Your skateboarding performance can undoubtedly be affected by the type of shoes in which you are wearing, with grip, durability and protection being of huge importance.
Skating is very demanding on the feet, with the quality of materials used, traction offered and amount of protection available all adding up to separate the best skate shoes from the worst.
I have put together a list of the best skate shoes available on the market at present, which have been developed in order to aid your development as a skater, whatever your skill level on the board.
The products discussed range in price and are produced by some of the biggest names in the skating world. I have tested all products thoroughly in order to bring you detailed reviews, so let’s kick things off by taking a look at the first pair of shoes in my list.
Vans are synonymous with the skating industry, with their SK8-Hi shoe being an excellent option in terms of both performance and style. These laced high-top shoes use suede in order to provide excellent comfort on the upper, whilst a reinforced toe-cap ensures for excellent durability after repeated wear.
A padded collar provides both support and flexibility in equal measure, while I found that Vans’ signature rubber waffle outsole provided excellent traction during testing.
It is worth keeping in mind that the SK8-Hi’s do fit a little small, so it is definitely worth going for half or even a full size bigger than usual.
These shoes are just as effective when you don’t have your board with you, with their stylish design and range of colourway options meaning that they cater for a huge variety of customer.
The relatively cheap price point also makes them a viable option for many skaters, with their durability meaning that they should last for a significant period, even with them taking a battering on the streets and ramps.
The Legacy 98’s from DC has a more modern design, with their mixture of leather and suede in the upper providing wearers with both comfort and durability. I also found that DC’s unique OrthoLite technology in the midsole provided excellent cushioning when skating, while a UniLite arch offers additional comfort at all times.
Foam padding on the tongue and collar adds important support for skaters, whilst I found that this also provided crucial comfort when landing on both the board and the ground during testing of the shoes.
Tongue straps have also been added in order to keep it central, which is often a gripe for many skaters.
The Legacy 98 is an attractive option for those with more of a modern style, with three different colourways catering for different needs in this area. As someone with a narrow foot, I found this product to be the perfect fit, whilst the price point will also appeal to skating beginners or those looking for a durable pair of everyday shoes.
The Janoski is a firm favourite from global giants Nike, with the Zoom Premium helping to configure to the shape of your foot. I also found that the Zoom Air unit helped to deliver excellent response when on the board, along with additional cushioning.
A two-tone lacing system has been added in order to ensure the feet maintain locked down while skating and my testing found that the lined collar provided excellent comfort around the ankles at all times. A suede upper only adds to comfort levels, which is also well-known for its durability and ventilation.
The Janoski range is perfect for both skating and everyday use, with their lightweight design aiding comfort and style. As with a number of skating shoes, the Zoom Janoski Premium is more of a narrow fitting shoe, meaning that it may not be suitable for those with a wide foot.
Nike has developed a hugely affordable and simplistic shoe, that will enhance your skating performance thanks to its technology.
Etnies have long been a firm favourite for skaters, with their Joslin model having been named after one of the leading names in the industry today.
The Joslin is the first-ever pro model shoe from Etnies, with the outsole having been made from Michelin performance rubber, aiding durability.
A hidden toe-cap also protects this area of the foot, which I found to be especially important when performing ollies during testing. A U-throat structure holds the upper together for additional support, while the elastic tongue improves fit and lock-down. As well as this, a Pro Foam 1 insole provides excellent cushioning both on and off the board.
The Joslin has a very traditional look and feel, with the mixture of suede and synthetic materials creating a good blend of comfort and support.
Available at a cheap price for a shoe with such features and high-quality materials, the Joslin is another shoe that caters for skaters and customers with this style.
The Swift 1.5 is inspired by 90’s technology, but its retro feel does not mean that it is without the latest technology. Suede dominates the upper of the shoe, providing excellent durability, while I found that mesh quarters kept them breathable during testing in warm conditions.
An energy foam footbed provides excellent cushioning, along with a thermothane toe cap protecting a key part of the foot at all times whilst skating. Hidden lace loops ensure maximum style on the Swift 1.5, while a lycra spandex tongue helps to keep the laces balanced.
Available in a wide range of colours, the Swift 1.5 has the look of a modern trainer, whilst still holding many of the latest features and materials, making it an excellent all-rounder in the process. This is one of the cheapest shoes from éS, who is one of the most respected manufacturers in the industry.
You are almost certain to have found a shoe that meets your needs and wants when it comes to skating from the list above, however, there are still some important factors to take into consideration before making your final decision.
A shoe that does not provide grip when on the board is no good for any skater, with the outsole being the area that is the most important in this regard. The more traction that you have, the more control of the board you are likely to have, allowing you to make more difficult manoeuvres at high speed.
Enhanced traction can also make tricks easier, due to the ability to lift the board and control it in the air being made easier.
The stability you achieve when skating is likely going to be determined in part by your experience and skill level, a good pair of shoes can also enhance your performance in this area.
Balancing and landing are perhaps the most difficult aspects of skating, with shoes featuring good stability generally costing a higher amount as a result.
While the upper is perhaps not the area of a shoe in which skaters focus upon, the materials used here are likely to have a significant impact upon their durability and breathability. Many of the best skate shoes on the market today utilise both mesh and suede in order to provide comfort and performance, whilst leather is also found in some of the more traditional designs.
It is important to ensure that your skate shoes offer a snug fit, whilst not being too tight. As a result, tie the laces firmly, whilst also considering tucking them into the shoe in order to avoid tripping over them. While some skaters will choose to go for a relaxed fit by not even tying their laces, this is not something that I would recommend for maximum performance.