Top 12 Best Skate Shoes (Mar. 2020): Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
As a skater, your footwear can create the difference you seek. The best skate shoes are not only comfortable, but will provide proper traction, protection, and grip, which are essential for your performance. That’s the reason you should always opt for a high-quality product.
If you’re new to skateboarding, you'll indeed face a few challenges getting the right shoes; but we’ll give you the right tips. These products are many on the market, and each variety is for a specific skateboarding style. So, having enough information about them will make it easy for you to make the right choice.
Let’s look at our top choices below.
What You Will Get Here
- Best Skate Shoes Comparison Chart (Updated 2020)
- How Did We Pick These Products?
- Our Top 12 Best Skate Shoes
- Editor’s Choice: Adidas Seeley Skate Shoe
- Hardcore Skater’s Choice: Van Authentic
- Comfortable Choice: DC Shoes Court Graffik 300529
- Choice for Wide Feet: DC Pure Shoes 300660
- Unisex Choice: VANS Sk8-Hi Unisex Casual High-Top
- Kid’s Choice: Heelys Launch Skate Shoe
- Women’s Choice: DC Womens Trase TX Skate Shoe
- A List of 5 Other Products We Reviewed
- Other Tested Products
- Differences Between Skate Shoes and Standard Shoes
- What to Consider when Buying Skate Shoes?
- Skate Shoe Maintenance Tips
Best Skate Shoes Comparison Chart (Updated 2020)
Adidas Seeley Skate ShoeRead Full Review
Van AuthenticRead Full Review
DC Shoes Court Graffik 300529Read Full Review
DC Pure Shoes 300660Read Full Review
VANS Sk8-Hi Unisex Casual High-TopRead Full Review
Heelys Launch Skate ShoeRead Full Review
DC Womens Trase TX Skate ShoeRead Full Review
DC Men’s Court Graffik Se Skate ShoeRead Full Review
DC Net Shoes 302361Read Full Review
Heelys Men’s Launch Fashion SneakerRead Full Review
NIKE SB Check Solarsoft CanvasRead Full Review
Heelys Propel 2.0Read Full Review
How Did We Pick These Products?
We chose each product on this list after careful research. Before a model features in our top 12 it must be of good quality, durable, attractive, loved by users, and affordable. We also looked beyond the brand of the items by checking the consumers’ ratings and comments to know if it’s worth buying. We were able to list 25 shoes that met our criteria.
Then, we bought and tested most of them ourselves, but we also had help from a group of volunteers looking at our inability to buy all the products. The feedback from these people helped us to build a reliable data for our research.
Since we didn’t want to concentrate on our findings alone, we checked online to see if the feedback from real-life buyers is the same with our reports. After a thorough examination of these items, we settled with our best 12 models which you can find below.
Our Top 12 Best Skate Shoes
These adidas shoes provided us with the best overall skating experience during the 12 hours of testing. Though the brand played a role in our selection process, we were amazed by their performance and build.
This one looks great but also available in various colors which are essential for those of us who’ll prefer to skate with unique outfits.
Skateboarding shoes are among the items you’ll not need to buy daily, so, you’ll desire one that’ll last for long. The synthetic material on this pair makes it suitable for heavy use.
It features a vulcanized rubber outsole that delivers the right grip, feel, and flexibility you’ll need for this activity.
In terms of protection, this adidas pair features lightweight padding at the mid-top which protects your ankle from bruises while making repeated high-jumps and landing.
You’ll notice the lace closure with metal holes which ensures they grip tightly to your legs, preventing them from slipping off your feet when skating. Currently, they’re available in about twenty different sizes to choose from, and many users are happy with the fitness.
The stitching quality is commendable, making it more durable. The three stripes and adidas logo give it a classic look.
They are breathable, and we didn’t need a period of rest while testing them. However, this pair didn’t offer the required cushioning as some of the models we’ve got here, but that’s not an issue to us considering their stylish design and durability.
It’s sold between $30 to $135 depending on the size or color you’re choosing. It was given many positive reviews, though it wasn’t the trendiest on Amazon; having scored 4.5 stars from 1375 customers at the time of this report.
The price is reasonable as most people on the budget could afford it. It’s durable, robust, and stylish for skating. It’s also perfect for wearing to school, banks, or groceries when compared with other skateboarding sneakers on the market.
This pair of trainers is a popular choice for persons who’re looking for durable and comfortable footwear. The Van Authentic is a brand you can trust for your skating activities.
