What makes for the best skate shoes?
When picking a pair of shoes to don down at the skate park on the edge of the half pipe, you have to consider that not only is it important to look good, these shoes also need to be designed to withstand everything the conventional skater puts them through. Just as a skier needs good skis – a skater needs a strong pair of kicks on his feet.
Now, the best skate shoes are usually associated with being durable. The most common features to good skate shoes are their ability to take punishment, and not break. No one wants to rip out of a sole, or stick a toe through the end of a toebox. These shoes need to be sturdy but not heavy. It is a delicate balancing act, but we think there are some key things to look for when purchasing a pair.
What makes for a durable skate shoe?
Unlike pure lifestyle shoes, skate shoes come under the performance bracket. What that means is it isn’t just the visuals that matter. The make up of the shoe is its most important component: How it fits together, how it is built. For example:
Stitching: Good skate shoes must be stitched together. When shoes are glued they are much more likely to become unglued. That is when an upper can split from a midsole. The best skate shoes are stitched or sometimes, double stitched. It allows them to hold together like one piece, rather than a number of pieces which can easily come apart.
Material: Try and stay well clear of canvas. Leather is the way forward when it comes to aggressive skating. Leather or Suede are usually the go to materials for strong skate shoes. This is naturally because these materials are a lot more resistant to scuffs, scrapes and general wear and tear.
Weight: Of course it is a delicate balance between using a strong material like leather for protection. While still ensuring that the shoes are light enough to perform at their optimum. No one wants to be weighed down while skating.
Grip: I think something that goes overlooked but is massively important is the sole. The best skate shoes have a “grippy” gum sole. You need these things to grip the board and so tread-less shoes aren’t really optimal for what you are trying to achieve.
What are examples of some of the best skate shoes?
A prime example of a good skate shoe comes from Nike. The Zoom Stefan Janoski ‘Black Gum’ pretty much has everything I just spoke about. Designed with direct input from Janoski himself. Resulting in a low-profile skateboarding shoe that features responsive cushioning in the form of a Nike Zoom unit in the sock liner. As well as featuring a gum rubber sole unit, and a black suede upper. Making this shoe what I like to call a box ticker for all things Skate related.
When you think of Air Jordan 1 you immediately think of Basketball. What you might not be overly aware of is the connection between the Air Jordan 1 and skateboarding. Featuring as the shoe of choice for Tony Hawk et al during the legendary skating film ‘The Search for Animal Chin’. Hawk was actually noted as saying ” For our type of skating especially, you wanted the ankle support. We all skate vert, so we knee slide and the toe caps were really resilient. They were exactly what we needed at that time.” So as far back as the 80s the AJ1 has been confirmed as a legitimate option within skate culture.
Check out more great skate options in our online trainers section, right here at Laced.