What skate shoes should you buy, which ones offer the most durability and affordability, and where do brands like Converse and Adidas fit into that?
Let’s find out.
What are the Best Skate Shoes?
Skate shoes are more than just a fashion statement. It’s true that many brands traditionally worn by skaters have cemented themselves as classics in the world of urban fashion, but the best skate shoes need to be practical, as well.
They need to protect the foot and, ideally, the ankle. They need to be durable and hard-wearing. They should also be cost-effective, as you don’t want to be spending 3x more on your skateboard shoes than you did on your actual skateboard.
With that said, let’s look at some common skateboard shoes and ask whether popular urban footwear brands actually make good skate shoes.
Are Converse Skate Shoes?
Converse shoes are classics and have been worn and adored by several generations. They can also make the perfect skateboarding shoes, although if you want durable skate shoes, it’s best to stick with the CONS range.
All shoes in this range are made from CONS Traction Rubber, which provides more grip, durability, and flexibility. They are thicker and more hard-wearing than classic Chuck Taylors and there are also models that feature additional cushioning for comfort and shock absorption.
However, not all Converse models are skate shoes, and so you will have to choose wisely.
Best Nike SB Shoes for Skating
Nike knows how to make high-quality footwear and the Nike SB range continues that tradition.
Nike SB are some of the best skate shoes on the market. They have been manufactured with skateboarders in mind and include features such as reinforced toes and heels.
We recommend looking at suede Nike SB skateboard shoes, including the Nike SB Charge.
Best Adidas Skateboard Shoes
The Adidas Campus Vulc is a classic skate shoe that has been around for a long time now and still holds its own against newer models.
The Campus Vulc is a suede skate shoe that features a reinforced heel and double-stitching for extra support.
As with Nike and other brands, the average Adidas shoe isn’t suitable for skateboarding. You can still wear them for that purpose, but they’ll wear quickly.
Best Skate Shoes from Vans
Vans are iconic skateboard shoes, but some are better than others. Slip-ons tend to be the most popular with skaters and they feature the Vans Pro Vulc construction to keep them strong and ensure they last for years to come. Our personal favorites, however, are the Sk8-Hi Skate Shoes.
These hi-tops are durable and will also protect your ankles. They’re stylish, available in a variety of colors, and you can usually pick up a pair for around $60 to $90.
Other Top Skate Shoes for Beginners
In addition to all the big brand skateboard shoes highlighted above, the following are worth checking out when you need a durable skate shoe that won’t break the bank or your ankles:
- DC Shoes Plaza: One of the best skate shoes ever made, as well as the most iconic. The brand is not as well-known outside of skating circles, but old-school skaters will definitely recognize this brand.
- Emerica Romero Skate Shoes: A skateboard shoe that features a very low profile and is designed to prevent the tearing and stitching issues common in skateboard shoes.
- Lakai Manchester: A good skate shoe that has been around for close to 15 years at this point and offers many of the features you need in a strong and stylish sneaker, including heel padding, vulcanized construction, and a design that helps with shock absorption.
- Etnies Jameson 2 Skateboard Shoes: Made from a blend of synthetic materials and canvas, this eco-friendly skate shoe is durable, breathable, and comfortable.
- C1RCA AL50 Skateboard Shoes: Although they are not the most classic skate shoes, these sneakers are super cheap and surprisingly high-quality. You can pick up a pair for less than $40, and the suede construction means they’re also very durable. The perfect skate shoes for beginners on a budget.
Summary: The Best Skateboard Shoes for Beginner Skateboarders
Remember, skateboard shoes are about much more than style. Don’t drop several hundred bucks on the latest pair of Nike or Adidas just because it’s limited edition or has been modeled by your favorite skater. There’s nothing wrong with wearing expensive sneakers but skating with them will almost certainly ruin them.
You’ll look cool cruising around town and flipping tricks at the skate park, but after a few weeks, you’ll be leaving a trail of rubber and canvas behind you like some urban Hansel and Gretel.
Look for shoes that are within your budget, made for skaters, and tick most of all of the following boxes:
- Enhanced durability
- Flexible sole
- Extra cushioning
- Excellent grip
- Abrasion resistant
- Arch support
- Foam padded collar
- Ankle support
Most vulcanized shoes with additional heel support will be fine, but as with any other type of shoe-from running shoes to cleats-the quality of the build and the materials used can vary significantly from one brand to the next.