When I start helping someone choose a pair of skate shoes, I always like to get a feel for exactly what they’re looking for from their footwear—it could be more cushioning, a low-profile feel, plenty of support, or something lightweight. Tons of factors go into selecting the right skate shoes for you. All of them are important in some way or another, but one of the most common factors sought after is a durability.
Let’s be honest, skateboarding shoes are exposed to abuse. Seams, laces, and bottom soles shredding apart constantly. For many skaters spending a lot on shoes isn’t ideal. The average pair of shoes lasts a couple weeks, or months, depending on how aggressive a skater you are.
Today, more reliable shoes are trusted with updated industry tech influenced by some of the hardcore pro-skaters out there. In this article I will reveal the best brands and models on the market today, and for years to come.
What Makes A Skateboarding Shoe Durable?
There are an abundant amount of skate shoes offering different levels of comfort, style, and durability. The overall functionality of a quality skate shoe is what every skater needs to progress.
Durability is such a critical factor, because as a skateboarder you know how fast you shred through shoes. What makes a shoe reliable is the constant progression over time utilizing better materials and designs. Factoring in how well a model sells plays a big role in the success or demise for future development.
Cupsoles VS. Vulcanized
Dense padding, triple stitching, with sewn in soles (AKA cup-soles) typically last longer. Providing maximum foot protection, but diminish board feel.
Vulc style shoes on the other hand provide a lightweight, flexible design enhancing board feel dramatically. The downside is lack of foot support and comfort. As a skater you will develop your own personal preference with these two styles.
What Materials Are Used?
Suede and canvas are popular materials in the industry. Suede is a soft leather made the insides of animal hides, providing a sturdier design.
Canvas is derived from cotton or linen, as well as hemp on occasion. For most, suede shoes are the best option. Foot ware made from canvas rips and tears MUCH quicker.
Vegan shoes are another option for those opposed to suede. Synthetic materials are the alternative for you vegans out there.
When it comes to out-soles (bottom of shoe) materials such as polyurethane, natural rubber, or polyvinyl chloride are used.
Skate shoe models are enforcing the use of rubber from race cars. Inspired by the PC00 Rally tire. A material that is 3x more durable than the competition.
Top Skate Shoe Brands And Models
Emerica is an iconic leader in the skate industry developing one of the greatest line of shoes available. Their style simplistic, yet rugged. My favorite skate brand, not to mention Andrew Reynolds as one of my all-time favorite skaters. Let’s dive into some of Emerica’s best line of shoes.
1. Reynolds G6
The Reynolds have been around over a decade. A skate shoe that’s optimized for peak performance. Owning several pairs, they never disappoint.
This padding support is just enough to hug your ankles. As far as grip is concerned, it will surprise you leaving a smile on your face. A must have to add to your collections and can be found HERE.
What I like:
- Lightweight and amazing for flip tricks
- Doesn’t leave your feet drenched in sweat after a long session.
- Offered in 3 different styles regular, vulc, and low-vulc
What I dislike:
- Soles still need a little improvement. Best ones so far though.
- They’re pricey if not on sale and don’t have specific size.
There are few negatives on these, and you can find them cheap. Popular color ways are hard to locate on discount and even worse when sizes are not available.
Emerica’s team shoe, which resemble the Reynolds with that iconic logo on the side I love. These performed similar to the Reynolds but missing the spirit.
The Dissent provide a rubber toe cap that’s not too grippy that allows a perfect balance when doing flip tricks. I’m also a fan of the fact how well my foots planted in the shoe without my heels sliding out. There collection is online for a reasonable price too.
3. Cole lite
I’ve always wanted to find that skate shoe that was rugged, comfortable and lightweight. When these first came out I bought a pair. Acknowledging Chris Cole’s style, and as another fan favorite, this got me excited!
What I liked:
- Lightweight design makes tricks effortless and a solid board feel to go with it.
- Comfortable shoe that’s not too overbearing with padding, however overtime I noticed once the sole wore away it wasn’t pleasant. These shoes stick good to the board for sure.
- Super flexible
I would try a newer model as the first one didn’t fit my style. Paying retail, only to find them cheaper was a bummer.
What I Disliked:
- Once the soles wear expect a more slippery contact with your board.
- Padding isn’t the greatest for support.
- I paid too much for them!
4. DC Men’s Court Graffik
Ok, before I get any hate these were some of my first skate shoes. Only reason I have to put these up here is because they’re inexpensive. Not only that, you can find them everywhere and it’s a skate shoe.
One of the biggest negatives is that EVERYONE wears them. These are seen as a “poser” shoe which is true but people like them for a reason. If money is tight these are a great option.
I’ve found these decent in terms of durability but the soles are outdated. Most wear and tear will be on the bottom, and you’ll peel away the rubber. However, a cheap alternative you can find for under $40.
5. Marana Michelins
A must-have skateboarding shoe that’ll have you stoked. The Marana from Etnies, first introduced in 2013 and a favorite ever since. They’re so good and stood by one of the greatest skateboarders, Chris Joslin.
