8 of the Most Durable Skate Shoes - Buying Guide

8 of the Most Durable Skate Shoes – Buying Guide

What is a Skate Shoe?

Skate shoes AKA skateboard shoes are a special type of footwear that is designed to withstand rough skateboarding. These are flat-soled (to allow better board control) and usually made from suede. Some regular wear and tear and holes are inevitable but they normally last longer than running shoes.

Skate shoes are designed to improve performance whether you’re cruising, tranny skateboarding, or street skating. They’re a popular fashion choice among non-skate boarders too.

In skate shoes, there’s a wide range of available options and you can find pretty much anything that you want in a skate shoe.

Types of Skate Shoes

According to the top size, skate shoes can be divided into three types: high-top, mid-top, and low-top shoes.

High-top Shoes

The high-top skate shoes are usually high-cut and come up to the ankles. Due to the higher cut, they offer more stability, additional padding, and more safety, protection, and cushioning around your ankle. They also keep you warmer, which can be a big advantage when skating. High-cut skate shoes are often used as winter shoes because of their height.

Mid-top Shoes

Mid-top skate shoes are the perfect compromise between high-tops and low-tops. They’re not too high or too low, and their laces typically fall somewhere under or right at the ankles. Additionally, they offer high stability dampening and reasonable padding. As they stay warm and dry during the winter days, they’re often used as transitional shoes In the coldest months.

Low-top Shoes

Low-top skate shoes are for those who are looking for simple lightweight footwear. The padding around the ankle area is ditched in favor of lightweight. Although, you won’t have to compromise on cushioning and dampening thanks to the highly developed insoles.

Sole Types

The sole of your shoe is at the bottom part that comes in contact with your feet and the ground. Your comfort and the feel of your skate shoes depend on the soles. Multiple soles are built into one shoe to meet various requirements of the user.

A skateboard shoe sole is further divided into three components:

  • Insole
  • Midsole
  • Outsole


Insoles come directly in contact with your feet and are all about the individual needs of the wearer. In most shoes, insoles are removable or interchangeable. This means that you can not only replace them when they wear out, but also switch to another insole and let the first one dry out.

In different skate shoe model, insoles come with diverse features such as:

  • Extra cushioning: gel pillows are sewn into the insoles.
  • Adaptable insoles: provides extra comfort.
  • EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetone): a soft, elastic, and durable synthetic heat-resistant material
  • Ortholite insoles: breathable, antibacterial insoles that are, and resilient. Keep your feet cool for longer.
  • Dual density: offers additional flexibility, comfort, and durability.

People often use shoe inserts that are designed specifically for skateboarders. They keep your shoes from dampening, protect you against foot injuries, and relieve your joint muscles.


Since the most important requirement in a skate shoe is stability, outsoles are an important factor to consider. It should be firm and flexible with good grip, and stability. Great outsoles come integrated with air pads and other shock-absorbing cushioning.


Midsoles lie between the outsole and the insole. Ordinarily made from EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate) or phylon, midsoles are the main dampening component of the shoe. Nearly all major shoe brands have developed their own midsoles, and the most popular ones are the Max Air, Lunar Footbed, and Zoom technology from Nike, Adidas Skateboarding BOOST soles, and Etnies STI Revolution Foam and DC Unilite soles.

Cup Soles

The cup soles incorporate a separate insole, midsole (made with lightweight and plastic foam, and an outsole. The outsole is usually glued and sewn to the midsole and the insole is either glued or simply inserted into the shoe.

A shoe with a cup sole is usually quite stable and offers better dampening (compared to the Vulc soles). These properties make it excellent for skating gaps and steps. On the downside, these soles take longer to break in as they’re heavier and less flexible.

Vulcanized Soles

Vulcanized Soles are thinner, lightweight, soft, and offer great flexibility. That results in an amazing board feel, because, unlike cup soles, the individual rubber parts in vulcanized soles are glued together and stuck to the upper part via a narrow rubber strip.

Shoes with vulcanized soles don’t need to be broken in first before you can start rough skating. On the downside, these soles don’t dampen as much as cup soles, wear out relatively faster, and are more prone to abrasion.

Profile Soles

Various shoe manufacturers offer different shoe profiles that give an extra boost to both cup soles and vulcanized soles. Some popular shoe profiles include:

  • Herringbone profile
  • Waffle sole (developed by Vans, exclusively for skateboarding.

