Best Skate Shoes Reviewed and Rated
If you’re a regular skater you know performance relies on key elements such as grip, durability, and protection. These elements rely on details of your shoe such as whether they are stitched together or glued, made with quality material, or if they have proper toe protection. If you’re looking for more comfort then you might want to consider a padded tongue and heel. If you’re looking for the overall best skate shoes, you found them.
Skating is one of the most strenuous things to put your feet through, so you want a shoe that will hold up to the constant pounding. You also want to consider your foot’s orientation when performing certain “tricky” maneuvers. For example, when performing an ollie, your foot will be dragged sideways up the sand-paper-like surface of the board in the motion. Therefore, having extra rubber on the side ensure they can hold up through time. You don’t want to wear just any shoe when skating, that’s why these shoes have characteristics specifically designed for skateboarding. You wouldn’t get the kind grip you need if you’re wearing a regular tennis shoe made with ordinary materials. Skate shoes are designed with “gummy” rubber to ensure a good grip on the board. Another thing to look for in a good shoe is whether or not it has metal lace holes as in this shoe-straining sport your laces can rip through weak lace holes very easily.
- Vans Sk8-Hi
- Extremely durable
- DC Graffik
- Pill patterned outsole
- Circa AL50
- Lightweight construction
You don’t want to wear just any shoe when skating, and that’s why we chose shoes that have characteristics perfect for your sessions. We have done the research and come up with a list of 10 of the best skate shoes available on the market – each designed for skateboarding, with soles and uppers that can take the beating you hand them and will grip your board correctly.
10 Best Skate Shoes
1. Vans Sk8-Hi
Strong stitching, cool designs, lace holes with reinforced metal, what more do you need? How about one of the most know logos there is? Or the unique stitch patterns with a hidden quality. Did you know that the stitching isn’t just for looks, but also durability? This shoe shows a lot just by looking at it but has hidden aspects behind this special design for topmost style and toughness.
This shoe features a supportive and padded ankle, laced up for a perfect fit and a comfortable sole. The sk8-Hi was made for durable construction and to last a very long time with keeping its comfort aspects. The ankle support in this shoe is fully-focussed to be worn without limitations.
Cost and Value
This sneaker is reasonable in price. Most budgets will be able to afford it. It’s definitely worth the cash when buying a durable shoe like the Vans Sk8-Hi.
2. DC Graffik
DC’s pill patterned tread is a trademark of the brand and provides just enough grip on the board to accomplish your best tricks, without tying your foot down or creating too much weight. That 720 kickflip is nothing to you.
Comfort all day
The DC Graffik features a padded tongue and collar for comfort and good support. The leather upper is made even more breathable with a couple of vent holes above the sole. With the added cushion and ventilation, your foot will be cool, dry and comfortable.
Cost and Value
These shoes are priced at the mid-range price wise. They are worth the money for their style, comfort, and performance. It is a shoe that suits the skateboard park as well as school or any other location a young person may want to be.
- Leather upper
- Rubber sole
- Pill pattern grip
- Low top cut
- Vent holes
- Mesh tongue
- Could be more durable
3. Vans Classic
The signature, waffle outsole on the Vans Classic is designed for the board. It offers good traction and grip on many surfaces although it doesn’t do as well on wet or slick services. The outsole makes for a flexible shoe that will not interfere with your best tricks.
Canvas is a very durable material and it is also breathable when it’s not too heavy. The Vans Classic features a canvas thickness that allows your foot to stay cool and dry, great for those with sweaty feet.
Cost and Value
These Vans are priced in the mid-range and represent a good value in a skate shoe. The shoes are durable, flexible and breathable. They will be comfortable all day and will stay on the board when you need them to.
- Flexible skate shoe
- Breathable canvas upper
- Waffle outsole
- Comfortable feel
- Classic style
- Sizes run small
4. Circa AL50
With the very popular look of what makes a skate shoe, you will also find a lightweight midsole. This is a skate-ready classic. Made with synthetic nubuck, this shoe can guarantee durability in any atmosphere.
