Almost as important as the skateboard you ride, a good pair of skate shoes is fundamental for any skater who has their eyes locked on the progression prize. Vans, Globe, Etnies and DC may have written the rule book on the aesthetic and construction of modern skate shoes, but do you know what to look for when seeking the perfect pair?
Whether you're feeling inspired to try skateboarding for the first time or looking to clear that six stair you've been casing out, we'll show you how to buy the right shoes for both park and street by comparing the pros and cons of cupsoles, vulcanised rubber and more. With options for men, women and kids, we've ranked the top 10 best on Amazon, ASOS, Decathlon and eBay featuring all the iconic skate brands alongside the trainer icons Nike and Adidas.
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Just like trainers, skate shoes come in a few different cuts, each with their own set of pros and cons to consider. As the name suggests, high-top skate shoes feature a high cut, that's designed for better ankle protection.
By ending just above the ankle, they offer skaters increased stability and extra padding to soften the inevitable blow of copping your board to the ankle. Hi-tops are also good for retaining warmth, which lends them particularly well to UK winter skating.
On the other hand, low-tops are what most modern skaters will gravitate towards, even without understanding why. These shoes are favoured for their lightweight designs that improve board sensitivity. This does mean exposing your ankles to the world, but for dedicated skaters, it's all part of the game. If you can't decide, mid-tops are a nice middle ground between the two cuts.
To build your ideal board, try our Best Skateboard Decks!
The closure is an important factor to consider for every skater, but for kids in particular. Skateboarding is a fun and hugely beneficial sport for kids as it improves balance and coordination, as well as teaching them to challenge themselves, face fears and build lasting and positive friendships.
To ensure your kids aren't tripping themselves up with loose laces, you'll want to consider the closure point of their skate shoes. For the youngest kids, doing away with laces entirely and opting for Velcro or slip-on skate shoes could be a good idea.
Adult skaters tend to prefer the security that lace-up skate shoes offer over slip-ons, but that certainly isn't a hard and fast rule. You can find plenty of premium slip-on skate shoes from well-known brands, with some skaters solely swearing by their undeniable ease and steeze.
For the best setup for children, try our Best Complete Skateboards for Kids!
Skateboarding is unavoidably linked with constant and heavy impact in the form of landing flip tricks, riding bowls, ollieing or missing entirely yet somehow managing to remain on your feet through sheer determination and comfortable shoes. This arguably makes the soles of your skate shoes their most integral ingredient.
Look for any indicators to the quality of the midsoles and outsoles to give you a solid idea of what constitutes a well-made pair of skating-specific shoes. Foam shockbeds and extra forms of padding in the midsole are premium features to look for, from brands that put worth in cushioning.
Cupsoles are outsoles built from a single piece of thick rubber with a tall sidewall that cups the uppers of a shoe. Cupsoles have been designed specifically for skating to protect skaters' heels and the sides of their feet; while vulcanised rubber soles are hardwearing soles that provide you with better board feel, and are often less expensive than cupsoles.
Uppers maybe aren't as integral to your skating experience as soles. Nonetheless, considering they're what your feet will be spending their skating days encased in, you'll want to make sure they are breathable, durable and flexible enough to allow your feet to move freely.
Canvas is a natural fibre that's lightweight and low maintenance, with a breathability that other fabrics simply cannot match. These three appealing attributes are why canvas is used in a wide range of skates shoes today. Keeping on the natural fibre vibe, leather and suede are also popular for their classic style and enduring construction.
Suede and leather uppers are preferred by professional and dedicated skaters as they have more resistance to grip tape - meaning you'll be able to practice flip tricks over and over again without worrying about your upper wearing thin. Synthetic leathers are very hard wearing and often offer a cheaper shoe but lack the flex and breathability of natural fibres.
To get the best out of your new shoes, try our Best Complete Skateboards for Adults!
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Busenitz Skate Shoe
Premium Leather Shoes Designed by an Iconic Skater
Authentic Skate Shoe
The Classic Canvas Option That Performs as Well as Ever
MC Rap High Skate Shoe
A Re-Issue of an Iconic Style With a Vintage Aesthetic
Motley Mid Skateboard Shoe
A Simple Yet Super Comfy Mid-Cut With Vulcanised Soles
Another Old-School Favourite Reinvented for the Modern Skater
Chuck Taylor All Star Trainer
Iconic Unisex Hi-Tops for the Style Conscious
Court Graffik Skate Shoe
A 90s-Inspired Shoe With Cupsoles and Plenty of Padding
Men's Griffin Skate Shoe
Designed by Pro Skaters in 12 Smart Colourways
SB Portmore lI Solar Skate Shoe
Blending Everyday Trainer Fashion With Skate Style
Crush Kids' Skate Shoe
Durable Low-Tops Designed Especially for Young Beginners
As far as skateboarding partnerships go, they don't come much bigger than Dennis Buzenitz and adidas. A true pioneer and icon of the sport, Dennis Buzenitz is one of those names that echoes throughout the entire culture of skateboarding.
