Ultimate Review of the Best Skate Shoes in 2021

Ultimate Review of the Best Skate Shoes

Unless you’re among the 0.00001% of people who actually made a transition from gangly misfits to professional skateboarding, chances are the only skate shoes you’ve always considered are the Vans.

And it’s for a good reason.

The Southern California company has for long been associated with skating and probably among the pioneers of skate shoes.

Van’s Authentic, in particular, was set apart from other shoes with its unusual rubber sole and diamond waffle pattern. A vulcanized rubber made them grippy, helping skaters stay on their skates and gain maximum control as they whipped down the sidewalks and pavement.

But that was over five decades ago!

While Vans are still my favorite, skating shoes have come a long way, especially in the past decade or two.

Silhouettes have slimmed back down, simplicity reigns supreme once again, and what was left of the oversized designs has been granted a new lease of legitimacy by the world fixation with chunky trainers.

This is not to mention; skate brands are now a trending skate fashion statement.

Of course, some might argue that skate shoes aren’t a necessity, but there’s a reason they exist in the first place.

This is because the best skate shoes are designed with durability, protection, and comfort in mind and will help you skate to the best of your ability.

Now, if you need a skate shoe that will push your abilities to the limits, we’re here to help.

Whether you’re new to the sport or an experienced rider looking to up your skating game, we’ll show you the best skating shoes in the market.

From tried-and-true classics to some of the best new kicks for casual wear, you’ll definitely find an option that suits your skating needs.

And if you’ve time, you can go through our best skate shoes buying guide later to learn more about how to make your purchase.

Table of Contents

Quick Comparison Table!

Nike SB Zoom Stefan Janoski

4.8

4.8/5
The Lakai Griffin

4.6

4.6/5
HUF Ramondetta Pro Skate

4.5

4.5/5
Vans Unisex Skate Trainers Shoes

4.3

4.3/5
DC Men’s Infinite S Shoes

4.0

4/5

The Best Skate Shoes For The Money

The Best Skate Shoes For The Money

#1 Nike SB Zoom Stefan Janoski - EDITOR'S CHOICE

4.7/5
4.2/5
4.8/5

Without a doubt, the Nike SB is one of the most popular skate shoes of all time.

This is because they look good and skate well.

But how good is good?

And how does the Nike SB perform as a skating shoe?

Let’s find out in our Nike SB review below.

Features and Benefits

Design/First Impressions

SB Zoom looks good.

Stefan said that he wanted them to look like a boat shoe, but they’re as pointed as you can get without them being Gravis skate shoes.

I find the “pointy” design helpful for controlling flip tricks and looking steezy.

Of course, I know most skaters prefer the rounded shape like the Blazers or Koston 1. But it’s all about preference.

And as with most skateboarding shoes, Zoom sucks a bit during the first few sessions.

At first, your feet will fit a bit too tight, and for the first few days, you’ll absolutely hate it and even wonder whether you got the wrong size.

But with time, you’ll love how the shoe breaks in perfectly and fits nicely. You only have to give it some time.

Fit

Zoom runs true to size.

While some skaters complain that this shoe is only for those with narrow feet, but I can tell you as someone with wider feet that this isn’t true.

In addition to an incredible design, the Zoom has an expanding toe box that will accommodate skaters with larger feet.

But I must admit, the fit feels a bit strange at first, but it fits like a glove after using it for a day.

My only issue is how the cut is extremely low. While my heel has never slipped out, it always has me on my toes.

Durability

There’re mixed reactions to this.

Some users rant about how the shoes exploded just from walking, while others praise the shoes for their longevity.

So, what’s my experience like?

It was incredible, thankfully.

Of course, the Zoom isn’t the most durable shoe on the planet, but I’ve skated hard on these shoes without them breaking down.

The canvas sidewall doesn’t fall apart, and the rubber sole is held up and abrasion-resistant, only showing some wear and a little wear in the upper sews.

Compared to the vulcanized models, the Zoom shoe is durable and reliable.

Grip/Board Feel

Zoom’s grippy sole isn’t too thick, but it’s still decent for higher gaps and ankle support.

The classic herringbone pattern, with profound lines, eliminates chances of slippage, and you’ll always feel solid on your skateboard.

On top of that, the shoe has a vulcanized construction, so the board feel is exceptional, and you’ll feel like you’re skating barefoot.

On the flip side, the shoe’s ankle support is pathetic.

Unless you’re a super pro, the Zoom is likely to give you a rolled ankle at some point.