Nowadays, ultralight shoes (such as Nike Free Soles) are trending that work as both sneakers and after-skate shoes. Thicker soles are used mainly in winter shoes and outdoor shoes provide appropriate grip in snowy and wet weather conditions.

Shoe Material

Leathers fall into a lot of different categories and that’s why brands put stickers or tags on shoes. Those stickers or tags contain small pictures or symbols that tell you the legally determined material of various shoe components.


The most popular skate shoe material – suede is the term used for any leather that has a rough surface and was produced from the soft underside of the animal hide. Suede is known for its durability, softness, and stretchiness. That’s an all-in-one package for skateboarders. Since suede is both tough and stretchable, you can go for a fitted skate shoe and then break it into a perfect fit for your foot.

Mostly, the outer part of skate shoes is made with suede, but it’s also used in making heavily stressed spots such as toecaps or the Ollie area.

Patent Leather

The opposite of suede is patent leather AKA coated leather – made from the outer layer of the animal hide. Compared to suede, it’s thinner, less durable, but lightweight. It usually comes with an extra color layer or coat.


Leather shoes aren’t exactly an ethical fashion choice, and if you want to avoid leather, then there are multiple options for you! The alternative to leather shoes is textile shoes – made with fabric such as cotton. The fabric includes knit, woven, or bound materials. It’s made from:

  1. Natural fibers: animal or plant fibers like wool or flax.
  2. Synthetic fibers: viscose or nylon.

For skateboarding, canvas shoes aren’t exactly a durable choice. They’re not water-resistant, but are lightweight and offer more breathability. Textile shoes are easily recognizable from the special symbols on them.

Vegan Shoes

Veganism is a lifestyle, and that includes shoes. The skateboarding industry is continuously striving towards adding vegan options to its collections. You can easily find shoes that are manufactured without using animal by-products. Many brands now use water-based adhesives to show their commitment to the cause and customers.

Shoe Features

Alongside basic shoe characteristics like material and sole, skate shoes also offer extra features that set them apart from the rest. Let’s explore some of the most common features of a skate shoe.


Seams are a critical part of any skate shoe, and every skater is familiar with the “tearing of the seam” dilemma. Since skate shoes are especially prone to wear and tear, their seams are uniquely reinforced to reduce wear and tear. Let’s not forget that some wear and tear is inevitable, and no shoe (however greatly sewn) is prone to eventual decay.

Even so, skate shoes must have double or triple seams in the heel and toe cap area. That’s because those spots wear out quickly due to the grip tape. Although, seamless toe caps are more common as all shoes are not additionally reinforced. The solution to this issue is a seamless toe cap. Not only will you get rid of the interfering seams, but it will also make for a comfortable flick.


Skatin exposes your feet, ankles, and joints to rigorous stress. To reduce the impact when you’re doing harder tricks, shoe companies add different types of upholstery in the skate shoes. Additionally, the tongue, heel areas, and sides are padded to increase comfort and reduce the probability of injuries.


No one likes sweaty feet! Especially when you’re skating, the extra moisture can be uncomfortable and even dangerous. Optimal ventilation is key when it comes to the comfort level and feel of your skate shoe.

Breathing holes AKA perforations are breathable upper material that allows fresh air to circulate and prevent moisture. Some shoe manufacturers take it a step further and add perforated sides to the mix or use a tongue made of airy material.

Shoe Laces

Shoelaces are among the most difficult puzzles that we had to solve as a kid. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. So, unless you prefer velcro straps, laces are the final feature.

Even the shoelaces in skate shoes are different from the regular shoes. Due to the grip tape,the upper material and soles of skate shoes wear out. Hence, a shoelace made of leather or waxed is a clever choice. Plastic or metal eyelets also protect the laces and increase their life enormously.

Shoes for Your Feet

Even after careful selection, at the end of the day, you want something that your feet love! We’ve all been told over time that: “You just need to break in the shoe, they’re not tight!” or “You’ll grow into them”.

The reality is a little different. If your shoes are hurting your feet, then it’s about time you got rid of them!

When choosing a shoe, you need to make sure that they’re not too tight, not too big for your feet. The rule of thumb is to choose a pair that has a small space (about the size of your thumb’s width). That will give you enough space to accommodate growth and you’ll have the option of adding insoles for extra dampening and comfort.

Some people prefer an exact fit for skateboarding, which increases the skateboarding feel and for tricks.

Skate Shoe Cuts

It’s easy to recognize a shoe cut by looking at the sole, which most shoe manufacturers display. You want to select a shoe cut that’s suitable for your specific foot type. We will discuss the most common shoe dilemmas below.

