How to Pick the Best Skateboarding Shoes

Skateboarding is gaining more and more popularity creating an increasing demand for snug and durable skate shoes. Vans, DC and Nike are probably the most popular brands producing high-quality skate shoes today. Everyone has heard these names at least once. However, there are other less-known but decent shoe manufacturers.

These companies are not so popular as the above-mentioned giants. But their boots have proven to be as awesome as the ones produced by the leaders of the global sports market. I am going to tell you about the best ones in this article.

PhotoProduct nameView on Amazon
1. NIKE Air Zoom SB Hyperfeel Eric Koston 3 XT Sneaker Current Model 2016 Black/Silver/OrangeView on Amazon
2. NIKE Men's SB Zoom Dunk Low Pro IW Skate ShoeView on Amazon
3. Vans Unisex Shoes SK8-Hi Slim Classic 50th Anniversary Black with Gold SneakersView on Amazon
4. DC Shoes Evan Smith Hi Zero High Top Shoes & Oxy Cleaner BundleView on Amazon
5. Adidas Campus Vulc x Alltimers Skate ShoesView on Amazon
6. HUF Cromer Skate ShoesView on Amazon
7. Etnies Jameson SC x Element TrainersView on Amazon
8. Lakai Fremont Skate ShoesView on Amazon
9. Nike Dunk High Pro SB Skateboarding ShoesView on Amazon
10. Etnies FSAS x Twitch Rockfield Skate ShoesView on Amazon
You might ask, “Why bother wasting so much time on picking shoes? Can’t I just take a whatever pair of sneakers that look nice and fit well?”

Well, not really.

Of course, if you’re an experienced skater, you must already know what shoes are best for you. They must be in line with your skating style so you can just skip this part.

But if you’re a newbie, or only trying out your new tricks, I bet you want to know how to protect your feet without losing the sense of board! What is more, I’ll tell you how to pick the most durable boots that will last long before they crush. Also, I guess that if you’re only starting to master your skateboarding skills, you wouldn’t probably want to spend a fortune on your first best skateboarding shoes, right?

Now, here are 3 main tips on how to choose your best skateboarding shoes:

Vulcanized or Cup Sole?

Well, the debate around this question never dies down, and, probably, never will, unless we humans come up with something completely different. The main advantage of the vulc sole is that it provides a more tangible board feel and is comparatively easier on your wallet.

Cup soles, on the other hand, give more support and protect your feet better, which can be crucial for performing tricks and jumping down.

Toe Cup

It’s important to consider whether you need extra protection on your toe cup. If yes, then what kind of it? Usually, toe cups for skate shoes cover only the toes’ tips and are made of rubber or strong (sometimes multilayered!) suede. If you’re prone to tricks like kickflips and ollies, and you’re using an abrasive grip tape deck – choose shoes with a suitable toe cap!

Tightness and Protection

Some people like their shoes to be loose. But before you purchase a pair of skate shoes, remember that laces, pads, mid and high tops – the features that make a shoe feel tighter – are also meant to hold and prevent your feet from harsh bruising and injuries.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to buy super-tight shoes because super-tight is not good either. A tight fit creates more pressure which can result in torn laces and holes in the toes’ area. So choose wisely!

Style

Skateboarding is not only a skill but also a way of life. So one of the most readily available ways to put yourself in a proper mindset for skating is to look good. Because if you feel calm and confident in what you wear, believe me, you’ll skate better. Yes, you will!

So now that you know what features you should consider in your shoes, I invite you to look at these super-cool sneakers down here.

Pick your best skateboarding shoes right now:

1. NIKE Air Zoom SB Hyperfeel Eric Koston 3 XT Sneaker Current Model 2016 Black/Silver/Orange

Durability90%
Reliability95%
Practicality83%
Price84%

Seeing these Nikes for the first time may give you an impression that these are the track and field shoes, but don’t let that fancy look fool you.

These shoes have been specially designed to meet all of the skateboarders’ needs and have proven to be both durable and cushy. Regardless of your skating style, these shoes will serve you well for multiple reasons.

Protection

The sock-looking ankle collar protects your ankle, keeping it in place, even though it does not look like it has a lot of cushioning. It might be a little hard to slip through at first, but in a few years it will loosen a bit, so don’t worry.

This is a cup sole shoe, so it feels snug and tight on your feet. The unique Flywire technology used in this shoe will also make these shoes last longer and provide extra support for your feet.

Durability

These shoes are covered in suede which makes them long-lasting regardless of the grip you’re using or your skating style. They are also quite easy to break in and to adjust to which means you can start enjoying your ride right from the start.

