The best shoes for skateboarding in 2023 is a debatable subject. We all have different tastes in style and differing opinions in the companies we like to support. This list of the best skate shoes is made up of ten brands that are the most popular among skateboarders, many of which are core skate shoe brands with stellar reputations.
Over the years, skate shoes have gone through many changes in style from chunky to slim designs, and back again. A tremendous amount of research and development has resulted in some phenomenal improvements in technology and there are now many features you should look for when choosing new skate shoes.
For example, the introduction of one piece toe caps and rubber toe caps that have no stitching, or have stitching higher on the shoe away from the main wear areas, ensures longer lasting shoes for skateboarders, especially those who enjoy doing a lot of flip tricks. Various sole technologies have also helped with reducing impact.
If you are looking for a new pair of skate shoes, consider some of the models on this list as they have been designed by some of the best and most respected skateboarding companies in the world. They have also been tried and tested by many skateboarders including professional skateboarders so you can rest assured you will be getting a quality product.
Best Skateboarding Shoes In 2023
Emerica Vulcano Skate Shoes
The Vulcano is the newest model to hit the Emerica skateboarding shoe line up. These skate shoes perform really well, and as an added bonus are extremely attractive!
Emerica’s goal for their skateboarding shoes has always been to create the most durable skate shoes on the market, and they have managed to deliver this concept with the Vulcano.
The Vulcano uses rubber reinforcements and double wrapped foxing to create a tank of a skate shoe that can take anything skateboarders dish out! This model is also fitted with G6 Foam Insoles to help with impact.
In addition, these Emerica skate shoes feature rubber toe caps as an added layer of protection. This is great news for skateboarders because there is nothing worse than tearing through the toe area of your brand new skate shoes after only a few skate sessions.
If you’re in the market for new skate shoes, these Emerica’s are our top pick. Not only are they solid, but comfortable too with the foam insoles. The rubber heel reinforcement coupled with the rubber toe caps will definitely help with extending the life of these shoes. To top things off, this shoe is vegan too!
There are several colors to choose from however the olive color pictured above seems to be the most handsome and versatile.
Features Of Emerica Vulcano
- Vulcanised Construction
- Rubber Toe and Vamp Covers
- Rubber Heel Reinforcements
- Double Wrap Foxing
- Tongue Stabilizer Wings
- G6 Foam Insoles
- Desert Grip Outsole Tread
Vans Half Cab Skate Shoes
The Vans Half Cab deserves to be mentioned on every ‘best skateboarding shoes’ list, and more than likely will continue to keep making the list for the foreseeable future thanks to its ahead of the times design.
Skateboarders have been rocking these Steve Caballero designed skate shoes since the early nineties. With improvements in technology, the Half Cabs have only become better over time. Some of these improvements include a fully revised upper molded heel counter, Popcush sock-liners, locked-in tongue straps, and internal heel shank to deliver more grip.
These skateboarding shoes are supportive and durable. On any given day at the skatepark you are likely to see at least one skateboarder rocking this shoe model which is testament to how great they are.
Features Of Vans Half Cab
- Recut of the DURACAP™ underlay
- SICKSTICK™ rubber
- POPCUSH™ sock-liners
- Steve’s classic branding label
Adidas Busenitz Vulc II Skate Shoes
Denis Busenitz, who is one of the best skateboarders of all time, has crafted the perfect shoes for skateboarding. The Adidas Busenitz Vulc II skate shoes are comfortable, have great board feel, and outperform most other skate shoes.
These streamlined, lightweight shoes are perfect for anyone who likes to skate in slimmer shoes with more board feel. Even though these shoes are not as bulky as most other skate shoes, they are still incredibly durable and have been built to last.
The new Vulc II’s feature suede construction with Adituff toe reinforcement, molded Adiprene sock-liner, Geofit collar, and Geoflex outsole for ultimate grip and control.
If you prefer to skate in lighter shoes with more board feel, these stylish skate shoes are the ones for you! They are in our opinion, one of the best skateboarding shoes of all time.
