If you’re a skateboarding enthusiast, then you know that having the right gear can make all of the difference while you’re out on the street or the skate park. For most boarders, though, that just means that they have a board and the right shoes. If you’ve never gotten skate shoes for your ride, then you are missing out, as they are designed specifically to help you stay on the board and reduce the amount of impact your feet get as you ride and do tricks.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best skate shoes on the market today, as well as look at the different components that can make a good pair into an indispensable one for your needs.
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While most skate shoes share many of the same components, there are still plenty of variances that can make all the difference when selecting the right pair for your feet. Although these factors may seem a bit ambiguous, you will notice a change when you pick the right shoe that both fits and works for your skating style.
One important thing to note when choosing these shoes is that it’s imperative to understand that how you skate will affect which components you need. If you are a trick skater and do a lot of jumps and landings, you’ll need something that can absorb impact and will stick to the board better.
However, if you are a longboarder or do mostly downhill skateboarding, a flexible shoe with less padding is ideal as you can get a bit more flexibility while still maintaining comfort. So, with that in mind, let’s see what you should be looking at when choosing the right skate shoe.
Since it’s the part of the shoe that goes through the most abuse, the outsole is one of the most important pieces. Usually, this component will be made of thick rubber that wraps around the whole shoe so that it can absorb impact and create a more stiff surface as you ride. Thus, the important thing to look at is the material and the tread on the outsole, as that will determine which one is best for your style of skateboarding.
These shoes have thicker padding and comfort to absorb more impact when you’re doing jumps and landings on a regular basis. To help protect your feet, you get a much tougher piece of rubber that can last a lot longer than other materials. The heels receive the most impact, so that is the thickest portion of the shoe overall.
If you are more of a technical skateboarder and love to do tricks and flips, then vulcanized rubber is the way to go because it has a better grip and allows you to get more control over the board. Also, if you aren’t doing a lot of landing and hard jumps you might want to get something a bit lighter and more flexible. Just be aware that the added agility does reduce the overall comfort.
Regardless of the type of skateboarding you do, it can take a toll on your feet over time. For that reason, skate shoes come with extra padding to help absorb some of this abuse and keep your feet from getting too sore or bruised in the process. There are three primary places where this cushioning is installed, so pay attention to all three and make sure that you’re compensating for your particular needs.
Typically speaking, skate shoes will have a thick tongue if you do a lot of jumps and landings since it will keep the shoe from digging into the top of your foot as you ride. Conversely, if you want more control over your board, you will want to get a design that has a thinner tongue so that it doesn’t get in the way.
Most skate shoes are low cut so as to provide ample flexibility and agility while you ride. However, that does mean that there is a lot of rubbing on your ankles, which can cause blisters or other skin ailments over time. To prevent that from happening, many skate shoes will have extra padding on the collar to keep your ankles from getting rubbed raw. Also, some models will shape the cushioning in such a way to prevent the shoe from flying off your foot as you ride.
This part of the shoe is what absorbs the most impact, so it’s imperative that it’s comfortable for you and won’t get damaged after repeated abuse. The most common midsole material is EVA foam, which uses thousands of gas bubbles to disperse the impact and keep your feet from getting hurt. An alternative to this foam is polyurethane, which is denser and lasts much longer than EVA.
For most people, the laces that come with a shoe are not something to pay much attention to as long as they work. However, because you will be putting your feet under a lot of stress as you skateboard, the laces can have some effect on your overall comfort and experience. Thin, round laces are suitable for holding the shoe tight to your foot, but they can be constricting and uncomfortable if you do a lot of jumps and impact work.
Thick laces are great for that kind of boarding, but they can be too much if you want more control over your tricks. The differences are not super noticeable, but they are there and can add or subtract from the overall experience. Plus, the laces also affect the look of the shoes, so get ones that match both your style and boarding methods.
Finally, the material of the shoe can be another important factor to consider. While most outsoles are made of thick rubber, the upper sole is what varies the most. Choosing the right material is crucial to ensure that you get the right level of flexibility and breathability, so your feet don’t get too hurt after a long day of boarding.
Common upper materials include leather, suede, nubuck, or synthetic hybrids. Each one has its own benefit, but they can also affect the appearance and style of the shoe, so make sure to get one that both feels great and looks amazing.
If you’re looking for a remarkable skate shoe that can take a lot of abuse and keep on ticking, then the Sabre Shoe from Globe is just the ticket. This particular model is perfectly designed to handle almost any kind of boarding, although high-impact riding is more what this shoe is built to take.
A wider shape and thicker outsole make sure that this shoe can take a beating over and over again.
What makes this model so desirable, however, is the addition of the Nitrocel airbag sole which absorbs impact better than a standard PU or EVA foam insole. You can do all kinds of jumps and landings with these shoes and still not get your feet hurt.
Other features include a thick padded tongue and collar for comfort, thick laces for better holding, and a proprietary S-Trac design for better traction and control while riding. Overall, these are hardcore skate shoes.
In this case, the shoe is mostly designed for trick boarders, as the vulcanized rubber outsole gives you greater grip and flexibility. The tread is even proprietary to provide the best traction possible, giving you more control over the board while you work.
Other features include a wraparound midsole for stability, a soft upper for agility, and a lightly padded tongue and collar for flexibility. Overall, these shoes are fantastic for anyone who likes to do tricks or downhill boarding.
As far as skate shoe brands go, none are quite as unique or stylish as Vans. In fact, there are plenty of people who are so loyal to the company that they refuse to wear anything else. It’s easy to see why these shoes have such a fervent following, though.
