You might hear "riser pads" and "shock pads" used interchangeably, and while they look very similar and both go in the same place on your skateboard, there are subtle but important differences between the two. First, they have slightly different purposes. Riser pads are designed to increase the height of your board in order to avoid wheel bite, and shock pads are designed to absorb shock to make for a smoother ride. That brings us to the second difference: they are made from different materials. Shock pads are made from rubber or dense foam, and riser pads are made from hard plastic. Although risers will absorb a bit of shock, the softer material in shock pads is designed specifically for shock absorption. The hard plastic of riser pads ensures that the pad will never compress and lose height. The third difference between risers and shock pads is the speed you can get. In shock pads, losing a bit of speed is a natural consequence of shock absorption. Most riser pads won't really affect speed unless they are very tall and result in a much higher center of gravity.
Riser pads and shock pads share a lot of obvious common ground, which is why you can find them stocked side by side in most skate shops. Warehouse Skateboards carries many different styles of riser pads and shock pads.
This is the most basic shape for skateboard riser pads. This shape will increase your deck height and decrease shock felt in your feet. Be aware that the higher your board is from the ground, the less maneuverable it will be. Skateboarders and longboarders can both benefit from rectangular pads, but if you have large longboard wheels, it's best to choose a thicker riser pad to avoid wheel bite. Experiment with different heights that work for your board and personal preferences.
The doorjamb shape of angled risers not only raises your trucks, but also fixes them at an angle from your deck. You can install them so they are angled away from the center, or towards the center. Adding wedge risers changes the angle of the kingpin and the pivot point, which means that you can increase or decrease how much your trucks turn depending on which direction you face the angled risers. To increase your turn capability, install the wedge risers so the thick part is closer to the center of the board. You can also flip the direction of your wedges to create different effects. For example, if you face both angled risers so the thick part faces the center, you can increase front turn capabilities while decreasing rear turn capabilities.
Both angled and rectangular risers are available in drop-thru style. Many manufacturers have also put a creative spin on riser pads in the last few years by adding interesting design cutouts on their riser pads. Not only does it look cool, but it also decreases the total weight of your skateboard. Additionally, some skateboarders like to mix and match rectangular and angled riser pads. For instance, an angled riser (with thick part facing the center) and a flat riser on the back can increase your front turn steering capabilities while stabilizing the back, and vice-versa.
Be aware that no matter what riser pad shape you choose, you will need to buy longer hardware to accommodate the extra height! Consult our helpful hardware size calculator above.
When you install riser pads, you of course want to install four screws, one on each corner. However, you might notice that there are a total of six holes in skateboard riser pads. Why is this? Manufacturers conveniently put an extra set of holes in most riser pads to accommodate both new school and old school skateboards. As we mentioned in our trucks section, the mounting holes in old school boards are slightly further apart because old school trucks (pre-1990s) were larger. So to avoid having to sell "old school riser pads" and "new school riser pads" as separate products, manufacturers simply drilled an extra set of holes to give skateboarders the option of which type of trucks they want to use.