Best Skateboarding Shoes

Back in the days, skateboarders around the world were pretty much alone in their struggle with proper fields to practice on and proper media coverage. They were pretty much outlawed by the society who thought that what they were doing should not be considered a sport. However, all of that has changed and skateboarders today have a full support to start their training in order to become the best. Great skateboarders, such as Tony Hawk, helped to attract the public’s attention for this sport with their sportsmanship and insane skills.

In order to become famous like Tony Hawk one needs to check multiple items on our list. After natural talent, one needs to be perseverant and absolutely focused on learning new things and becoming the best at old ones. Not everyone is able to invest a lot of time in their hobby and that is what makes the difference between casual and hardcore skateboarders. On the other hand, proper equipment also comes into play since you have to expect to get injured a lot. Most importantly, having proper shoes on your feet might even save your life after performing a trick unsuccessfully. Let’s take a look at some advice on buying the best skateboarding shoes.

Buying Guide

ImageModel NameUpper/SolePriceOur Rating
Nike SB Koston 3 Hyperfeel
Nike SB Koston 3 Hyperfeel

Synthetic textile/Rubber

$$$

10/10
Nike Dunk Low Pro IW
Nike Dunk Low Pro IW

Suede/Rubber

$$

10/10
Vans Unisex Sk8-Hi Reissue (50Th)
Vans Unisex Sk8

Leather/Rubber

$$

10/10
DC Men's Evan Smith
DC Evan Smith HI

Textile/Rubber

$$

9/10
Adidas Men's Matchcourt Mid X Welcome
Adidas Matchcourt Mid X

Suede/Rubber

$$

9/10
New Balance Brighton 344
New Balance Brighton 344

Suede/Rubber

$$

9/10
Etnies Marana
Etnies Marana

Leather/Synthetic

$$

9/10
Converse KA-II
Converse KA II

Suede/Rubber

$$

8/10
Huf Galaxy
Huf Galaxy

Suede/Rubber

$$

8/10
Emerica Hsu 2 Low
Emerica Hsu 2 Low

Leather/Synthetic

$$

8/10

Two Types of Skate Shoes

Essentially, there are two types of skateboarding shoes: cupsoles and vulcanized. Each of these types is adjusted to enhance your performance when undertaking a specific type of tricks. Cupsoles provide heavy defense in order to protect the wearer from aerial tricks. Aerials are performed when all four wheels of the skateboard are off of the ground. Cupsoles usually have more cushioning and their sole is thicker in order to absorb the impact of your fall.

On the other hand, vulcanized shoes are slimmer and they sort of resemble casual shoes. They tend to be thinner, more lightweight and more flexible since they need to offer more balance and control when performing tricks like slides or grinds. Slides are performed by sliding the underside of the nose or tail of your board against the ledge whereas grinds are performed by scraping axles of the skate off some surface.

In order to choose your skate shoes in the best manner possible, you firstly need to know what kind of tricks are you going to perform the most. If you are looking to perform aerial tricks, stay aware of the fact that you need to protect your feet from fall damage and you should buy cupsoles. You can still use vulcanized shoes to perform tricks, but expect your feet to be sore.

Cushioning

Cushioning will probably play the main role in your feet protection since it is the only thing separating them from the cold, hard ground. There are different technologies used to protect your feet from impact and you might want to try different kinds before making your final judgment. For instance, most skate shoes have a midsole which is manufactured from soft and lightweight EVA foam. EVA foam serves to provide comfort and durability for the wearer to make feel extra confident when landing a killer trick.

Some other midsoles are made from polyurethane which is a synthetic material which is well-known for its great durability. Shoes with PU implemented in their midsole are sure to last for a long time. Vulcanized shoe are generally less protective than cupsoles so they sometimes tend to make up for it by adding an extra layer of cushioning at the heels in order to compensate for their thinner soles. Additionally, some skate shoes even arrive with a heel collar which serves to provide extra stability around the heel and to make sure your shoe does not slip off during your skateboarding.

Durability

If you consider skateboarding to be your hobby than you probably don’t want to waste money on it. To put it in other words, you want your every dollar to pay off when you start purchasing your equipment. Skateboarding shoes are not cheap not they are too expensive. They sort of resemble casual shoes but they tend to be more expensive. If you want to make sure your skateboarding shoes are a long-term investment, you need to find a durable pair.

Some skate shoes have lace guards which prevent your laces from wearing off or even separating from your shoes, which is actually a common occurrence. Other skateboarding shoes have double or even triple layers of material in order to prevent wear and tear since they will often make contact with different surfaces. Stitching is also doubled or tripled to keep your shoe in one piece. The outsole is probably the most important part of your shoe since it is the contact point between you and the board. Your optimal choice should be a flat outsole made out of gum rubber. Gum rubber is the best option because it has a better grip and it’s far more durable than other types of rubber.

