Tired of wearing out your favorite shoes in record time because you just can’t stop skating everywhere? Perhaps it’s time to invest in a sturdier pair, to save you (or your unlucky parent) time, money and pain in the long run.
Sticking to familiar, big-name companies might be wise as they’re producing shoes with serious skaters in mind, but every producer has so many different designs and it can be difficult to know which one is best suited to your needs.
We’ve gathered up five of the most durable offerings, popular amongst amateur and professional skaters alike, from well-known manufacturers and lesser-known brands at a range of price points to suit all customers.
For the more committed customer, our clear and convenient buyer’s guide breaks down key components to consider, as well as outlining what makes a quality, long-lasting skate shoe.
Having conducted thorough research, we’ve also listed and answered common queries from those looking to find a more resilient pair of shoes for skating, collated in a frequently asked questions section at the end. Happy skating!
Holey and In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Pick:
The Best Longest Lasting Skate Shoes
Composed of textured leather with a badass skull print and iconic HD logos on the outer ankle, they’re not just stylish, but heavy duty too, built to withstand all that a skater has to throw at them and more.
Thanks to a full grain leather upper and textile lining, your feet are able to move freely for swift twisting and turning when skating on your local ramps, grinding some rails or performing tricks.
Vulcanized, ultra-lightweight soles offer lasting comfort all day every day, for the uncompromising dependability you’d expect from such a high-quality manufacturer, with a high-top style protecting your ankles in all weather conditions.
Full length cushioned sock lining prevents the blistering often associated with high-top shoes, so you’ll skate uninterrupted for hours, more comfortable than the offerings of popular competing brands.
- More comfortable than baseball-style shoes from other brands
- Durable leather with vulcanized soles for added stability
- Dependable, long-lasting shoes
- Classing Harley-Davidson style
- Only available in white
Depending on the colorway, you’ll have a leather, nubuck and/or suede upper, with a mesh lining for ventilation, offering rigidity and flexibility all at once for a long-lasting shoe that’s still suited to skating.
A wrapped, cupsole construction with the trademark DC Pill Pattern tread absorbs a majority of the impact when skating, protecting your fragile arches from the shock of impacts
Use of an abrasion-resistant rubber outsole offers adequate grip on your board’s decking alongside the patterned tread, for sturdy shoes that are made to withstand all of the pressure and traction skaters put on them.
Added comfort and extra support is provided by both the foam padded tongue and collar, so you can skate for longer, moving more freely and well-protected from potential injuries.
- 100% leather construction
- Padding for additional protection
- Patented Pill Pattern Tread
- Cupsole construction
- Larger sizes can be expensive
Although quoted as saying “I like the basic less-is-more style…I’m trying to go with what works,” his simple yet practical shoe is still versatile, available in a vast range of sizes from five to fourteen, and over twenty five colors.
A hundred percent suede with a rubber sole, the shaft is low-top with a One-Piece toe cap, perfectly designed for flexible skating but shielding the more delicate parts of your feet.
Direct boardfeel is easily obtained thanks to the thinness of the sole, with more than enough flexibility as a result of three slices around the toe cap; a classic triangle tread allows for plenty of grip and traction, too.
An internal fit system recreates the feel of a slip-on shoe with the rigor and support of a laced design, keeping the shoe close to your foot for improved stability and better support during tricks.
Overall, this is a comfortable shoe brought to you from a pro who identified the basic elements of a good skate shoe and brings them to the average skater at an affordable price in an accessible array of styles and sizes.
- 100% suede – rigid, yet flexible
- Internat fit and padded collar for maximum comfort
- Thin soled, good boardfeel
- Budget-friendly offering
- Less durable than other offerings
Thanks to a new last, you’ll find this reboot has a lower toebox, keeping the shoe closer to your foot, bringing you and the board closer together in turn, for an incredible board feel and a better flick overall.
The patented tread pattern comes from the RCT, a favorite of the Etnies team, creating maximum grip from such a sleek design, supported by the vulcanized sole which offers a flexible feel despite being more resilient.
Recycling open cell PU foam into insoles, you’ll find skating is more comfortable, with a similarly innovative egg-crate midsole construction for added stability when in motion and coming to a halt.
Available in six classic colors, they’re an attractive skate shoe that combines quality materials with a stiff sole, well suited for cruising and tricks alike and looking good on your feet whilst you do it!
- A remastered classic from skating giant Etnies
- Stylish, sleek design for maximum boardfeel
- Vulcanised and padded – supportive and durable
- Cushioned sole brought closer to foot
- Minimal ankle protection
Whilst in recent years they’ve become popular amongst fashionistas as well as skaters thanks to their aesthetically pleasing design in a range of colors and prints, but they’re still built to suit the art of kick flipping.
Low-cut and super lightweight, with a shaft approximately 3.5 inches from the arch, they’re made with vintage canvas and a thick, one hundred percent rubber sole, designed to offer superior grip and balance on any board.
Heel padding works to prevent blisters, even when breaking in a brand new pair, so skaters can board all day without having to stop to apply band aids; shock absorption from the rubber sole also aids in practicing for longer without getting hurt.
Offering plenty of movement whilst retaining sturdiness is difficult to achieve, but Vans have accomplished it with their Old Skool design, which is probably why it has continued to prove so popular amongst skaters and style-seekers alike.
- Trendy Vans style with skaters in mind
- Solid, supportive rubber sole
- Easy clean, padded canvas
- Comfortable and long-lasting
- No toe cap, leaving feet exposed
Longest Lasting Skate Shoes Buying Guide
Maybe you’re under the impression that a good shoe simply looks good and feels comfortable, but when it comes to heavy-duty skating, there are actually quite a few factors to bear in mind before making your decision.
