A Guide to Grip Tape for Skateboarding

Spain, young woman with skateboard
Spain, young woman with skateboard. Westend61/Getty Images

Grip tape is the gritty, sand papery layer that's applied to the top of a skateboard deck so that your shoes can grip the board. Skaters often cut patterns into their grip tape before applying it, to make their boards unique, but also to help them easily tell between the nose and the tail of the board. Skateboarders can also spray paint patterns on the top of their grip tape for the same effect.

Grip tape comes in many varieties, the most common being a sheet that is black on the grippy side of the grip tape. The bottom of the sheet of grip tape will peal off, revealing a very sticky underside that will stick to the top of the deck. Grip tape isn't always black, however - grip tape can be bought in any color, or transparent and even camouflage.

The sandpaper feel of grip tape is made with various materials, depending on the company that made it. Some black grip tape companies use silicon carbide - a very hard material that stays sharp for a good long time. Other companies use aluminum oxide, which is cheaper but looses its edge and grippyness quickly. Some black grip tape and most colored grip tape are made with this cheaper material. Usually, if you want colored grip tape, the trade off is that the board won't stick to your feet as well.

Read How to Apply Grip tape to a Skateboard Deck to learn how to put your own grip tape on your skateboard.

Also Known As: grip, griptape, tape, non-skid tape, or anti-slip tape. To "grip a board" means to put grip tape on it.

Examples: "Josh's skateboard has a cool circle cut perfectly in the grip tape near the back foot to show some of the deck graphics. Megan, his girlfriend, has a clear grip on her skateboard that shows the bright pink color of the deck."