Best Skate Shoes

Anyone who skateboards will tell you the importance of a good pair of skate shoes. In fact, they are held in as high regard as your deck, trucks, and wheels. It’s not uncommon to roll down to the park with a new pair of shoes and hear your fellow skaters comment on your ‘new pair of kicks.’ They’re a fundamental part of your setup. And one thing’s for sure – you’re going to put those puppies through their paces. So that begs the question – what shoes do you buy? What are the best skate shoes? Do you go with Vans or Nike? What pair will give you the most longevity without sacrificing style and affordability?

Well, don’t fret, we’re here to present the 10 best skate shoes on the market today for both men and women.

Product FAQ

For those of you who are just getting into the art that is skateboarding, you may very well be feeling a little overwhelmed about the whole thing. We’ve put together some frequently asked questions just for you.

 

1. What Are Skate Shoes, and How Do They Differ from Regular Sneakers?

Skate shoes are generally manufactured by skateboard-affiliated companies with the specific intention of being used by skateboarders, such as Emerica, Supra, and Straye. Other company’s shoes were inadvertently adopted by the skateboarding community – for example, Vans, and Converse. And of course, there are manufacturers out there that weren’t traditionally affiliated with the activity, but brought skater-specific lines out that took off – like Nike, and New Balance.

But simply put, and ignoring the fashion side of things, skate shoes are shoes that are made for skateboarding.

2. What's the Importance of a Good Skate Shoe?

When you skate–whether you’re just rolling down to the liquor store or sessioning a stair set, it’s your shoes that are moving against the upper side of your board. If you pick up a pair of cheap tennis shoes from Walmart, they’re going to be worn right through in no time. It’s hard for those who don’t skate to comprehend, but when you skate, your shoes take a battering like no other activity.

Also, your feet and ankles take a beating when you skate. That’s why you want a pair of one of the best skate shoes available. If the sole of your shoe is too thin, you’ll likely end up with the ball of your foot bruised. Especially when you start throwing yourself down drops and stair sets.

3. What Qualities Make the Best Skate Shoes?

The best way to determine what makes the best skate shoes is to try a pair on. First off, they should feel extremely comfortable. When you’re on your board, you’re going to want to feel as natural as possible, and also that you have a good degree of protection for your feet. To truly progress at the activity, you’re going to need to push yourself. You’re going to need to feel secure in the knowledge that your kicks are going to function as best they can in order to truly do that.

The shoe’s innersoles should feel cushioned and slightly springy. The better the innersole, the better your feet will feel. The sole should also possess a certain degree of flexibility. Rock back and forth on the ball of your foot and see how it feels. While some shoes take a while to wear in, it’s better to go with a shoe that is good to go right off the bat. You’re also going to want to press on the sole and see how soft it is. Too soft and it’s likely going to wear through in no time.

When it comes to laces, some skate shoes have better lace protection than others. It’s not a big deal. A lot of people don’t care if their laces snap and they have to replace them. It’s a pretty minor issue, and everything in skateboarding is transitory. If you’re just starting out and haven’t learned that already, you’ll find out soon enough. Decks snap, bearings pop, trucks wear down to the axle, and shoes… Well, shoes get completely destroyed.

It’s not a matter of what pair will last forever; it’s what pair will skate best for their relatively short lifespan and give you at least some semblance of value for money. And you have to like them, of course. There’s no point in wearing a pair of shoes you detest.

 

4. Where Can You Buy the Best Skate Shoes?

You can buy a good pair of skate shoes from your local skate shop. If you don’t have a local skate shop, there’s always online skate stores or Amazon. Don’t try to cheap out and go to a department store like Walmart. When it comes to skate gear, there’s no other option than the very best.

5. How Can I Make My Skate Shoes Last Longer?

There are a couple of small tricks and tips to get a little more life out of your skate shoes. The first is to keep the pressure as light as possible when you turn the ball of your sole on your board. The ball of the sole is an area that receives significant wear when skating.

The second trick is a little invention called "Shoe Goo." You can purchase it from your local skate shop. Shoe Goo is essentially a silicone-like substance that you can use to patch holes and reinforce certain areas on your shoes. It may look a little messy, but if you’re at the stage where you need it, your shoes are going to be pretty haggard, anyway.

How We Reviewed

We can up with this list of best skate shoes through a thorough testing process (we went out and skated all day). We also took years of skateboarding experience into account.

