Choosing the right size and the right type of skateboard for your child could make a big difference to their learning experience and enjoyment of skateboarding.
If the skateboard doesn’t fit your child, they can easily be left frustrated with the lack of functionality or difficulty to maneuvered the way they want.
We’re going to talk you through typical ages and height, as well as shoe sizing to determine the right size skateboard for your child.
Cruiser vs Skateboard Vs Longboard
Before we get into the size of the board, its important we distinguish upfront that there’s a subtle difference between skateboards, depending on the riders purpose.
Does your child predominantly want their skateboard for cruising and as a means of transport, or is it for taking to the skate park and learning tricks?
Whilst the smaller-sized cruiser skateboards or penny boards might seem like the ideal solution for a smaller child, their not going to be the most appropriate for pulling tricks and street skating.
A longboard is a great choice if your kid, say, plans to ride it to school every day as it is longer and wider than a street skateboard for a comfortable ride over all sorts of terrains.
We compare cruisers to longboards over here if it’s a transport type of skateboard you’re looking for.
We’re going to assume for the remainder of this article we’re talking about traditional street skateboards and park boards. They’re distinguished by their unique “popsicle” shape and smaller, harder wheels.
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Kids Skateboard Size Chart
When looking for a child’s skateboard, your focus should primarily be on the width of the board, rather than the length, your child’s age or their preference for a particular cool design!
|Deck Width||Approx Age||Approx Height||Approx US Shoe Size|
|Micro||6.5” – 6.75”||5 years & under||3’4” & under (104 cm)||< 1 Kids|
|Mini||7” – 7.5”||6 to 8 years||3’5” to 4’4” (106 to 134cm)||2 – 5 Kids|
|Mid||7.3” – 7.5”||9 to 12 years||4’5” to 5’2” (136 to 158 cm)||7-8 Adults|
|Full||8” +||13 years & older||5’3 & up (160cm)||9 + Adults|
We would caution that these ages are an approximation! Of course, kids come in all shapes and sizes.
There is no hard and fast rule, and certainly most manufacturers don’t tend to label their boards as micro, mini, mid etc. If you have a much taller child they will comfortably fit in the next size up board, especially if they also have large feet.
Let’s look at each size skateboard in more detail.
- Deck Width 6.” to 6.5”
- Approximate Height 3’ 4” and under
- US shoe size little kids 1 and under
- Ideal for kids aged 5 or younger
When your child is ready to ride a skateboard, usually from around 5 years of age, they will need a smaller skateboard to begin with.
Generally speaking, young kids have a smaller feet, we’re talking up to a size 1, and will require the narrowest of decks.
They may have a preference at this age for a smaller, lighter penny board or mini 22″ cruiser. These look attractive and come in multiple different colorful and appealing designs, but note they are also shorter as well as narrower. They can require a fair bit of skill and practice for your child to get their balance.
If your child is keen to start skate park skateboarding early, don’t settle on cheap skateboards from the department store. You need to track down a proper micro skateboard with a wider deck – approximately 6″ to 6.5″ will help with stability.
- Deck Width 7.0” to 7.5”
- Approximate Height 3’ 5” to 4’4″
- US shoe size little kids 2 to 5
- Ideal for kids aged 6 to 8 years
This is the next step up and the classic size that most kids will start out on when first learning to skateboard. The slightly wider deck is ideal for learning how to stand on a skateboard.
It is hard to find a true micro skateboard for this age category, typically most are cruisers. They are distinguished by the pointed nose and tapered end.
If you cannot find a suitable mini skateboard that has the deck width, consider whether they are ready to skip this stage and head straight to a mid-size.
Mid Size Skateboard
- Deck Width 7.5” to 8”
- Approximate Height 4’5″ to 5’2″
- US Shoe size 6 to 8
- Ideal for preteens 9 to 12 years old
A mid size skateboard is a great transition skateboard for your slightly older kids. They will vary greatly in exact dimensions, but generally, we’re talking any skateboards that are not quite full-size. They tend to be between 7.5″ and 8″ wide and up to 31″ in length.
If your pre-teen is quite tall or large footed, you could well skip straight o the full size board. We’d recommend getting them into a skate shop and testing out what feels the most comfortable for them.
Full Size Skateboard
A full size skateboard will suit your growing teen. As we know, their feet tend to grow first so as soon as their feet are ready for a full width board, its time to open the door to the full adult range.
Note that even if your girls feet aren’t as large as a size 9, its fine to consider a full size board once she’s over 5’3″ approximately – most sizing guides unfortunately do seem to skew to males!
This can sometimes make the decision even harder as there is so much choice, and a lot of jargon out there I bet you’re minds already boggling how much their is to learn!
Size factors to consider buying a kids beginner skateboard
So now we know the broad size categories skateboards come in, let’s take a deeper look at why each factor matters in your skateboard buying decision.
