The more serious you become about skating, the more you need some proper shoes - that's why we reviewed the best skate shoes. As an actual skate shop, we are uniquely positioned to see many different shoes - and can accurately tell you the best choices.
Classic skate shoes or canvas shoes will always work well, but you may want something a little bit more durable. Etnies, Converse, Vans, Dc Shoes, Lakai, Emerica, and Nike SB - all of the usual suspects will be good choices - but we really put all these skate shoes through the wringer. Side note - We do not recommend slip ons for skating unless you are boardwalk cruising.
[Check out the best Vans, for some other great skate shoes.]
10 Best Skate Shoes
Van's Low Top Trainers
- Why it's rad: We love Vans, and these low top trainers are a perfect example of why.
- Buy at Amazon
- Why it's rad: These shoes are super comfy, and have a ton of stellar reviews.
- Buy at Amazon
Adidas Daily 3.0
- Why it's rad: Adidas makes all kind of great shoes, but these are perfect for skating.
- Buy at Amazon
Here they are - in our opinion, the 10 best skateboarding shoes on the market today. Whether you want something that lasts forever, a name brand pick, a pro model from nyjah huston - or something else entirely - we've got you covered.
Vans is well-known for making quality shoes - and this is one of our favorite pairs. Low key, affordable (yet still stylish), and very functional - they are easily our top pick.
You can skate for thousands of hours with these shoes, and you still won't wear them out. They're also backed by tons of five-star reviews, so you can buy them with complete peace of mind.
A personal favorite of our staff, Etnies has always made incredible skate shoes. This is our favorite model, though truthfully they have lots of good choices, both in low top and high top options for a top skate shoe.
Many reviewers have noted that these shoes are so good, you can wear them for everyday tasks - with many saying they're even more comfortable than normal sneakers. The bottom line is that you absolutely can't go wrong with these shoes - we highly recommend them.
Adidas is well-known in the shoe world, and this skater shoe has absolutely fantastic reviews. It's also very affordable, and comes in a wide variety of colors.
We personally like the red color, but there are fantastic options besides those. Adidas never puts out bad products, and these stellar skate shoes are no exception. We also love the OG Black/White color combo on the busenitz model and Tyshawns Jones pro model.
These awesome shoes from DVS making skateboarding a breeze. We love the black on black option, but there are many different color choices available.
They're not only affordable - they're backed by a metric ton of stellar, five-star reviews. We highly recommend these shoes - even if you're not a frequent skater.
These eye-catching men’s skate shoes from DC Shoes is not only beautiful, it's very affordable. It's also backed by a slew of great reviews, so you can feel comfortable making a purchase.
Many reviewers have noted that these shoes are great for not just skateboarding - but also for just walking around in, or working in. No matter what your preference, you can feel confident buying these shoes with their great insoles and cushioning.
This awesome old skool shoe not only looks great - it's perfect for skateboarding in. We love the design, its tough outsole, and it's also backed by many great reviews.
It has a beautiful design (we're partial to the orange and blue), and the thick suede sole will make things very comfortable for you. If you love skating, and you love New Balance shoes - these are a perfect option. You can’t go wrong with the dad of skate shoes. Also check out Jamie Foys 306s!
These sleek shoes look great, but they also have tons of awesome reviews. We loved testing them, and they made all our friends jealous.
Many of the reviewers noted that these shoes do tend to run a bit large, so you may be able to choose a size that's slightly smaller. If you've never tried Globe before, try out these shoes - you won't be disappointed.
These awesome skate shoes come in numerous bright colors, and offer spectacular performance. We are partial to the black on black color, but the neon pink shoes are great too.
No matter which ones you choose, you'll love these shoes. They have tons of great reviews, so you can feel safe dropping a dime on whatever color you like best.
Emerica has been making great skate products for over two decades. These shoes are no different - they're absolutely spectacular.
They'll withstand even the toughest beatings, and make skating a pleasure. While you can go with any number of different color options, we are still partial to the black/black classic color scheme.
DC has tons of great shoes, and these casual skate shoes are no exception. They look great, perform great, and generally just make skating better.
We turned numerous heads at the skate park when we wore them, and they were even comfortable enough to wear throughout the day. We highly recommend this pair of skate shoes - no matter what skill level you have.
What Are Skate Shoes?
Skate shoes are sneakers specifically designed to make skateboarding easier. They usually have triple or double stitching - which makes them able to withstand even the toughest abuse from your board.
[See our list of the best beanies, if you want to look rad while you skate.]
Skate Shoe Durability
Skate shoes should be much more durable than your standard sneaker. They are going to see tons of abuse - from ollies, to kickflips, to heelflips, and even just regular rubbing against your grip tape.
Skate Shoe Feel
The feel of a skate shoe is very important, as it helps determine how a board feels on your feet. In fact, feel is arguably the most important factor of all, when it comes to choosing a skate shoe.
Cup soled shoes or vulcanized shoes are usually the two options most skaters prefer. The level of concave on the board will also have an impact on how each shoe feels on different boards - amongst other factors.
[See some gnarly hoodies, to complete your skate ensemble.]
Skate Shoe Style
Skate shoes haven't changed all that much, over the years. You will want lightweight, comfy shoes, that grip your board, and are well-padded.
