Skate Shoes Buying Guide

The life of a skate shoe is brutal. Big stunts put a lot of pressure on the sneaker, and grip tape continuously grinds away at the outside. Still, skate shoes are built to withstand the abuse, and specific characteristics shield them from premature deterioration. By choosing quality features that ensure your skate shoes last longer, you’ll be able to enjoy your late-night sessions without the worry of going home barefoot.

What is the Purpose of Skate Shoe?

When you ride a skateboard frequently and wish to master tricks, you’ll require high-performance skate footwear designed for the sport. Their insole, cushioning, and sticky soles provide you with the best grip to manage and feel your skateboard. Regular shoes will give you less ‘board feel’ and control over your skateboard.

skater with blue skate shoes and skateboard

Vulcanized Soles vs. Cupsoles

The first thing to consider is if you want to choose vulcanized or cupsole shoes. The main distinction between these two types of soles is their longevity and board feel. Cupsoles are more durable than vulcanized soles and provide better heel protection and support. The disadvantage of cupsoles is that they give less board feel (though this is debatable). So, which one should you choose? There is no right or wrong decision; only the one which feels right for you. Everything boils down to personal taste.

High Tops, Mid Tops and Low Tops

What’s the distinction? Ankle protection and mobility freedom. You’ll need them if you get a bunch of anklers (board hits in the ankles). They are extremely cushioned and offer additional protection. There are low, mid, and high tops.

Low tops are more comfortable and allow for greater movement, whilst high tops offer some protection and some ankle assistance. They will keep you from rolling your ankle, but they will not protect you from razor tails.

Skate Shoe Soles

Regardless of the type of shoe, a sole is made up of many sections. Some offer heel support, unique insoles, and a herringbone or waffle tread pattern for added traction. A thin sole will appear to be low to the ground, making it much easier to feel your skateboard so it’s great for improved board control and is excellent for technical tricks!

skater siting with his skate shoes with thin soles

BUT you’ll need something that can absorb shocks while still being kind on your feet. So go for a shoe that enables you to feel the board while still being able to withstand impact. If you choose a thinner sole, keep in mind you need to have some cushioning!

Toe Caps

Toe caps are a rubbery material that is placed around the nose to keep it from getting holes. If you perform a lot of kickflips, this is the accessory for you! If you like to heelflip, you won’t be worried about this as much.

Toe caps help your skate footwear last longer by absorbing friction from your grip. However, not everyone loves them, mostly because they give less board feel and slide differently than suede. Toe caps may be useful if you skate transition and frequently slide onto your knee pads and feet.

Laces and Lace Protectors

Laces are frequently the first to break; there are a few skate shoes that address this issue by having longer noes and strengthened lace holes. Lace protectors are fairly outdated, but they are still available. Some shoes have them to keep them from breaking all the time.

You might also try purchasing a couple and gluing them so they don’t tear as quickly. The disadvantage of gluing your shoes is that you can no longer change their tightness. Flange makes lace protectors that really function.

Because laces can cause friction, consider where your ties are and where your flips are ripping down your sneakers. Bring them to your nearest skateboard store, and the employees will hopefully be able to recommend the shoes you require.

Shoe Material and Why It Matters

Suede shoes are required for technical skaters. It has the longest lifespan and delivers the best board feel. Canvas is the lightest material and should only be used for cruising or transition skating with no ollies or flips. Although there are leather shoes available, they are generally heavy and detract from the board feel.

suede skate shoes

Type of Feet and Skate Shoes

Not all skate shoes are suitable for all types of foot. Make sure that the shoes you purchase are neither too large nor too tight. You’ll need some additional room in front, and the side of the shoe shouldn’t feel cramped, but don’t overdo it.

Too much space will give you a really unsteady sense as if your shoes would roll over, which is bad. This allows your feet to move back and forth while shredding, which helps to reduce pain caused by the bottom of your feet and toes continuously rubbing against the inside side of your shoes. It’s difficult to describe, but I hope you get the idea.

Pay close attention to the shoe’s cut. Wider implies less restriction around your foot arches, which is ideal for people with wide feet. If you have small feet, go for a narrow cut. Cramping will occur if the space is too small.