Large Feet

Wide, clunky shoes usually look great on large feet.

Wide Feet

Don’t go for a narrow-cut, as it will probably be harsh on your toes. Select a shoe with a wide toe area.

Small Feet

The extra-wide, chunky shoes aren’t the best bet for small feet. You should go for a low-top, less-cushioned option.

Narrow Feet

A less-cushioned, low-top shoe is great for narrow feet too.

Shoes Sizing

Even if you know your shoe size in the US, EU, or UK standard, it’s no guarantee that the shoe will fit you perfectly. There’s always some size variation in different brands, and you should keep that in mind when buying new skate shoes.

There are a few things to focus on when buying shoes online:

  • Choose from the US, EU, or UK variation, and go for one that you’re most comfortable with.
  • If you have a skate shoe at home, then check the size and use it to get an idea about the size.
  • Contact the seller if you’re confused about the size. Mostly, the support team is there to help you out.

At the end of the day, there’s still a chance that the size or cut is not perfect for your feet. Most brands offer an exchange window in case there is a size issue. Make sure that you check the shoe before that window ends and exchange if necessary.

How to Make Your Skate Shoes Last Longer?

Skate shoes are highly vulnerable to wear and tear. You’re basically sliding around doing all those amazing tricks, but things get messy when your shoes don’t last much longer.

If you’re a victim of this scenario, then here are a few tips to make your skate shoes last longer”

  1. Make sure that your shoelaces are tied neatly to avoid tripping. Even if you enjoy the loosely-tied laces, your feet and joints don’t! Properly tied shoes not only protect the interior and outer sole, but also your bones.
  2. Tie and untie the shoelaces when you’re putting them on or taking off. Sliding your feet on and off damages the heels and seams of the shoe (among other things).
  3. Use a waterproofing spray to protect your shoe’s outer surface and your feet from wet weather conditions. The spray can also help with tiny holes and stops them from getting any bigger.
  4. Shoelaces often tear up quickly as they’re exposed to the grip tape. Applying a small amount of adhesive to the exposed area can preserve them.
  5. When washing your skate shoes, avoid using detergents with harsh ingredients such as acetone and alcohol. That can lead to damage and discoloration.
  6. Never wash your shoes in a washing machine! They will appear to be clean, but their coating, padding, and adhesives will be ruined.
  7. Air out your skate shoes after intense sessions to reduce unpleasant odors and extend their shape stability.

Top Picks for Skate Shoes

Emerica Reynolds 3 G6 Vulc

Emerica Reynolds G6 is a low-top skate shoe that’s not too bulky nor thin. They’re inspired by Emerica’s classic skate looks from the 90s, specifically Reynolds 1 and 2 with a slim structure.

This is one of the best kicks for extreme skating. The ultra-durable build allows you to skate for hours without tearing the shoe.eysTap on a clip to paste it in the text box. Tap on a clip to paste it into the text box. Cushioning and impact protection is also very high making jumping effortless and painless.

Reynolds G6 is especially praised for its durability due to the triple toe layers and reinforced sidewalls. Most of the outer layer is made with suede and the outsoles feature Emerica’s triangle tread design. The shoe offers a five-eyelet lacing system, but because of its low placement, laces are often shredded. The ripping of shoelaces is the most common downside of Reynolds G6.

Overall, the kicks are durable, stylish, comfortable, and breathable. They let the board feel shine through and provide you a solid edge for flick and grip. You can find them in men’s sizes 5 through 14.

Vans Sk8-Hi Pro

Vans Sk8 is notable due to its lightweight despite the high-top profile. The classic design has been around for decades and enhanced the original model with new features like Ultracush HD insoles, Duracap rubber underlays, and topmost metal eyelets.

It’s a unisex shoe that’s available in both women’s and men’s sizes. Sk8-Hi Pro provides excellent ankle support and protection in skating with the Ultracush HD insoles offer enhanced in-step comfort. Due to its awesome grip on pedals, it’s often used in BMX riding, and longboarding, alongside skateboarding. In terms of style, the shoe goes great with a multitude of casual outfits, which makes it a popular choice among skaters.

On the downside, some people experienced difficulty putting the shoe on and off because of the high-top profile. Some wearers also noticed the shoe colors bleeding specifically red.

Adidas Busenitz Pro

If you put comfort and durability first, then Adidas Busenitz Pro is the perfect shoe for you! Inspired by the Copa Mundial soccer shoe, this model has a pointed arrow-shaped toe area. Due to that, Busenitz Pro is narrower than the other skateboarding shoes by Adidas.