Like our top pick, it’s also available in many colors and styles, making it ideal for casual use too.
Also, the sole is from vulcanized rubber which makes it perfect for performing on the hard surface.
The outsoles have a waffle traction pattern that provides the right grip and flexibility for your twists.
The upper is sturdy and resistant to scratches making it ideal for hardcore skaters. The padding at the collar helps to guarantee your overall comfort and safety.
We didn’t notice any significant issue with this product; though most buyers were dissatisfied with the quality of the cushions and the stitching.
It was more popular than our editor’s choice on Amazon, having received 4.5 stars from a total of 2,152 buyers at the time of writing. The price is reasonable as it costs between $25 to $200 depending on the selected option.
The Van Authentic is one of the most affordable models you’ll likely find, which will give you the right traction and grip for your skating needs. It’s also an excellent option for those who engage in rigorous skateboarding activities.
Looking for the best soft and stylish trainers? The Graffik 300529 is for you. What’s different about this pair?
Its main characteristic includes the holes by the side, which is the reason for its excellent breathability. Besides, they feature a well-padded tongue and collar which allows your feet to move freely, but you’ll have limited protection in the ankle areas.
It’s durable and has many qualities that’ll always catch one’s eyes. Like other top models on this list, this one is made from 100% leather and still has a sleek look that makes it perfect for most casual outings.
These shoes come with a classic shape with hi-tech elements which you’ll always appreciate. The sizes are correct as displayed and they fit perfectly on your feet, providing better balance.
The only drawback is the lack of reinforcement in the lace holes, but that’s not a big issue to us since it already has unbeatable durability.
This is an affordable pair as it’s sold between $28 to $115 depending on the design you’re selecting. So, it’s cheaper than our 2nd choice. It was also more preferred on Amazon than our top pick, scoring 4.6 stars from over 2700 buyers at the time we checked last.
The Graffik 300529 is a great purchase considering boosted paddings which delivers better comfort and support for any technical skater. It’s cheap so you wouldn’t mind buying more depending on your needs.
DC has been flooding the market with quality shoes that all skating enthusiasts will appreciate.
This 300660 model looks a little sturdier, measuring at 13 x 8 x 4 inches. It’s, therefore, more extensive than most of our top models, making it the perfect pair for persons with wide feet.
Like the Graffik 300529, it has two holes at the side too. It also features a mesh tongue that keeps your feet cool, while letting out moisture and prevents odor. Though the shoes’ quality is decent; they’re a little untrue to size. So, we recommend that you add half to your regular size when making the order.
This one features the customized DC Pill traction pattern, which aids its grip and also offers excellent flexibility. It has an abrasion-resistant rubber outsole, so you can be sure it won’t wear too fast. However, the upper is available in Suede, leather, and nubuck materials; so you can choose your preferred style.
About the price, it’s offered from $35 to $105 on Amazon. It was also one of the most popular items on this list, having received 4.3 stars out of 2873 reviews at the time of the writing.
This trainer is excellent for persons with wide feet, but you’ll enjoy the best fit when choosing a size that’s a little bigger. It’s almost at the same level by features with the Graffik 300529, but its metal lace holes are an advantage.
Vans is simply the best when considering top rated Unisex skate shoes. You’ll be amazed at the classic design and quality of this pair.
The insole is from rubber, having specific contours to make you comfortable. As a high cut type, it covers more ankle area than any other model here, offering extra protection against bruises.
It features a durable Canvas and Suede upper which feels light, yet sturdy enough to handle wild skating turns. Like our 2nd choice, this one has a waffle outsole which boosts your grip of the board. You’ll notice that it has more prolonged lace closure than any other model here while offering a stylish look; persons with flat or wide feet can wear it quickly.
It costs around $30 to $200 depending on the size. So it’s both expensive and cheap. Hence, the reason it’s occupying this position. While it had many positive reviews, most persons didn’t like the old school looks; but that’s a fashion for you. It’s Amazon score was impressive with 4.5 stars from a total of 2154 customers at the time of the research.
This pair is perfect for skating with a high top design that offers superb protection for your ankles. Though it’s coming at a price, you’ll enjoy every bit of the money you’re paying.
If you want cheap sneakers for your toddler, it’s time you looked at this Heelys model. It’s most outstanding feature is the removable wheel at the outsole. This element will allow you to perform various athletic activities with little difficulty. Besides, you can decide to take out the wheels to use it for casual wear.