An issue that raised concern in previous models, was the bottom wearing quicker than the toe box. Stepping it further a new sole design created none other than a rubber compound from Michelin. Therefore if you’re looking for the the most durable skate shoe around, the Marana are the trusted choice by thousands of skaters (Here’s Where You Can Find Them)
As most of your know, Vans are popular. for many reasons! These are insanely grippy and pack on solid durability. You’ll find to be a great choice if you enjoy the styling that goes with it.
6. Gilbert Crockett Pro
The Crockett pros deliver an outstanding shoe I recommend. These are more low profile than some of your average skate shoe, providing excellent comfort and support. One of the longest lasting skate shoes I’ve had.
What I liked:
- Waffle design delivers the best grip out there, and it lasts!
- Minimal padding was just enough to allow my feet to breathe on hot summer days.
- Another solid lightweight shoe for all around skating
What I disliked:
- Overtime with wear, these shoes get flat which led to sore heels.
- Thin tongue may annoy you as it provides limited cushioning.
- Break in time varies as Vans are tight around the arch.
Vans make a great skate shoe and if you’re looking to for a pair, grab a pro model and avoid canvas!
7. Kyle Walker Pro
The Kyle Walker Pro’s from Vans… what’s to say? Stylish, and with more comfort and support than others I’ve come across. This shoe is excellent for high impact skating. Like the Crocketts they last and seem to always fade and tear around the edge of the toe cap with nothing else being jeopardized. The consistent design make one of the best out there.
8. Accel OG
Just bought a pair for the first time since the re-release of their Accel OG’s years ago. One of the most classic skate shoes out there and back even better than before. Not only that, a slim version is also available. What makes this such as great shoe is comfort and durability, and a design re-refreshed better than before.
Comparing the two, the OG model receives far greater attention because of their appearance. No joke, others asked if I was wearing Uggs… only seeing them on their feet a week later! For me, not great for skating but by far the most comfortable. The shoe I highly recommend are the Accel slims-they’re best for technical skating, while maintaining a super strong design. (Check Out Them Out HERE)
8.5. Accel Slims
Slimmed down for those that like a less bulky, low profile shoe. These took a couple days for my toes to form around the top cap area which wasn’t comfortable, but not unbearable. There’s almost no padding compared to the OG’s which is disappointing. However, the extended toe cap design and reduction in padding makes it the better choice for skateboarding.
Other Recommended Skate Shoes
A great looking shoe that’s simple, and long lasting. Comfort wise these have been one of my favorites. I’ve always like Lakais for their simplistic approach to creating a lightweight, comfortable shoe that lasts.
These were easier to break in the Vans, but the tongue can slip down which I have problems with. I constantly tie my shoes in this case, but not a deal breaker by any means.
The Busenitz has a clean, well rounded durable, highly positive reviewed shoe. These are a good low profile, lightweight shoe. Although the break-in period was quite rough, the comfort was too hard to pass up. Once feet mold to the design, it’s a special connection you cannot get over. If it were these over the Maranas, I’d get both at some point. (Check Them Out At Amazon)
Two Highly Recommended Selections
The two I HIGHLY recommend are the Es Accels and the Reynolds G6 from Emerica. Both are great for beginners and advanced skaters alike.
Prices vary in situations such as:
- Time of season (Black Friday deals)
- Color way and size
- New Release or clearance deals
Some skate shops offer $40 clearances that otherwise cannot be found online. I’ve spent $30 extra dollars on a pair, afterwards spotting them for $40 a day later. Be patient as deals will present themselves down the road.
Make Your Shoes Last Longer
Don’t be surprised if your shoes wear away quicker than anticipated. This is an unfortunate reality, especially if you’re a hardcore skater. Early prevention is key to slow the progression of toe blow outs.
Feel free to read my article I wrote on the different ways to make your shoes last longer. Don’t be shy, share some creative ideas that you’ve tried.
What Are The Best Skateboard Shoes For Walking?
The best skateboard shoes for walking are ones that provide both comfort and support. As you know, skate shoes are designed for the sole purpose of skateboarding. However, casual wear is popular amongst many including myself. Nobody likes to see someone in gross torn up shoes with their toes hanging out.
Another consideration is that skate shoes don’t provide the level of comfort running shoes do. For example, I find Vans too flat and uncomfortable to be in all day. A shoe such as the Es Accels more ground clearance with thicker soles, and enough padding to keep my feet safe.
I may sound like a broken record but consider running shoes as an alternative if you’re a beginner skateboarder. These are a great transition. Adidas cloudfoam are out of this world crazy comfortable.
Skateboarding shoes wear fast. Select the best that fit your style and budget is essential. Sticking to models that have been around a while works out rather well. Don’t worry if you find your shoe uncomfortable at first. It takes several days to break in. As I’ve said in previous occasions, even going a half size or whole size larger might suit you better.