They are comfortable, perfect for any occasion, and look amazing. The Old Skool design takes you back to the old days when skateboarding was still seen as a novelty.
As far as performance goes, these shoes are perfect for anyone looking to do tricks or have extra flexibility. The Vulcanized rubber outsole is not as stiff as other skate shoes and the tucked in laces won’t get caught while you’re doing your tricks and jumps. A standard waffle tread also sticks to the grip tape better, and an EVA foam insole is provided for extra comfort.
Overall, these are some of the best skate shoes for trick skateboarders or longboarders.
First on our list is a skate shoe that is designed for heavy boarding and impact. If you are someone who loves to jump and do hard landings, then these shoes can help protect your feet from the harsh abuse.
What sets these apart from the rest is that you get pro polyurethane foam on the insole, which is tough enough to last much longer than most other shoes.
Additional features that you get with the Marana are an STI Evolution midsole, thick 400 NBS rubber outsole, and flex grooves for added stability so that you don’t fly off your board upon landing. These shoes also have a fused rubber toe cap for added protection, and a car tire inspired tread for better traction. Overall, these shoes are made to take a beating, so wear them with impunity.
Next, we have another shoe that is designed with high-impact boarding in mind. A thick, stiff outsole and a soft, plush tongue mean that you can do high jumps or landings over and over again without damaging your foot.
The Supra Stacks Style Suede Skate is both functional and stylish, making it a worthwhile investment for most skateboarders.
Other features of these shoes include a wide lace setup for better holding, a soft mesh upper sole for breathability, and a low cut collar to give you a bit more flexibility. To keep your ankle intact, however, the collar does have some extra cushioning. Overall, these shoes are great for most skateboarding, but ideal for hard landings.
When looking at different skate shoes, some brands come to mind as being better than the rest. Osiris is one such brand that has made a name for itself and became synonymous with high-quality skate shoes.
Using Nubuck leather and a thick, sturdy outsole, you can take to the streets or the skate park and ride for hours without ever getting a bruise or blister (on your feet, that is).
What we like about this shoe is the design. It’s decidedly vintage, yet it has a modern feel to it as well. A thin collar gives you more flexibility, making this shoe ideal for those who like to do tricks or maintain control at all times. The tongue is also thinly padded to reduce weight and give you more agility overall. Finally, to keep the shoes on your feet at all times they come with a thin lacing system.
If you are looking for any kind of high-quality shoe, then you already know that Nike is one of the best brands in the industry. While most people associate Nike with sports shoes such as basketball or running, the fact is that they make a mean skate shoe as well.
The Zoom Stefan is designed for downhill boarding or trick boarding, so don’t buy these if you do any high-impact work. The padding is not sufficient enough for that kind of abuse.
As far as flexibility and performance go, though, these shoes have it all. Soft suede upper is comfortable and agile, and a perforated design gives these models more breathability than most other shoes. There is even a hyper screen overlay on the toe for durability. Finally, these shoes have lightly padded tongues to reduce weight and a standard lacing system to keep them on your feet as you ride.
Next, we have an all-around skate shoe that can work for most skateboarders, although it’s best to avoid too much high-impact skating if possible.
The Griffin Skate Shoe from Lakai is an excellent model for many casual skateboarders who want something that can provide both more stiffness than a regular shoe and more flexibility than a hardcore skating shoe.
The low-cut design provides more agility, while the herringbone tread gives you better traction while on the board. Overall, this shoe is more geared towards tricks and downhill boarding, but the stiffness of the outsole make it alright for jumps and landings, as long as they are in moderation.
We’ve already seen an Etnies shoe above, but that one was for high-impact boarding. The Jameson 2 Eco Skate Shoe, however, is built for those who want a bit more control over their board and want some extra flexibility and grip when doing tricks and such.
This particular shoe is made with imported fabric and comes with a slightly thinner wraparound outsole, a thinly padded tongue and collar, and an EVA foam insole for extra comfort.
The tread on the bottom is a standard zig-zag pattern to help maintain a better grip on the board and prevent slippage from happening. Another interesting feature of these shoes is that the outsole is made from recycled materials, so there’s that to consider as well.
Other aspects of this shoe include thin laces for a tighter hold, a soft upper for better comfort and breathability, and a low cut design to give you more flexibility. The collar does have some extra padding, though, to prevent blisters or rashes from developing.
So far, we’ve seen shoes that have low-cut collars around the ankle to provide better flexibility. However, if you are a longboarder or downhill skateboarder and don’t like to do tricks, then these shoes from IPATH might be a great buy.
These shoes are much different than the ones we’ve seen so far in that the cut is higher than usual, covering the ankle altogether. Also, it comes with faux-fur lining for added comfort and style.
Other features of this shoe include a soft suede upper, a herringbone tread for better control, and thick laces for easier tightening. Overall, these shoes are fantastic for boarders who don’t want to worry about doing anything fancy with their boards.
After looking through the list of best skate shoes, you probably noticed that some of them are designed for high-impact riding while others are better for tricks and downhill boarding. Thus, we have several top recommendations depending on the type of skateboarder you are.
If you’re into tricks, then the Vans Old Skool Shoe is the way to go, as it offers the best grip and flexibility, and looks cooler than the rest. For jumps and drops, we recommend either the Globe Men’s Sabre Skate Shoe or the Supra Stacks Style Shoe. Both of these have the right amount of padding and impact absorption that your feet will need.
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A passionate blogger! Editor at Chooserly, and a regular author at HuffingtonPost, LifeHacker & Forbes!