This will allow you to take some abuse from your board, and also keep your shoes looking fresh. You will likely go through many pairs of skate shoes (even in just 12 months), so it is always worth spending more upfront, on a brand that is a little more reputable.
How Well Do Skate Shoes Grip A Board?
Skate shoes will grip a board extremely well - which is one of the key differentiators in what makes them skate shoes, instead of just regular sneakers. Cupsole or vulcanized is the main debate when it comes to skating shoe grip - and everyone seems to have their own preference.
If you are a newcomer, and you've never tried either kind - it's important to test. Try cupsole and then vulcanized - preferably on a board - and see which you like better.
[This list of the best electric skateboards will show you exactly what to ride.]
Does It Matter What Brand Of Skate Shoes You Get?
Yes and no. It definitely makes sense to not go with an unheard-of brand - but most well-known shoes won't vary that much when it comes to feel, style, and color. Just remember to lace up those laces!
That's why we stuck to well-known (and well-reviewed) brands on our list. You can comfortably make a purchase - without having to worry about your shoes falling apart, or being poorly made.
The Comfort Of Skate Shoes
Comfort is crucially important, when it comes to any type of shoe. It's doubly important when it comes to skating shoes, as you will be spending a tremendously long amount of time in the shoes themselves.
We used comfort as one of our most important ranking factors - and we think you should too. The last thing you want is to be skating in uncomfortable shoes - so make sure you feel super comfy in whatever pair you pick - you're likely to be wearing them for a long time.
[To stay safe, grab the best skateboard helmet.]
Can You Buy Lifestyle Shoes For Skateboarding?
Yes, you absolutely can buy (and use) lifestyle shoes for skateboarding. While they won't offer as specific an experience as skateboarding shoes, they'll still share many of the same characteristics.
You likely won't have quite as much traction, or as much padding - but that can be tolerable. If you're a serious skater however, we definitely recommend buying some solid skateboarding shoes - they are well worth the money.
Traction Of Skate Shoes
Traction is very important for skate shoes, as you don't want to not be able to grip your board properly. Grip tape helps - but without the right shoes, it won't really matter.
Traction is even more important for skateboarding, as it also helps with balance. You don't want to be falling off your board every time you go to do a trick - and you definitely don't want to be doing so because of your skate shoes.
[Check out the best kids skateboards, if you need a gift for your little one.]
3 Hacks To Make Your Skate Shoes Last Longer
There are a few different ways to make your skate shoes last longer. Firstly, take as much care of them as possible - if there is nothing to repair, you'll have a much easier time.
Now, assuming something has happened, there are some tips and tricks to get more use out of skate shoes. And the best news is - it doesn't cost much to perform any of these hacks.
1. Use Shoe Goo - This handy stuff will work on basically anything. Grab some here - it's extremely affordable.
If you get holes in your shoes - this stuff is a godsend. Highly recommend, and very easy to use.
2. Sand Down New Grip Tape - If you get new grip tape, you'll definitely be able to perform tricks more easily. However, you might also damage your shoes, in the process.
So if you get new grip tape, sand down the sharpest parts, to protect your shoes. Eventually though, grip tape will do quite a number on even the strongest skate shoes.
3. Put Super Glue On The Stitching - If you want your brand new skate shoes to last longer - put some super glue on the stitching. Your heels, toebox, shoelace area, sides of the shoes (where you do ollies), and the stitching around the collar are the most susceptible areas to damage.
Super glue is useful for many of things skateboard-related, so don't limit yourself to just fixing your skate shoes with it. You can also look at your old shoes - check where the holes are - and apply super glue to these areas, as sort of a guide.
Other Factors To Consider
Some of our most important factors when ranking skate shoes, were: grippy soles, impact protection, abrasion-resistant, breathability, padded collars, arch support, toe cap quality, rubber outsoles, and whether or not the shoes were made from durable materials, and could withstand everyday wear.
Durable skate shoes will hopefully also provide excellent grip, as well as lots of functionality. Impact absorption is also critical, and we liked high-quality gum rubber soles - though your mileage may vary. When it comes to buying the best skate shoes, Amazon has a ton of great options - as well as nice running shoes to choose from.
You may prefer waffle sole, a suede upper, a solid midsole, something low profile, or just a specific model (like the Adidas Busenitz). You may also want something retro, or opt for important accessories, like a sock liner.
[After this article, check out some of the best skateboarding accessories.]
The Bottom Line On The Best Skate Shoes
There you have it - an epic and complete guide on the best skate shoes to buy. Whether you want Vans, Etnies, Adidas, Nike SB Blazers, Lakai, or even half cabs- or something else entirely - we've got you covered.
We do suggest if you have a weak ankle to stay away from skating in Converse Chucks and/or Chuck Taylors, because they don’t offer very good ankle support for skating.
It's important to test your specific shoes - before you buy them - on a board. While this may not always be possible, with the rise of online shopping - it's always better if you can.
The truth is, if you're just starting out - you may not need skate shoes. But if you're even an advanced beginner - the best skate shoes can make a world of difference - so grab some. They‘re everywhere, so accessibility to find a pair of Vans skate shoes (or any other brand) is super convenient - grab some here.