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. This depends on whether they are stitched together or glued, made with quality material, or if they have the proper toe protection needed. 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 shoes for skateboarding, you found them.

Skating is one of the most odious things to put your feet through, so you don’t want a shoe that won’t 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 padding 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 for doing so. You wouldn’t get the kind grip you’d need if you’re wearing a regular tennis shoe made with ordinary materials. Skate shoes are designed to have the “gummy” rubber that is needed. Another thing to look for in a good shoe is whether or not it has metal lace holes as in this tedious sport your laces can rip through weak lace holes very easily.

Last Updated: May 20, 2017
By Sergio Bettiol:

The recent update reflects the best of 2017’s skate shoes, with new information as to how to choose the best shoes and our criteria for evaluation. Also included are some of the most frequently asked questions about skateboarding and skating shoes.

Featured Recommendation

Nike SB Janoski
  • Nike SB Janoski
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Pieced Canvas Upper
  • Price: See Here
Vans Sk8-Hi
  • Vans Sk8-Hi
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Signature Waffle Outsoles
  • Price: See Here
Fallen D.O.A.
  • Fallen D.O.A.
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Vulcanized Construction
  • Price: See Here

You don’t want to wear just any shoe when skating, and that’s why we chose the shoes that have characteristics perfect for your sessions. You wouldn’t get the grip you need from non-specific shoes with ordinary rubber. Skate shoes are designed to have somewhat of a “gummy” rubber that assists in gripping the board. Whether or not the shoe has metal lace holes or not is also important as in this tedious sport your laces can rip through weak lace holes easily, and it does happen quite often.

 

10 Best Skate Shoes

 

1. Nike SB Janoski

This classic skate shoe, designed by skateboarding legend Stefan Janoski, shows you both style and comfort all the while meeting the highest standards in what a skate shoe is all about. Designed for skating, the SB Janoski has a very classic look with few extra alterations.
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Style
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.

Comfort
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 as low as the mid $80's. Considering the very prestigious brand name I’d say that’s a steal at the least. When comparing to Adidas Adi-Ease, which can be found in the range of 120 USD, the SB Janoski wins hands down in best quality for the best price.
Pros
  • Classic feel and look
  • Maximum comfort
  • Most flexibility
  • Quality brand name
  • Affordability
Cons
  • Leather stretches
  • Narrow design

2. Vans Sk8-Hi

If you didn’t like The Nike SB Janoski then here is the next best thing for 2017. The runner up is Vans Sk8-Hi skate shoe. It features designs with skaters in mind. This shoe shows the type of look that a skater will wear proudly. The durability and comfort are impressive. Vans has been a long-running part into the skating industry.
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Style
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.

Comfort
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 can be bought for a little less than the SB Janoski at a rounding number of $70 online. It’s definitely worth the cash when buying a durable shoe like the Vans Sk8-Hi.
Pros
  • Non-supportive insoles
    Narrow design
Cons
  • Non-supportive insoles
  • Narrow design

3. DC Trase TX

The DC Trase TX is a very considerable shoe with its sleek style, carefully thought out design, comfort and mobility. This shoe can easily be overlooked but it has some really special aspects that need to be listened to. The Trase TX has made some bold statements in regards to durable construction.
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Style
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.

Comfort
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, at a price range of $50 for this shoe is a steal. You can’t beat this kind of quality at that low price so why not?
Pros
  • Metal eyelets
  • Vulcanized construction
  • Abrasion-resistant sticky
  • rubber outsole
  • DC’s trademarked pill pattern tread
  • Unisex
Cons
  • Unsupportive arch
  • Narrow design

4. Etnies Jameson 2 Eco

4. Etnies Jameson 2 Eco
The Jameson 2 Eco is a shoe to recognize. This shoe has something really incredible about it. This shoe is made using both recycled plastic and rubber, hence “Eco”. The love for this shoe can be unmeasurable in innovating economics. Not including it’s sleek look and and simple design.
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Style
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 wearing these eco-friendly kicks. It has a low top style and can be worn and look fantastic doing pretty much anything.

