"I consider skateboarding an art form, a lifestyle and a sport." - Tony Hawk
Very few sports have their own fashion sense, style and trends but no sport has as rocking, unique and alternative a culture as the sport of skateboarding. Skaters are the epitome of cool from their custom designed boards, skateboarding tricks and catching air with the ramps, to their way of dressing up. Amongst the surfer dudes, muscle bound jocks and math nerds, the skateboarder is one sportsman, whose clothing style and sporting style define each other. The question "how to dress like a real skater dude" cannot be expressed or answered clearly, since with skaters, attitude is a way of life and a skater's clothes reflects this motto to the T.
How to Dress Like a Skater
Three main points to skating apparel: comfort, comfort and ... comfort. Whether you ride the streets, stunt it up or rule the ramp, end of the day you need comfortable, easy clothing while skating. Loose, comfy tees or shirts, round or v-necked, whatever your fancy. Stick to flannel or cotton clothes, especially for summer days. Summertime is also tank or sleeveless shirt time. Winter and fall wear includes hoodies and zipped jackets or sleeveless jacket vests.
With legwear, experiment sensibly. Flexibility is the key here, so avoid tight pants. Denims are the most durable, flexible and reduce bruising in case of falls or spills. A nice, well worn out pair of jeans offers comfort and flexing ability. Opt for slim-fit or narrow fit as they stretch out with use and if you have a skinny build. Boardshorts are a skater's dream pants, no skater's wardrobe is complete without one pair. Their fit, cut, length and style - all designed with skating in mind. Corduroy or cotton knee-length shorts make good skating pants too.
Clothes are also meant as a means of self expression, skating wear is no exception. For the gangsta or rapper look, go baggy with loose low-riding jeans or pants and sleeveless shirts or hoodies. Goth or rock skaters sport black or dark somber colors, pentagram or satanic shirts, with ripped or torn denims or shorts. Reggae fans wear psychedelic colors and weed t-shirts, with a faded look to them and boardshorts.
The urban skater dude is the most versatile of them all, ribbed tank tops, flannel checked shirts, boardshorts, denims, all to provide that cool, in-the-zone skater look. Funky designs or motifs or sarcastic punk messages on tees, holes and rips in jeans, faded shorts.. to each his own, so go with the flow and wear what you think is right. Brands like Billabong, Vans and Quiksilver have a dedicated clothing line for skateboarding enthusiasts but it's really a matter of personal inner style.
Let's face it at some point with the handstands and the ollie's, people will be checking out your board. At that time, they will also look at your shoes. Own sense style and fashion sense is one thing but wearing beach shoes or Crocs®, while skateboarding, is asking for a ribbing. Skate shoes should actually be considered skating gear, as the shoes come in direct contact with the board and can make or break your skating style.
Your shoes should be slip-free and have a flat sole, so you get the best and maximum grip on your board. A sturdy shoe material that won't tear or fold but not too heavily insulated because your feet shouldn't cook in the shoe. Support should be provided around the ankle and the heel, to prevent bruising. At the same time, your feet should be flexible, so you can easily manipulate the board. It is best to wear skate shoes from companies catering solely to skating gear. Such shoes include perks like lace loops, extra grip soles and air pockets. All to enhance your skating experience.
Enough about specs, what about style? The puffy skate shoe is one style, the high lace region, yet low toe region is ideal for small-in-size feet. The best example of this is the Osiris D3 2001 shoe. Then there's the lowrider flat shoe style, simple but cool or you could go in for the classy, signature, high top style. If laces are not your thing, opt for slip-ons instead. Time to talk brands. Vans Off The Wall® and Cons® lead the range. Slip-ons, puffy, high tops are all there in the hippest colors and styles, designed for whatever your style, be it punk or reggae. Vans shoes with their Waffle soles and very hardy shoe material, are meant to last. Equally impressive is Fallen Footwear, their shoe designs are unique and very-in-your face, especially the Chief model. Nike has its own line of skateboarding shoes as well (personal favorite the Dunk Mid Pro).
Headgear for the skater dude includes wide brimmed caps like trucker or baseball caps. Knit beanies are another favorite. Unique headgear includes the cabbie cap or a smart military styled cap. For a very snazzy look, how about a fedora, with a pin on the hatband? Alternate your hats with smart shades, for a different look. Style cannot be taught or explained, it comes from oneself, so reflect your skating attitude in your clothing.