Skate culture has only continued to grow in popularity throughout the years. The brands on this list contribute to the widespread interest everyday civilians have taken in skateboarding. These brands create equipment, content, and apparel for skaters of any skill level.
Baker Skateboards was founded in 2000 by Andrew Reynolds, professional skater and one of the pioneers of the industry. The order for this list is relatively fluid, but there is a reason Baker Skateboard's is number one. Baker is one of the quintessential skate brands of the modern era as the video parts they have made have been prolific and very popular. In fact, they were one of the brands that was making video parts when it was just starting to be popularized. They sell skate decks, the trademark product of Baker, and all sorts of apparel and accessories. Notable among pros that skate for Baker, besides Reynolds, are Kader Sylla, Sammy Baca, and Riley Hawk, son of Tony Hawk. Bottom line, Baker is one of the brands that has defined skating in the current era.
Anti Hero was established in 1995 by professional skater, Julien Stranger. They sell customary skate brand apparel and are most well known for their decks. The famous "Eagles" deck (shown below) is one of the most popular decks among skaters today. Much like Baker Skateboards, Anti Hero began to gain traction when video parts were becoming popularized. At the time of Anti Hero's come-up, the skating scene was getting somewhat mundane and static. It was the rebellious and barrier-breaking videos of brands like Anti Hero and Baker that set the precedent for the skating world's stylistic future for the next 20 years. Prominent professional skaters that ride for Anti Hero include Grant Taylor, Chris Pfanner, Brian Anderson, and Daan Van Der Linden.
Independent Truck Company, or "Indy", was founded in 1978 in one of the meccas of skating, Santa Cruz, California. At the time, skating was not a large industry. It was a niche hobby that was not popularized. Big name skaters did not start Indy, but the product speaks for itself as it has been the consensus for most that they are the best trucks on the market, with Thunder Trucks as a close competitor. Indy only sells trucks and hardware, but they sell apparel and accessories as well. Like Spalding to basketball or Adidas to soccer, Independent Truck Company has worked its way to being a big-time company widely used by skaters everywhere.
Thunder Trucks is one of the leading truck companies on the market and has been since its founding in 1986. Along with Baker and Anti Hero, Thunder Trucks has taken advantage of the media revolution to put content out to gain recognition. Notable pros sponsored by Thunder are Ishod Wair, Mark Suciu, Shane O'Neill, Jamie Foy, and Sean Malto, just to name a few. In recent years, parallel to Indy, Thunder has come to be one of the most prevalent truck companies because of the durability of the product. The extent of products that Thunder sells is small as they produce with a focus on trucks.
Shake Junt was founded in the mid 2000s by Shane Heyl as a skate and apparel company. They sell everything pertaining to a skateboard including grip tape, bearings, hardware, decks, and apparel. Shake Junt has begun to break out as one of the top skate companies right now. Contributing to this boom is the rise in video as the world has transitioned from residing in real life to the internet. Another part of this is that Shake Junt has a very recognizable and defining grip tape on the market (shown below). Important pros that ride for Shake Junt include legendary Andrew Reynolds, Kader Sylla, and Neen Williams, just to name a few.
Real Skateboards were made official in 1991. Unlike Baker or Anti Hero, Real was not jump started by a famous skater. Real did not have the mass appeal that some of these brands have solely based on their founders' notoriety. Back in 1991, the world of skating looked a lot different, and there wasn't a sufficient saturation of boards on the market. Real took advantage of this and started selling a board of greater quality and longevity. Fast forward to a time when the landscape of skating is vastly different than when the company was established, and Real is one of the most well-known skate companies with quality products and skaters on their team, including Ishod Wair and Kyle Walker to name a few.
Vans sells many items pertaining to all sorts of boardsports, but has a main emphasis on skating. They sell a plethora of different shoe styles, clothes, accessories, skateboards, and more. They had humble beginnings like other pioneer brands, such as Baker and Real, as it got established in 1996 during the turning point for the world of skating. Vans was founded in Santa Ana, CA, and has a skate team consisting of names like Ben Kadow, Dustin Henry, and Chris Pfanner, to name a few. Vans has been largely instrumental in the globalization of skating, putting out many videos and helping construct multiple skate parks.
Thrasher is one of those companies that is known by everybody, avid skater or not. People wear Thrasher hoodies these days like it is going out of style. It started off as a skate magazine in 1981 out of San Francisco, CA, another one of the meccas of the skate world. In the past 10 years, Thrasher has accentuated its influence with a vast number of video parts and content on YouTube. Thrasher's influence has gone so far as to be in skate video games. They have helped numerous new skaters get the exposure they deserve and progress their career, cementing its place in the top skating brands. People who do not skate and have been exposed to the sport in one way or another probably got exposed to Thrasher and it is this notoriety that earns Thrasher a spot on this list..
Mob secures a spot on this list for their long-lasting grip tape. It's another company, like Independent and Thunder, that is characterized by its astounding product, filling the absence of a product equivalent at the time. Mob is owned by the same distribution company as Independent, and was born in the skating mecca of Santa Cruz, CA. At the time, skaters were struggling with faulty grip tape that concealed flaws such as air bubbles in the grip. Mob has no pro skate team, but along with Baker and Real, it has been a prominent company for as long as people can remember, and still retains its classic brand feel. This has existed as the main grip tape people use in the skate world for a while now.
Spitfire was established in San Francisco, CA in 1987. Spitfire is yet another company defined by its great product, with the company specializing in the wheels they produce. Chris Cole, Lizard King, and Eric Koston are among the many skaters who ride professionally for Spitfire.