5 Best Skate Shoes for Better Performance [2021 Reviews]

It might seem obvious that the most important equipment for skateboarding is the skateboard itself. But shoes are a very close second. A good pair of skate shoes absolutely will make all the difference if you want to be able to skate to the best of your abilities.

Skate shoes, unlike running shoes or some other sneakers, contain flat bottoms that are made for extra traction and grip. The flat surface beneath the shoe allows for maximum contact between your shoes and the board’s griptape. They also often contain extra padding within the shoe’s tongue, sides, and heel to absorb impact.

Skate shoes also often have rubber and material along their toe caps; this helps provide more material for abrasion resistance when doing flip tricks and other tricks that rub the shoe against rough griptape.

And as with any shoes, style and comfort can’t be ignored. Good skate shoes balance style, comfort, and functionality. While there are thousands of skateboarding shoes out there, we’ve selected several that are our favorites. Are these the best skateboard shoes around? Maybe. But “best” depends on your preferences and your style of skating. Either way, these shoes for skateboarding are all solid options. So grab a pair and go skate!

Best Shoes for Skateboarding

[1] Emerica — Reynolds 3 G6 Vulc

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Andrew Reynolds is a skateboarding legend who’s been in the game for decades. He’s done frontside flips down just about every well-known gap and stair set across the urban landscape. It’s no surprise, then, that the shoes he designs with Emerica are top quality and made ready to skate.

The Reynolds 3 G6 shoes are remastered classic skate shoe. The G6 technology offers even more cushioning, improved insoles, and excellent board feel. Andrew doesn’t have low standards when it comes to his shoes, so these ones won’t disappoint. The shoes also have a double-wrapped vulcanized layer, which adds more life to the shoe and durability. The cushioning on the heel is a great feature for when you have to bail out midair and hit the ground feet first!

As for fit, the shoes have a snug fit that’s right in the middle—not too bulky and not too thin. This makes for an all-around good shoe that’s versatile for many styles of street skating and also for skating different kinds of obstacles.

[2] Vans — Old Skool Low-Top Trainers

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No list of best skateboarding shoes would be complete without at least one pair of Vans. Vans are the quintessential classic skate shoes, and they’ve been making shoes since 1966. Skateboarding wasn’t even in a recognizable form back then, making Vans a true pioneer!

These bad boys also made our list of the best longboarding shoes – so they’re definitely worth trying.

Vans’ Old Skool shoes debuted in 1977 and were the first to bear the “jazz stripe,” the signature wavy-looking inverted V that’s a trademark of Vans shoes. These skate shoes are made from durable suede with a low-top lace-up look that remains classic today. The toe caps are reinforced for extra protection and an added abrasion barrier, and these Old Skool shoes have supportive padded collars.

Vans shoes have a signature waffle sole, a pattern that helps to ensure great board feel and grip without compromising durable construction.

[3] Adidas — Busenitz Pro Shoe

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Many of Adidas’ skate shoes were inspired by cleats and soccer shoes, but don’t be fooled: Adidas skate shoes are top-of-the-line shoes for skateboarding, and they’re known for their excellent board feel.

Dennis Busenitz’s pro shoe was designed to withstand and support the rugged, fast-paced style of skating that Dennis achieves. Dennis is a true street skater who can handle gritty sidewalks and all-terrain skating with speed and style. So, you can safely expect a lot from his signature skate shoes.

These skateboarding shoes have a support collar for better fit, a pivot-point rubber cupsole for better grip, and soft but supportive cushioning.

Some skate shoes can get pretty bulky, as the extra padding and cushioning can add weight and bulk to shoes. For some styles of high-impact skating that involve plenty of gaps and bails, such added cushioning and weight can save your feet. Many Adidas shoes, however, opt for thinner but still supportive designs that maximize board feel and comfort. If you like to skate fast or focus on more technical tricks, Adidas is recommended!

[4] Nike — Check Solarsoft

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As mentioned, impact resistance is important. But adding cushioning without compromising board feel can be tough. However, Nike’s Solarsoft sockliner delivers impact resistance and cushioning without sacrificing control and feel, delivering the best of both worlds!

These skateboarding shoes, as with some other skate shoes, are made with vulcanized rubber construction. Vulcanized rubber gets heated quickly and is then pressed into the shoe. Vulcanized soles are softer and more pliable, enabling flexibility and great board feel coupled with durable construction. Since vulcanized rubber is slightly softer, it can abrade somewhat more easily, however.

As low-top shoes, these skate shoes aren’t heavy and are therefore great for technical skating and flip tricks. The forefoot pivot circle also enhances board feel and gives your feet that much more flexibility and control atop the board. Yes, skate shoes can even be responsive. These Nike SB shoes deliver control and flexibility.

[5] Lakai — Sheffield

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Many respectable and quality shoe brands were making other shoes before they got into skateboarding. Some, then, began producing skate shoes and have made some excellent shoes for skateboarding. Lakai, however, has been skater-owned and focused only on skate shoes since its beginnings.

Founded by pro skaters Mike Carroll and Rick Howard in 1999, Lakai makes shoes that are made to skate. Period. The Sheffield shoes are made with vulcanized rubber for extra flexibility and enhanced board feel. The breathable mesh on part of the shoes adds airflow (hey, feet get hot while skating!) and enhance these shoes’ style.

These shoes for skating also feel like they’re broken in right out of the box, which in turn enhances board control. Having important grip on the board and the right feel is important for any skater who prefers more technical tricks that requires precise board control, and that’s most tricks. While Lakai’s shoes are all made to be skate-ready, they’re comfortable too! When not skating, don’t forget that you’ll get plenty of steps in when wearing your skate shoes too. So all around comfort matters.

best skate shoe

The Choice Is Yours

Grab a pair of any of these skateboarding shoes and you won’t go wrong. You’ll get quality, durable shoes for skating that also permit board feel and flexibility.

But still…what’s the best skate shoe? The truth is, we can’t say. Because there is no one right answer! You’ll have to find the shoes that work best for you, and that will depend on your style of skating, your experience level, and also your own comfort preferences and even the way your feet shape up!

Like skateboarding decks, trucks, or other skateboard equipment, try a few different brands and a few different styles of shoes. They will either feel comfortable and skateable, or they won’t. But such choices and testing will determine the best skateboarding shoes for you. And once you find what you like, you’ll feel, and skate, that much better.

Longboarding Guide