Style – Low, Mid Or High Top?
Standard for skating shoes is the low-top design, which are more lightweight and well suited for tricks; though you can’t pad out the ankle in favour of unrestricted movement, manufacturers make up for this with cushioning in the soles instead.
Slightly higher than their low-cut counterparts are mid-top shoes, with their laces usually found below or in line with the ankle, more padding and thus increased stability. As transitional shoes, they’re suitable for wear all year round.
High-tops aren’t traditionally considered appropriate for skating as they’re more of a baseball shoe; covering more of your foot, you’ll feel more secure and comfortable wearing them, but they’re clunkier and cumbersome when it comes to tricks.
As they’re lightweight and comfortable as well as offering flexibility for fancy footwork, canvas and suede are classic components in skate shoe construction, with the latter being the more durable of the two.
Leather shoes are able to take more of a beating, though they tend to be a little more expensive, and breaking them in is less fun as they’re more rigid; vegan skaters might prefer to opt for the increasingly popular synthetic alternatives to leather.
In terms of the shoe’s sole, it’s imperative that you have a good enough grip on your board, which is achievable with quality rubber or polyurethane; not only will it offer you more stable footing, but they’ll withstand scrapes and scuffs better.
If you’re a skater who likes to practice more advanced tricks, this is especially important, because your shoes will wear out more quickly and you’re also more dependent on a secure stance for your safety.
When it comes to ranking skating shoes, their durability is determined by the method that has been used for attaching the sole to the shoe itself, usually following one of two popular techniques.
Vulcanized shoes are preferred by skaters, as they’re simultaneously very light and allow for maximum feel of your board, and their flexible, gummy feel is useful in terms of maintaining balance and successfully performing tricks.
As opposed to the traditional shoe production process of using glue, the insole and outsole are attached by heating the shoe’s rubber bottom until elasticated and adhering to the fabric top, without a barrier between your foot and the board.
The major downside of this, however, is the lack of support for your precious arches and ankle bones, which means that especially vigorous skaters may find themselves more easily susceptible to injury or aching after practise.
Cupsoles can also be popular as, like the name suggests, they cup your feet in order to offer maximum protection to your ankle and foot; the process uses stitching to connect the top and bottom soles of the shoe, often with the addition of padding.
You’ll find that it’s more difficult to achieve that board feel, though, because there’s more of a barrier between your foot and skateboard, so newbie skaters might find it more difficult to get going and those more experienced could struggle to perform.
Stitching instead of gluing the insole and outsole together also means that there’s less chance of things falling apart after a lot of use, especially when manufacturers go to the effort of double or triple stitching, as it’s a much more resilient process.
Speaking of stitches, pay close attention to the quality of stitching across the rest of the shoe (or check customer feedback!) as low-quality work is easy to spot and will save you opting for shoes bound to rip after one or two wears.
One of the most dangerous sports, although you wouldn’t think it, the impact that skating can have on your joints, especially around your feet and ankles, cannot be underestimated: do so at your own risk.
Choosing a shoe that’s been manufactured with padding in the tongue, walls or heel to maximize comfort and reduce the stress skating regularly can have on your body by absorbing some of that impact.
Grip is especially important for skating, as they ensure your feet stay firmly planted on your board – as long as you want them to – and you also want to be able to withstand traction when propelling yourself forward or grinding to a half.
Shoes that have a waffle top, herringbone or other similar pattern on their soles are more likely to offer continuous grip after long-term wear, as well as stand up to the friction of speeding up or quickly slowing down to stop.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the average lifespan of a skate shoe?
This really depends on how committed you are to skating, and how many pairs of shoes you have to alternate between – as is the case with most shoes, the more you wear in one pair, the quicker they’ll wear out.
An average skater will find they can get a good four to five months, even up to a year out of their shoes before they’re too beat up to provide adequate protection from such a rough and tumble sport.
Those who take “skate or die” a bit more seriously will find they get less wear out of their shoes, for obvious reasons, as will people who aren’t buying shoes that fit properly or are of low quality.
Purchasing shoes in the right size, with adequate support from quality materials, is your best bet of increasing the longevity of your shoes; as long as they’re well made, there’s no reason you won’t get plenty of wear out of them.
Does wearing skate shoes improve your technique?
Again, the benefit you’ll see from wearing skate shoes is determined by how often you skate and, crucially, how good you are; for gentle cruisers, any sneaker or laced shoe with a good enough grip will be fine, and it doesn’t have to be a ‘skate’ shoe.
However, when it comes to tricks, skate shoes will not only offer more support to your feet (and the rest of your body), but help you to feel the board better and therefore perform your tricks with more accuracy.
Likewise, the better the skate shoe you opt for is, the longer they’re going to last and the more they’ll contribute to an improvement in your skating skills – follow our buyer’s guide to ensure this is the case!
What makes a shoe good for skateboarding?
In general, you’re going to want a shoe that’s made from rigid material like suede, leather or a synthetic alternative, has been well-manufactured with quality stitch work and offers plenty of support to your heel, arches and ankles.
Additionally, soles that are built to withstand and absorb the shocks of jumping, grinding and cruising are going to provide the protection you need for more advanced tricks and high speed skating.
Padding and toe caps will not only make your skating shoe of choice more resilient, but prevent blistering (especially when you’re breaking in a fresh pair) and injury from slamming your board against hard surfaces.