Style

These Nike skate shoes may look a bit too unusual at first, but think of it this way: if you’re a skillful skater, then these fancy shoes can become your thing. If you’re not that skillful, but want to get recognized – these will do too. Also, who cares about the sock-like top, when it’s comfy and not even visible under your pants!

Altogether, these Nikes are precisely what you need if you’re looking for a durable and practical pair of skater shoes, although the price tag is a little high.

Pros:
  • Flexible sole
Cons:
  • A bit stiff at first

 

 

2. NIKE Men’s SB Zoom Dunk Low Pro IW Skate Shoe

Durability93%
Reliability90%
Practicality88%
Price85%

Look at these beauties here! Nike Dunk shoes were initially designed for basketball, but very quickly made a name for themselves among skaters. Since then, Nike has launched a line of skate shoes (Nike SB) and these Dunks Ishod Wair – are just what you need, if you’re up to exercising some real skateboarding.

Protection

The main difference of this model compared to other Dunk models is its visibly slimmer shape. Basically, the whole shoe has been a bit slimmed down. There’s no more bulky tongue, and the toe box is narrower. Also, the collar is less padded, but it still wraps nicely around your heel.

But what is really special about these shoes is the insole. It is super-flexible and protects your feet while you’re doing the jumping tricks. It has an air zoom unit built in its heel that provides excellent cushioning and prevents heel bruises.

Durability

This model has proven to be quite durable. Thick suede makes them suitable for any kind of grip tape and skating style. It is a cup sole shoe with decent stitching that will serve you up to a month or even longer – depending on the length and tempo of your sessions.

Style

These shoes are a wonder. Durable and practical, they also have a recognizable style, so you’ll be definitely noticed. They also look amazing on the camera! So if you like those shoes – go grab them!

As you see, these boots are everything a skater needs for fun and pleasure. But as with all Nikes, this purchase might be a bit costly. However, if you need to combine quality and elegance, consider these skate shoes, and you won’t regret them.

Pros:
  • Fat tongue
  • Comfortable
  • Good design
Cons:
  • No

 

 

3. Vans Unisex Shoes SK8-Hi Slim Classic 50th Anniversary Black with Gold Sneakers

Durability96%
Reliability90%
Practicality93%
Price89%

Vans have been around for more than 50 years, and they were one of the first companies that started producing skate shoes. This black-and-gold slim beauty is just what you want if you’re looking for style, practicality and a good price. Let’s take a closer look!

Protection

As you can see, these SK8-Hi’s have a high top, which means a steady, protected ankle during the ride. Also, this ankle collar is cushioned, which gives your feet a nice and snug feel.

Secondly, these are Vans skate shoes which means you’ll get a signature waffle bottom which provides an excellent grip and will last longer than the shoe itself. Beautiful cotton laces offer a comfortable hold, and vulcanized sole will keep you in control of your skateboard.

Durability

Made out of thick rough canvass, these shoes last pretty long. But their most durable part is probably their bottoms. Although the white rubber wrapper might start wearing off a bit fast, especially where it catches the grip tape, it won’t bother you until at least a month of intense skating.

Style

These Vans skate shoes are iconic. The high top with triple stitching going all around it, the classic side stripe, the fine detailing on the upper eyelet signifying the 50th Anniversary, and the chic floral pattern will absolutely kill it at any skating site.

This is what I personally like about Vans – they offer a whole bunch of various sneakers to match any of your needs and wallets and to please even the most demanding taste. Don’t mind the price, mind the shoe.

Pros:
  • Unisex design
  • Thick sole
Cons:
  • No

 

 

4. DC Shoes Evan Smith Hi Zero High Top Shoes & Oxy Cleaner Bundle

Durability90%
Reliability94%
Practicality89%
Price88%

DC is another company whose shoes you should consider buying if you’re into technology, quality, and durability. DC has been known for their innovative inflexion vulcanized technology used to enhance impact absorption and create a firmer grip on the board. Yup, those funny-looking craters are there on purpose!

Protection

This model’s top feature is, of course, its sole, that is both flexible and provides an outstanding board control. These craters help to evenly distribute the weight.

Therefore, you can still feel your feet even after some heavy skating sessions. The high top provides extra support for your ankles. Plus, there is also a heel stabilizer and a rubber toe cap – everything to improve your skating experience.

Durability

The shoes are made of thick suede, and feature toe protection – two things that make the boots really durable. Altogether these DC skate shoes will last up to 3 weeks and still look decent.

