I like a good t-shirt.
They should be lightweight and breathable for casual skating, but thick cotton if you’re going to be taking some slams. A thin cotton shirt will rip too quickly.
Almost every skate company makes t-shirts and skaters, like everyone else, have been wearing t-shirts since the advent of the sport in the 60s and 70s. In this article, I’ll go over what makes a good skate t-shirt and then show some of the coolest designs from my favorite skate companies. I’ll also try and dig up some retro skate shirt examples too.
So let’s get started.
What Makes a Good Skate T-Shirt
Making a quality skate shirt is simple to do, but sometimes companies still manage to mess this up. Not all shirts are made equal.
You want to wear a quality thick cotton t-shirt that allows a wide range of motion while skateboarding. A thicker shirt won’t tear easily when you take a slam. Cotton is a dense material that absorbs ink well and allows for a higher quality design print. Cotton is also very breathable, durable, and environmentally friendly.
Just to drive this point home. Follow the steps below to ensure you buy a dope skate shirt.
- Feel the shirt will your hand. The shirt should be thick and have some heft to it.
- Check the tag on the shirt. It should be 100% cotton.
- Look at the front and back of the shirt. There should be a sick design or logo on it from your favorite skate company.
Never be too careful people. Follow these proven steps and you will be rocking sweet skate shirts in no time. Yes, I am being a bit tongue-in-cheek.
If you want to get a complete overview of what to wear while skating, then check out my complete guide that decides what’s just fashion and what are practical skate clothes.
Vintage Skate Shirts
Vintage clothes are cool but hard to come by. Before we look at some links, let’s go over what exactly is a vintage skate shirt.
A vintage skate shirt is a skateboarding company shirt from the 70s, 80s, or 90s that is no longer being produced anymore. This could be a model of t-shirt that is no longer produced such as an original 90s Thrasher t-shirt. This could also be t-shirts from skate companies that no longer exist such as Nicotine.
If you somehow know about older skate companies that aren’t around anymore, good luck finding anything about these companies online. Your best bet is to find some out-of-print shirts from skate companies that are still big today. People recognize these brands and make an effort to sell old gear online.
Where to Buy Vintage Skate Clothes
So where can we buy some vintage skate clothes?
There are some places online that you can find a decent selection of vintage skate shirts and typically these are big online retail communities such as eBay, Etsy, Amazon, and online thrift store shops. Also, check out the vintage clothing part of Henrietta Skate Shop. They deliberately put up vintage clothes on their site.
Also, be wary as loads of modern clothing companies make fake vintage-looking clothes so be sure to do some research before you commit to making a purchase. Otherwise, just keep checking Etsy and eBay, and good luck!
Why Buying Vintage Skate Clothes is Difficult
This issue is that vintage skate t-shirts and clothes aren’t being produced and stocked in stores anymore so there is an aspect of thrifting or finding these shirts in 2nd-hand shops.
Another problem is that there simply isn’t much of a trace of these old failed skate companies online and you can only get references to them. Rob Allen’s companies Life and Fun Skateboards are almost impossible to get any info on besides the common story that Life failed because members left to start Plan B.
How Much Do Skate Company T-Shirts Cost?
Are skate company t-shirts more expensive than normal tees?
Average across 15 different skate companies listed in this article, the average cost of a skateboarding t-shirt is $26.4. This is slightly more expensive than a normal t-shirt, but you are paying for the thicker material and the logo/design of the company. Some companies also put certain shirts on clearance for much cheaper.
The range of prices across these companies was from a $10 clearance Alien Workshop tee to a $40 Andy Anderson Mind Control tee. Those Mind Control tees were just released this year so maybe that’s why they’re so expensive. I’m not sure.
I used the company sites to get this average price, but it is also possible to find deals on clothes on Amazon and other online retailers.
Best Skate Company T-Shirts by Design and Fit
There are so many skate tees to choose from it would be absurd to try and actually claim that one is better than another. Just try and find a design that you like from a skate company or skater that you want to support. These are my personal favorites.
Alien Workshop Tee
Alien Workshop was my first ever pro board back in middle school. I love their aesthetic and classic-looking tees. I usually go for low-key and smaller logos on my shirts. I don’t like a large design in the middle of a shirt unless it’s particularly dope.
Other than shirts, check out grabbing some Alien Workshop boards if you collect boards. They have a solid group of people collecting vintage Alien Workshop boards at good prices.
DGK Pound For Pound Tee
DGK always has great graphics and I’m a sucker for mint green so I can live with the graphic in the center of the shirt’s front. Stevie Williams started the company and was one of the most influential skaters during the rise of street skating in the 90s and early 2000s.
He’s a good example of a skater turned entrepreneur and advocated for getting black kids into skateboarding.
Toy Machine’s Bury the Hatchet Long Sleeve Tee
Toy Machine was one of the biggest and most respected skate companies in the 90s. They don’t put out content or sponsor skaters as they did back then, but they are still classic and have a lot of clout in the skate community. The Toy Machine logo is iconic.
This long sleeve caught my eye due to the devil and Jesus fist bump. Might be controversial for some, but I love it.
Skate Clothing Brands That Sell T-Shirts
Virtually every skate company sells t-shirts. Every no-name local band sells t-shirts. Heck, sometimes coffee shops sell t-shirts.
So I am going to post links that directly go to the t-shirt section of each respective skate company. That way this list might be somewhat useful to someone who is extremely lazy or maybe doesn’t know many skate companies.
- Blind Skateboards
- Alien Workshop
- Girl Skateboards
- Thrasher Magazine
- Mind Control
- Toy Machine
- Zero Skateboards
- Independent Trucks
- Dirty Ghetto Kids (DGK)
- Santa Cruz
- Braille Skateboarding
So that’s all of the larger skate brands that come to mind. I know I’m missing some brands and especially some smaller brands.
Does Nyjah’s new board company have t-shirts?
Anyway, if you can’t find a t-shirt that you like with all of those juicy links, then there is no hope for you. You should just resign yourself to skating shirtless.
Hightop sneakers look cool and I don’t care if you disagree. Check out the best skating hightops out there with my complete guide here.
So there it is.
Buying a skateboard tee isn’t that hard. Find a quality brand that you like and find a design that you like. Then press order.
If you want to find true vintage skate clothes, you are in for some more trouble, but it can be done. Keep scouring eBay and Etsy just in case something pops up. You will likely spend a premium on true vintage skate clothes as they are collector’s items.
Anyway, I hope this helped you find the style or brand of shirt that you were looking for. Thanks for reading and look out for more content from Board and Wheels.
I’m not going to relist every skate company’s apparel page that I already linked above, but here are my other sources.