SKATE SHOES: What to look for.

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Ok the question seems to come up a lot on the forum so I thought I would try and shed some light on what I feel are the things to look for in a new pair of kicks to slash around on.

BRANDS

Ok a brand shouldn’t be, the be all and end all of what shoes you buy. True some brands do produce top quality product and use premium materials. With this comes a bigger price tag though. If you are prepared to pay this you will generally get a top notch shoe that will last you.

Brands that I have had in the past that have worn well are, ADIO, DC, Dekline, Fallen and E’s. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to skate a lot of others.

Some brands will have styles in their range that aren’t really skate orientated, these are usually aimed to be sold in high st fashion stores or as a non skate store option. Problem is sometimes these are cheaper and carry the brands name so people automatically think it is a skate shoe. Sorry to say but these will fall apart on you in 10 minutes of skating.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Upper. The upper of the shoe is important to look at if you want your shoes to last. I find that a one piece toe area tends to last really well. There are no seams for the grip tape to pull at, or stitches to come undone so the shoe will start to pull apart. With the toe area of the shoe you want to make sure that the area has a rubber backing. This is a thin layer of rubber that is stuck onto the back of the material used in the toe area. It is not visible from the outside of the shoe, so to know if the shoe has it feel the toe area. If it has some resistance to you pushing the material in it will generally be backed. If it’s soft and feels like you can push it right down, most likely not backed with rubber. This helps the material have some resistance to abrasion.

Stitching on the toe cap of a skate shoe. You generally want to have at least double, but I will always look for triple stitched toe caps. The more stitching the more hold the material will have. It take more skating to go through triple stitching.
Materials.

Suede is one of the main materials used for skate shoes, it is grippy and has a fair resistance to abrasion.
Canvas is used on some shoes. It is great for summer as it is light weight and breathes better than suede. Thing with suede is that it tears very easily, they are usually gone within a few skate. Even the hardest wearing ones.

Leather is a really tough material, so last for quite a while. Thing with leather is it takes longer to break in and isn’t as grippy as what suede is so is generally not preferred for that reason.

Synthetic. This is not overly used but is preferred by the vegan pro skater who wants to keep true to their principle. Some synthetic materials are just as good as suede, some just fall to pieces.
Soles.

Vulcanised. Vulcanised is the sole that sits quite high on the side of the shoe, although you are really lower in the shoe. They are fairly thin soles that are designed to give ultimate board feel and help preserve the upper of the shoe. The rubber going up the side of the shoe is what helps preserve the upper. Some people don’t like vulcanised because it doesn’t offer much shock protection.

Cup Sole. This sole is chunkier and more rounded in shape. I have noticed that this style of sole has gained some popularity again in the last 2 years. Technology has helped keep the thickish shape but give the sole more flex, making the shoes easier to break in. They are definitely not as thick as they use to be, though still delivery sufficient shock protection with great board feel.

Shapes. This is also important. If you have a narrow foot you don’t want something too wide otherwise you will be swiming in it and quite likely do your ankles in. Same goes for wider feet if you have something too narrow you will destory the shoes a lot quicker and possibly roll over the sole.

 
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I have set this up as a guide for you to use. If you have any questions or feed back please post them up.
This thread is not for slagging off brands and the likes. If you had a bad experience with a shoe be specific, post the brand and the style. Sometimes you may not have got a shoe that is great for you. Your feed back though is what helps us all know what to go for. Other than that keep shredding YEW.

 
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Very nice guide CJ smile
I’m thinking I’d trying some cup sole shoes again but im liking the feel of the vulcs. The shock protection isnt really a big deal for me because I’m mainly on flat ground instead of jumping sets.

 
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Thanks CJ!
That’s really helpful man. I’m looking for some new shoes right now cause mine are wore out and not really skate shoes although they work pretty well.
I’ve got a much better idea of what to look for now. Like BKM I’m gunna look for vulcanized soles, I mostly like transition kinda stuff so I don’t have a lot of big impacts.

 
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Believe it or not, but back in the day I used to sell skate shoes, and ADIO were one of the brands that continually received great feedback from the local crew!!!!!

I found that for durability a cup sole combined with an outer rubber toe cap was always a great combination!!!!!

But like ya stated CJ, bulkiness and sacrificed board feel were the payoffs!!!!! Good to see that these are improvin!!!!!

Many guys wear things like vulcanised Dunlop Volleys, that gave great board feel, but in return smashed their ankles!!!!! And it doesn’t necessarily take big air tricks to slowly eat away at ya joints either!!!!!