Comfort
The Jameson 2 Eco features faux-vulc cupsole 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 runs about $60 but you can find it as low as $40 online. You definitely would not want to loose that deal. The plus side is how eco-friendly these shoes are so it’s worth every penny.
Pros

Made with recycled materials

Simple style

Easily worn anywhere

Perfectly padded

Valued price

Cons

Sizes may vary

overpriced

5. Osiris NYC83

5. Osiris NYC83
This line of shoe shows us true flavor, and it doesn’t matter where you are going. Its design is fresh and modern. Going to the movies? Wear them. Going to play a game of hoops? They’re on. You can definitely match these to any style and walk out looking like the town is your playground.
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Style
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.

Comfort
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 mid-sole 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 online for about $70. 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.
Pros

Ankle support

Unique lacing system

Extra padding

Exposed EVA mid-sole

Valued price

Cons

Limited amount of design choices

Sizes may not be accurate

6. Globe Motley

6. Globe Motley
With a low-cut upper made of suede and perfect side detailing, this shoe makes the top ten easily. This casual shoe shows a simple design but looking past what the eye can see are some pretty valuable features for what makes a good skate shoe.
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Style
One of the most noticeable things about this shoe is its strong suede. That feature gives it the ability to be worn anywhere. It also has a slim build to it, unlike the Osiris NYC83, if you prefer a slimmer shoe. With its classic looks and style you will never go unnoticed.

Comfort
This shoe is pretty basic when it comes to comfort. One of two features it has is breathable, slip resistant lining and the other great feature is the seamless toe area.

Cost and Value
This shoe also runs for about $70 but you search around and find it cheaper.
Pros

Classic

High quality material

Slip resistant lining.

Metal eyelets

Quality stitching

Cons

Limited support

Basic comfort

7. Circa AL50

7. Circa AL50
The Circa AL50 made its way onto the the list with its many tiny details. The whole overlook of the shoe has a special mark everywhere you look and with a typical style of a skate shoe. You’ll have plenty of room with support inside and out.
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Style
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.

Comfort
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 maximise flexibility.

Cost and Value
This shoe is sold for $40 online. That’s a very good deal for the comfort that comes with it. There’s not much more that i can say in regards of what a steal this shoe is.
Pros

Durable

Superior padding

Lightweight

Great price

Cons

May not come in all sizes

Stitching locations can be unsightly

8. Supra Stacks Vulc II

8. Supra Stacks Vulc II
The Supra Stacks Vulc II is a slim, low-top skate shoe. It’s lightweight and sleek, with moderate arch support and overall it’s a great looking shoe. It has a casual style so it is yet another shoe you can wear literally anywhere you want. One feature includes an upper of canvas and suede.
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Style
You will want to show this shoe off with its casual look and feel. The Supra Stacks Vulc II will have you Skating the city by day and then sitting down in a formal restaurant by night. This is the casual, formal and professional shoe all-in-one. Another feature is the Supra logo on the side for authenticity.

Comfort
Having a Suprafoam midsole provides the entire foot with superior impact resistance. It features padded mesh lining and a classic vulcanized construction for increased traction and boardfeel. Finally, it has a 75% rate of arch support.

Cost and Value
This shoe can cost about $65 online. With all the carefully thought out comfort support i would agree with that price. There are 35 different styles and colors for the same price.
Pros

Arch support

Impact resistant

Valued price

Casual look

Simple design

Cons

Sides may not be supported

9. Fallen D.O.A.

9. Fallen D.O.A.
The DOA is accommodating of both wide and narrow feet, and provides all the ankle support you’d expect from a midtop shoe. It’s very structured and promotes stability. This shoe can handle some kicks and punches.
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Style
The DOA has a modern street style. It’s very durable and can be most reliable. The embroidered Fallen logo on the side gives it an authentic look and can bring some compliments. This shoe is available in six different colors and the slim, mid-top suede upper which can be cut into different heights for a truly customizable look.