Features Of Adidas Busenitz Vulc II
- Regular fit
- Lace closure
- Suede upper with Geofit padded collar
- Abrasion-resistant Adituff toe
- Moulded heel clip
- Adiprene cushioning
- Vulcanised Geoflex outsole
DC Kalis Lite Skate Shoes
With the current trend in footwear moving back to chunkier shoes, DC have decided to bring back their oversized style of skate shoes from the 1990s and early 2000s. The new Kalis Lite has the bulkiness of DC’s core skate shoe design, however has been slimmed down a touch from the original model style.
This new model has a more modern fit and a trainer style look, but still focuses on the durability aspect by featuring reinforced paneling, suede and leather combination upper, and a DC ghille lacing system.
The Kalis Lite is sporty and skateable at the same time. Josh Kalis himself loves the feathery board feel and all-day comfort provided by the lightweight construction. If you are a DC fan and enjoy skateboarding in lightweight shoes, give these new Kalis Lites a try.
Features Of DC Kalis Lite Skate Shoes
- Suede/Leather Upper
- Cupsole construction skate shoe
- OrthoLite insole for impact protection
- DC ghillie lacing system
- UniLite midsole keeps it lightweight
- Rubber pill pattern tread
New Balance Numeric Jamie Foy 306 Skate Shoes
The New Balance 306 is Jamie Foy’s first pro model skate shoe. It has a clean design with a single piece toe box that pushes the stitching higher on the shoe and away from the main wear areas. They also feature a strong rubber underlay for added durability to withstand the toughest wear and tear.
There are mesh panels that provide breathability which will help stop your feet from getting too sweaty while skateboarding. Polyurethane inserts help with impact protection and also aid in a more comfortable fit.
If you’re looking for a snug fitting shoe with lots of board feel, these might be the skate shoes for you. They have enough impact protection for Big Boy Foy himself, so if that isn’t enough reassurance that these are solid skate shoes, I don’t know what is. The 306 comes in a plethora of color combinations so you should have no trouble finding a style that you’ll like.
Features Of New Balance Numeric Jamie Foy 306 Skate Shoes
- Elastic Gusseted Tongue
- Internal Toe Protection
- One Piece Quarter Panel and Vamp
- ABZORB+® Insert
- Polyurethane Insole
- Ndurance® Rubber Outsole
- Tapered Crating in Midsole
- Rubber underlay wraps all the way around the foot
Etnies JOSL1N Skate Shoes
Chris Joslin is known for going big and his Etnies JOSL1N have been designed to withstand the abuse of such skateboarding day in day out. The Michelin outsoles are said to last three times longer then other skate shoe soles on the market.
A durable single piece toe cap not only looks sleek but also goes further back on the shoe, past the kickflip and ollie area adding to the prolonged life of the shoe.
If you are looking to bring out your inner wolverine and tre-flip some massive gaps like Joslin, you might want to consider purchasing a pair of these bad boys.
Features Of Etnies JOSL1N
- System Flo2
- Suede overlay vamp that prevents blowout
- Michelin rubber outsole
- Hidden toe cap
- Pro Foam 1 Insole
- STI Evolution® Foam Midsole
- Elastic tongue straps for superior fit
- Padded tongue and collar lining
- Optional lace holes for lace protection
Lakai Riley 3 Skate Shoes
Lakai, like several other brands on this list, are a core skate shoe brand who are known for making great skate shoes and always having a stacked pro team. Riley Hawk is one of those pro’s and this particular shoe is his third pro model. One of Riley’s favorite Lakai skate shoes is the ‘Belmont’ which is where he got the inspiration for this new design.
The Riley 3 is a vulcanized skate shoe with a hidden suede seam toe cap for more durability, Para-mount outsole with Purple Translucent Hex Tread, and embroidered micro flare. Sounds fancy right? These skate shoes have a clean and slim profile that will turn heads at the skatepark.