They’re available in many color combinations and styles, which means you can quickly go for the one with the most considerable appeal. The sizes are in two variations; for children aged 4 – 8 and 8 – 12. We’ve noticed that it didn’t come in half sizes, so most persons may not get the ideal one for their feet.
The upper part is made from canvas which is cheap, light, and breathable but not as durable as those models with leather.
It’s priced between $11 to $100 on Amazon. So most persons on limited budget will afford it. So far, it was given 4.5 stars out of 957 reviews which proves that many of the buyers were satisfied.
This one will be a beautiful gift for your kid. It comes at a cheap rate making it the right choice for fresh skaters. It’s the first on this list with a removable wheel.
These shoes deliver incredible comfort as they’re primarily for womens feet. The soles are flat and feel soft, giving you the right protection when skateboarding.
Like other DC models here, these shoes have the logo at the tongue, side, and heel areas. They come with a sticky resistant rubber sole which can withstand the pressure from your leg movements. It also features the popular Pill thread pattern which grips to your board and also offers excellent traction when you’re walking.
From our experience, this pair is ideal for persons with narrow feet. Also, you may experience a few cases of slip, but you can get a firmer grip by tightening the laces.
It comes under the $40 price range, which is not too high considering its features. Its score on Amazon was impressive, with 4.2 stars out of 736 customer ratings at the time of the research.
The features on these shoes are beyond the price tag, and they’re not only for skating since they’re fashionable and robust enough for other uses.
A List of 5 Other Products We Reviewed
If you’re considering to buy the right footwear for skating, this might be the one you need. The Court Graffik pair is made for anyone who wants a reliable and durable sneaker for daily practices or outings. The upper is of pure leather, making it perfect for all skateboarding maneuverings.
It delivered a more refreshing feel than our top pick since it has a mesh tongue and side vents for a better flow of air. Also, the tongue and collar have extra foam while offering superb comfort and stability to the user. The sole is made from vulcanized rubber, giving it a smoother finish, soft feel, and flexibility.
It has the same issue with our 3rd choice, which is the lack of reinforcement on the lace holes.
Meanwhile, this is fine by us since it does well at protecting the feet from hurting.
If you look at its features, the price which is a little above $50 seems like a good bargain. You might be the first or only person to buy this product on Amazon since only a few were in stock at the time of writing. However, we hope that more will be available over time.
Overall, we’ll say that DC did an excellent job when creating these shoes as it’s one of the best options you’ll get on the market for the price.
DC Shoes 302361 are made to withstand the harshest skating surfaces. They feature a thick cupsole that feels hard at first but becomes more flexible with frequent use helping you to gain more control of the board.
This pair is perfect for anyone with big feet who needs more padding in the most frequently used regions.
During our research, we discovered that it'd take at least six months of consistent use before it develops slight signs of wear, then it’ll need a replacement after the next six months. So, it’s worth the investment since you’ll enjoy it for a long time irrespective of the frequency of use.
This pair features a lightweight mesh tongue along with small holes by the side for comfort and better airflow.
These shoes are attractive with many designs to suit your taste, making it perfect if you intend wearing it casually. They’re made in the US and of high-quality materials.
On Amazon, they can be picked around $30 to $110 and received 4.4 stars out of 961 reviews at the time of writing.
Overall, these shoes are worth having and made, especially for skaters as they’re with all the features you’ll need to improve your skills.
This Heelys Men’s pair boasts of all you’ll desire in skateboarding including a wheel in the sole that makes your sessions more practicable and adventurous. Whether it’s the ability to take shocks or control of skateboards, this one is in for it.
While you’ll feel awkward when walking on these shoes, removing the wheels is tough for some persons, and you could damage the boots if you’re using the wrong tools.
However, this one is available in more sizes and colors than our kiddies’ choice, so you have more options to make. The build quality and design are high coupled with the padded collar, which offers excellent support.
This Heelys Men’s model features vulcanized rubber outsole making it a lot more flexible on the feet than our 9th choice. You’ll notice that the fourth lace eyelet is left open to allow you to bend your feet freely when landing on the board.
It received many positive reviews on Amazon; hence, it scored 4.4 stars from 728 users. It costs between $60 to $100, so it’s still in the mid-range price.
This Heelys Men’s pair looks excellent and will meet the needs of most skaters. However, it’s not ideal for walking, and other non-skating activities except you take out the wheels, but you’ll appreciate it’s durable and worth.
