Skate shoes are specifically designed for riding and pushing on a skateboard. Often people with no interest in skating will wear these shoes for the fashion aspect and cushioning for ankle support but in reality skate shoes have many specific designs, which make skating easier.
3 best skate shoes
DC Men's Gaveler Low Shoe Skate
- Why it's rad: We love these classic shoes from DC, and they're also super comfy.
- Buy at Amazon
Etnies Men's Kingpin Skateboarding Shoe
- Why it's rad: Classic look, feel great on your feet.
- Buy at Amazon
Adidas Men's Daily 3.0 Skate Shoe
- Why it's rad: Adidas always has sick skate shoes.
- Buy at Amazon
What Are Skate Shoes?
There is usually a bottom that offers superior grip for skating and great board feel, often made from polyurethane or vulcanized rubber. The upper part of the shoe will often have triple or double stitching, which will make the shoe last longer.
How Long Do Skate Shoes Last?
Sadly, 3-6 months after buying a new pair is the average lifespan of skating shoes - assuming you are skating frequently. It all depends on the type of shoe you like to skate in. You may be able to extend the lifespan a little bit with some super glue or shoe goo, but expecting too much beyond that is unreasonable.
Suede uppers tend to last longer than canvas uppers, but this is still no guarantee for permanent longevity. Suede shoes are very comfortable but tend to not be as breathable as other shoes. Take the best care of your skate shoes, if you want them to last longer than 6 months. If your a beginner or an advanced skater, theres no tell in how long they will last after the 3 - 6 month period. The longest-lasting shoe is what you like to wear because everybody skates different.
We usually have a back up pair of skate shoes in my car. They might be new shoes or old shoes that are broken-in already, it doesn’t hurt to have a back up with you for a day of skating.
Why Is Durability Important For Skate Shoes?
Put simply - because you are going to put these shoes through the wringer. Regular skating can easily destroy a normal shoe, and even shoes specifically made for the sport can crack under the pressure.
Skateboarding tricks like kickflips, grinds, ollies, heelflips - these are not kind to your footwear. And then there is the crash and burn aspect of skateboarding - all those falls will take a heavy toll on your insoles, midsoles, and outsoles of your shoes.
[Check out this rad longboard wheel guide.]
Skate Shoe Brands
- -Adidas Skateboarding
- -New Balance Numeric
- -Last Resort AB
- -Gravis Footwear
- -Nike Skateboarding
- -Reebok Skate
- -Element Skateboards
- -Axion Footwear
- -Habitat Footwear
- -éS Footwear
- -Puma SE
- -DC Shoes
- -DVS Shoe Company
- -Vox Footwear
- -Zoo York
- -Globe International
- -Vision Street Wear
- -Osiris Shoes
- -World Industries
- -Fallen Footwear
- -Lakai Limited Footwear
- -HUF Footwear
This is by no means a comprehensive list - there are many other brands making skate shoes. However, these are generally the most well-known skate shoe brands.
Patch Holes On Your Skate Shoes
Just like you would with anything that develops holes, one way to make skate shoes last longer is to patch any holes that may develop. You can use shoe goo, super glue, trick tape, or really any other type of adhesive that won't ruin the material on your shoes.
If you're really into destroying your shoes before buying new ones, and you've gone all the way through the fabric, use duct tape to make a base, then apply the glue on top of the tape. You likely won't need much glue, just a dab.
Your goal is a smooth surface - you can try using ice cubes to spread the glue, if needed. Don't use your fingers directly on the glue, or they will get stuck and make a mess.
Sand Down Your Grip Tape
If you have new grip tape, it will definitely make it easier to stay on your board - but it can also quickly wear down your shoes by being too abrasive. One way around this, is to sand down your grip tape, so there is less wear and tear on your shoes.
If you opt for a less grippy tape from the get go, your shoes should last a little bit longer. However, keep in mind that grip tape will always wear down your shoes over time, there's just no way around it.
Do Not Use Hot Glue
Hot glue is very destructive, and will likely cause a burn or chemical reaction. Suede and leather shoes may have less of a reaction, but it's still not ideal - and canvas shoes will react even worse to hot glue.
Additionally, hot glue doesn't stay together very well. It's better to use shoe goo or regular glue, as it will keep your shoes in much better shape, comparatively.
[Check out the best skate shoes.]
Try Making Your Own Rubber Toe Cap
This is a little more involved, but it is a great way to protect your shoes. Essentially, use Plasti Dip to protect the top layer of your shoes better.
It's a little more involved then we can explain here, so be sure to head to YouTube to find an explainer video detailing this process. While it definitely takes a little longer, this is actually a very effective method for increasing the longevity of your skate shoes.
[See how to make your skate shoes last longer.]
How To Prevent Skate Shoe Laces From Ripping
While minor in comparison, having your laces rip is definitely an inconvenience. Lace protectors are one way to avoid this problem, as are hidden lace loops.
If you want to avoid this kind of issue altogether, opt for shoes with laces that sit higher up, or get very inexpensive laces from Amazon. You could even try coating your laces (rubber cement is the most commonly recommended option), or buy waxed laces, which should be plentiful on Amazon as well.