Choose the Best Brands

If you want to experience the best from the skateboarding world, you should not stick with one brand simply because someone told they are the best. You should always be open to new things and new experiences. However, there is a list of verified, high-quality brands who have been manufacturing skateboarding shoes for decades now. Experience is what counts and these companies hire teams of skateboarders, professional and amateurs, in order to find out what an average skater wants to find in his shoe.

The list includes many names and it’s advisable to stick to those names if you don’t want to end up injured simply because you experimented and purchased a pair of shoes not recommended for this sport. These brands are a bit pricier than some cheap, unbranded shoes you considered using because you wanted to save some money on your hobby. However, it is better to pay an average amount of money and stay safe for a long time, than to save some money first and then tear up your shoes or even injure yourself.
These brands include: Emerica, Fallen, Dekline, Circa, Duffs, Etnies, Vans, Adio, Globe, DC, Nike, Lakai, and DVS.

Nike Dunk Low Pro Ishod Wair

Nike Dunk Low Pro Ishod Wair

With Nike Dunk being one of the most famous sneakers ever, it was only a matter of time before Nike announced collaboration with SB. The result is pretty good, we must say. They have been named by the 2013 Skater of the Year award winner, Ishod Wair. Even though he is outstanding at what he does, it’s always an honor to have your name on a shoe model. The predominant material in the design is suede, and the sole is made of rubber. These shoes also feature a Nike Zoom unit in the heel in order to provide extra cushioning. Midsole features EVA foam which makes them lightweight and comfortable.

Pros:

  • Overall durability can be described as pretty good, considering the fact that the toe caps are not in one piece, but rather there are seams holding it together.

  • The sole has been proved to be extra durable since no signs of slick appear even after a while.

  • Nike Zoom unit provides comfort in the heel area which is what makes them so comfortable and lightweight.

Cons:

  • The grip is not that great, considering the fact that the sole is not flexible enough to mold in order for you to feel the board.

  • They are slimmed down and narrowed when comparing them to other Nike SB shoes.

Vans Unisex Sk8-Hi Reissue (50Th)

Vans Unisex Sk8-Hi Reissue (50Th)

It was the 50th anniversary of one of the most iconic Vans shoes on the market and it was time to show them to the world once more. The shoe is made from a mix of different materials such as suede, leather, and canvas. This enables them to pack a stylish design which looks fresh and special. Single-wrap foxing tape enables lightweight flexibility whereas DURACAP rubber serves to reinforce underlays in areas which experience the most wear.

Pros:

  • These shoes most definitely pack that ‘80s nostalgia with their design and creative color waves.

  • They are very durable and the sole is able to sustain a large amount of wear before developing slick spots.

  • It’s great to see leather used in the upper every once in a while when it comes to skate shoes.

Cons:

  • This pair of shoes does not exactly run true to size and you might want to grab a pair that is somewhat larger than your ordinary size.

  • They go deep above your ankles which means your overall board control might be somewhat decreased.

DC Evan Smith HI

DC Evan Smith HI

These skate shoes were revealed in January 2016, and many different color waves were announced since. The toe cap has been kept round, similar to most other skate shoes. It is kept round since it increases the shoe’s durability and it can make it last more than usual. The collar is well-padded and its stiching provide a unique design. If you like your skate shoes with a lot of ankle support, these are the perfect choice. Impact-I sole offers tiny cone shape cut-outs which enable the rubber to expand and lighten up the sole.

Pros:

  • These shoes are a little wider than other models, so they are a good choice for people with wide feet or people who simply like a little extra room for their feet.

  • Empty space in the sole will eventually fill up and lighten up the sole, which is always the hardest part of a skate shoe.

  • The entire shoe is made from textile and synthetic materials and no animals were harmed in the process.

Cons:

  • They need some extra time in order to break in properly.

  • The metal eyelet will eventually shred your laces, so be sure to find something to protect them.

Adidas Men’s Matchcourt Mid X Welcome

Adidas Men's Matchcourt Mid X Welcome

Another collaboration on our list and this time it is between adidas and Welcome Skateboards. The end product really looks amazing with both adidas and Welcome logos featured on this exceptional shoe. The upper part consists of suede which really looks elegant. These shoes feature a long-lasting double wrapped vulcanized construction. The outsole is made of rubber and it provides a precise board feel and great traction.

Pros:

  • An excellent, stylish design which is pretty much different than anything else on the market.

  • They run true to size so feel free to order your regular size.

  • The three stripers are leather which makes a great contrast against the suede.

