Skate shoes come in all kinds of colors, styles, and flavors with more added each year to the already mind-boggling selection. Regardless, what’s funny is that skate fashion is always changing, so what’s in right now might not be tomorrow. Thus, personal preference will play a bigger role in what you’ll like versus what anybody else says. It’s all a matter of what you enjoy skating the most. Technical skateboarders prefer boardfeel, skateboarders who jump down big stuff lean toward cushioning, and die-hard skate rats love durability. If you haven’t yet, read our article on how to choose skate shoes to get an idea of what you want. But if you ask us what we think are the best skate shoes, we like to favor function over form since style is always changing. So here are our top picks for skate shoes right now that perform magnificently on the board.
Best Skate Shoes (If You Ask Us)
Best Skate Shoes for Boardfeel
Skate shoes with a lot of boardfeel allow you to feel what’s going on underneath your feet. This gives you more confidence when performing flip tricks and more technical types of skateboarding. Usually, shoes with excellent boardfeel are thicker in the heels for cushioning while thinner in the toe area for a closer foot to board feeling. All things considered, shoes with vulcanized soles have the best boardfeel although support can be lacking.
Our top three picks for shoes with excellent boardfeel are the Adidas Suciu ADV (amazing boardfeel AND cushioning, you don’t find that combo often), Vans Gilbert Crockett Pro (’cause who doesn’t love a comfy pair of Vans), and the HUF Classic Hi (a super minimalist, feel-good shoe; looks great too!)
|- Superb boardfeel and grip|
- Adiprene insole
- Excellent comfort, stability, and support
- Slim profile
- Cupsole feels like vulc
- No break in required
|- Outsole could be more durable|
- Not much breathability
- Lace protection lacking
|- Duracap reinforcement|
- Wafflecup technology
- Ultracush HD insole
- Great foot support/stability
- No break in period
- Narrow toe
|- Outsole wears quickly|
- Rubber can be too grippy
|- Excellent boardfeel and grip|
- Great durability
- Rubber toe cap = durability
- Good ankle support
- Nice casual look
|- Not much cushioning|
- Thin insole
- Very thin protection
Best Skate Shoes for Cushioning
On the other hand, you have skateboarders who enjoy a high level of cushioning. This helps with high impact skateboarding such as jumping off stairs and gaps, grinding handrails and hubbas, and catching big airs on transition. Additionally, shoes with excellent cushioning prevents heel bruises and absorbs impact so you can continue skateboarding. Ultimately, what makes a good cushioned pair of skate shoes is the type of midsole, insole, and heel support a shoe uses. Midsoles are often EVA or PU foam, insoles made of thick foam or gel, and heel support in the form of gel inserts or airbags. In this case, cupsoles are the victor when it comes to cushioning and protection.
Our top three pairs of skate shoes are the Emerica Herman G6 (G6 foam midsole helps to disperse shock; excellent insole and padding), the Etnies Marana (Ryan Sheckler’s signature shoe), and the Emerica Reynolds Low (also has G6 midsole, thick insoles, and plenty of protective padding).
Best Skate Shoes for Durability
Last deciding factor on our list of best skate shoes are shoes with excellent durability. After all, your shoes go through a lot of abuse constantly ollie-ing and flipping your board. Griptape isn’t soft like your grandmother, it’s rough and abrasive. Even after a couple decades, skate shoe manufacturers are still finding new ways to improve on durability. Overall, the type of material used for the upper, the rubber outsole, and any additional features such as lace guards or rubber toe caps all contribute toward durability. Although leathers such as full grain, nubuck, or action leather are the most durable, they are the not the best for skateboarding. Our personal favorite material is suede. Durable while providing good grip and flick, suede is probably the most popular choice for skateboarders. Additionally, cupsole shoes are more durable as the rubber is stiffer and doesn’t wear as easily.
With that said, our top three picks for shoes that excel in durability are the Emerica Herman G6 (durable rubber, one piece toecap, and burly suede), the DC Mike Mo Capaldi (uses Super Suede, durable sole, and TPU layer underneath the suede), and the DC Cole Lite 3 (also incorporates Super Suede).
Best Skate Shoe Brands