Best skate shoes

10 best skate shoes for skateboarding to check out

© Fred Mortagne/Red Bull Content Pool
Lace up as we explore the 10 best skate shoes for skateboarding.
By Zane FoleyPublished on
In the world of skateboarding, one of the proverbial rights of passage has always been to look at someone’s shoes -- do they have holes? With skateboarding technology and skate fashion at a zenith, there are fewer holes but way more brands, styles and reasons to buy a certain shoe. Buying the right shoe can mean all the difference between protecting your feet and walking away with a limp.
We put together the 10 best skate shoes you need to check out to make sure your style and performance are up to date. While there exists a ton of factors that go into being a skateboarder, there are no two greater factors than style and performance. The same rings true for skate shoes. While classic skate shoes will always have a special place in our heart, in today’s shoescape, the best skate shoes last longer, perform better and produce a certain style effect while hopefully not burning a hole in your wallet. Each one of these shoes were chosen for these reasons and as you will read, a few more.

Converse CONS Louie Lopez Pro

With the amazing skating abilities of Louie Lopez one must wonder, is it the shoes? No but seriously, Converse crafted a great skate shoe hitting all the marks of style, durability and price point. Available in a score of colorways, the Lopez Pro offers skaters a unique custom option, with accents of gold, fine stitching and a durable shell for the streets and skateparks. The only con for these Converse [see what we did there?] is sometimes the ‘fit’ can vary depending on your foot. Some skater’s have complained of a tight heel but they are few and far between and many others appreciate the heel support. At $70, the price point is average overall but still well below market price for many shoes with equal style and performance.

Nike SB Shane Skate Shoes

Nike SB is heralded as the top dog of the skate shoe game for many reasons, but none might be more applicable than the sheer time of development into each product. The Nike SB Shane is a testament to their hard work, as Shane collaborated with Nike for several years developing the perfect shoe for the tech guru, and it shows. With a unique sock-liner and subtle but stylish features, the shoe combines custom double lacing, a low-key perforated ventilation on the toe cap with a no-break-in remastered design. The biggest con is the price point can vary, with $80 being pretty standard before taxes. There are also a ton of styles and textures to choose from and not each one has been reviewed thoroughly.

DC Shoes Legacy OG

$79.95 - $125
If you’re thinking to yourself, the DC Legacy OG looks like something from the turn of the century, you’d be right. This blast from the past has the name Legacy imbued from the golden era of skateboarding, when the DC Legacy OG was made popular thanks to legendary skaters like Josh Kalis and Stevie WIlliams, who blasted the shoe during the infamous LOVE park era. It’s refitted for 2020 with even more durable materials and sleek design style. THe Legacy OG’s padded tongue and collar make it one of the more protective shoes in today’s market, with a style that has both sneaker heads and nostalgic skaters shelling $80 to $125 to cop the latest colorways. The price point will be a con to some, as well as the shoe’s puffy, bulky silhouette, which can get in the way of board feel and flick. All in all, these shoes are definitely worth checking out.

Nike SB Zoom Blazer Mid

The Nike SB Zoom Blazer Mid is one of those rare shoes that fits perfectly into every retail category of best seller, best performance and best style. The iconic SB Blazer hits full view with the Zoom Mid, as contemporaries will sport the stylish sneaker with the coveted all white colorway, where they’ll commission artists to use it as a canvas for custom kicks. However, the shoe comes in several colorways with pro model offshoots as well. The Zoom Blazer being a mid provides arch support and ankle support for the aging skater, while the youngins take in the style and performance. The cons like a ton of shoes surrounds the price point at an $85 mark on the cheap side. It is also a much desired shoe of the non-skater. Thing is, the shoe is so stylish you probably wouldn’t want to skate them first; but remember they are skate shoes for a reason.

Adidas Campus ADV

Adidas might be best known for their athletic department but even so, it has been done by crafting some of the most iconic shoes. The Adidas Campus ADV is exactly that, iconic, inspired from the original Campus from the ‘80s, where the shoe quickly gained a cult following from hip hop heads. Now years later, the revamp Campus ADV, ties together years of sports performance into a stylish shoe skateboarders can enjoy. Known for its reinforced high-impact areas and its no slip tongue, the snug fit and extra cushioning provides a bounce of plush comfort and durability. The only cons are the shoe only comes in core black and cloud white, but its sueded iconic look makes up for its lack of customizing. Retailing at $80 makes the shoe about average or slightly above for price point, but if you’re lucky you might be able to catch back to school sale or a pair on the discount rack.

Vans Classic Slip Ons

$39.95 - $59.95
The Vans Classic Slip Ons are a favorite of skaters and non skaters alike and for many reasons. These shoes are the first pair to come to mind when someone mentions ‘slip ons’. That’s because of their reliability and consistency over the years. You know exactly what you’re paying for, exactly what performance and board feel if you’re a skater who values these things. Most importantly, the Vans Classic Slip Ons are some of the most affordable shoes to date. With a little research you can find them as cheap as $40 and rarely ever do they exceed $60. Infinitely customizable, you can sport a unique look or stick to the traditional checkers or all black. That being said, the shoe does have two major cons. Being made from canvas means even when triple stitched, the shoe rips very easily. The second, the shoe being so light and thin, while giving an incredible board feel, they are not ideal for jumping down stairs or absorbing impact. Still, the shoe has a cult following for a reason.