Cushioning and Comfort

SB does a great job of minimizing the heel bruises from impact skating,

The Zoom Air unit in the back cushions you against any impact, and alongside a perfect fit, you’ll love every second on these shoes.

To wrap up, the Zoom SB are awesome picks for skaters looking for a low top, offering plenty of grip and control.

It’s also the perfect option for skaters chasing for enhanced durability without compromising on fit and comfort.

Pros

Cons

#2 The Lakai Griffin - Best Shoes for Wide Feet

4.6/5
4.3/5
4.6/5

Lakai has always been one of the most trusted skating brands because they’ve stayed true to the game and remained faithful in producing genuine skate-worthy shoes.

Griffin has upheld this belief.

The Griffin is one of Lakai’s newest models and comes with a host of awesome features to promote skateboarding.

These great skate shoes have the durability, fit, and grip you need for an awesome performance.

Styling is also on point, and you can produce flicks all day long in these.

But are they the perfect skating shoes for you?

Let’s find out.

Features and Benefits

Design-Impression

First, this durable shoe is stylish, and the suede is an eye-catcher.

The material is a little bit stiff, but not uncomfortably so.

Also, the color looks a lot better in person than it does in the picture. It has a deeper shade and is non-splotchy as it appears in some of the images.

But it was the shape for me.

Griffin’s shape has witnessed a drastic transformation over its predecessors.

It’s round and bold, and this is a good thing for skaters with big feet as it has plenty of space for their toasty toes.

The only nudge I’ve with the shoe is I think the laces are too large for the shoe and tend to get in the way. The laces are also thin, and I think the shoe would look better with the flat laces. Not a big problem because you can always replace the shoelaces.

Fit

Griffins fit an incredible wrapping around the skater’s heels and keep them in place when skating.

It runs true to size, though we recommend a break-in time of a couple of days.

The non-removable internal EVA midsole is handy in promoting better fit as it conforms to the shape of your foot quickly, making the shoe feel great.

But according to users, the shoe stretches out a bit, and so after a couple of skate sessions, you might lose the initial snug fit. But this is mostly with users with large feet.

Finally, we love the nice touch of the centering foam padded tongue straps.  The straps rarely slip around and don’t cause any discomfort and unpleasant tightness.

Durability/ Choice of Material

Laki is constantly bashed regarding the longevity of their products, but ever since the revamp on production, their products are now sturdier and long-lasting,

The Griffin, for example, has proven to be quite a reliable shoe, and regardless of how hard you go on it, it still stays as one solid piece.

From the toe cap, thick suede to the rubber used, everything on this shoe looks raggedy, abrasion-resistant, and will go a long way to extend the shoe’s shelf-life.

Grip/Board Feel

As without the top pick, the SB, Griffin has a classic herringbone tread pattern.

It’s a standard pattern on most skating shoes, but Griffin’s treads are thicker than normal.

Herringbone pattern is one of Griffin’s high points, and many skaters find it comforting, knowing their feet won’t be slipping around, even when skating in the wet conditions.

Also, the grip rarely wears out, and the rubber sole looks and feels as good as new.

Along with the awesome grip, the board feel is fantastic. It’s not a surprise considering the shoe has a vulcanized construction.

Support

One of Griffin’s strong points is the shoe support.

While its cut is low, it’s slightly higher than most low tops, which adds a nice amount of support.

But in my opinion, the best support feature is the crated midsole.

When skating, you’ll appreciate how your center of gravity feels right, and you’ll never feel as if your ankle is going to roll out,

You’ll appreciate this kind of support, and if you feel you need a good shoe you can feel stable in, the Griffin is a good fit.

Cushioning/Comfort

Comfort is probably Griffin’s weakest point.

It’s not poor either, but it has decent comfort.

The ankle cushioning is minimal compared to other shoes on our list of the best skate shoes, and because of that, they must stay laced if you don’t want them flopping around.

Plus, the minimalist cushioning means your heels and bottom foot will bear most of the impact when skating.

We feel there’re numerous ways Griffin could be improved, including using a thicker fabric sole and the inclusion of some arch-support.

Pros

Cons

#3 HUF Ramondetta Pro Skate - Comfortable Skateboarding Shoes

4.4/5
4.5/5
4.5/5

The guys at HUF deserve an award for this shoe, and I’ll tell you why.

Skateboarding footwear needs to be breathable, flexible, and shock absorbent. And oh, their shoes need to be durable and fun to skate in.

With such a tall order, few brands can match the needs of skateboarders.

But HUF makes it look easy, with their HUF Ramondetta Pro Skate.

