach the trucks to the deck securely.

Finishing touches

Once you have installed the grip tape and trimmed the excess, go over the entire deck with your hands to ensure there are no loose edges or air bubbles. Press down firmly to make sure the grip tape is securely bonded to the deck.

Maintaining Grip Tape

Proper maintenance of grip tape is essential for skateboarders to maintain their grip and maneuverability while riding. Over time, grip tape can accumulate dirt, dust, and wax, which can diminish its effectiveness. However, with regular cleaning and maintenance, you can ensure that your grip tape stays in top shape. Here are some tips for maintaining grip tape:

  • Clean your grip tape regularly: The first step in maintaining grip tape is to clean it regularly. You can use a grip tape cleaner or simply a damp cloth and a mild detergent to remove dirt and grime. Gently scrub the grip tape in circular motions, making sure to cover the entire surface. Avoid using abrasive materials or brushes that can damage the grip tape.
  • Remove wax buildup: Skateboarders often apply wax to enhance their board’s slideability. While this can be useful, the wax can build up on the grip tape and reduce its grip. To remove wax buildup, you can use a plastic scraper or an old credit card to scrape off the excess wax. Start from one end and scrape towards the other, applying consistent pressure. Be careful not to scratch or tear the grip tape while doing this.
  • Use grip tape cleaner: Grip tape cleaners are specially designed to remove stubborn stains and grime from grip tape. They come in spray or liquid form and are easy to use. Apply the cleaner to the grip tape and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, use a soft brush or cloth to scrub the surface gently. Finally, wipe off the excess cleaner with a clean cloth and allow the grip tape to dry completely before using it again.
  • Avoid water damage: Although it’s important to clean your grip tape, you should avoid excessive exposure to water. Water can seep into the adhesive and break it down, causing the grip tape to peel off. If your skateboard gets wet, make sure to dry the grip tape thoroughly before riding again. You can use a towel or a hairdryer on a low setting to speed up the drying process.
  • Replace worn-out grip tape: No matter how well you maintain your grip tape, it will eventually wear out. Signs of worn-out grip tape include smooth or shiny areas, visible dirt that can’t be cleaned off, and decreased grip. When you notice these signs, it’s time to replace your grip tape. Thankfully, replacing grip tape is relatively easy and can be done at home with a few tools.

In conclusion, maintaining grip tape is vital for skateboarders to ensure optimal grip and performance on their boards. Regular cleaning, removing wax buildup, using grip tape cleaners, avoiding water damage, and replacing worn-out grip tape are key steps in maintaining your grip tape’s longevity. By following these tips, you can keep your grip tape in excellent condition and enjoy a better skateboarding experience.

Tips for Getting the Most out of Grip Tape

Grip tape is an essential component of any skateboard setup. It provides the necessary traction for your feet to stay firmly planted on the board, allowing you to execute tricks and maneuvers with confidence. To ensure you get the most out of your grip tape, here are seven tips to follow:

  • Clean your grip tape regularly: Over time, dirt, dust, and debris can accumulate on your grip tape, making it less effective. To maintain optimal grip, it’s important to clean your grip tape regularly. A simple way to do this is to use a grip gum or a soft-bristle brush to remove any dirt or residue.
  • Use grip tape cleaner: In addition to regular cleaning, it’s a good idea to invest in a grip tape cleaner. Grip tape cleaners are specially formulated to remove stubborn stains and dirt from your grip tape. They help restore the grip to its original condition, giving you better traction on your skateboard.
  • Change your grip tape when necessary: Grip tape can wear out over time, especially if you skate frequently. If you notice that your grip tape has become smooth or has lost its grip, it’s time to replace it. Changing your grip tape regularly will ensure that you always have the best traction possible.
  • Customize your grip tape: Grip tape doesn’t have to be just functional; it can also be a way to express your personal style. Many skaters choose to customize their grip tape by cutting it into unique shapes, adding stickers, or even painting on it. Not only does this give your skateboard a personalized touch, but it can also improve your grip and visibility on the board.
  • Avoid getting your grip tape wet: Grip tape is designed to provide grip, but it loses its effectiveness when wet. Avoid skating in wet conditions or getting your grip tape wet intentionally. If your grip tape does get wet, make sure to dry it thoroughly before using it again to maintain its traction.
  • Apply grip tape carefully: When applying new grip tape to your skateboard, take your time and do it right. Make sure the grip tape is centered and aligned properly on the board, and smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles. A well-applied grip tape will provide a consistent and reliable grip.
  • Experiment with different grits: Grip tape comes in different grit levels, ranging from coarse to fine. The grit refers to the texture of the grip tape and affects its level of grip. If you’re not satisfied with the grip of your current grip tape, consider trying a different grit. Some skaters prefer a coarser grip for more traction, while others prefer a finer grip for a smoother feel.

By following these tips, you can maximize the performance and lifespan of your grip tape. Remember to regularly clean and maintain your grip tape, customize it to your liking, and be mindful of its limitations. Good grip tape is essential for a successful and enjoyable skateboarding experience.