What We Reviewed

  • VANS Sk8-Hi Unisex High-Top Skate Shoes
  • Lakai Men's Griffin Skateboarding Shoes
  • NIKE Women's SB Bruin Hi Skate Shoes
  • adidas Men's Seeley Skate Shoes
  • DC Lilac Trase TX Women's Low-Top Shoes
  • Etnies Jameson 2 Eco Skate Shoes
  • DC Men's Court Graffik Skate Shoes
  • DC Women's Evan Hi Zero Se Skate Shoes
  • Vans Unisex Old Skool Classic Skate Shoes
  • Converse Star Player Ox Unisex Shoes

VANS Sk8-Hi Unisex High-Top Skate Shoes

Features

Vans are an absolute classic and have been since 1966. The Sk8-Hi is a solid high-top skate shoe with a definite ‘80s vibe – especially when paired with tight skin-tight black jeans or brightly-colored shorts.

The Sk8-Hi features Van’s iconic waffle-grip rubber sole, padded high-top for ankle protection, and vulcanized construction.

Pros

  • Great ankle protection
  • Classic waffle-grip for flexibility
  • Timeless style

 

Cons

  • High-top can feel restricting for certain tricks
  • Can't slip them on or off quickly
  • Popularity has kept their price relatively high

Where to Buy

https://www.amazon.com/Vans-VD5INVY-Unisex-SK8-Hi-Canvas/dp/B001AISHWY/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1543780289&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=Vans+Sk8-Hi&psc=1

Durability

Vans have a pretty reasonable lifespan. Their soles take a good while to wear through, and the canvas used is of a high quality. We highly recommend them.

Lakai Men's Griffin Skateboarding Shoes

Features

Lakai makes some high-end skate shoes, and the Griffin is one of them. Definitely one of the best skate shoes on the market, Lakais are flawlessly-constructed and long-lasting. The Griffin is made from genuine leather and textile, features a rubber sole, and has great board feel.

Pros

  • Durable.
  • Great board feel
  • Sharp looking

 

Cons

  • Not the cheapest skate shoe on the market
  • Takes a while to break in
  • Sizes can be a little off

Where to Buy

https://www.amazon.com/Lakai-Mens-Griffin-Skateboarding-Textile/dp/B01ISADGJK?tag=thrill-appeal-20

Durability

Lakai shoes are extremely durable. They may take a while to break in, but you’ll get a great life out of them.

 

NIKE Women's SB Bruin Hi Skate Shoes

Features

There was a lot of dissension when Nike broke into the skateboard world a decade or so back. But, like it or not, the major corporation is here to stay. The Bruin feels like more of a fashion shoe than a skate shoe, but it definitely does its job.

Pros

  • Fashionable brand
  • Lightweight
  • Good ankle support

 

Cons

  • Kind of weird looking
  • Expensive
  • Lack of ollie-protection

Where to Buy

https://www.amazon.com/NIKE-Womens-Bruin-Black-White/dp/B075VJVW6B/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1543780601&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=Nike+Women%E2%80%99s+SB+Bruin+High+Skate+Shoes

Durability

The Bruin isn’t the most durable shoe on our list of best skate shoes, but they will last for a reasonable length of time.

Adidas Men's Seeley Skate Shoes

Features

ADIDAS was another large corporation that was met with dissension when breaking into the skateboarding community. However, they have remained relatively understated since then and managed to gain a good level of credibility. Their Seeley is an extremely well-designed skate shoe. They look smart, feature a vulcanized rubber sole, and they are lightly-padded around the ankle area.

Pros

  • Look sharp
  • Great board feel
  • Soles feature pivots on the ball

 

Cons

  • Not the cheapest shoe on the market
  • Can squeak on certain surfaces
  • Rub a little on the Achilles

Where to Buy

https://www.amazon.com/adidas-Originals-Seeley-Skate-Black/dp/B0106J6FMG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1543781304&sr=8-1&keywords=adidas+Men%27s+Seeley+Skate+Shoes

Durability

The ADIDAS Seeley is a well-designed and durable shoe. The pivot found on the sole lessens friction when turning your foot on the board, working with natural wear.

 

DC Lilac Trase TX Women's Low-Top Shoes

Features

DC Shoe Co. has been around for a good while now, and while the quality of their shoes is somewhat disparate, they do bring out some killer models. Skateboarding has seen an increased interest from the fairer sex in recent years, and DC’s Trase is a great choice for women who are just getting into the activity. The shoe features a mesh inner—which is great for the heat that your feet generate while skating—and a sole design similar to Van’s waffle-grip.