Nike SB Dunk Low Pro

One of the most celebrated skate shoes of all time, the Nike Dunk was the premier unofficial skate shoe before shoe companies actually made official skate shoes. IN celebration of the Nike Dunk, Nike SB has propagated several releases of the Nike SB Dunk. This shoe is easily one of the most stylish pairs of skate shoes ever crafted, granting it plenty of pros with a padded tongue and classic athletic rubber soul. There do exist a few cons. The Nike SB dunk has garnered a cult following, whether it's for the SB dunk or the mid top with padded collars. This makes the releases often followed by long lines, prices being driven up to a whopping $90, and currently only available at speciality shops and online retailers. While being one of the most celebrated and loved skate shoes, it has always come with the reputation of ripping easily and not being very abrasion resistant.

eS Accel OG

We knew we had to include a skate shoe from one of the most revered companies of all time in eS. While the brand might no longer rule a market where they were once the king of the crop, the eS Accel will forever be synonymous with premier skate shoes. In 2020, eS continues to sell the shoe that made their name in the eS Accel OG. No matter what company they ride for now, every pro had to own a pair of the Accel OGs at some point and has taken home the #1 skate shoe award numerous times in its history. Now, to say you should check out this shoe is an understatement, but it should be noted that shoe technology and what we expect from a skate shoe has changed since the conception of the eS Accel OG. While many will find the Accel OG a refreshing reunion with the past, some contemporaries or younger skaters might find its fit a bit outdated. Either way, this shoe deserves the shoe shine.

Vans Half Cab Pro

In skateboarding, some shoes will forever be iconic. The Half Cab by Vans is right at the top of everyone’s list when discussing the skate shoes every skater should know about. Rightfully so, the Vans Half Cab has been a staple for the iconic shoe brand for decades, appearing in some of the earliest backyard pool shoots and enduring on the feets’ of skaters in today's 2020 mags. Vans reimagined the classic Half Cab with its Half Cab Pro, utilizing new design features for enhanced durability and increased comfort. With more colors to choose from, the Half Cab Pro is a shoe worthy of its $70 price point. The only gripe with some skaters is how the Half Cab has changed over the years. As competitors reach for cheaper production and economic materials, some would say the shoe just isn't the same as it used to be. Regardless, you can get a pair and cast your vote. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Emerica Wino G6 Slip

Seldom does a skate shoe look so good and skate even better but the Emerica Wino G6 Slip has something to say about that. This sleek and stylish slip on provides skaters an alternative from other slip ons generally falling short of the style mark. While slip ons in general tend to be known for hurting your feet if you attempt any impact skating, the Emerica Wino G6 Slip was built upon the Emerica Wino G6, infusing its G6 PU insole for first-rate cushioning. The double wrapped vulc construction also means more board feel and abrasion durability. After all, the shoes are backed by Emeirca riders Collin Provost and Jon Dickson, who with their own Wino G6 Slip colorways shred some of the gnarliest obstacles in skating. While the shoe typically runs at a higher cost than most slip ons, you can find them on sale even on the Emerica site.You might have to pay a little more for these kicks but like the old saying goes: you often get what you paid for.

New Balance Numeric 306

The New Balance Numeric 306 was popularized by the madman and Red Bull rider Jamie Foy, whose ability to front crook the gnarliest handrails demands the mandatory performance of great skate shoes. Heralded for its shock absorption, the Numeric 306 comes in seemingly infinite colorways for whatever custom colors catch your eye. New Balance roots of manufacturing running shoes shines through, with an arch support akin to the performance demands of going the distance. One of the prevailing cons of this shoe is its price point. At $85.95 the shoe has to compete with cheaper shoes from reputable counterparts. That being said, the Numeric 306 prevails as one of the most durable skate shoes to date, making the investment worth the purchase.

Best Ways to Clean Your Skate Shoes

Keeping your skate shoes clean is no easy task, especially when your shoes by their very nature are pushing dirt and grime off the streets and skateparks. However, there are some ways you can help keep your shoes clean and touch them up even when they do catch a smudge. You want to be sensitive to your shoes as some ways of cleaning are better than others. Either way, here are a few tips skaters have been using for years for cleaning your skate shoes.
  • Toothpaste: This is one of those things that works great but no one really is sure why. Toothpaste provides just enough pull against the dust and grime but is not corrosive enough to damage any goods.
  • Avoid Canvas: Canvas can be some of the most stylish skate shoes but they generally have the most problems. Consider opting for suede or leather which are much easier to clean and tend to last longer.
  • Soap & Elbow Grease: The most effective way to clean your shoes is to take the DIY attitude you already have as a skater and apply it here. A little dish soap and elbow grease can go a long way.
  • Washing Machine: You can put your shoes in the washing machine but make sure you don’t put them in the dryer for risk of shrinking. This should ultimately be considered a last resort as well.