Don't Get Canvas Shoes, Buy Suede
Canvas shoes will inherently be less durable than suede, so if longevity is your goal, opt for suede. Leather is another option, but these shoes generally won't be as sensitive as suede - typically leather is a lot stiffer.
Canvas shoes are so weak, that they can fall apart in literally a day. This means they're okay if you just want to ride around on a longboard, but will be terrible if you plan on doing tricks.
Stick With Name Brands
If you want longevity for your skate shoes, go with name brands only. These brands will typically last much longer, and won't immediately fall apart.
Material will also make a huge difference. Leather and canvas are not usually recommended for longevity, but suede is great.
Patch Your Shoes With Material From Older Skate Shoes
This one is kind of obvious - if you get holes in your new skate shoes, dig into your closet, and patch the new ones with material from your old ones. This will generally only work with suede, so you may not want to try it with other shoe material.
There are also adhesive suede patches on Amazon, which are very easy to apply. If you are applying shoe goo or glue, wait for 24 hours for the patch to dry and be stable.
Try Applying Glue To The Stitches
If you apply glue to the stitches of your shoes, you will increase the longevity. We do it repeatedly, to stop the grip tape from ruining our skate shoes.
Usually the stitches that can get run down the most are on the collar of your shoe, the toe and nose area, and the side of the shoe itself. Heelflips, kickflips, and ollies are the usual culprits, so make sure these areas are well-glued, and repeat this process every so often.
The Problem Areas
There are a number of different areas where skate shoes will be worn down. Firstly, the soles, which should come as no surprise.
From there, you can actually also see damage in your shoelace area, your toe box, and the heels. While glue can't fix all of these areas, strategically placing some on the stitches, is a surefire way to extend the longevity of your shoes.
Is Shoe Goo Good For Skating?
Yes, it works very well for repairing skate shoes. Technically an adhesive made from epoxy, it can easily fix the soles and sides of your skate shoes.
Since this goo was originally made for tennis players, the adhesive is very strong, and it will also be flexible when it dries. This is a far better method than duct tape, although it's not the only way to fix busted shoes.
The 10 Best Skate Shoes
These awesome shoes from DC are backed by tons of great reviews, and will turn heads quickly. They offer great performance, along with a classic, eye-catching design.
We prefer the black and blue color combo, but to each their own. Road tested, reliable, and reasonably priced - we highly recommend these durable skate shoes.
Etnies have been around forever - and for good reason. Some of our staff remember wearing these shoes in the 1990s - that's how durable they are.
Etnies has many great skate shoes, but we like these the best. Backed by tons of stellar reviews, and available in lots of colors - these are a surefire winner.
Adidas makes tons of great shoes, but these are particularly great. We've road tested them on BMX bikes and boards, and the results have always been flawless.
They'll also last a long time, which is great for serious skaters. While you can certainly get fancier, we think these are a perfect choice for most skaters.
Heelys are controversial in the skate world, but we think these shoes are actually pretty awesome. Perfect for adults, teenagers, or kids, they're a fun choice for the whole family.
With tons of five star reviews, they're also very popular. If you want some extra wheels, we highly recommend these.
These retro-looking classic shoes from New Balance have withstood the test of time. Furthermore, they're absolutely perfect for skating.
You can wear them around the neighborhood, exercise in them, or just hang out. No matter what activity you choose, these awesome shoes will get the job done.
Sperry is well known for making high quality shoes, and this pair is no different. Perfect for skating or just hanging out, they're durable, and will last for quite a long time.
We love the minimal, laidback look, and think you'll love it, too. While you can certainly go with a classic skate brand, this different take on skating shoes feels fun and fresh.
Vans is unquestionably one of the kings of skateboarding shoes, and this model is the particular one most people associate with the brand. The classic black is the most popular, but we like the other unique color choices as well.
It's hard to argue with a shoe this popular, and of course they'll last forever. If you want a classic skate look, these shoes are absolutely essential.
These sleek shoes from Globe not only look cool - they perform very well, and will last forever. No matter what colors you like, there will definitely be a choice for you here.
We are partial to the classic black, but there are also lots of other choices. Backed by tons of great reviews, these shoes are very popular, and we loved them - definitely recommended.
DC comes in with another winner here, as these shoes are a perfect way to get noticed. Backed by tons of five star reviews, and available in a wide variety of colors, they are another great way to go.
We are partial to black and white color scheme, but your own taste will likely vary. Some reviewers have noted that these shoes may run a little small, so be sure to order a size slightly bigger than normal.
These well-loved skate shoes from Etnies are another winner - and nearly everyone knows someone that wears them. We like the comfortable feel, combined with the sticky grip.
Honestly, we wear these shoes around just to hang - we don't even need to be on our board. No matter what you like, there is a color and style for you here - 100% recommended.
[Should you buy a complete or custom skateboard?]
The Bottom Line On The Longevity Of Skate Shoes
The key to making your skate shoes last longer - is to take care of them. Just like you would a car or clothing, you need regular, solid maintenance and care - if you expect your skate shoes to last for a long time.
It's also important to buy high quality products, as low quality shoes won't be able to last long - no matter how well you take care of them. We ultimately hope you get the right shoes for you, and stay skating for decades to come.