How to Choose the Right Skate Shoe

Click to browse our entire selection on skate shoes.While working the floor at local skateboard shop in Atlanta, I’d often get asked one simple question: What are the best skate shoes? The short answer is that there is no “best” skate shoe. It really depends on a lot of things. The trick is finding the best skate shoe for you. In order to do this, you must ask yourself what do I want out of my skate shoes?

Assessing your needs

A good place to start when it comes to hunting down the right skate shoe is assessing your needs. Do you need something durable and thick or do you demand something lighter and more breathable? Are you pursuing vert skating on a smooth ramp or are you learning kickflips in the driveway? Are you just cruising on flat or are you trying to stick that fake tré down the ten set? You’ll want to fine tune your shoes to each of these situations so figure out which ones you’ll be in the most. If your just starting out, let your ambitions guide you. Once you have figured out what you’ll be doing most of in your skate shoes, then you can move on to the selection process.

Choosing a shoe 

At this point in the game I’m sure you’re familiar with skateboarding’s growing disciplines. There’s vert, street, park, freestyle, downhill, etc. and each one of these sub-genres has its own unique demands for your feet (and subsequently your shoes). For example, advanced street skating often demands a lot of impact support from a shoe. These skaters usually opt for a thick, cupped sole shoe to dampen the shock of hard landings.

Click for more on the Koston 2 by Nike SB.

The Koston 2 from Nike SB is an ideal choice for street skating. It features a supportive cupped sole and a thick insole for hard landings. It also features a one piece toe box that adds increases durability (no stitches to rip).

On the opposite end of the spectrum, a downhill skateboarder will usually utilize a thinner, vulcanized sole to maximize board feel and grip. This can also be said for most longboarders.

CLick for more on the VANS Authentic skate shoe.

The Vans Authentic is a great choice for any longboarder or downhill skateboarder. It features a thin, grippy vulcanized sole and adheres to grip tape well. Its design also eliminates bulky padding and tongues, making it lightweight and easy to break in.

If you’re a skater who enjoys all aspects of skateboarding and desires an all-purpose skate shoe, seek out something that offers support and boardfeel. These shoes will often utilize a vulcanized or hybrid sole, but will also feature a padded tongue and reinforced materials for support and durability.

Click for more on the DC Anvil Skateboard Shoe

The Anvil by DC Shoes is a great multi-purpose skate shoe. If comes complete with a flexible, grippy vulcanized sole but still offers a great deal of support with its padded tongue and reinforced suede construction.

If you are one of those skateboarders with a heavy front foot or if you simply want to extend the life of your shoes, then durability may be the key feature to seek. From my experience the most durable skate shoes are the ones that are constructed out of reinforced suede, synthetic suede or “supersuede,” leather, or rubber. The most durable shoes will also usually feature lace protectors, thick laces, minimal stitching, and a cupped sole.

Click for more on the Sabre by Globe Shoes

The Sabre by Globe Shoes is a shoe made with durability in mind. It’s a leather shoe that is reinforced with TPR inserts at key “wear areas” and includes lacing options that minimize lace fraying. It also features a thick one-piece cupped sole that is likely to stay in tact for the majority of its life.


Skate shoe maintenance

Like most athletic shoes, skate shoes will often show signs of wear in heavy impact zones. A tried and true method of preventing or fixing rips and tears is Shoe Goo. It’s a pliable form of molten rubber that adheres well to anything…especially shoe components.

Another good idea when attempting to get the maximum amount of life out of your shoes is letting them air out everyday. Skateboarding is physically demanding and during the hot summer months your shoes become perspiration traps. It’s a good idea to let them fully air out between uses. This will also help curb any bacteria growth.

Where to buy skateboard shoes

Most cities in the U.S. and Europe will have a skate shop within driving distance. If this isn’t an option for you or if you’d like to have your shoes shipped directly to your door, give us a call at (866) 355-7463 or shoot an email to [email protected] Each member of our customer service team can guide you in the right direction when choosing a skate shoes and can also fill you in on international ordering and availability questions.

Click for more from Nike SB

[email protected] | (866) 355-7463



I am a skateboarder and action sports pundit from Atlanta, Georgia. The opinions I express are entirely my own.

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