Note: Durability Matters is reader-supported. When you buy through Amazon links on our website, we'll make a small commission without impacting your price. Thank you. Learn more.
A board and a pair of shoes become your family, the more you use them. It can be a sad day when you lose one of them, and by investing in a pair of durable skate shoes, you don’t have to worry about that. A pair of long-lasting skate shoes will get you through the good times and the bad. They will hold up when everything else is falling down around you. They will bring you stability and comfort. They will also look great too.
- Weight & Construction
- Our Top Picks
- Vans Sk8-Hi Unisex Durable Skate Shoes
- DC Men’s Court Graffik SE Skate Shoe
- Fallen Men’s Slash Skateboard Shoe
- Vans Men’s Low-Top Sneakers
- DC Men’s Spartan High WC TX SE Skate Shoe
- Wrap Up
We have been looking at skate shoes for a while now and have set out to find the most reliable and durable shoes there are. Before settling on the best ones out there, we set some criteria through which we measured the shoes. Check out what we looked at and then pick a pair of amazing shoes from our list.
For those not in the know, skateboarding shoes are much like any other shoe, but that is a big misconception. Skate shoes need to be rough and tough to keep up with the daily grind of skating (excuse the pun). Each part needs to be durable, and the elements need to work together. That includes the outsole, midsole, and upper.
If you have ever worn a pair of skate shoes or handled them, then you know that they are a different breed. They simply do wear down as quickly as a regular pair of shoes. That’s down to the materials. Different materials, different production methods, and different needs translate to a different breed of shoe. The key piece, however, is the sole (midsole & outsole).
If you want anything to be long-lasting, then you need to find durable material and superior construction. Suede and canvas are often used for skate shoes. They are both durable and comfortable, though canvas can tear easier than suede. Both materials are soft and flexible. For a little more rigidity, then leather is often a popular choice. If you are averse to choosing suede or leather, then there are some vegan alternatives out there.
For the sole of the shoe, you should be looking for a high-quality rubber or polyurethane. Rubber will give you a good grip on your board, will hold up to abrasions, and provide comfort when you are planting your foot on the hard ground. Many newer skate shoes are coming with rubber soles modeled after car tires. These soles can be up to three times more durable than regular rubber soles.
Rugged sole (in the shoe) is the place to start and, once you have that, you can move onto the other components. We recommend a high-quality rubber, preferably one which has been vulcanized, and a pattern on the bottom, created explicitly for skating, is a bonus. The best tricks don’t only deal with the bottom of your shoe, so you will need to pay particular attention to the upper too.
Cupsoles vs. Vulcanized Construction
The way the sole is attached to the shoe can dictate how durable the shoe is.
Cupsoles (sewn-in soles) last longer than vulcanized due to the way in which they are attached. They are densely padded and will last longer; they also protect the shoe from wear. The downside is that you do not get as much feel from them.
Vulcanized shoes give you more feel when you are on your board. They are also extremely light. The compromise with these shoes is that you do not have as much foot support or comfort. The type of shoe you choose will depend on your personal needs.
One thing which you should look out for, no matter what type of sole you choose, is the material on the toe. With constant rubbing against foot tape, the toe can wear down and become uncomfortable. On the inside, you should look for extra padding to protect your toes. On the outside, the material should be reinforced and grippy.
The upper of your skate shoe is often seen as an afterthought, but there is a lot more to it than just aesthetics. While many people look at the design and style of the upper, the build and materials are much more critical. There should be durability, flexibility, and stability in your shoe upper, and the material should also be comfortable and breathable. It should hold up to the task at hand while looking good too.
Suede and leather are always excellent choices when it comes to a shoe upper. For skate shoes, those are two of the best materials which you can choose. They are flexible enough to move with you on the board and durable enough to deal with general wear and tear, especially when you add double-stitching into the mix.
You get what you pay for, and cheaper shoes can often rub and chafe. Look for high-quality materials, and skate in comfort all day long.
If you have ever skated, then you know that you need superior ankle support. Your joints are critical in many sports, and ankle support is a must for the perfect skate shoe. The heel notch, top line, stitch seam, collar, and collar lining are all going to work together to support your ankle and save you from unnecessary injuries.
When you are skating, you should be able to move and twist freely without obstruction while being able to perform on your board. The best pair of skate shoes have the perfect balance between support and mobility.
As you are moving, there are always impacts. Jumps from heights put stress on your feet, and this is where cushioning comes in. The midsole needs to be able to support your foot while providing the cushioning to lessen impacts. Shock-absorption is essential for protecting your feet and ankles.
The final part is the grip on the outsole. If your shoe is constantly slipping, then you run a greater risk of damaging your foot and ankle. An excellent grip means better stability and control.
In skating, traction is important. You need traction in your wheels, on your shoes, and for your Instagram following. A high-quality skate shoe will have superior traction.
With more contact between your shoe and the board, you get more stability when you skate. Cheaper shoes either use lesser materials or do not have the same patterns on the sole (usually to save some money). You need friction to do your tricks, so paying a little more is going to give you what you want: the ability to skate on a high level.
Grip and stability give you a better and safer landing. The higher the jump, the harder it is to nail the landing, so the grip and stability become even more crucial. If you cannot grip the board, your foot is going to slip, and you are going to risk an injury.
Weight & Construction
The type of sole will dictate how heavy or light the shoes are, and the material will too. Modern shoes are becoming lighter as technology is improving, but you may find that the lighter the shoe, the less support and comfort you get. You can also find that a shoe has been made light at the expense of the materials used, and we all know that substandard materials are going to fall apart quicker.
A heavier shoe will often have more durability but can weigh you down when it comes to landing tricks. You want to stay as light as you can but still benefit from long-long-lasting shoes. In the end, weight is a personal preference, and you should wear what you are comfortable with.