The Pro Skate is an example of a reliable and practical skate shoe that you’ll enjoy skating with regardless of the obstacles and type of terrain.

But does it live up to the quality of the Nike SB, Adidas, or DC?

Let’s find out.

Features and Benefits

Design/Shape

HUF shoes are awesome in every way possible.

They’re good-looking, and if you need a shoe that will draw compliments here and there, you can’t go wrong with this pick.

These good skateboard shoes also skate well as they look.

Straight out of the box, you’ll instantly feel how comfortable they feel and fit as expected.

They’ve a minimal break-in period, after which you’ll get hooked to their performance.

Fit

HUFs run true to size.

While they’re a bit narrow, they’ve a short break-in period and will conform to any foot size. I found them just fine, even for users with wide feet.

My only quibble with the HUF is they’ve a low cut, and so if you’re prone to ankle rolls, you should be wary.

For a seasoned skater like me, it’s nothing to worry about, but I’ve had my fair share of sore ankles from time to time.

Keep in mind this isn’t a problem or HUF only, but with all low-cut shoes for skateboarding.

Durability/Material

HUF isn’t your run-off-the-mill skate shoe.

Instead, it’s a reliable unit and worthy of use on any skateboarder’s feet.

All the lines on the HUF are clean, and the shoe is constructed well.

The stitching itself is of good quality, and the stitching rarely frays. On the other hand, with the triple wrapped tape, the outsole is heaven and rarely wears out or even gets holes.

Grip/Board Feel

HUF is a thin vulcanized shoe, and so, as you would expect, the boardfeel is obviously on point.

The incredible HUF’s insole strikes a balance between cushion and thinness, so you’ll always feel as if the board is glued to your feet.

And that’s not even the best part!

HUF’S grip is pretty solid.

Unlike other durable skate shoes with waffle-grip, this option has a HUF’s H-grip.

The grip quality is astounding, and while it’s fairly shallow, the grip quality never changes.

Some users have reported clear flat synthetic sole after several uses, but the shoe’s grippness never change, and you won’t feel like your board is slipping under your feet.

Support/Cushion

Both Ramondetta’s insoles and outsole are sturdy.

For a low top, the cup sole sturdiness means you benefit from a surprising amount of support.

While it doesn’t get close to what a mid-top offers, it has a lot going for it, especially when compared to other low-cuts.

The cushioning is equally awesome, and its rebound and shock absorption ensures your heel doesn’t take a beating,

Even better, these properties don’t dampen out over time.

Pros

Cons

#4 Vans Unisex Skate Trainers Shoes - Most Versatile(Doubles up as casual footwear)

4.3/5
4.5/5
4.3/5

Skateboarding takes dedication, skill, and a few pairs of skating shoes.

But how do you tell you’ve found the best skating shoe that won’t fall apart by the next time you land a trick?

It’s simple. Try some Vans.

While there’re numerous regarded sneaker brands out there, Vans are consistently ranked at the top.

And why is this so?

Because the brand is synonymous with quality, reliability, and strength. Few shoe companies can indeed match what Van offers.

And today, we’ll look at one of Van’s popular models, the Vans Skate Trainers.

How do these iconic shoes stack up against their siblings, such as the Vans Authentic?

Let’s find out.

Features and Benefits

Design

Vans is an old-school classic and has numerous benefits to keep you smiling for long.

I also love these shoes because they’re available in a wide array of styles and designs. From simple, solid colors to bright patterns, you can always be sure to find a pair suiting your needs.

Fit

As with all Vans shoes for skateboarding, the Unisex runs true to size.

These comfortable shoes feel right in your shoes and aren’t too tight or loose.

Once you get the right size, you’ll love how they fit like gloves and won’t bug you even when wearing them for extended periods.

They conform well to the contours of your feet, and you’ll love every moment you have them on.

Van’s comfort and usability are the primary reasons they’re so versatile and can be used for an array of purposes. Away from skateboarding, this casual shoe is suitable for daily use.

Durable/Material

Vans have the signature canvas material on their upper.

I know canvas isn’t the most durable material for skating shoes, but it’s among the favorite shoes for skaters.

I also love it because it’s more reliable than suede and cheaper than action leather.

The double-stitched canvas on the Unisex takes durability a notch higher, carrying you through the trickiest move.

Plus, the double-stitching reinforcements provide the strength to overcome wear and tear, with extra arch support and flexibility for every maneuver.