Cons:

  • You might have a hard time breaking them in.

  • They are not as comfortable as other skate shoes on the market.

New Balance Brighton 344

New Balance Brighton 344

This is yet another product from a healthy partnership between New Balance and Black Box. It has started five years ago and it has certainly had its ups and downs. Let’s focus on Marquise Henry’s signature colorway for the Brighton 344 which certainly stands out from the series. It features a rubber toe screen which does what it supposed to; and that is to provide extra durability. The product runs true to size and it also showcases almost a one-piece toecap made from Ndure synthetic material which a patent of New Balance Numeric.

Pros:

  • NDure material is both flexible and stable which added to the shoe’s durability.

  • The outsole is made of NDurance, which is a rubber compound which ensures maximum lifespan.

  • There are many layers of synthetic materials in the cushioning which showcases great design and engineering.

  • The shoe itself is very flexible and cushioning opts for great boardfeel.

Cons:

  • More work could have been invested in comfort since it is one of the main aspects of skateboarding.

  • The tongue is places very low and it is hard so it can damage your feet.

Etnies Marana

Etnies Marana

The hype was real when it comes to Etnies Marana shoes and it actually forced manufacturers into releasing it quite early. This already means that something is special about them. It was actually given the nickname of “most durable shoe I ever skated” by Ryan Scheckler who actually introduced them. This item also runs true to size. The first thing you will probably notice about these shoes is the toecap. The material used is soft and it sort of resembles plastic. It may sound weird but it performs very well and gets the job done.

Pros:

  • After a couple hours of skating, the sole looks almost untouched which proves the shoe’s durability.

  • The cushioning is great and it features many midsole levels such as “STI Evolution Foam” and “Pro 1” PU insole.

  • They run a little wide, which is great news for people with wide feet who struggle to find proper footwear.

  • They focus mostly on comfort and durability.

Cons:

  • The thickness and isolation of the midsole results in poor boardfeel and it takes time for it to increase.

  • The heel-lock is sort of weak and this model required strong tying in order to keep it from slipping off.

Converse KA II

Converse KA II

The initials KA come from Kenny Anderson who wanted to improve the first model which was a bit thin for his taste. This means that more focus has been placed on having a solid and strong midsole without forgetting about flexibility. Converse KA II feature the Lunarlon insole which Nike uses for its running shoes and they implemented it in this model of Converse shoes, as its owner. Length runs true to size but these shoes may feel a bit slim so consider ordering a half size up if you have wide feet.

Pros:

  • They are hard to rip apart or tear since the cupper consists of a single peace.

  • The suede used for the upper feels strong.

  • When it comes to cushioning, the front is kept thinner whereas the heel area is more padded.

  • It molds well to your feet and the tongue represents no obstruction whatsoever.

Cons:

  • As is the case with most cupsole shoes, the boardfeel is a bit sturdy in the beginning and it takes time for the midsole to soften.

  • Since the inner and heel area are kept soft and comfortable, it can lead to problems with stability.

Huf Galaxy

Huf Galaxy

The brand HUF grows exponentially from year to year and they have already made a name out of themselves as a major, professional skateboard equipment manufacturing company. HUF Galaxy was released in 2014 and they offer a minimalistic yet beautiful design. The standard chart size can be applied to this model as they run true to size. The toecap is made from a single piece of suede and it seems to hold pretty well. The letter “H“ is perforated and it’s definitely something original on the market.

Pros:

  • The suede used in the upper is premium quality and it shows no sign of tear even after a couple of hours of testing.

  • They are very stylish which is very important for casual and pro skaters alike. Everyone wants to life good while doing what they do best.

  • The balance between proper cushioning and good boardfeel is pretty much achieved with this model.

Cons:

  • The bottom of the sole does not provide a long lifetime and it shows some signs of tear after a while.

  • The cushioning is rather average and they are certainly not the most comfortable shoes on the market.

Emerica Hsu 2 Low

Emerica Hsu 2 Low

These shoes have been releases in 2011 which makes them the oldest shoes on our list. This is the second model from Emerica designers and Jerry Hsu and they did not change anything significant but they tried to improve it. They feature an iconic design which does not need any change. The first thing you will notice is the durability of these shoes. However there are some flaws that will appear over time and we will break it down to you.

Pros:

  • There is no specific technology in the cushioning but it is able to absorb the impact from hard landings and it will protect your feet.

  • The look can be altered by tightening or loosening the shoes by switching between a wide and slim and streamlined look.

  • The boardfeel is really something since the foot sits close to the ground, especially in the front where the PU foam is thinner.

Cons:

  • Some parts on the front have been completely worn down which significantly reduces the lifespan of the shoe model.

  • The design is rather bulky.