Popular Brands and Recommendations

When it comes to grip tape in skateboarding, there are several popular brands that have gained a reputation for their quality and performance. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned skater, having the right grip tape on your skateboard can greatly enhance your riding experience and help you maintain control and stability. Here are some popular grip tape brands that you should consider:

  1. Mob Grip: Mob Grip is known for its high-quality grip tape that offers excellent grip and durability. It features a unique grit pattern that helps skaters maintain a solid grip on their board, even during intense tricks and maneuvers. Mob Grip is a favorite among professional skaters for its reliability and long-lasting performance.
  2. Jessup Grip: Jessup Grip is another trusted brand in the skateboarding community. It provides a grippy surface that allows for precise foot placement, making it ideal for technical skating. Jessup Grip is favored by many skaters for its affordable price and ease of application.
  3. Grizzly Griptape: Grizzly Griptape is a popular choice among skateboarders for its bold and innovative designs. It not only offers excellent grip but also adds a stylish element to your skateboard. Grizzly Griptape is known for its long-lasting adhesive and overall quality.
  4. Shake Junt: Shake Junt grip tape is renowned for its durability and grippy feel. It is favored by many professional skaters for its ability to provide a consistent grip, even in harsh conditions. The distinctive Shake Junt logo has also become a symbol of authenticity and style in the skateboarding community.
  5. Mob Grip M-80: Mob Grip M-80 is a specialized grip tape that offers enhanced grip and traction. It features a unique perforated design that allows air to escape, reducing the risk of bubbles and ensuring a smooth, even application. Mob Grip M-80 is a popular choice for skaters who want maximum grip and control.

These are just a few popular grip tape brands in the skateboarding industry. Ultimately, the best grip tape for you will depend on your personal preference and riding style. It’s always a good idea to try out different brands and see which one works best for you. Remember, a good grip tape can make a significant difference in your skateboarding performance, so choose wisely and enjoy your ride!


After diving deep into the world of grip tape in skateboarding, it’s clear that this often overlooked component is actually vital to a skater’s performance. The right grip tape can make all the difference in maintaining control and executing tricks with precision. Whether you prefer a rougher grit for ultimate grip or a smoother texture for board feel, finding the perfect grip tape becomes a personal quest for every skateboarder.

In my opinion, grip tape is not just a functional element, but also a form of self-expression for skaters. The wide range of colors and designs available allows riders to customize their boards and showcase their unique style. Grip tape art has become an integral part of skateboarding culture, fuelling creativity and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible both on and off the board.

Finally, grip tape serves as a constant reminder of the commitment and resilience required in skateboarding. As it wears down over time, it reflects the countless hours spent perfecting tricks and pushing oneself to the limit. Grip tape is not just a surface to stand on; it symbolizes the dedication and passion that skaters pour into their craft.

In conclusion, grip tape is far from being a trivial accessory in skateboarding. It plays a significant role in enhancing performance, expressing individuality, and representing the perseverance of skaters. So, the next time you step on a skateboard, take a moment to appreciate the importance of grip tape and the impact it has on your ride.


What is grip tape, and why is it important for skateboarding?

Grip tape is a textured, adhesive-backed sheet that is applied to the top of a skateboard deck. It provides the necessary traction for skaters’ shoes to grip onto the board, allowing for better control and stability during tricks and maneuvers.

How do I apply grip tape to my skateboard?

Applying grip tape is a simple process. First, ensure that your skateboard deck is clean and free from any debris. Next, peel off the backing of the grip tape and carefully align it with your deck. Starting from one end, press down firmly and smooth out any air bubbles or wrinkles as you go. Use a skate tool or a file to trim off the excess grip tape around the edges of the deck.

How often should I replace my grip tape?

The lifespan of grip tape varies depending on factors such as how often you skate, the conditions you skate in, and your personal preference. However, many skaters find it necessary to replace their grip tape every couple of months or whenever it starts to lose its grip.

Can I customize my grip tape design?

Absolutely! Many skateboarders enjoy customizing their grip tape designs to make their boards more unique and personal. You can use a variety of techniques, such as spray paint, stencils, markers, or stickers to create your desired design.

What should I do if my grip tape gets dirty or loses its grip?

If your grip tape becomes dirty or loses its grip over time, there are a few simple steps you can take to restore its functionality. Firstly, use a stiff brush or an old toothbrush to scrub away any dirt or grime that may have accumulated on the surface. Then, use a grip gum or a sanding block to roughen up the top layer of the grip tape, bringing back its grippiness.

Can I reuse grip tape once I remove it from my deck?

While it is technically possible to reuse grip tape, it is generally not recommended. The adhesive backing tends to lose its stickiness after removal, significantly compromising its performance. It’s usually best to invest in a fresh sheet of grip tape for optimal results.

What are the different types of grip tape patterns available?

Grip tapes come in a variety of patterns, mainly designed to enhance grip and style. Some common patterns include classic black, colored, graphic prints, and perforated grip tapes. Each pattern offers a unique aesthetic appeal, allowing skaters to choose the one that suits their personal taste.

Can grip tape affect the performance of my skateboard?

Yes, grip tape plays a crucial role in determining the performance of your skateboard. It provides the necessary traction to execute tricks and maneuvers with precision. The quality and condition of your grip tape can greatly impact your control, stability, and overall skating experience.

Are there any alternatives to grip tape?

While grip tape remains the most popular choice among skateboarders, there are a few alternatives available in the market. Some skaters prefer using grip pads or grip spray as alternatives to traditional grip tape. These options offer different levels of grip and may suit personal preferences or specific skating styles.

Can I remove grip tape without damaging my skateboard deck?

Removing grip tape can be a bit tricky, but it is possible to do so without causing significant damage to your skateboard deck. You can use a hairdryer to heat up the grip tape adhesive, making it easier to peel off. Alternatively, you can use a grip tape removal tool specifically designed to safely remove grip tape without harming the deck’s surface.

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