This shoe is superior in padding from the tongue to the collar. It features a little extra toe room for those wide-footed skaters, which surprisingly isn’t uncommon. Another part to this classic shoe is it’s vulcanized construction to maximize flexibility.
Cost and Value
This shoe is sold at an amazing price. That’s a very good deal for the comfort that comes with it. There’s not much more than I can say in regards of what a steal this shoe is. It is the best value in our guide and loved by many.
- Superior padding
- Great price
- May not come in all sizes
- Poor stitch quality
5. Nike SB Janoski
The SB Janoski has an original feel to it, simple but complex at the same time with its unique aspects. One of which is its retro look. Nike has brought us a classic minimal skate silhouette but modified it to be the best in the skateboarding industry. They have the durability and board feel we all are looking for.
This shoe wins best for comfortability with its Lunarlon Technology sole. Having this special aspect can guarantee the most flexibility, less weight, and maximum comfort when landing those gnarly tricks!
Cost and Value
You can purchase this cool kick for a cost that falls to the middle of our price point. Considering the very prestigious brand name I’d say that’s a steal at the least. On top of the brand, the advanced quality and craftsmanship add to the overall value of this choice.
- Classic feel and look
- Maximum comfort
- Most flexibility
- Quality brand name
- Leather stretches
- Narrow design
6. Osiris NYC83
The NYC83 comes in six different color combinations and is reinforced in high abrasion areas. Ankle support with the added high top design. They feature a combination lacing system to improve stability and have more style options.
Extra padded tongue and collar for comfort. There is a soft padded PU insole with full latex covering for longer periods of standing. Exposed EVA midsole for maximum mobility, support, and comfort. This shoe was really thought out to have super comfortability when compared to others.
Cost and Value
You can buy this shoe for a reasonable price. The price is actually pretty decent when you think about the whole package. The exposed EVA mid-sole feature is very unique and promotes lots of motion and flexibility.
- Ankle support
- Unique lacing system
- Extra padding
- Exposed EVA mid-sole
- Valued price
- Limited amount of design choices
- Sizes may not be accurate
7. Emerica Romera
Your feet move a lot while you’re on the board, flexing side to side and front to back, which can cause the tongue on many sneakers to twist and become uncomfortable. The wings on the tongue of the Reynolds G6 feature stabilizing wings which ensure the tongue is always held in place.
Low-profile cup sole
The sole in this skate shoe is low and cupped for a secure, stable fit. Your foot will not slide back and forth or from side to side within the shoe while you’re skateboarding, leaving you with less irritation and far more control and comfort.
Cost and Value
This shoe is priced in the mid-range which is a good value given the performance of the shoe on the board. It is also a versatile shoe which can be worn to school or other occasions. It is a breathable, stable shoe that will give you a lot of life for the money.
- Suede upper
- Gumsole rubber sole
- Single piece toe cap
- Tongue stabilizing wings
- Triangle tread outsole
- Low profile cut
- Sizes run small
- Sizes run narrow
8. DC Trase TX
The Trase TX can look like an ordinary shoe but really it has some specific qualities that may not meet the eye. One of these fantastic characteristics is that DC has branded their star logo on the heel. Another is, it has a higher foxing tape for a distinct look and feel. The higher foxing tape also helps with the overall life of the shoe because many tricks will have you dragging your foot at some point and this will help protect the material underneath.
This shoe was made with extra padding for the utmost comfort and the low-rise style may not fully support the ankle but it gives it more flexibility when it needs to and the collar also has extra padding for comfort. Overall this shoe was built to be strong and meet the needs of long periods of movement.
Cost and Value
With the very unique aspect of having a higher foxing tape, and carrying an exceptionally reasonable price tag. You can’t beat this kind of quality at that low price so why not? They are versatile and comfortable. Choosing this option gives you a new solid option in your skate shoe collection.
- Metal eyelets
- Vulcanized construction
- Abrasion-resistant sticky
- rubber outsole
- DC’s trademarked pill pattern tread
- Unsupportive arch
- Narrow design
9. Etnies Jameson 2 Eco
Classic, profound and simple. This shoe is perfectly simple in our modern environment. Knowing that it’s partly recycled makes the feel that much better. Be proud of wearing these eco-friendly kicks. It has a low top style and can be worn and look fantastic doing pretty much anything.
