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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.
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.
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.
1. Emerica Tilt G6 Eco
Built for ultimate durability, Emerica’s Tilt G6 Ecos are made with strengthened vulcanized rubber, recycled suedes, soybean textiles, and Lyocel. Add in a rubber Flick Shield, an extra heel bumper, and a one-piece reinforced vamp, and you have yourself a shoe that will hold its own, and you, on the halfpipe. The G6 Foam Insoles, engineered by the Sole Technology Institute, are made from high rebound foam for shock protection and spring.
This shoe may leave a big footprint, but not a carbon one. The recycled desert grip tread, recycled poly laces, biodegradable Lyocel, recycled suedes, and plant-based construction all show Emerica’s willingness to care for the environment. Their Eco collection is made from as much biodegradable and recycled material as possible, to lower the environmental impact of both the company and the wearer. Emerica’s tagline for this range is, “Made for the planet, made for skateboarding”, and they are.
2. Vans Translucent Rubber Skate Sk8-Hi
This redesigned Vans Transculent Rubber Skate Sk8-Hi gives you all the old-school look you want with all the modern conveniences you need. Featuring repositioned DURACAP™ reinforced underlays and a new 2-part foxing tape with a deeper knurl pattern on the toe, this shoe is more durable than its predecessors. It also has a new molded heel counter for better control, and internal tongue straps that will lock your feet in and help keep you on your board.
The fully redesigned taller uppers are made from suede and canvas for that classic look, but with added durability, and even the iconic Vans gum rubber sole has been improved with the use of their new SickStick™ rubber compound that offers a superior grip and board feel. For the best impact protection and comfortable cushioning, POPCUSH™ (Van’s best cushioning yet) energy return footbeds have been included, along with internal heel stiffeners for extra support and stability.
3. DC Metric Shoes
The DC Metric is a shoe designed by skateboarders for skateboarders. DC knows the rigors a skate shoe is exposed to, and they have made this shoe stand up to that level of stress. With a limited edition premium nubuck upper stitched with reinforced SUPER STITCH™ that will hold its own against grip tape, the Metric is a hardy, durable, and super comfortable shoe.
Built for hard work, the Metric has high-abrasion mesh panels that offer breathability in all the right places, as well as ultra-breathable AEROTECH mesh on the tongue that allows heat to escape, cooling your feet as you skate. The IMPACT-FOAM™ midsoles are lightweight and high-rebound so that your foot is perfectly cushioned, but still able to sense the board.
The outsole is made from 20% recycled RE/GRIP™ RUBBER, DC’s own compound that is environmentally friendly, but just as strong as normal rubber. Also, eco-conscious are the IMPACT-ALG™ insoles that protect your feet from tough landings and keep the soles of your feet comfortable. The lining is made from recycled NatureTex® for ultimate breathability.
4. Emerica The Dickson Men’s Low Top Vulc Skate Shoe
The Dickson is pro skater Jon Dickson’s first pro model in Emerica’s range of stylish skate shoes. With 13 trendy color combinations to choose from, this microfiber suede shoe is a must-have for the avid skater or skater wannabe. From the Flick Shield rubber inlay and the impact resistant polyurethane G6 insole (sporting custom Jon Dickson artwork), to the Desert Grip tread outsole, this shoe is built to last.
The old-school double-wrapped Vulcanized construction of this shoe is complemented by all the comfort afforded by the soft cuff Achilles foam padding, and the heel halo fit system with built-in lycra tongue straps. The triangle tread outsoles ensure the best possible grip, and extended lifespan of the soles.
Whether you’re a skater, a spectator, or just an urban street walker, these shoes will keep your feet comfortable and breathing through the daily grind. So choose your color and get skating (or walking) in a super cool pair of Emerica Dicksons.
5. Fallen Revolver Billy Marks
The Billy Marks Revolver by Fallen is a classic shoe that has been brought back from retirement for fans of the original Fallen style. The company’s design team has worked together to try and restore the much-loved shoe design in all its beloved glory, while also using modern technology and inventions to ensure that it is both comfortable and durable, with the right support for your foot, as any skate shoe should be in this day and age.
The new Impact Foam II insoles offer long-lasting cushioned comfort, while the stitched cupsole construction and the abrasion-resistant outsole ensure long-lasting strength that will stand up to the stresses of daily wear and tear. Enjoy this re-release of the original Revolver that keeps in mind Billy Marks’ original vision.
6. Vans Men’s Low-Top Sneakers
These Vans Low-Top Sneakers 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 that 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.
7. Vans AVE Knit
Anthony Van Engelen is a perfectionist, and you can rest assured that he would only put his name on the king of all Vans shoes. If Vans is the king of all skate shoes, then this shoe is the king of kings. Uncompromising and technically advanced, the AVE Knit features the best of Vans skate shoe technologies.
The shoe combines DURACAP™ underlays and RAPIDWELD no-sew technology with the famous Vans LuxLiner™ inner, to give you the best in durability and comfort. The new UltimateWaffle™ construction of the outsole offers superior grip, excellent support, and the best in cushioning and comfort. Made from the Van Doren™ Gum Rubber Compound, the soles offer that famous grip and support that Vans has always been known for.
The Vans AVE Knit is built from leather and mesh textiles, as well as synthetic uppers that are strong and durable. For extra support, the LuxLiner™ tongue is matched with a comfortable internal liner that will lock your foot in and hold you steady while you skate.
What To Know Before Buying Skate Shoes
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 And 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 that is glued together. A shoe that 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.