Another perk Unisex offers is the reinforced toes. Each pair has special reinforced material from the tip of the shoes up to the laces. This is essential in helping Unisex withstand repeated wear and guards against the issues of holes right around the toes.

Finally, I love canvas for its breathability. Of course, it’s not the most breathable material out there, but it won’t sweat your feet after a long day in the park.

It also doesn’t restrict your movement or ability to flex while riding.

While canvas is lightweight and breathable, it’s not the most durable material. It wears out easily and faster, especially if you’ve a new grip tape.

Support

The Vans Unisex are highly durable shoes for rough use.

They can withstand serious wear and tear as they’re designed to support you when performing different skating maneuvers.

Keep in mind Van Unisex is a low cut, so the amount of heel support you get is somehow limited.

Grip/Board Feel

As with most Vans skate shoes, these canvas shoes sport a signature waffle grip outsole to ensure you always have the grip needed regardless of the trick’s difficulty.

The vulcanized rubber is so effective and will help skaters achieve a superior board feel and the grip they need on just about any board and in any conditions.

Comfort

Comfort is all about personal preferences, but many skaters can agree that this canvas shoes are very comfortable shoe.

While they don’t have large amounts of padded collars, the existing padding on the synthetic sole is sufficient when skating, especially when mastering tricks.

Even better, the insole padding is removable, so you can always customize the level of comfort you need on these shoes.

Pros

Cons

#5 DC Men's Infinite S Shoes - Most Durable Skate Shoe

4.2/5
4.6/5
4/5

The DC Infinite S is a step up to the DC Super Suede version, and there’s a lot to love with this upgrade.

They’re great options for skateboarding, and in the text below, I’ll share with you why skaters love these shoes.

Features and Benefits

Design

The DC S is a good quality shoe, but it seems a bit wider when you look at them. The good thing is it has nothing to do with the fit.

A low-profile look completes the Infinites shape, and I love the simple and minimalistic look to it.

Another great addition is the rubber sole that doesn’t loosen up as other good skate shoes do. The cup sole also helps the DC S to maintain its shape.

Fit

These shoes fit true to size.

They wrap around your feet for total comfort and protection.

Infinite S are also accommodative and will conform to the shape of your feet, though I suggest you choose a normal size.

The fit is snug without any classic slip-offs.

Durability/Material

One of the reasons we love the DC Shoes is because of their durability and sturdiness.

DC takes a beating like a champ and will weather through the skateboarding abuses.

It’s super durable, except it has some discoloration in the kickflip areas, but you’ll only notice the defect after a significant period.

Otherwise, the DC is long-lasting and will serve you for a long time to come.

This is further backed up with a super suede upper, meaning even if the rubber begins to rip off, then you’ll be left with suede that will last for a long time.

Yet, its sturdiness doesn’t compromise on flexibility, grippiness, and comfort.

Boardfeel/Grip

There’s been a lot of hype with DC Infinite’s construction, consisting of a hybrid of vulcanized and cup sole.

Combined, both of these elements offer a super flexible experience out of the board, which means plenty of board feel.

The grip is equally magnificent, with the rubber toe cap promoting a “sticky” experience. You’re less likely to slide off your skateboard.

Cushioning and Support

The DC Shoes are designed for skating low impact stuff.

If you plan to perform the ollies, hard carving, and other hard tricks, this DC isn’t for you.

The ortholite foam insole isn’t here to offer impact protection but rather comfort.

It also lacks the extra cushioning of a foam padded collar and padded tongue, and this is a deal-breaker because your feet are likely to hurt after.

The only solution to the problem is replacing the insole with a material that can absorb a lot of impacts. This is particularly handy if you need a skate shoe for the hard tricks.

Pros

Cons

Best Skate Shoes Buying Guide

Best Skate Shoes Buying Guide

In the section below, we’ll look at everything you need to know when selecting your next pair.

But first, it would be prudent to look at the different types of skate shoes in the market.

3 Different Types of Skate Shoes

There’re three different types of skate shoes, and they’re:

1) Hi-Cut

The Hi-cut shoes, also known as the high-top shoes, are similar to the old school Converse shoes of the nineties.

These shoes don’t give skaters much movement to your ankles, but they’ll protect your feet from any spill.

2) Mid-cut

These shoes are placed between the high cut and low cut.

The mid-cuts fit your ankles perfectly and offer adequate protection.

3) Low-cut

The low-cuts have a distinct design, which attracts a lot of modern riders.

While the low-cuts look fancy, they’ve less leg protection and don’t give you any extra benefits when it comes to balance.