Why does skateboard width matter?
The width is really important for children especially as its critical to balance – the key element of riding a skateboard is staying upright!!
If the board you select is too skinny, you will find there is less stability and more likelihood of flipping. A skinnier deck is more nimble though for flip tricks, ledges and technical skating. But is this realistically going to be your beginner?
Conversely, if your board is too fat, it can be too heavy for your child. It will offer them more stability but be too hard to flip if doing tricks is on their agenda. A wider board works better on ramps or in skate parks.
If your child prefers the stability of a wider board, it might be a longboard that they’re after rather than a traditional street skateboard. Just be aware, if you’re buying a skateboard for the comfort in riding, it won’t really be appropriate for skate parks.
If you had to err one way of the other, we’d say go with a wider deck. It will help them find their balance and get going with confidence sooner.
What’s the importance of skateboard deck length?
A longer deck gives more stability but is less maneuverable. Conversely the shorter deck is less stable but more maneuverable.
Some kids do like to starter with the smaller cruiser boards for this reason; they’re great for hanging out with mates, riding the footpaths and weaving around obstacles.
It can come down to personal preference when it comes to length. You want your child to be able to maintain a good stance.
Does Wheel Base size matter on a kids skateboard?
You’ll find on kids skateboards the wheel base, that’s the length between the wheels will increase proportionately based on deck size.
Once your child is really familiar with their board, they may have specific riding needs in mind.
A long wheelbase leaves more space between your trucks and gives a wider stance. It makes it easier to do tricks but gives you less yield. Conversely, a shorter deck can handle sharper turns making it more maneuverable.
Unless your kids is super serious about their skateboarding – as in getting to competition level – wheel base is unlikely to factor into your first skateboard purchase decision.
We would recommend you stick to the manufacturers standard wheel base.
Kids Skateboard Wheel Size
Again, you can interchange your skateboards wheels if you’re going for a custom build. However, in most cases, if you’re buying a skateboard off the shelf, it will already have the right size wheels fit for purpose for that size and type of board.
The most common wheel sizes you’ll find on skateboards are:
50 to 53 mm – These provide a stable ride and are designed for small children who shouldn’t be going too fast.
54 to 59 mm – Average sized wheels for beginners and slightly older children.
60 mm+ – These are designed to be faster and recommended only once your child has experience in riding.
You may also hear wheel “durometer” scale mentioned, this is how hard the wheels are. For street and park skating, you want harder urethane wheels that work well on smooth surfaces.
Softer wheels are better for cruisers and rougher terrains.
And all the other bits – skateboard features
Oh its super confusing, I know! We spent more hours than you’d believe asking questions in skateboard shops. And its not that the staff don’t know there stuff – its just that most don’t have kids and understand their techie specs too well leaving us parents feeling overwhelmed!
Other things you might hear mentioned describing a skateboards features:
- Truck size (this is the part that sits under your skateboard and houses the axel which holds on the wheels. They can be varied in size)
- Bearings (this is what allows the wheels to roll and determines how smooth and fast the wheels rotate)
- Grip tape (the rough material that helps keep your feet from slipping on the top of the deck)
- Deck material (usually described as how layers, you are looking for plywood or maple wood – you don’t want plastic for a skate park)
All of these whilst yes, very important to how a skateboard functions, are not your primary concern for a kids beginner skateboard. You can fairly safely assume that these things all come as standard.
The only thing that may make a small difference and worth considering is deck shape. As we mentioned at the outset, a “popsicle” shape is the traditional skateboard shape with a small curve at the nose and tail. The deck can come be flat of come with a slight concave – we’d honestly only worry about this once your child is moving up in ability.
And yes, we know they absolutely need the safety gear too!
- Find our complete guide to the best kids helmets here
When is my child ready to upgrade skateboard size?
If your child already has a skateboard and is begging for a new one, the most obvious sign they’re ready to upgrade is that they’re going through a growth spurt. You’ll no doubt suddenly see them outgrowing shoes, and basically doing nothing but eat, sleep, skate repeat!
Critically, when they hit around 4’4″ (134cm) – this is a sign that a mini board is no longer going to meet their needs and you need to be looking into mid-sized boards.
Similarly, once they’ve hit 5’3″ (160cm), it’s time to start looking at full size boards that should last them through until their teens.
If they have been avid users of their first board, you may also find wear and tear over time – it’s natural; a well-used skateboard even with good maintenance won’t last forever.
Before rushing out for a new skateboard, determine whether its a matter of wear and tear. Can the parts be repaired or replaced? Or have they actually outgrown their old board (or realized it can’t do what their friends does!? Likely this is no.1 reason!)
DO base it on their height and feet size, as supposed to their age; this is far more critical in a comfortable ride and getting their stance right.
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