Tops the chart in almost every category, including comfort and support. Offers extra reinforcements including additional toe protection and a heavily padded tongue.
While these shoes can be a bit tight and stiff at first, they generally soften up and stretch out over time.
An ideal choice for skaters seeking ample support thanks to a plastic rubber Ollie reinforcement and a durable rubber heel stabilizer.
The tongue is not adjustable which can take some getting used to.
Stands out for its high-quality canvas uppers which hold up well over time. The simple yet classic design is a favorite among the skater community.
For those with very sensitive skin, the back of the shoe can cause blisters.
Offers traditional looks that appeal to skateboarders, thanks to the classic 3-stripe design. Low-profile construction flexes with movement, and feels comfortable during extended wear.
Sizes run narrow. Most wearers will experience a break-in period. Some reports of torn seams with typical wear.
An easy-to-wear shoe by a top name in skate shoes – simply slip them on and go. Fit is comfortable and secure. Attractive style is versatile for skateboarding and casual wear. Available in many color options.
Material has the tendency to separate from soles. Finding the proper size can be challenging. Some authenticity concerns, but many more happy customers.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.