If you want a shoe which is put together well, then look for a lack of glue. A shoe with a lot of stitching to hold the shoe in place will last you a lot longer than a shoe which is glued together. A shoe which is glued will come apart over time, especially when you are skating for long periods. Look for double stitching for exceptionally durable skate shoes.
Padding on the interior will also help the shoe to have a long life. The less the shoe slips and moves, the better it is. The extra padding will also provide more comfort and support for your feet, motivating you to skate for longer and get your money’s worth from the shoes.
Skate shoes are definitely not cheap but that does not mean that they cannot be affordable. If you want a skate shoe which still lasts you for a long time, then you should be prepared to pay a little more for them. You could go with a cheaper option but they will wear out quicker, and you will find yourself spending more money in the long run.
You are not going to suffer from soles coming off or the shoes coming apart. It is expensive to repair shoes so when they are damaged, they are often replaced.
Our Top Picks
All of these skate shoes meet our criteria for quality and durability. There’s also something for every budget; you can buy any of these pairs and rest assured that it will be the right decision.
Vans Sk8-Hi Unisex Durable Skate Shoes
Where would any skate shoe list be without a pair of Vans? These shoes are 100% canvas and come in a variety of colors and sizes, so you can be sure to find a pair for you. They have a classic look with two-tone designs. The details highlight the look of the shoe without being over the top. The shoes also benefit from a lot of stitching to hold them together. When we see a lot of stitching, we know that the shoes are going to last. The shoes also benefit from the stitching as a design feature. The stitches reinforce and form part of the design of the shoe.
The sole of the shoe extends the retro look and vintage feel of this shoe while doing everything it can to make you a better skater. The rubber sole is impact-resistant, bringing you lots of comfort. The sole will also help you to grip to the board and road, giving you more speed when you push off and more control when you are landing your tricks. The signature waffle design on the bottom of the shoe enhances your feel when you are on the board.
The vulcanized construction makes these shoes durable and long-lasting while giving a lot of comfort. They look great, feel great, and will remain intact for a long time.
DC Men’s Court Graffik SE Skate Shoe
DC makes some great shoes, and especially so when it comes to skate shoes. We like the simple black and white design of these shoes but there is also a variety of color schemes to choose from. There is also a size for everyone. These shoes will look great when you are on your board.
You will like how much breathability you get with these shoes. There are small vent holes near to the sole of the shoe. This lets the air flow around the inside of the shoe, keeping your feet cool and wicking away the moisture from the inside. This increases the longevity of your shoe. Sweat and other moisture can break down the interior materials of a shoe, so it is always a good idea to keep the insides dry.
The shoes are comfortable, and you will find additional comfort from the padded tongue and collar. When your feet are inside, they will be cushioned and supported when you are skating. This also stops your foot from slipping and creates less chance for the shoes to wear or for your feet to rub and become sore.
The trademarked pill-pattern soles on the bottom not only look great but give you great traction too. If you have ever been on a skateboard (and I am sure that you have), then you will know how important that is.
Fallen Men’s Slash Skateboard Shoe
You have two choices of color with this shoe, blue and camel, or gray and red. Both have a simple elegance which makes them much more than just a skate shoe. These shoes look so good that you will want to wear them all of the time and not just for skating. Pair them with any outfit or occasion.
The shoes are crafted from 100% leather, so you know they are going to last. The great thing about leather shoes is that they are not only durable, but they are breathable too. The air will naturally circulate, wicking away the moisture and lengthening the life of the shoe. You also have a rubber sole on the bottom of the shoe for a great grip. The toe of the shoe is seamless, creating a shoe with no weak points, and the ollie area is reinforced with stitching. This area is often worn down quickly, but with this shoe, you do not have to worry about it.
The outsole is vulcanized and abrasion resistant for improved grip and traction on your board while the insole is EVA for improved impact cushioning. A great all-round shoe for any skater.
Vans Men’s Low-Top Sneakers
These shoes are simple and effective. They are more than just a skate shoe, with a low-top design that gives the shoes a lot of versatility. They can be worn with any outfit, and any of the color choices will fit with almost any occasion. They are elegant, classy, and stylish.
The gum rubber sole gives you amazing grip and traction when you are off the board or on it and will absorb some of the impact when you land a trick (or land without your board). The shoes are reinforced at the back of the shoe to add extra strength to the shoe, especially in an area which can break down quickly. The additional stitching adds strength and toughness to the shoe. We also like the Vans branding on the back of the shoe. Of course, there is also the classic waffle sole on the bottom.
These shoes are among the most comfortable shoes out there. As soon as you slip your feet into them, you will feel that your feet are home. They will stay comfortable throughout the day — a great skate shoe for long skate sessions.
DC Men’s Spartan High WC TX SE Skate Shoe
These skate shoes look like no other. They are high and wide, giving them a look which the other shoes on the list do not have. If you like the high-top style, then you will fall in love with these. They are crafted from 100% textile material giving them a look which is also a world apart from the shoes on our list. We like the color combination with lots of muted colors and muted looks, but the detailed stitching gives them a look which you cannot draw your eye away from.
The rubber sole is thick and will absorb a lot of impact, bringing you continual comfort when you are skating. There is also a mesh lining which helps the air to circulate and wick away any moisture. The less moisture which sits in your shoe, the longer the shoe is going to last. There is also a padded tongue and collar for extra padding and support — a great skate shoe which is functional and stylish.
You know that you want the best, and we know that you want the best, and that is precisely what you deserve. Choose a pair from this list and know that you have the potential and safety to skate like a legend. Every journey begins with a single step, and that step should come with grip, comfort, and protection. Start with the right pair of shoes, and get out there and show them what you can do.