Features Of Lakai Riley 3
- Vulcanized Sole
- Reinforced in arch and medial sidewall
- Para-Mount outsole technology
- Hex Tread dual density rubber
Converse Louie Lopez Pro Skate Shoes
This is Louie Lopez’s first pro model shoe and boy is it a good one! The Converse Louie Lopez Pro skate shoe was inspired by a retro tennis silhouette but has been designed specifically for skateboarding.
The durable upper is backed with rubber to extend the life of the shoe and reduce friction. CX foam sock liners add cushioning and provide impact protection, while vulcanized construction with original CONS traction rubber will give you responsiveness and board-feel.
Louie had a great vision when designing these skate shoes and he really did pull it off. If you are a Converse shoes fan, there is no need to switch to another brand to skate, just get yourself a pair of these!
Features Of Converse Louie Lopez
- Low-top skate shoe with rubber-backed nubuck upper
- Poly cotton laces for added durability
- Traction rubber outsole
- Molded CX foam sock liner for impact protection
- Rose gold foil lettering
eS Accel OG Skate Shoes
If you grew up skateboarding in the late 1990s or early 2000s, then you more than likely owned a pair of eS Accels. If you weren’t the proud owner of a pair, then you would have at least seen many professional skateboarders wearing them in video parts.
This new model of eS Accel OG’s are one of the most supportive and comfortable skate shoes on the market. If you don’t mind skateboarding in a bigger style shoe, then you will love these. They have a very durable rubber cupsole outsole, and Foam Lite 1 insoles with internal elastic straps to keep the tongue in place.
If you’re feeling nostalgic, or looking to try out a new style of shoes for skateboarding, give these iconic skate shoes a try.
Features Of eS Accel OG
- Die Cut STI Energy foam insoles
- Die Cut EVA midsole
- 400 NBS rubber cupsole outsole
- Padded tongue and collar foam
- Elastic tongue straps
How Long Do Skate Shoes Last?
This is a hard questions to answer. It all depends on what type of skateboarding you are doing and how often you are doing it. For example, if you are a heavy-footed skateboarder who does a lot of flip tricks, then a new pair of skate shoes might only last a few weeks. If you are more into transition skateboarding, then a new pair of skate shoes could last a couple months.
A Brief History Of Skate Shoes
In the 1960s, most skateboarders skated in Converse Chuck Taylors because back then, skateboards didn’t have grip tape so canvas uppers and rubber outsoles made sense. By the 80s, skateboarders evolved to become more Ollie-centric thanks to street god Rodney Mullen and his invention of the Ollie in the late 1970s. This made durability a more crucial factor in footwear choice for most skateboarders. And, as high impact tricks became more popular, skate shoe designs evolved into higher-cut builds with raised ankle collars.
Although high-top skate shoes were all the rage in the 80s, by the 1990s, low-top build were dominating the market, probably because this era saw skateboard decks become narrower and wheels reduce in durometer and size.
As tricks became more flip-oriented, skaters were more interested in a refined look and feel when they stepped on the board because trying to kickflip in a pair of bulky high-tops was too cumbersome. This appetite for low-cut shoes paved the way for brands like Etnies and DC to enter the skateboarding industry.
In 1997, Eric Koston’s first pro model with éS Footwear (the Koston1), introduced the visible absorption system which positioned éS as one of pioneering shoe manufacturers of the era.
The early 2000s saw skate shoe brands load soles with more air bubbles, add more padding to the tongue, and use heavy-duty Ollie guards. This spurred the infamous era of chunky skate shoes that brands like DC and Globe have become renown for. However, it didn’t take long for skateboarders to realize that bulky shoes with all the bells and whistles weren’t all that beneficial for skateboarding.
Subsequently, post-2000 saw a more slimmed down shoe. Skaters now wanted more board feel and shoes with thinner midsoles. This spurred Nike SB who paved the way with cushioned insole innovations and lighter midsole materials. More recently, Hyperfeel technology has been developed specifically for skateboarding.
Major sneaker brands like Adidas and New Balance have since entered the skate market introducing even more mainstream technology to the mix. Core skate shoe manufacturers now must compete with the superpowers of the sneaker world.
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