NIKE is among the leading manufacturers of sportswear in the world with the commitment to keeping their shoes robust and straightforward. Before you’re carried away by the brand, let’s show you what this item has to offer.
This pair of trainers features a Suede upper, which is more durable than Canvas and capable of withstanding the shock from the jumps. Besides, it comes with a Solarsoft sock liner insole and a flex-wrap outsole that combines to deliver high-quality cushioning without interfering with your flexibility.
Cleaning this one wasn’t difficult when compared to other models on this list since it’s machine washable. The lace setup is excellent with reinforcement at the end for better durability and fit. We’ve observed its drawstring closure is easier to use and doesn’t loosen when you’re performing.
This one was among the least trending products on the list, but we were happy with its rating of 4.5 stars from 353 buyers at the time we checked. Finally, it’s sold between $50 to $175 depending on your preferred size.
This pair of shoes not only look attractive but fit perfectly. It’s robust and impervious to scratches or stain. However, it seems a little more expensive than many of our top models, but you shouldn’t expect less from a product with such quality.
Heelys has come to stay when it comes to the manufacture of high-performance skating footwear. A lot of persons believe that competent quality adult Heelys don’t exist, but here’s one that dispels the myth.
These shoes are available in various sizes covering the needs of both adults and children. It offers more options by color and dimensions than our kid's choice.
The shoes are fun to wear. Like other Heelys models we’ve listed, once you can remove the wheels, you’ll be able to walk or run with it, feeling great and comfortable.
The insole is well-padded to ensure that you’re getting the soft feel for your skating. New users may experience a little hard time when trying to skate at first, but you’ll master the arts after a few days of practice.
It’s trendy, nice looking and affordable. So, you’ll get it around $15 to $100 on Amazon depending on the style you’ve chosen. It had over 1500 reviews and scored 4.4 stars at the time of the writing.
These shoes are trendy, cute, comfortable, and budget-friendly. It becomes more versatile after removing the wheels, and there are caps on the soles to cover the holes. Aside from the small issues, you’ll have more fun with them.
Other Tested Products
- 01DC Men's Villain TX Slip-on Skate Shoes Skateboarding
- 02DC Shoes Mens Shoes Stag - Shoes 320188
- 03Etnies Jameson 2 Eco Skate Shoe
- 04Converse Women's Chuck Taylor All Star Leather High Top Sneaker
- 05Reebok Work Men's Soyay RB1910 Skate Style EH Safety Shoe
- 06Etnies Fader Skate Shoe
- 07Vans U Authentic, Unisex Adults’ Sneakers
- 08Adidas Men's Skateboarding The Busenitz Sneaker
- 09Etnies Men's Kingpin Skateboarding Shoe
- 10Vans Unisex Adults' Sk8-hi Reissue Leather Trainers
- 11Vans VEE3NVY Unisex Authentic Shoes
Differences Between Skate Shoes and Standard Shoes
Skateboarding shoes and standard trainers have different designs and build such that you can feel it when wearing.
Skating footwear has more padding in the collars and tongues than on regular sports shoes. This feature helps protect your ankles from injuries when you’re working out. The pair’s bottom grip is another area of concern since it determines your stability on the board.
The clasps on most sneakers might not work on the board, but skateboard types have gripping designs that build proper traction on the surfaces. The outsoles for skateboarding shoes have more exterior waffles which create better contact with the grip tape.
It’s almost impossible for you to skate successfully without wearing the right shoes as they come with specialized designs to give you an exciting skating experience.
Many skating shoes are from high-quality leather materials to improve your comfort and feel.
They fit tightly, but it’s best to wear socks to reduce the hurting on the feet. So, they are suitable for your feet as long as you’re wearing the right pair with socks.
Skating pair is suitable for movement control but not perfect for running because of their excessive grip and friction. You’ll need less frictional force when running but more traction when skateboarding.
What to Consider when Buying Skate Shoes?
The upper material is the most crucial part of the skating shoes since it has the most contact with the board. If you’re into tricks, you’ll want a material that can deliver exceptional feel and flick. But you’ll need ones that are light and breathable for cruises.
Most trendy sneakers materials include
- Canvas – This textile material is perfect for light and occasional skating. It’s thin and light but less durable.
- Suede – This is the most popular material for trainers as they’re more durable and delivers higher flicks.
- Grain leather – All layers of sides include leather. It’s also durable but offers less grip and flick.
- Synthetic leather – They have almost the same features as real leather but are human-made.