The Jameson 2 Eco features faux-vulc cup sole construction with an STI foam lite 1 insole for total comfort. The flexibility features include thin padding in the tongue and collar. This is the shoe to get if you’re looking for a simple modern look but a comfortable feel.
Cost and Value
This shoe falls into the affordable category. You definitely would not want to lose the deal you get when deciding to purchase these. The plus side is how eco-friendly these shoes are so it’s worth every penny. In addition, they are stylish and durable.
- Made with recycled materials
- Simple style
- Easily worn anywhere
- Perfectly padded
- Valued price
- Sizes may vary
10. Adidas Seeley
This skate shoe features an abrasion resistant sole and a smooth, abrasion-resistant upper. Both of these features will stand up to the abuse that you hand them and come back for more. These shoes, barring outgrowing them, will last for several summers for fun.
The shoe features a comfortable insole and a lightly padded collar, which helps to avoid blistering and sores around the ankle. It also provides a comfortable, supportive fit.
Cost and Value
These shoes are priced in the higher end of the range but given that they will last for years of abuse, they still represent a very good value. Built specifically for skateboarding by Adidas, they come with all of Adidas’ century of athletic shoe building experience.
- Vulcanized rubber outsole
- Canvas and synthetic upper
- Padded collar
- Abrasion resistant upper
- Abrasion resistant sole
- Squeaky shoe
- Sizes run narrow
If you’re looking for one of the best skate shoes of this year you found them. Now, grab your awesome kicks and skate like the legends. This year will be as successful as you make it, and the best place to start at is what you put on your feet. So what are you skating on today? Whatever you choose, you’ll know that your special kicks will provide the performance needed out there.
Criteria for Evaluating the Best Skate Shoes
One might think skate shoe builds are just like any other casual shoe. However, skate shoes should be made of specific materials to stand up to their sport. Each part of the shoe should consist of precise fabrics to optimize the durability of the piece. There are three elements in the anatomy of a skating shoe: outsole, midsole, and upper. We’ll provide further insight on the most durable materials for each part later on.
The shoe materials are the primary influencing factor in the durability of a skating shoe. Regardless of the materials, skating shoes are not particularly known for their durability. Each part of the shoe serves a different purpose, so they’re made from different materials. Thus, they usually don’t degrade at the same rate. The most durable part of a skating shoe should always be the sole (midsole + outsole).
There’s a huge difference in durability between inferior materials and premium fabrics. Some skating shoes deliver a combination of a quality outsole with weak upper materials. This usually leads to the top build ripping apart from the outsole. The outsole could be the best in the world, but it’s pointless if there’s no shoe to support. The best skating shoes deliver a balanced combination of quality fabrics all around the shoe. At the end of the day, a skate shoe won’t work properly if any of the elements are damaged.
When a shoe’s durability comes to an end, each section shows degrading in different ways. The upper build is usually the easier to notice, but it’s not always critical. A damaged upper could still perform; as long as it’s not severely ripped or separated from the sole. This isn’t the case with soles.
The outsole’s main sign of degrading is the loss of traction. A damaged outsole loads to the loss of traction on both the board and the surface. A degrading midsole will start squeaking and losing firmness.
Board & Pavement Traction
A skating shoe that can’t grip to the board is as good as no shoes. The outsole is the ultimate element that determines the quality of the contact between the shoe and the board. The greater the traction, the better control the shoe has over the board. This enhances your ability to twist the board and cross while going fast.
The traction also plays a role when impulsing yourself from the pavement. A decent skating shoe delivers a lot of traction, which results in a firm and vigorous impulse. Cheap skating shoes, on the other hand, offer reduced contact with the surfaces. As friction increases, you’re able to get a better grasp of the surface you’re taking impulse from. Traction is an important part of tricks as well. As you enhance contact with the board, you’re able to gain better handles on it. This makes lifting the board and controlling it in the air significantly easier.