His signature shoe has been selling hotter than fresh and steaming pancakes for over 15 years, solidifying it into the skateboarding history books. A slim and contemporary shoe that'll complement your casual wear out on the town and help you stomp tricks in confidence and effortless style.
There's a reason they say that you can't mess with a classic, and that's because it's true, you can't. This is precisely why the design of the Vans Authentic (formally known as the Deck Shoe) hasn't dared to be changed since its inception in the mid 60's.
Sure, the construction has evolved with the times, and is very much at the cutting edge of shoe design for skateboarding. But the essence of the Authentic's aesthetic is still very much at its core. A canvas crowd-pleaser for the men, women and children who take pleasure in being part of the rich skateboarding history of Vans.
Part of the Etnies Icon Collection, the MC Rap high-top will bring an undeniably cool vintage aesthetic to your skating get-up. For the women specifically, these shoes have been pulled from the Etnies archives and re-issued to wide acclaim.
Although the shoe has been released in three colourways to suit various style preferences, we think the pale green and purple look great set against the white leather and cream laces. The high-quality construction is primed to handle hours of constant skating while you break down new ground and bag new tricks, all the while looking your flyest.
This is a cool and casual shoe designed by Globe that's for the people. The Motley Mid's benefit from durable oiled suede uppers, chunky vulcanised soles, cushioned foam midsoles and a padded foam tongue for protection.
The shoe is a good mid-way point between the slimmer styles that have dominated skate culture in recent years, and the wider designs of the 90's. Plus, they come in a few colourways and sizes for both men and women who want their skating to do the talking, and their shoes to do the walking.
The Vans checkerboards have recently been redesigned to deliver skaters a slip-on skateboarding shoe that can be trusted. This has been achieved by revising the entire shoe from upper to sole, honing in on every little detail that matters to skaters.
From the moulded heel counter to the locked-in tongue straps and the tougher toe knurl, this is a modern take on a classic style that's all about aiding progression on a skateboard. An instantly recognisable style that will casually let the entire crew at the skatepark know that you're there to rip.
One of the most iconic trainer styles on the planet, the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star is a classic high-top for the streets. A true unisex shoe, it brings a relaxed and self-assured appeal to skate footwear.
This is another great skate shoe for kids with a bunch of child and adolescent sizes available online. With a choice of 17 unique colourways to pick from, you can be sure you'll find a bold and personalised pair. Overall, it's a decent, fashion-focused trainer for skating the streets and looking good when hanging in town after.
DC's new collection of skate shoes is an ode to the wide and chunky tongue trainers of the 90's and early noughties. A resurgence in popular culture of this era's fashion has brought this in to fruition, and we're all for it.
The Court Graffik series comes equipped with cupsoles to minimise board contact with unsuspecting heels. The sole also features DC's trademark pill pattern tread for good grip and an iconic look. We're well aware this style of shoe isn't for everyone. Instead, it's for the skate crew who are already kicking it old school with that fresh 90's style.
The Griffin has quickly become a favourite shoe of the Lakai pro skate team. A simple and effective skate shoe, they've been designed by skaters for skaters, benefiting from vulcanised rubber soles and suede uppers.
Lakai have put so much worth into this shoe range, that they've released it in 12 unique colourways, ensuring all men will be able to find something that feels and looks like them. Again, Lakai doesn't carry the same reputation as the iconic skate brands, but for the price, you could do much worse.
Seamlessly blending everyday trainer fashion with skateboarding style, Nike is a giant of the footwear industry for a reason. Their Portmore Solar skate shoe is a refined low-top, with an aesthetic that anyone will look good in.
Nike designed the Portmore skate shoe series for both men and women who enjoy skating, but don't want to look like fully-fledged skateboarders. Due to the standard rubber soles and synthetic uppers, they're priced well and require very little commitment to wear.
These skate shoes have been designed by a team of skaters for kids who are keen and eager to try skateboarding for the first time. The pair can be purchased in two colourways, and comes in plenty of child sizes.
Made to be durable at a low price, these shoes will see your child through their formative skating years with ease. Oxelo is Decathlon's signature skate brand, which obviously doesn't hold as much street cred as the more renowned skate brands, but they will do their job just fine.
No. 1：adidas｜Busenitz Skate Shoe
No. 2：Vans｜Authentic Skate Shoe
No. 3：Etnies｜MC Rap High Skate Shoe
No. 4：Globe｜Motley Mid Skateboard Shoe
No. 5：Vans｜Slip-on Checkerboards
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