- High cut – You might not enjoy limitless moves with a high cut type, but you’re sure of getting optimum ankle protection. It can take much of the impact when the board is getting too close to your ankles though you can’t avoid ankle spraining. Most high cut brands come with extra pads for better cushioning. However, your feet will sweat more since there is not much escape route for air but wearing the right pair of socks will solve the issue.
- Low cut – These offer the best mobility but least by weight when compared to both high and mid-cut types. Their only disadvantage is the inadequate padding which could cause your ankles to suffer from hurting.
- Mid-cut – These sneakers offer the perfect balance between mobility and ankle protection.
The smoothness and quality of the stitch work can speak a lot about its durability and reliability. Most skate shoes have two or three layers of stitching to reduce the rate of a tear. Areas that are likely to develop wear should have extra stitching, but gluing can help in its reinforcement.
4. Sole type
Skate shoes have either a cupsole or vulcanized rubber sole. You’ll have a different feel with each due to their methods of manufacture.
In vulcanized, the rubber is heated under high temperature and pressure before it’s attached to the sole, making it softer and gummy. While you’ll enjoy a fantastic grip and feel with this one, it’s durability and impact protection are a little low when compared to cupsoles.
Most skating enthusiasts prefer cupsoles because of their excellent ankle support and protection. However, they’re less flexible and offer less feel; though we see improvements in these areas.
If you’re wearing the right fit, you’ll feel neither pain nor discomfort. The shoes shouldn’t be too tight or loose. We advise that you wear socks while testing out the shoes in the store and probably in the afternoon hours when the feet might swell. If you’re buying online, try to read the fitness chart and the comments from the previous buyers. Moreover, you should know the right ways of lacing skate shoes to get a perfect fit.
Whether you’re on a limited budget or not, you wouldn’t want to buy a pair that’ll burn out in a few months. No matter you’re skating routine or style, you’ll want a shoe with excellent abrasive resistance and durability.
The quality of the cushioning on the shoe will influence your comfortability. You’ll find these extra paddings in the heel, midsole, and insole, which helps in impact absorption and prevention of hurting heels.
There is no need to wear a pair of trainers with inadequate contact on the skating surface. Quality traction results in greater control, giving you more exceptional ability to make various tricks and turns. It’s a lot harder to maintain stability right after a jump if the grip is weak.
All skate sneakers have a distinct look, but a few come with specialized designs that make it more eye-catchy. The style also matters since no one will want to ride with an ugly pair of shoes.
Most trainers come with small vents on the upper that allows for natural evaporation of sweat and flow of air, making you feel relaxed even in hot weather. Besides, it helps to reduce the activity of bacteria which causes unwanted odor.
Skate Shoe Maintenance Tips
Everything in life, including your ideal skating wear, wants maintenance and proper handling to last longer. You’ll be amazed at how long you’ll enjoy your new shoes after applying the following tips.
- Spot the areas that’ll likely wear first – Most areas of your skate shoes will wear more than the others depending on your skating styles or the footwear. Some of them include the shoe’s front, sides, and laces. We recommend that you patch or reinforce these parts once the early wear signs appear.
- Glue the stitches – applying super glue to the stitches on the areas that contact your grip tape will reduce the rate of the tear.
- Suede uppers are always better – The material for the shoes plays a significant role in their longevity. So, Suede and leather are more durable than canvas, but reinforcing them will improve their lifespan. If possible, you should only use canvas shoes occasionally since it tends to wear faster, especially when skating with new grip tape. Leather is an excellent alternative to Suede only if you’re getting one that is treated or has multiple layers.
- Patch holes with shoe goo – There are specialized glues for fixing skate shoes making the more durable. Once you spot holes in the shoes, don’t hesitate to fill them with a goo. If you can, patch the inside first with duct tape before applying the glue outside.
- Regular cleaning – Washing your shoes may not improve its durability but will ensure that it looks new and attractive each time you’re hitting the streets.
Skate shoes are for riding on skateboards though a lot of persons use them as casual wear. The best skate shoes come with features that boost your comfort, control, stability, and overall skating experience. Once the boots have enough cushioning along with a comfy insole; then you’re on the right path.
Ensure that you read reviews from other people who had skated with these shoes before making your payment. Sometimes, you might need to spend a little more to get a top-quality product since cheaper models may not offer proper comfort or support. Of course, you can’t go wrong with any of the models on this buying guide. All of our shoes are for a reason, and we hope you’ll soon decide on the one to get.