Converse shoes are iconic. It’s a streetwear brand beloved by all, and it’s also one that’s closely associated with skate culture.
But are Converse shoes actually good for skating? Are they strong enough to withstand all those bails and foot brakes or will you turn them into mere shreds of dirt-encrusted fabric after a few sessions at the skate park?
Can You Use Converse Shoes for Skating?
Yes, you can use Converse shoes for skating, but any old Converse won’t suffice.
Look for Converse CONS, a line of shoes designed with skaters in mind. These shoes provide the comfort and support that skaters require and are also made to last.
Typical Converse shoes may not have the features you need to skate comfortably. You could also wreck your shoes.
Urban footwear is styled around the streets and you’ll often see taglines that suggest they are built for life/activity. In reality, however, they are made to look good, and everything else is secondary.
Skateboarding places a lot of strain on your choice of footwear. There will be jumps, twists, and falls, and that’s before you consider that you’ll be dragging your shoes along the floor to slow you down.
Converse CONS provide some of the extra features needed to accommodate this kind of activity, including:
- Low Profile: Many Converse CONS are made in a low-top style to allow for more freedom of movement. That doesn’t apply to all of them, though, and there are some benefits to wearing high-tops, including additional ankle protection.
- Durability: CONS combine features such as poly cotton laces, thick padding, and thicker heels to ensure they stay intact through all of that braking.
- Extra Cushioning: Foam sockliners and other features help to cushion the foot against jumps and grinds, giving them some much-needed shock absorption.
- Improved Grip: Outsoles are made using high-traction rubber to help the shoes adhere to the grip tape, keeping you on the board.
- Protection: Features such as a rubber toe cap provide extra protection without weighing you down or making the shoes heavy and uncomfortable.
Despite all of these great features, Converse skate shoes are surprisingly affordable. In fact, they are no more expensive than other Converse shoes and you can expect to pay much less for a good pair of Converse skate shoes than you would for a pair of Nike/Adidas running shoes or basketball shoes.
Is It Better to Skate in Vans or Converse?
Some skaters prefer Vans, others prefer Converse. It largely comes down to personal preference, although there are some material and design differences that might make one brand more durable, supportive, and comfortable than the other.
For instance, many argue that Converse shoes provide more support and are more breathable, but the majority seem to agree that Vans are more durable shoes.
We recommend dropping by your local shoe shop, trying on their most popular skate shoes, and seeing which ones feel the most comfortable. Alternatively, as Converse and Vans have a similar price point and are both made for skaters, you can just choose the one that looks the best when buying online.
What Did Skateboarders Wear in the Early Days of the Sport?
The skateboard was initially designed to emulate surfing. This “street surfing” sport was all about giving surfers something to do when the waves were weak.
As a result, they would often skate barefoot, forgoing footwear just like they would on a surfboard.
In later years, skateboarders turned to the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star, which was popular among basketball players. The qualities that made this sneaker so popular on the basketball courts made it ideal for the skate park.
Converse shoes became the go-to skate shoes and could be seen on skaters of all levels.
During the skateboarding boom of the 1980s, Converse fell out of fashion somewhat in the skateboarding community and other shoe brands began catering to this burgeoning sport.
This is when Vans appeared. Vans shoes were seen as the ultimate skateboard shoes as they were designed for that purpose and were made to be light, flexible, and durable.
In 2009, Converse came back onto the scene with its CONS line. These Converse shoes were actually designed for skateboarders and were leagues above the old Chuck Taylor All-Stars.
Today, there are many shoe brands targeting skateboarders, but Vans and Converse remain two of the biggest.
Other Popular Skate Shoe Manufacturers
There are a number of top brands selling skating shoes, and your search shouldn’t just be limited to Vans and Converse. Here are a few others that we like:
As with Vans and Converse, Adidas has a rich history and is closely associated with the skating community.
It sells some of the best skateboard shoes on the market and even produces signature lines for team riders, including collaborations with Daewon Song.
Etnies is a French company that was the first skate shoe brand completely owned by a skater.
Etnies produces streamlined, lightweight, and durable shoes, including a range made from earth-friendly materials, such as recycled plastics, recycled polyester, and foam made from algae.
The Nike SB line was introduced in 2002 and continues to produce premium skateboarding shoes made to a similar standard as Converse, which is also owned by Nike.
Lakai is a trusted skate shoe brand that was founded by two pro skaters. It’s “by skaters for skaters”, so it has a good idea of what skateboarders need and has been meeting those needs for over two decades.
Summary: Are Converse Shoes Good for Skating?
Converse CONS skate shoes are lightweight and flexible. This unique blend of protection, support, comfort, flexibility, and durability is what makes Converse one of the best skate shoes and why you’ll see them on everyone from the most experienced pros to the freshest amateurs.
Just remember, not all Converse shoes offer the features that you need. Limit your search to Converse CONS, a line of skateboarding shoes made in the classic Converse style.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for, check out Vans, another stylish footwear brand that produces affordable, flexible, and durable shoes.