The Best UK SOS Skate Shops - International(ish) Edition
When we last did a piece on the best skate shops in the UK we inadvertently, and unintentionally, upset some people (Sorry Grim FreeStyle, you know we love you homie 😘) as we went way too England-centric. To ensure a balanced and fair view of this skate-shop-legends rundown, we thought it'd be best to focus on some of the SOS skate stores outside England. Have a peek at this list at some of the skateboard shops that have been holding down Wales, Scotland and Ireland and if you're ever in the vicinity, pay them a visit and show some love...
The first shop on our list is FreeStyle in Newport. Opened in 1995, this shop has been a staple of the Welsh skate scene for nearly 30 years. Grim, who owns and runs Freestyle is an absolute legend. I had the pleasure of first meeting him in the early 2000s when I was constantly turning up at the shop trying to sell him Circa skate shoes, and he was one of the few skate shop owners not to tell me to piss right off, which I always appreciated 😃 With the opening of the new indoor park in Newport, the local scene is thriving and its sick to see that Grim and Freestyle are still at the heart of it. If you're ever in the area, the shops well worth a visit with heaps of hard to find and re-issue bits and pieces 🤜🏽
Another legendary outfit in Wales, Exist Skate Shop was set up in 2006 after initially being a clothing brand and has been on Oxford street in the town centre since its inception. Another skater owned shop, founder handsome Ric (his words, not mine) can talk you through a rad supply of hardware and soft goods to suit any of your skating needs, and once your set up, head over to the Exist Indoor Skate Park for a shred!
After the unfortunate demise of Cardiff's 'City Surf' in 2016 (Shout out Evo and Gitto 🙏🏽), there was a clear gap in the market for a skater owned store in the city. What started as the Cardiff Skateboard Club blog in 2006 (and subsequently instagram page) was now primed to save Cardiff from being SOS-less. After finding a city centre premises the CSC retail empire was born 🙌🏽. If you havent see the Bug vs Snake edit from the CSC trip to Majorca then what are you waiting for?! Jump on boyo!
20 years deep, Focus was opened in Edinburgh in 2001 with the sole focus of serving and promoting the scottish skate scene. As owner Mark Foster says "The shops role is to help out locals, provide a complete range of skateboarding hardware, put on events and offer strong coffee to regulars. That’s my aim. I want people to feel welcome – ask where the spots are, get stickers for nothing and come skate with us. We are here to help. Unity in the community as it were. Bring us some biscuits and you’ll be down for life". With a full calendar of sick events and their own full lengths in the offering, Focus is a true core skate shop which Edinburgh residents are super lucky to have
The newest shop on our list, I've never had the pleasure of hitting up this store in Aberdeen but it looks like the local scene is in safe hands since the relocation of Boarderline from the city. Founder and owner Callum opened the doors to Seed in 2019 and it looks like things are going from strength to strength, with a sick like of shop-branded clothing available and all the usual big names in hardware and apparel filling up the shelves.
A blink-and-you'll-miss-it hidden gem, Ozzys is housed inside Arkive and is Dundees only Skater-owned store. They offer a sweet selection of skate hardware, clothing and footwear thats keeps the local crew fully kitted up.
Another store that Ive not got to yet, but from the images and social media it looks like a super slick set up with an enviable brand roster. High Rollers have put out their own edits which are worth a watch and put the needs of the Dublin skate scene firmly at the front of their efforts. Definitely a store to visit if you're in the area, go and show some love!