The traction influences other aspects of a skating shoe. For instance, the stability of the board while in motion is decreased or increased according to the grip. Maintaining yourself the board stable while moving is much harder if your shoes don’t grip to it firmly. On the opposite case, lacking traction leads to a loose control of the board.
The grip works in combination with the shoe stability to deliver an improved landing after a jump. This is the most important moment for these two elements to be present. It’s significantly harder to control the board right after a high drop; the higher you fall, the harder it is. If your shoe fails to grip properly to the board, the chances of the board slipping away from your feet are greater.
The main difference between a pair of cheap skating shoes and a quality one lays on the outsole. At first hand, it may seem like skating shoe outsoles are just like any casual shoe’s one. In fact, many people wear skateboarding shoes for daily activities, most of them not being skaters. However, these shoes serve a particular function in skating, increasing or decreasing performance depending on the quality. Multiple elements determine whether an outsole is fit for skating practices or not.
If you’ve read any of our other guides, you’ll know that the quality of the grip pretty much depends on the quality of the outsole. The latter will mainly rely on the materials that compose it. While standard rubber was the best option for a long time, there are now other more efficient synthetic compounds. For instance, polyurethane has become the most widely used outsole material on modern sports shoes. This material is not only lighter, but also a better impact absorber.
Though, there’s an even better option for skateboarding specific shoes:
- Vulcanized rubber:
This material is traditional rubber that has been vulcanized. The process of vulcanization consists of enhancing the qualities of natural rubber by adding accelerating compounds (sulfur). This process makes the rubber’s polymer form cross-links, giving it a greater resistance, durability, and shock diminishing. Vulcanized rubber is unquestionably the best material for skating outsoles. The vulcanized material is less sticky and has superior mechanical qualities. It’s currently used for sport shoes outsoles, car tires, and many industrial applications.
The sole should have minimal tread patterns or not patterns at all. Lastly, the sole height can’t be too large. As your feet get further from the ground, stability decreases. Adequate skating shoe outsoles should include all of the qualities mentioned here.
Unlike some other features, stability is something shoes can’t provide you %100 of. This is because, in skateboarding, stability is more related to technique than any other factor. Regardless, there are ways in which shoes can improve (or obstruct) stability while performing. There are also other factors that affect the amount of stability provided by the shoe.
One of the contributing factors to the stability is ankle support. The amount of ankle support can increase or decrease according to the shoe build. Parts such as the heel notch, top line, stitch seam, collar, and collar lining work in combination for this. This combination determines the amount of support the ankle has to move and twist freely while skating. However, if the collar is too tight and these elements obstruct the ankles, the performance is affected.
Like we previously mentioned, the most important moment for the stability is landing. After jumping, especially from high distances, the impact is expected to affect the stability of the board. This same impact can also influence the stability of the shoes if there’s not enough cushioning. If the midsole fails to deliver enough shock absorption, your ankles will pay the price. In a similar case, if your outsole fails to provide enough grip, you’ll also lose stability and probably the control of the board too.
The stability also depends on the grip of the shoe. Thus the outsole plays a significant role too. When leaning forward or backward, your posture is ultimately responsible for the stability. However, the grip is also a determining component when it comes to maintaining stability while crossing. The sandpaper texture of the board makes it hard for any rubber in general to miss the grip. But, after some degrading on both the board and the outsole, things won’t be that smooth.
The upper build may not seem like a functional part of the shoe. Most skaters just think of the upper build as the part responsible for making the shoe look good. In reality, there’s much more behind the upper build than just style and design. The superior part has a role in functions such as durability, flexibility, and stability. It also spans secondary feats, including comfortability and breathability, which may not seem critical until you’ve got them against you.
The excellent build of skating shoes is made of suede or composition leathers. These are the most optimal materials for skateboarding footwear regarding durability and resistance. Suede and composition leathers are also flexible enough to allow smooth motion and performance. To have an upper even more durable, we recommend looking for double or triple stitched builds.