Pros

  • Cute color
  • Mesh inner
  • Great price

 

Cons

  • Not much protection
  • Don't age well
  • Material gets holes relatively easily

Where to Buy

https://www.amazon.com/DC-Trase-Shoes-Women-Lilac/dp/B077RZ1CWY/ref=sr_1_4_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1543780380&sr=8-4-spons&keywords=DC+Trase+TX&psc=1

Durability

The Trase isn’t the most durable item on our list of best skate shoes. The canvas develops holes pretty fast, and they are pretty unforgiving.

 

Etnies Jameson 2 Eco Skate Shoes

Features

Etnies is a company that has been around since the early ‘90s. They make shoes that are pretty classic in style and that skate well. They are generally a great price too. The Jameson 2 is an environmentally conscious skate shoe which is made partially from recycled materials. It’s a classic-style skate shoe.

Pros

  • Classic in style
  • Eco-friendly
  • Strong canvas upper

 

Cons

  • Sole has poor flexibility
  • Runs small in size
  • A little narrow

Where to Buy

https://www.amazon.com/Etnies-Jameson-Skate-Bronze-Medium/dp/B01IDY73G8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1543780394&sr=8-1&keywords=Etnies+Jameson+2+Eco

Durability

The Jameson 2 is pretty darn durable. The sole is a little stiff at first but will last.

 

DC Men's Court Graffik Skate Shoes

Features

Rather dated and definitely a little ugly, what the Court Graffik loses in aesthetics it makes up for in comfort and durability. Constructed from extremely well-padded leather and featuring breathing holes, the Court Graffik is a reliable skate shoe.

Pros

  • Well-made
  • Well-padded
  • Breathable

 

Cons

  • A little heavy
  • Ugly
  • Dated style

Where to Buy

https://www.amazon.com/DC-Court-Graffik-Shoes-300529/dp/B073VYXBQD/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1543780290&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=DC+Graffik&psc=1

Durability

The DC Court Graffik is extremely durable. You’ll be wearing these for a very decent amount of time. Whether that’s a good thing…

 

DC Women's Evan Hi Zero Se Skate Shoes

Features

These shoes are badass. And they skate really well. DC has really outdone themselves here. The Evan Hi features a protected toe cap, are made from suede and provide ankle support while still being flexible. If you’re a young lady who’s looking for a pair of skate shoes, you won’t do much better than this model. They’re sexy (pink cheetah print!), stylish, and great for skateboarding.

Pros

  • Hella style
  • Actually designed with skateboarding in mind
  • Protective toe cap

 

Cons

  • Price can vary with size
  • Not fast to take on or off

 

Where to Buy

https://www.amazon.com/DC-Womens-Skate-Black-Medium/dp/B077V3TFML/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1543780910&sr=8-4-fkmr0&keywords=dc%2Bevan%2Bhi%2Bvise%2Bhigh-top%2Bshoes&th=1

Durability

These shoes are very durable and have been designed with skateboarding in mind.

 

Vans Unisex Old Skool Classic Skate Shoes

Features

An absolute classic. And they skate like a dream. They’re well-padded without being bulky, they look killer, and they're durable.

Pros

  • Classic style
  • Skate amazingly well
  • Well-made

 

Cons

  • Expensive due to being in vogue 

Where to Buy

https://www.amazon.com/Vans-Unisex-Skool-Skate-Shoe-Black/dp/B07D7QM94J?tag=nichershoes-20&th=1

Durability

Very durable shoe.

 

Converse Star Player Ox Unisex Shoes

Features

Converse, like Vans, are absolute classics that have been around for a long, long time. The Converse Star Player Ox is like a cross between their One Star and Chuck Taylor shoes. And it’s made of leather. Not sold yet? They’re only $55–if that doesn’t get you out, we give up.

Pros

  • Genuine leather
  • Great price
  • Very stylish

 

Cons

  • Sole wears a little fast
  • Not the most well-padded shoe

Where to Buy

https://www.amazon.com/Converse-Mens-Player-Trainers-Black/dp/B0788BMSMJ/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1543780769&sr=8-7&keywords=Converse+Star+Player+Shoes

Durability

Cons generally get ollie holes pretty fast, but since these are made from leather, that problem isn’t a problem anymore.

 

The Verdict

We’re going to keep this simple. For guys: go with the Converse Star Player. We would have said Vans Old Skool, but they’re way too expensive right now. For the ladies: you won’t do much better than the DC Evan Hi Zero. We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of the best skate shoes. Now go skate!

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