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Review: Grove Skate Case – A Stylish, Hand-Crafted Case for iPhone 5

Review: Grove Skate Case – A Stylish, Hand-Crafted Case for iPhone 5

The search for the perfect iPhone case seems to be a never ending one.  With thousands upon thousands of options – offering different degrees of quality, design, protection, and function – finding one that Apple would give a gold star to is no easy task.

To make matters even tougher, I am very picky about the cases I use on my phone.  They can’t be too bulky, or too flimsy, and they need to reflect my odd sense of style and (dare I say) unique personality.  When the folks at Grove asked me to check out their Skate Case, I was more than thrilled at the possibility of trying what could likely my favorite case yet.

skate case front back


Grove, a small company based in Portland, OR, has teamed up with recycled skateboard jewelry maker MapleXO to introduce the new Skate Case for iPhone 5 ($149 from Grove).  With it’s eco-friendly construction, and hand-crafted design, the Skate Case is a stand-out in the world of iPhone cases.

Using waste materials (excess wood) from PS Stix skateboards, the outer shell of the Skate Case is constructed of several layers of maple, laminated together, much like a skateboard.  This gives a unique striped pattern to every Skate Case.  The inside of the case is crafted from a durable solid plastic material, which is then laminated to the ex-skateboard wood backing.

The fascinating part of the construction of every Skate Case is the amount of true, hands-on craftsmanship that goes into each one. After the general milling is completed by a CNC machine, a small team of woodworkers sand, buff, and perfect each case, then apply a layer of citrus oil to each case to make sure they are smooth, shiny, and vibrant.

skate case sanding

The Skate Case features a 2 piece, slide-on design, seen in most hard cases, which means it’s easy to put on your iPhone, but holds itself in place, thanks to a soft padding inside.  On the outside, the camera, volume and vibrate switch, lightning port, speakers, and headphone jack are all readily available.  The power button on the top of the device is covered by a small piece of wood, which is fastened inside the case, has just enough give to easily lock/unlock the device, without feeling cheap or being too stiff.

skate case open

Verdict: [rating: 5]

Grove’s attention to detail when it comes to creating unique iPhone cases can not be stressed enough.  The beautiful, smooth finish and vibrant colors make the Skate Case truly a work of art, wrapped around your iPhone 5.

After 2 weeks of solid use, in a variety of situations, I found that the case withstood my day-to-day activities, and even took a short fall (2-3 feet, onto a tile floor) without any signs of damage.  Grove does warn that, due to the nature of wood, nicks, scratches, and even cracks can occur if the case is dropped, so if you find you’re very hard on your phone or cases, this may not be the best solution for you.

For me, the Skate Case has been a fantastic case, and my new favorite, by far.  Much like a fine piece of furniture, you may pay a little more, but the quality speaks for itself.


  • Beautifully crafted (and hand perfected)
  • Eco-friendly
  • Made 100% in America
  • Each case is unique


  • Quite expensive for a case (the trade-off for the highest quality)
  • Headphone opening doesn’t accommodate “larger” headphone plugs.

If you’re looking for a gorgeous, hand-crafted, unique iPhone 5 case, I would highly recommend checking out the Grove Skate Case – and the rest of their iDevice cases, skins, and covers – at GroveMade.com