Comfort
The DOA has a seamless one-piece toe construction for durability. It features lace closure for a snug fit. It has an impact foam insole for cushioning. This shoe can fit wide or narrow feet so it truly is a comfortable shoe.

Cost and Value
The DOA can run you about $40 online and that is totally worth it for this long-lasting shoe.
Pros

Lace closure feature

Impact resistance

Various sizes available

Max Comfort

Valued price

Cons

Heavyweight

10. Lakai Griffin

10. Lakai Griffin
The Lakai Griffin is your ordinary street skate shoe. It features some pretty cool designs and materials but only meets to your basic needs when buying them to pop tricks. This simple shoe has many different designs, layouts and colors to choose from.
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Style
These low-profile skate shoes are pretty specific in style. It’s your basic street shoe, not much else than that. The different style you can choose from is really awesome but most of them are basic colors. This shoe can't hold to a statement but you can wear them on-and-off the street.

Comfort
Again, this is your ordinary skate shoe. Some key aspects for maximum comfort are; a hidden midsole for shock absorption and a lightly padded collar and tongue. Unfortunately, this shoe does not have much arch support.

Cost and Value
You can get this kick for a whopping $60. With little support and not much of an outspoken style I would say that $60 is right on point for the value of a simple street shoe.
Pros

Simple style

Slim look

Padding for support

Lightweight

Valued price

Cons

No arch support

Narrow design

 

How to find the Best Shoes for Skateboarding

We know how easy it is to overlook all of the most important characteristics and how time-consuming it can be to do the proper research.  You don’t need to as we’ve compiled the very best and top rated skate shoes of 2017, according to wear-tester feedback and specific metrics. Each shoe has been researched and compared in many critical aspects, with the user, the skater, in mind.

Best-Skate-Shoes-women-skater-riding-on-pavement

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? Will it be Nike’s SBs, Osiris’s NYC83s or the simple Fallen DOA? Whatever you choose, you’ll know that your special kicks will provide the performance needed out there.

 

Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Skate Shoes

 

Durability

One would usually think skate shoe builds are just like any other casual shoe. Well, believe it or not, skating shoes should be made of specific materials. 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.

Best-Skate-Shoes-standing-on-skateboard-about-to-drop-in

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 is 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.

Best-Skate-Shoes-traction-on-board

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 movement 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.

 

Skating Outsole

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.

Best-Skate-Shoes-traction-on-board-and-pavement

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 skating particular 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.

 

Stability

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.

Best-Skate-Shoes-skater-balancing-on-skateboard

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 with stability currency. 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.

 

Upper Build

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 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.

Best-Skate-Shoes-skater-sitting-on-skateboard-showing-upper-part-of-skateboarding-shoes

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 uncomfortabilities 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.

Best-Skate-Shoes-skater-doing-an-ollie-in-a-skate-park

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.

 

FAQ

Q: How long does a pair of skate shoes usually last?
A: As long as they’re not directly damaged, they should last fairly over a year.

Q: Where to buy skate shoes?
A: For internet sales platform, we recommend Amazon. Return policies and sales make internet shopping much easier. You can also shop at retail stores to try the shoes.

Q: Are bulky skaters better than flat ones?
A: The only difference between them are 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.

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 it. 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.

Q: Should I tie the laces on 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.

Sources

  1. Wikipedia, Skate Shoe, Wiki Article,
  2. PodiatryToday, The Impact of Midsoles and Insoles, Blog Publication, Jun 11, 2010
  3. Figure Skating Advice, Anatomy of Skating Shoes, Blog Publication, Oct 09, 2012
  4. ThoughtCo, What Makes Skating Shoes Good?, Sports Article, Sep 30, 2016
  5. TheRideChannel, Things You Didn't Know About Skating Shoes, Featured Article, Mar 30, 2015