What to Consider Before Purchasing the Best Skateboarding Shoes

There’re several elements to consider before purchasing a good quality skate shoe.

Some of the important qualities of a good skate shoe are:

Durability

Durability is important for anything, and not just shoes.

However, good skate shoes need to be much stronger.

Why?

Because they go through different kinds of difficulties.

While the material is an important element of durability, you also need to consider the shoe size.

If you pick a wrongly-sized OPTION, then it’s likely to get torn or damaged quickly.

Quality

Quality is subjective.

But it’s closely intertwined with the brand.

Generally, reputable brands have quality products.

However, it doesn’t mean you should make purchase decisions blindly or just based on the brand.

Instead, even if it’s a good quality brand, you should carefully observe the customer experience. Customer reviews, durability, and product creation components should help you determine the quality of a skate shoe.

Design

Of course, regardless of the quality of a product, it should also be appealing.

The best skate shoes are aesthetically pleasing, and they should match the thrill of skateboarding.

If anything, a unique shoe brings a unique appeal to your entire setup.

Price

Price is essential, especially if you’re on a limited budget.

However, if you don’t want to sacrifice the quality or cut corners with any other element, you may need to dig into your pockets a lot deeper.

But remember, there’re always good quality products at affordable prices. You simply need to find better.

Brand

A good brand means good shoes.

Generally, reputable brands in the market are known for creating quality products.

Just as with skateboarding, you can always expect quality, durable and reliable skate shoes from an established brand.

But at the same time, don’t overlook the upcoming brands because you might actually be missing a gem.

Important Features for the Best Skateboarding Shoe

Material

If there’s one thing you should never compromise on a skate shoe is the choice of material.

This is because the material determines the overall durability and quality of your shoe.

While the best choice of material for skate shoes is debatable, leather upper and synthetic materials are much better for skateboarding.

These are the most durable materials, and leather, in particular, is long-lasting and doesn’t wear out easily.

It can also stand up to abuses of skateboarding and those of the weather inclinations.

Stitching

Premium quality stitching can bring a unique look to your skating shoes.

In addition to maintaining an incredible design and attractiveness, quality stitching is also essential in bolstering the overall durability.

The stitches hold your shoes much better and ensure they don’t get torn easily.

Type of Shoe Sole

When purchasing a skate shoe, understand that you’ll not only need them for walking, but they also have to endure much more persecution.

When skateboard riding or training, you may need to jump, which translates to a lot of impact on your shoes.

The initial effects of the jumps and other abuses should never be on your feet, so you should wear a shoe with a sole that can cushion your feet properly.

Shoe Fit

Shoe fit is probably the biggest problem when buying shoes online.

There’s always a hesitation; will these shoes fit me? Will they be loose or tighter again?

Now, it is important to consider the fit of a skate shoe. Because, as we saw earlier, there’s a connection between the fit  and durability .

Beyond durability, you should also wear shoes that fit well for the health of the feet. Otherwise, wrongly-sized shoes can even affect your spine.

So, how do you find the right skate shoe size?

When ordering, be sure to match your feet well with the shoe size chart of different brands.

Secondly, consider the company’s return policy. For example, if your feet don’t fit, can you return the shoe? And will you have to bear any additional costs?

Best Skate Shoe Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What are the best skate shoes?

A: Generally, the best skate shoes are those that promote easy and efficient skateboarding. Most of these shoes are durable, run true to size, with sufficient grip tape, and conform to your feet.

Q: What are the most durable skate shoes?

A: Generally, the choice of material determines the durability of a skate shoe. The most common materials for skate shoes are leather, suede, and fabric.

The stitching technology also affects the durability of a shoe and determines how long it lasts.

Q: Should skate shoes be tight or loose?

A: It all depends on what feels best for you. But in principle, your shoes shouldn’t be so big that you swim on them, and they should be too small either to constrict your feet on the side or toe area.

Wrap Up: Our Choice

The Best Skate Shoes Wrap Up Our Choice

Our list of the best skate shoes has some pretty interesting options.

Each of the listed shoes here has a unique selling point and may perfectly fit your skating needs.

However, after much deliberation and going through customer reviews, we feel the SB Zoom is our winner.

Why?

First, it’s a product from one of the reputable brands in the shoe industry; Nike.

Secondly, this shoe has most, if not all, the properties you would need on a skating shoe.

For example, it has a grippy rubber sole, critical for holding you on your skateboard.

It’s durable and will stand up to any skating abuse. It’s also versatile; an accommodative shoe goes beyond skating but can also be used for day-to-day wear.

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