The shoe is often admired for its variety in colors, simple, yet aesthetic design, and affordability. The board feel in the kicks is amazing and the well-cushioned insole and soft collar lining are just the cherry on top. It’s perfect for gaps and flip tricks. The shoe has a versatile design, and stylists have come up with many ways to style the Busenitz Pro by altering its long tongue.

Stylists and conventional thrashers have come up with ways on how to style their Busenitz Pro pair by altering the remarkable long tongue. The first is simply by wearing it and keeping the tongue as it is. The second is by folding the long tongue and tying the lace behind or over the folded tongue.And the third way is to cut the tongue along the outline provided.

Despite the many qualities, some users have also found issues with the shoes. For some people, the durable suede upper didn’t last very long and the sole traction and suede turned out to be a little slippery. They’re also a little stiff (you have to break them in) at the beginning and not considered very breathable.

Etnies Marana Michelin

In terms of durability, Etnies Marana has its own fanbase. With a little bit of glue, this shoe lasted months for daily rough skaters! The classic, low-top design is easy to wear and comfortable. Although, it’s available only in men’s sizes.

On top of being durable, Etnies Marana is affordable and offers a wide range of colors. It’s often admired for its comfortable design and solid grip and impact protection.

For many users, the sneakers had a narrow fit with minimal arch support. Also, the sneakers may not feel perfect at first, and you’ll have to break them in first.

Etnies Joslin

The shoe immortalizes the legacy of Chris Joslin, legend in the making. The low-cut, affordable skate shoe is known to have an excellent fit and grip. Many if it’s features such as cushioning and support, make it extremely durable and comfortable.

The shoe is praised by many for its features and affordability, but the limited color range can be an issue. The color options include black/gum, grey/white/gum, and black/navy. The shoes aren’t just excellent for skating, but they’re also an excellent choice for a night-out, dinner, or a party.

Etnies Joslin is designed to be both comfortable and durable. The suede upper is combined with a Pro Foam 1 insole and STI evolution foam midsole forcushioning and support. The outsole is made with Michelina’s tire rubber compound for enhanced performance and the toe cap is hidden for durability. The hidden lace loops and inset eyelets protect the laces from too much wear and tear.

Emerica Romero Laced

No one can resist variety, and in Emerica Romero Laced, the color range is so extensive that you can always find something for everyone! The kicks are known to be amazingly comfortable, once they’re broken in. Most skaters love the solid board feel on Romero Laced along with its excellent impact protection.

With a four-eyelet lacing system, cupsoles, and snug fit, these sneakers are difficult to beat. For a non-Vulc shoe, it not only has great cushioning but also ample board grip. The flexible soles combined with Emerica’s Triangle Tread provide an almost vulc-like grip.

The best thing about Romero Laced is that they’re very stylish. They’re perfect for both skating with pals and dinner with family! Romero Laced has style, color, comfort, and whatnot, but it’s also known to crease easily.

eS Accel OG

The one-color, stylish and classic eS Accel OG is another excellent choice for skaters. The company was established in 1995 and Accel OG was one of the most popular shoes of the year. They were worn by many skating pros over the years and even voted the number one skating shoe several times.

The design is a little bulky, but most users loved wearing and skating in them. Unlike other bulky shoes, you can do nearly all normal board tricks on your Accel OG.

For most people, Accel OG lasted and gave them a comfortable experience. It combines the best of skating shoes, grip, durability, and comfort.

Lakai Griffin

For skaters, comfortable shoes are the most important part of the ensemble. It’s pretty difficult to find comfortable shoes, which makes Lakai Griffin a rare gem. The kicks are known for being incredibly comfortable, to the point where you won’t like another shoe in terms of comfort!

According to most users, the fit and size of Lakai Griffin is very good. They’re only available in men’s sizes from 5 to 12. For women, half a size smaller than their actual size should fit perfectly. Due to the vulc shoe construction, their board grip and feel are also pretty good. The lightweight, flexible kicks are the perfect choice to flip all day without messing up your feet.

Among the other features, let’s not forget the on-spot styling of the shoe. It’s classic but not casual, and due to the silhouette, it can be worn in many different ways. The color range is also pretty extensive including everything from black to silver and pink.

Although, at the end of the day, the non-removable soles can be a huge nuisance. Some users also weren’t happy with the arch support and tongue/color padding of the shoe.

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