Style

Black and white color scheme – what can be more aesthetic? Strict colors of the shoe not only contrast with each other, but with your skateboarding peers’ shoes as well. And the stitching makes the shoe look even slicker.

As you can see, these are cool skate shoes. The price tag, again, might be a bit too much, but the pair comes with a cleaner spray. So this can be a fair deal!

Pros:
  • Comfortable wear
  • Lightweight
Cons:
  • A bit tight in the toe area

 

 

5. Adidas Campus Vulc x Alltimers Skate Shoes

Durability90%
Reliability90%
Practicality82%
Price80%

Alright now, these shoes are all about style. As all of the Adidas shoes, these are a perfect blend of quality and fashion. Once on, you wouldn’t want to take them off!

Protection

These are vulc sole shoes, so you will have a fantastic board feel and control right out of the box. The snug fit of the shoe holds your feet in place during the rides.

The top line of the collar is made of soft textile which does not rub and feels pleasant on hot days. There is also a shaped articulated insole which provides shock control and helps to contact the board even better. So do and the unique suction cups on the bottom.

Durability

As the ads go, these Adidas x Alltimers skate shoes are perfect for everything. The pig-leathered toe box lasts relatively longer and does not wear out fast, and the breathable textile used for the quarters prevents your feet from overheating and sweating both of which, in fact, improve durability in the high-wear areas.

Style

These shoes are indeed good for everything. Perfectly balanced and elegantly detailed, these shoes will match any kind of outfit and will be suitable for any occasion. You will also like them if you’re feeling engulfed in a wave of the 80s nostalgia.

If this applies to you, go grab them now! If not, go grab them anyway – show the world who’s the boss of sophisticated looks here!

Pros:
  • Lightweight & cozy
  • Superb sole materials
Cons:
  • A bit pricey

 

 

6. HUF Cromer Skate Shoes

Durability94%
Reliability89%
Practicality90%
Price90%

Minimalistic design and excellent durability – these are the best qualities that define this lovely pair of Cromers. These low tops are really easy to break in and will serve you well session after session.

Protection

These boots are vulcanized which means they provide a superior board control, but you might find them a bit lacking in cushioning – that’s why I would not recommend them for beginners… Well, unless you’re sure you don’t have very delicate feet.

These shoes have a good grip, and a specially designed heel counter to keep your heel in place, so you won’t slide around. You’ll be able to maintain control of the board during the ride or exercising the tricks. Same goes for the removable insole, which provides shock control and improves your experience.

Durability

As you can see, this model has a multilayered toe cap placed over a solid suede which enables a gradual wear-off without tearing through the shoe. The eyelets sit closer to the top of the shoe which helps to distribute the tension more evenly and prolong the life of your laces.

These HUF skate shoes will last up to a month of intense skating or even longer depending on your preferable skating style and skills.

Style

Minimum seams and that beautiful toe cap make these skate shoes look slick and smart. If your motto is “clever is new sexy,” then these shoes are surely for you.

With these shoes, you don’t have to prove anything to anyone. These shoes already speak for themselves.

Pros:
  • Classic minimalistic design
  • Perfect fit
  • Lightweight & steady
Cons:
  • No

 

 

7. Etnies Jameson SC x Element Trainers

Durability89%
Reliability90%
Practicality87%
Price89%

Apart from specializing in skateboarding shoes, Etnies are also known for their charity work and eco-friendly initiatives. So if you care for nature, you absolutely need these shoes.

Protection

These cup sole shoes are created using STI Evolution Foam technology for its mid- and outsole to give you comfort and just right amount of cushioning during your sessions. This technology also makes them lighter in weight and improves the board feel.

Durability

These are pretty durable skate shoes. Soft tongue padding, tongue straps, and a firm heel counter set your feet tightly in the shoe. The one-piece toe cap means that there are fewer seams, and they lower the chances of ripping, which altogether leads to a longer life of your shoes.

Style

This low-cut model has been created in collaboration with Element. For this reason, it has a square patch on the tongue of the shoe with the companies’ names on it, the Element logo on the heel, and the Etnies flag on the side. There’s also the Etnies logo on the bottom of the shoe.

So, as you can see, these cute and classy-looking skate shoes are not as simple as they may appear at first sight.

Pros:
  • Great shoes for the price
  • Minimalistic look
  • Wide toe-box
Cons:
  • No

 

 

8. Lakai Fremont Skate Shoes

Durability94%
Reliability89%
Practicality92%
Price91%

These Lakai skate shoes have proven to be super-durable and really comfortable. These shoes look pretty slim and offer a lot of exciting features and innovations.

