Best Skate Shoes

Updated March 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
Bottom Line
Pros
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

52 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
292 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

Shopping guide for best skate shoes

Last Updated March 2019

Whether you’re attempting to do a rail slide or a kickflip, there’s no doubt that skateboarding is hard on your sneakers. Primarily, skate shoes are made to withstand rough treatment while also supporting skaters’ feet. But thanks to their fashionable design, padded comfort, and association with California cool, skate shoes are also a hit with those who have never even touched a board.

If you’re looking for functionality, though, you’ll want to consider the shoe’s material, the type of sole (cupsole or vulcanized), reinforcement of laces, seam and stitching reinforcement, and, of course, comfort. For those who care especially about ankle support, high or mid-profile shoes may be your best bet.

Regardless of how you use them, skate shoes will enhance your wardrobe and allow you to get around in style. Keep reading to learn more about the best skate shoes. If you’re ready to buy, take a look at some of the pairs we recommend.

To prevent slipping, skaters use grip tape on their boards. But be careful of the type you buy. Some grip tape can be very abrasive and quickly wear out your skate shoes.

Key considerations


Material

  • Suede is a popular material for skate shoes, because it’s tough and can withstand a beating. Soft and stretchy, suede also helps with breathability and fit and is typically added to heavily stressed areas.
  • Leather gives your skate shoes a more polished look, so you can dress them up or down. This is a good choice if you’re interested in the aesthetics of skate shoes more than the function. But if you’re skating, leather shoes scuff quickly.
  • Canvas shoes are a solid, vegan-friendly choice. Additionally, canvas shoes are lightweight, and the natural fibers create a more breathable shoe, too. For serious skaters, however, canvas may not last very long.


Cupsole vs. vulcanized sole

With a vulcanized sole, the rubber gets heated at a very high temperature, then is quickly pressed into the shoe. This means that vulcanized soles are softer and more pliable. They also permit the wearer to feel the board better. The downside is that vulcanized soles are more prone to damage. They’ll do for a casual skate shoe wearer or a skater who performs simpler tricks.

Cupsoles are stitched and/or glued to the shoe. Cupsoles are more durable and provide a thicker barrier between shoe and skateboard. Since the soles aren’t immediately fixed to the shoe, like vulcanized soles are, this means that cupsoles have room for additional padding and arch support. The big con is, your feet won’t feel the skateboard as well. However, cupsoles are still the way to go if you’re doing extreme tricks.


​​​​​​​Profile

Low-tops: By far the most common, especially among casual skate shoe wearers, these tend to be lightweight. While you lose out on ankle padding as a skater, you can find a variety of low-top shoes that come with adequate insole support.

Mid-tops: These shoes usually stop just below the ankle and offer a higher degree of ankle support than low-cut, while remaining breathable.

High-tops: Offering the best ankle support and ankle padding of the bunch, these are also great for winter weather, but aren’t as breathable for your feet. 

CAUTION

For skateboarders, too much padding can impact how well your feet can feel the skateboard. Aim for a happy medium.

Features


Padding

Skateboarding puts stress on feet, ankles, and other joints, so a sufficiently cushioned skate shoe shouldn’t be overlooked — especially for anyone performing challenging tricks. Usually a skate shoe’s tongue, heel, and interior sides are padded.

Lace Reinforcement

Because skateboarding is so rough on shoes, laces are also likely to break. Keep an eye out for skate shoes with metal eyelets or a flap that covers the lower lace holes. A wax or leather shoelace will last the longest. Of course, you can sidestep the whole lace issue altogether by purchasing shoes with Velcro closures.

Weight

A lightweight shoe is important. Decent skate shoes shouldn’t drag skaters down as they ride or do tricks. If you’re using your skate shoes for function more than fashion, however, you don’t want them to be so light that they damage easily.

DID YOU KNOW?

For heavier skate tricks, suede shoes will last longer. Canvas shoes are better for casual walking or easy cruising on your board.

Skate shoe prices

Inexpensive: On the cheaper side of things, $50 will purchase shoes with adequate comfort, light padding, and usually a simpler design.

Mid-range: For $60 to $70 dollars, you can find shoes with features such as mesh for breathability. Most popular brands of skate shoes fall within this price range, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a pair that’s both comfortable and functional.

Expensive: With skate shoes that are $70 and up, you tend to pay for style. Leather shoes can also be on the pricier side.

Tips

  • With their insulation, good grip, and ankle support, high-top skate shoes can serve as excellent winter shoes.
  • You can extend your shoe’s lifespan by letting them air out after every use — especially during the summer months. To keep them extra fresh, see our recommendations for best shoe deodorizers.
  • The tag on the back of the shoe’s tongue will usually provide cleaning directions — be sure to follow them.
  • Skate shoes typically work just as well for longboarding, too.
EXPERT TIP

Want to avoid closures completely? Consider slip-on skate shoes. Their lack of laces is a sophisticated style, and they can be dressed up or down.


Staff  | BestReviews

Other products we considered

The Adidas Men’s Seeley Skate Shoe comes in several colors and is comfortable right out the box. Many buyers say that no break-in time is needed and that the material won’t rip easily. However, some say the shoes are too soft to withstand lots of contact with the board’s grip tape. Their understated, classic style will work for many different settings. Vans’ Sk8-Hi Unisex High-Tops are equally versatile, with neat white stitching on black canvas. This classic vintage shoe will keep your feet toasty on rainy days and in the colder months. The high-top design makes quite the statement — you’ll be the coolest one on block with these.

If you want to reinforce your shoes, avoid hot glue, which can cause a chemical reaction that will damage shoes. Shoe Goo is an easy fix for patching holes.

FAQ

Q. Are skate shoes good for walking long distances?
A.
While skate shoes are padded and relatively comfortable, keep in mind that they are made for skating, not walking. If you do plan on doing lots of walking in them, specifically search for skate shoes that have sufficient arch support.

Q. Do I really need skate shoes to skate?
A.
No, but they certainly can give you a better skating experience, especially if you’re doing tricks. Skate shoes are made to help your feet grip the board better and protect your joints from injury. Many also have an extra-durable exterior, so they won’t fall apart after a few ollies.

Q. How long do skate shoes last?
A.
If you’re wearing skate shoes daily and doing difficult tricks, depending on the material your shoes are made of, you may start to notice tearing within a few weeks. But with more casual use, the shoes can last as long as a few years.

Q. How do I take care of my skate shoes?
A.
If you’re using your skate shoes to skate, try to avoid wearing them in muddy or wet conditions. Excessive moisture, combined with rough use, will shorten the shoe’s lifespan. Also, wearing socks with your shoes will keep the insides from getting too damp.

The team that worked on this review
  • Angela
    Angela
    Editor
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Jess
    Jess
    Researcher
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Ola
    Ola
    Writer

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