So, the last safety-oriented article I wrote was about helmets and pads. I believe those are probably the most standard pieces of equipment you will need, aside from a few others that I will mention in this article. This article is less about safety as it is about gear that will help you progress as a longboarder, and maybe even build your identity and style as one.
Shoes are something that people really miss out on when they start longboarding. Even for me, it was actually just a set of running shoes that I actually stepped on a longboard with for the first time. And I thought that was okay, I thought that most people longboarded with running shoes, but that wasn’t the case at all. In fact, there’s a whole breed of shoes just for longboarders.
Quite fittingly, they’re called skate shoes. Skate shoes have flat bottoms, so that every curve of your board is translated exactly onto the bottom of your foot. This gives you a great boardfeel and the ability to really control your board’s curves. For example, if you had wheel flares, you would be able to hug those wheel flares with your feet since you can feel them exactly with your feet. Flat-bottomed shoes are also great for grip, since your whole foot is contacting all the grip tape at all times. Really locks you in.
Skate shoes come pretty cheap, anywhere from 30 dollars to 120 dollars, depending on the material, but honestly the 30 dollar pairs from a good, reputable company will supply you for a few months of good, fresh sole.
A skate tool is a T-tool equipped with the main nut and screw sizes that you need to dial in your trucks and board when you need to. A driver for your kingpin, your axles and one for your hardware screws. This stool is extremely versatile because many times, I have wanted to tighten my trucks before a run and lacked a tool to do so. These are compact and easy to carry around, and only cost around 10 dollars.
Slide gloves are those little gloves with circular plastic things on them that you see speedboarders and freeriders wearing everywhere. Slide gloves are actually an incredibly central piece of gear that you will need if you intend to start learning to slide or do downhill. They might even come in handy for protection when cruising, I know a lot of folks who just wear them anytime they are on a board, myself included. Slide gloves are available from pretty much any longboard retailer, some are better than others, but generally I recommend the ones with leather construction. These won’t die when you are doing slides, and they are usually of higher puck quality as well.
WEAR A HELMET! Ryan L. Longboarder