Protection

First, these are XLK cup sole shoes. Lakai XLK category boots differ from other ones by the sculptured sides, which reduces their weight and enhances both their durability and performance.

Also, the bottom of each boot has this wave-like tread pattern making the shoes more flexible and grippy on the board. Inside there’s a neoprene “sock” that keeps your foot ventilated and gives it a slip-on-like feel when you put these shoes on for the first time.

There are also flexible EVA sock liners inside which too provide additional stability and reduce the impact when jumping down stuff.

Durability

These shoes are incredibly durable. A one-piece suede toe is free om seams, and there is a thin layer of rubber underneath it. So when the upper suede begins to wear off, the rubber will be still protecting your feet.

This model also has two attached plastic eyelets on the top, which had been originally designed to provide extra support and lace protection. But in fact, it turned out to be the weakest spot on this otherwise everlasting skate footwear.

Style

Now, this is what I call wonder-shoes. Lightweight, durable, wisely balanced, these boots provide a perfect board control and on top of that – an impressive design. Grey, black, a tinge of white here, a bit of brown there – a great color scheme for a collected person who knows how to impress.

Pros:
  • high quality
  • Stretchable top material
  • Steady & sturdy
Cons:
  • No

 

 

9. Nike Dunk High Pro SB Skateboarding Shoes

Construction87%
Reliability85%
Security90%
Price90%

 
This is another pair of incredible Nike skate shoes. A perfect blend of quality and design from Nike, just as we know it.

Protection

Like all of the Dunk shoes, these are cup sole shoes with a high-quality suede upper. As you already know, this cop sole provides fantastic support and cushioning when you’re jumping down the stairs. It also absorbs the impact during landing. These boots are super-flexible and grippy.

The high top protects your feet and helps to hold your ankles steady in the shoe. This model also has decent padding and a mesh tongue which prevents overheating and bruises if the board catches the top your foot by chance.

Durability

Thick suede and double stitching are essential for a durable, stable shoe. And these Nikes absolutely have them. No matter what your skating style is or what the weather conditions are – these shoes will last until a month if you do intense everyday skating.

Style

The color pattern of these babes reminds me of a bumblebee or a wasp. Just look at how those saturated colors complement each other! In these skate shoes, you’ll be skating like the wind! Remember, the more you like the boots – the better you are at skating))

And the better you skate… well, who knows, maybe one day you’ll go to the Olympics. Now that skateboarding has been added to the list of the sporting event for the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, anything can happen!

Pros:
  • Wide toe-box
  • Full lace-up
  • Flexible outsole
Cons:
  • A bit tight instep

 

 

10. Etnies FSAS x Twitch Rockfield Skate Shoes

Construction95%
Reliability90%
Security85%
Price85%

These shoes are a result of Etnies, Famous Stars and Straps and Twitch collaboration, and they are the last on our list! Now, take a breath and let’s take a closer look.

Protection

These shoes are cup sole and have a decent amount of cushioning and a firm rubber bottom that provides a firm grip on a board. There is a squishy tongue and cushioning around the inside of the collar wrapping your foot snug and tight. The shoes are flexible, which is another benefit of their performance.

Durability

These boots use a clever combination of suede and textiles. There is a triple stitching on the toe box. Other seams across the shoe are double-stitched, which altogether makes the boots sturdy and long-lasting.

Style

Created in a collab, these shoes have some really insane designs! There’s a patch on the tongue (but who can you surprise it with, duh). But there are amazing twitch designs on the quarters on both sides and around the collar, and some really sassy artworks inside the shoe!

With these Rockfield skate shoes, you’ll be gorgeous.

Pros:
  • Stylish and functional
  • Durable fabric
  • Light & cozy
Cons:
  • A bit tight instep

 

 

Conclusion

Skate shoes come in all possible manners and variations. To find your personal best skateboarding shoes, you have to figure out your own skating style first. Thus, you will know what features of the boots you should consider before making a purchase.

  • Summing up all of the above, keep in mind that:
  • Vulc soles are cheap and thin and give you a better board feel.
  • Cup soles are more expensive and thicker but provide more cushioning.
  • High tops do not only look cool, but they are also suitable for those with the weak ankles.
  • Low tops give more room, but they won’t protect you from catching the board.

No matter what sole or top you choose, it’s all about comfort, safety, and joy. Skateboarding is not only a beautiful sport but also a mindset. Love what you do, enjoy your board, and, of course, like your shoes.

Nick Howdy :