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What Grip Tape Should You Use?

The topic of discussion for this issue of the Braille Buyer’s Guide is grip tape. The different types of grip tapes along with their pros and cons, as well as a brief history and some of the notable companies are all be covered in detail.

If you’ve been wondering the difference between all of the styles and options, or if you have been looking for some more insight before purchasing a new sheet for yourself, you’ve come to the right place! We recommend you read on so that you can pick out the right kind for yourself.

Definition of Grip Tape

Grip tape is simply a sheet of material that has a similar texture to fine sandpaper. It has adhesive coating on the opposite side of the gritty surface. This makes it so you can easily apply it to the skateboard deck.

Typically the color is black, but a variety of different colors and styles are available. You can draw on it, cut it, or really do anything to personalize and customize your skateboard. That’s what makes it fun!

Invention of Grip Tape

Skaters first saw grip tape in the mid 1970s. A lot of expansion was going into the industry at the time while everything became standardized. A lot of things were changing, and this was one of them. Skateboard trucks, better skateboard wheels and bearings were all introduced. So naturally, it hit the markets as new tricks were being released.

How is It Made?

The material typically used to make it is silicon-carbide. This is the same material used to manufacture regular sandpaper, though grip tape differs as it has a much lower grit level compared to regular sandpaper. Alternatively, for cheaper options, aluminum oxide is used.

Aluminum oxide is more cost-effective, but the grip that it provides does not last as long as silicon-carbide. Whether silicon-carbide or aluminum oxide is used, it acts as a coating that is applied to an epoxy-topped piece of polyester film.  This coating ensures

Next, a heat lamp dries the grit-like surface to the top of the film. A machine then applies an adhesive to the bottom of the polyester film, which acts as the glue on the underside of the sheet. Backing Paper is applied to the adhesive to ensure the product does not stick to any unwanted materials. Another machine cuts the sheets of it into 33″ x  9″ sheets, the final product.

Types of Grip Tape

Yes, there are different types of grip tape. Who would’ve thought?! The different types break down into 3 categories: Standard grip tape, Specialized grip tape and Non-Abrasive grip tape. 

Standard Grip Tape

The standard option is offered by many different companies and is the most common type used by skateboarders. Some notable brands that offer Standard version are Mob Grip, Grizzly, Jessup, Shake-Junt, Black Magic, Diamond and many more.

The grit level offered by these brands all differs slightly. Some will have higher grit-level which would give you more grip but also damage your shoes faster. For example, Jessup grip tape is said to have a lower grit-level than Mob Grip.

Specialized Grip Tape

Some companies/brands offer Specialized grip tape. Mob Grip is a great example of a company that offers a Specialized version. Mob Grip knows that the skateboarding community considers their products to be a higher grit-level than most, therefore providing great grip but damaging shoes more than others on the market.

To remedy this, Mob Grip created a specialized product that uses the same great technology that makes standard Mob Grip, but with a lower grit-level.

You can find this Specialized Mob Grip in our Online Shop. As stated in the shop, the Mob M-80 features a new advanced “tech grit” formula designed specifically for technical skateboarding. The formula is a “perfect balance where foot hold and a quick release is both needed.”

Other examples includes colored versions, pre-stenciled custom artwork, glow in the dark, etc… If you’re looking for something creative or to really stand out, this is the option for you.

Non-Abrasive Grip Tape

Last but certainly not least is Non-Abrasive grip tape. This a relatively new product recently introduced to the market that is taking the skate world by storm. As the name suggests, Non-Abrasive is made to provide you with the same benefits of Standard grip tape, without the damaging your shoes!

We are very happy to have DKL Non-Abrasive grip tape available in our Online Shop for Skateboarders all over the world to use and enjoy. Unlike the coarse texture of standard grip tape, DKL’s Non-Abrasive formula is made from a material similar to that of the rubber found on ping pong paddles.

Non-Abrasive Griptape uses molecular adhesion and the “plow effect” to rival the friction provided by silicon-carbide and or aluminum oxide found in the standard options. Not only will this formula save your shoes from becoming damaged, but you’ll save money keeping it clean.

All that’s needed to get the Non-Abrasive Grip looking good as new is a simple wipe down with a damp rag. With the Standard or Specialized options, you’ll need to buy a product called “Grip Gum” from a Skate Shop, or a piece of “Rubber Cement Pick Up” from an Art Supplies Store in order to clean any dirt or grime off your grip tape.

General Recommendations

If you aren’t able to afford three or four new pairs of Skateboarding Shoes each year, you’re not alone. We recommend you try out the DKL Non-Abrasive grip tape.

We recommend trying out Mob Grip Standard version if you’re just starting out. It’s always a great choice that you can’t really go wrong with. If you find Mob Grip’s Standard option ruining your shoes too quickly, you can try Mob Grip’s M-80. We also recommend Mob Grip’s M-80 if you find yourself doing more advanced or technical skating. 

Keep in mind these are just general recommendations. The best way to find the grip tape most suited to your Skateboarding needs is to try all sorts of options from many different companies. Then, you can choose whichever onee you performed best with! Don’t be afraid to experiment with different cut-outs, designs, and stencils to personalize it to your liking. Remember to have fun with it!

In Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed this article! We want to make it as easy as possible for everyone to get into skateboarding and learn the sport. Hopefully this answered any questions you might have had.

If you’re new to skateboarding and looking to improve your skills, definitely check out Skateboarding Made Simple. It’s the most detailed lesson plan for skateboarding that exists. With 9 different volumes, you’ll go from learning how to ride on a board, to skating skateparks and landing more advanced flatground tricks in no time!

We want to see what you’re riding! Send us a photo of your deck or setup and tag us on Instagram! Use @brailleskate, #brailleskate and #brailleskateboarding. We love to see you guys progressing and learning new tricks. In order to do that in the best way, you need some high quality gear. So let’s see those setups that you’re rocking and be proud!

What kind of grip tape do you use? Are you rocking the non-abrasive? Why? Leave it in the comments below!

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