Comfortability is often underrated in all types of shoes. Customers rather look good than feel good. It’s understandable to look after style; at the end of the day, no one wants ugly shoes. Instead of sacrificing comfort for style, look for a shoe that incorporates both. There’s nothing more annoying than a tight shoe, or a compressed toe box, or materials that provoke irritation. Even walking becomes difficult when wearing uncomfortable pieces, let alone perform sports.
There shouldn’t be any uncomfortable areas in a good skating shoe. Cheap skating shoes are made of materials that cause irritation when they rub against the skin. We don’t recommend forcing yourself into any uncomfortable shoes, let alone performance ones. There’s no better feeling than smooth shoes that fit comfortably.
An ideal upper build should be made of the materials we mentioned above, insole and tongue padding, and internal cushioning.
Impact Absorption & Cushioning
These two elements are unquestionably amongst the most important in any skating shoe build. You want to make sure they’re not missing in your shoes. Without them, you’ll be dealing with some bad heel bruises after a skating session. Even those who don’t plan on performing high jumps must have adequately cushioned shoes that can deal with the impact. Like we previously said, most skating shoes look casual, but they still have functional features present.
The midsole is the part of the shoe responsible for impact absorption. Any technology to reduce shock, either internal or external, is usually placed there. The heel is the part of the foot that undoubtedly deals with the most pressure in all sports. As you can probably guess, skating is no exception. Most brands include unique features around the heel area, which considerably reduces any shock or pain. For instance, the heel air pockets have become a favorite feature.
Some big brands, such as Nike, know cushioning is not to be taken lightly. This is why their Nike SB’s count with insole cushioning. We’ll provide you with some basic information about insoles:
The softer the insole, the less torsional stability the shoe has. Stiffer ones, on the other hand, provide more structure and stability. When striking the floor, the impact ascends in a vertical direction. At the moment of the impact, the midsole is the closest element to the ground. At this point, the only thing standing between your foot and the shock in the midsole is the insole. Having a quality-cushioned insole makes a huge difference in maintaining you comfortable during impact absorption.
As for the midsole, EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate) structures are king. The more firm it is, the stiffer and bulkier the shoe will be. Steady ones are recommended for cases of excessive pronation. Soft midsoles, on the other hand, deal better with shock absorption. However, due to their exposure to shock, they tend to last shorter. The latter type of midsole is better for shin splints.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long does a pair of skate shoes usually last?
A: As long as they’re not directly damaged, they should last at least over a year. Depending on how often you wear them and what else you are wearing them for this could add or subtract from the overall lifespan of your shoes. Investing in a top quality pair and taking care of them properly can also extend the life of your favorite kicks.
Q: Are bulky skaters better than flat ones?
A: The only difference between them is design and weight. Some users prefer lighter shoes, but the weight isn’t that important in skating shoes. We recommend both as long as they follow the criteria above. What works for one person may not be the best for another and finding what you prefer can take some trial and error. Think about shoes you have worn in the past and what was the most comfortable compared to the least when making this decision.
Q: How to wear skate shoes?
A: Tighten the laces until the fit is firm. Any hanging laces should be placed inside the shoe to avoid stepping on them. In addition, you certainly don’t want extra long laces getting caught up in your wheels. This could lead to a serious injury and a lot of time off your board. Some skating shoes are bulky, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be your size.
Q: What are good skating shoes?
A: Some of the most remarkable skating shoes manufacturers are Etnies, DC, Osiris, Fallen, Vans, Nike, Circa, and Supra. You can always expect quality from these brands.
Q: How to use skating shoes?
A: Loads of people use skating shoes as casual wear. If they follow our standards, they’ll sure work for both skating and everyday activities. They offer great levels of cushioning and support, depending on the brand and model. You could use skate shoes for almost any of life’s activities.
Q: Should I tie the laces on my skating shoes?
A: Some people do, some people don’t. As long as you tighten the laces to get a firm fit, it’s all good. Do remember to leave the laces on the insole to avoid stepping on them. Your individual preference and style is what matters here. Keeping laces tucked in is important but how you feel about your overall look is equally important.