My little input done, how are ya CJ????? How’s the weather in pommy land????? Can I safely say that ya not wearin ya red corset in Dorset?????

 
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I’ve skated in a couple of pairs of shoes and I’d have to say the best shoe I’ve skated in is the Nike SB P Rod Vulcs. They have very comfortable and have nice board feel and also they aren’t too heavy.

I’ve skated in these shoes for a little over a month and they haven’t ripped and there is no tears. However, the only downsides to this shoe is that if you are jumping sets of whatever there isn’t that much cushioning compared to cup soles and the top part of the shoe is thinly padded which sucks sometimes when your board accidentally lands on top of your foot (lol).  These shoes are around $70-$80 I think but I managed to get these shoes on sale for around $50 and I’d have to say they are well worth the money. If I had to get new shoes I may try the Koston Sb’s because I’ve heard good things about them and I’m keen!

Before I got the P Rods I skated in some really old DC shoes I’ve had since Year 7 LOL The rubber outlining around the shoe had come off which made it easier to rip. Despite being so old and a bit damaged they didn’t rip until around a month and a half. It was a small rip though. The shoe was pretty comfortable even though they we’re 2 sizes below my shoes size hahaha. This shoe provided way more protection on your feet but sacrificed board feel. Since I have bought the P Rods I have given these DC’s to my mate. He’s skates opposite stance to me so he didn’t really have to deal with the hole. Again, it’s been a bit more than a month since I have given him the shoes and they have ripped tremendously. Still, for a shoe that is around 5 years old with no rubber outlining it held up pretty good.  (very similar to these)


Before I found those DC’s I skated in some Vans. I’d have to say these shoes have been the worst shoe I have skated in when it comes to durability. The shoe lasted me about a week until I had to start taping it up so it didn’t rip my socks and my foot! For comfort I’d have to say they are really comfortable and provide very good board feel similar to the P Rod’s. 

I hope this little review helped anyone wanting to choose some shoes! smile

 
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Mizu Kuma - 07 November 2011 03:12 PM

My little input done, how are ya CJ????? How’s the weather in pommy land????? Can I safely say that ya not wearin ya red corset in Dorset?????

Good Mizu. It is starting to get cooler now so the blue skin in the red corset is making making me look like a baywatch avatar.
Got a sunny day today so going to go for a skate just that cooler air makes the lungs go a bit spaz.
How are things with you water bear?

 
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C J Parker - 15 November 2011 01:02 PM
Mizu Kuma - 07 November 2011 03:12 PM

My little input done, how are ya CJ????? How’s the weather in pommy land????? Can I safely say that ya not wearin ya red corset in Dorset?????

Good Mizu. It is starting to get cooler now so the blue skin in the red corset is making making me look like a baywatch avatar.
Got a sunny day today so going to go for a skate just that cooler air makes the lungs go a bit spaz.
How are things with you water bear?

Yeah good mate, summers startin to kick in, so next time I’m at the beach, I’ll try out those CPR moves from those documentaries that ya made!!!!!

Pretty devo that I’m unable to some NoHe snow time in though!!!!!

How bout you, got any snow play planned while ya based over there?????

 
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i have a pair of fila high tops, they are torn apart after 2 months :(

 
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From what I remember fila is a tennis brand. Definitely not going to last as long as a pair of skate shoes.

 
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yea, theyre wrecked,,  hopefully im gonna get Vans soon enough

 
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I heard Vans canvas don’t last very long

 
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Anything canvas wont last that long. Vans have great feel but do wear out quicker. If I were going Vans, I’d make sure they are something swede

 
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Yeah, canvas Vans are the trend right now

 
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Great guide CJ!


I have a pair of Kostons (Nike SB) and skated a tone of skate shoes. DC, Osiris, Adio, Adidas, Nike SB, Vans, DVS, Globe, Supra. Also various models with in those brands. I’m a bit of a shoe whore really.

I found with some skate shoes they don’t last more than two months if you skate heavily. Some brands like Vans, Adio, Globe have been great wearing for me and usually just tend to wear from casual wear not from skateboards sanding them down. The Nike SB has been great so light it’s amazing and the feel is some thing else with the board.

 
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Nice guide CJ. Very detailed and insightful. I’ve found from going through approx 30-40 pairs of skate shoes in my time that nothing except a double-stitched toe cap made out of a durable material will last me very long. Also, while buying from a reputable brand generally guarantees a certain degree of durability and comfort, you may find that different shoe styles put out by the same company will perform differently and last for varying amounts of time.