The action sport of skateboarding is one that has been around for decades, with men and women young and old jumping on their skateboards to perform insane tricks on the street and in skateparks, for both recreational and competitive exploits.
Skateboarding as a sport has increases in popularity year on year, and will make its Olympic debut at the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. As with any sport, the equipment you use for skateboarding can be the difference between winning and losing, and with so many parts: board, trucks, wheels, grip tape, to name a few, there is a lot to consider. You also need a super pair of skate shoes to keep your feet planted on the board and to provide support around the ankles to help prevent injury.
It’s that latter point that makes skate shoes different from regular everyday sneakers, so if you’re thinking about taking up the sport, you need to make sure you invest in all the right places, unless you fancy a trip to the hospital with broken bones or torn ligaments. Fortunately, there is a whole host of skate shoe manufacturers, each offering their own distinctive styles, including collaboration models with professional boarders.
But, just because they offer extra features over everyday sneakers, doesn’t mean they can’t be worn when you’re not lipsliding your way down a stair rail. They can be worn whenever you want, and so how they look may be of more importance to you, as you’ll still want to be able to pair them with your usual array of looks.
We’ve scoured the web to bring you the definitive list of manufacturers producing some of the most technically advanced, and good-looking skate shoes on the market right now.
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Alongside their range of everyday sneakers is the Catiba Pro, a dedicated skate shoe that takes a previous silhouette, but adds extra durability, comfort and grip. Features such as extra stitching as the point where you flick the board for tricks and memory foam insoles for greater arch support, make them a solid choice for amateurs and professionals.
What we particularly love about New Balance's skate shoe range is their retro-inspired design, but you'll find they're not all style and no substance. Cushioned midsoles, supportive uppers and lightweight materials make them easy to wear day in, day out, all the while keeping their shape.
For the serious skaters however, there is still much to love. Durability and breathability feature across the range, with reinforced sections around the heels and toes, and with pairs such as Nyjah Huston's signature model offering incredible levels of grip and even durable lacing, you can confident in your heel flip abilities.
Similar to Etnies, éS shoes verge on the chunkier, more padded side of things, but much to their benefit, offering ventilation, premium materials for durability and longevity, grip and comfort. And of course, with skateboarding still holding on to its 90's roots, you can keep the retro vibes going with the classic styling.
DC Shoes caters to lovers of both chunky skate shoes and more slimline offerings, that verge into lifestyle and everyday wear too. Many pairs benefit from the brand's own Super Suede and Super Rubber materials, both of which are designed to outlast their 'non-super' counterparts. Reinforced insoles mean you get extra protection for your feet when landing tricks, and DC even incorporates recycled materials into their shoes wherever possible.
Vans has achieved its success thanks to a range of incredibly stylish skate shoes that double up as easily wearable everyday shoes. Despite their lifestyle associations, they're perfectly capable when it comes to tearing up the pavement, with reinforced areas all around the shoe for extra protection and stability, while the brand's iconic gum rubber sole keeps your feet planted on the board. Such is their comfort, though, that you can easily wear them all day everyday.
Many of Converse's skateboarding shoes look remarkably similar to the styles we all know as love, including both low-top and high-top models, but add features such as CX foam insoles and CONS traction rubber for greater board feel. But because of their appealing aesthetic, you can easily wear them as regular walking shoes. So versatile.
Not only does Arbor have its own range of skateboard hardware, but its footwear collection is something to be admired too, presenting classic and easy-to-wear silhouettes with vulcanised sections for added strength, leather linings for breathability and Regrind rubber soles for second-to-none grip. A worthy alternative to the big-name brands.
It's with this in mind that Globe's skate shoes can certainly be trusted for their performance. Design-wise there is much to like, with various styles on offer for different tastes, but with many being easily integrated with everyday outfits. Materials such as suede are used heavily throughout the collections, and particular focus is put on the outsoles, which see materials such as Pro Am rubber used for excellent grip, along with the company's own Nitrolite midsole, designed for enhanced comfort.
Lakai's skate shoes are tastefully designed, serving up classic slim silhouettes that can easily be paired with jeans, chinos and casual shirts for everyday looks, while also providing the goods when it comes to performance at the skate park. Suede makes a standout feature across the vast majority of the range, while proprietary Para-Mount outsoles make an appearance, which utilises dual-density rubber for extra cushioning and to prevent your heels and ankles from rolling. Delux-Lite sickliness add the comfortable cherry atop the cake.
That's because the vast majority of Adidas' skateboarding shoes take classic models from the brand's lifestyle and Originals line, and beefs them up a little, giving them more cushioning, more traction and tougher builds to help withstand endless ollies, grinds and flip tricks. Think gum rubber outsoles, reinforced suede uppers and ankle cushioning for added protection. The perfect street skater shoe.
While the shoes themselves provide the usual list of grip and joint support, its the insoles that are the star of the show, providing incredible levels of impact protection that you'll struggle to find in shoes from other brands. They may not have the materialistic brand appeal of some others, but when the health of your joints is at stake, we really don't think that should matter.