To some style-conscious skateboarders, the aesthetic of a skate shoe matters more than its performance. But with the resurgence of ’90s and early ’00s style trends, we’ve seen brands picking up classic silhouettes and adding new technologies that make riding more comfortable without losing out on style.
Although some of the more classic skate brands such as Etnies, Lakai, and éS maintain solid skate teams, their product has fallen behind giants such as Nike SB, Converse, and Vans, all of whom collaborate with up-and-coming brands regularly.
Of course, you'll be fairly clued up on which styles you like and which you don't if you're a seasoned skater. But with Skateboarding now an Olympic sport, we've seen a significant uptick in popularity. So whether you're an expert or just finding your feet on the board, we've done the hard work for you.
The following roundup of the best skate shoes on the market today is a reflection of where skateboarding is at right now, with some riders and brands staying rooted in heritage and others pushing the boundaries of what a typical skate shoe should be.
Shop some of the best skate shoes of the season below.
Vans Classic Slip-On 98 DX
The Vans Slip-On will always find its way onto "best of" skate lists. The checkerboard detailing is a stone-cold classic at this point. The iconic upper sits comfortably on top of Vans' best-in-class patented waffle sole. Chiefly, the sneaker perfectly straddles the line of skate performance and style.
Last Resort AB VM001 Suede Lo
Since the world of skate shoes has become big business, the big players in the sneaker world have used their resources to create high-performing shoes. Last Resort is combating that, being created by skaters for skaters. This timeless sneaker design includes a tough suede upper and a thick rubber sole unit creating a shoe perfect for skating for under $100.
Before venturing into the skate world, the Superstar was the premier basketball sneaker simply because of its signature shell toe, which provided protection on the court. Although we’ve come a long way from 1969, adidas has changed the model ever so slightly so it works for skating too.
Converse Chuck 70
Starting life as a basketball sneaker, the Chuck 70 has since become a staple of skateboarding footwear. The new updates on this model make it more suited for skating than ever before, adding a heavier canvas, higher rubber foxing, and advanced cushioning in the midsole.
New Balance 272
The 272 is a skate shoe that won't let you down. It's a performance sneaker that looks great — the holy grail for those of us who reside on the fence between skater culture and streetwear. The New Balance skate shoe has a distinct retro aesthetic, giving the shoe a more timeless feel. All the staples of a highlight shoe are here, including durable materials, a comfy and reinforced midsole, and a rubber cup outsole. You really can't go wrong with these.
Converse x Peanuts One Star Ox
One Star’s are great when you need to dial in just the right amount of flick for tricks. This pair in particular pays homage to one of the most iconic comic strips and series with a shoe that works equally as well for skating or getting around town.
adidas Busenitz Pro
If you know skateboarding, you know Dennis Busenitz. The man is a legend, revered for incorporating his own unique style into the sport. Busenitz and adidas Skateboarding was a no-brainer. The sportswear brand has taken its iconic indoor squash model from the '80s and repurposed it for high-performance skateboarding. It features durable and flexible perforated suede and nylon overlays which fill out the classic two-tone colorway.
Stepney Workers Club Dellow Track Raw Nylon
Although Stepney might not be popular in the skate scene or even have a team of riders, the brand does boast a wide lineup of vulcanized sneakers. Thick, but not too thick soles are key to skating, and the Dellow has a rather comfy insole as well.
Nike Dunk Low Championship Goldenrod
The Nike Dunk is a basketball sneaker that, unbeknown to its designers, turned out to be perfect for skating. The shoe has conjured up huge amounts of hype since the days that skaters would pick up a pair on the discount rack, but colorways such as this black and yellow "Championship Goldenrod" design resell for a reasonable price. At the skate park or on a casual fit, the sneakers are going to look great on your feet.
Nike Dunk High Syracuse
The high-top or low-top divide in skateboarding is not to be sniffed at. It's a genuine discussion. Some swear by a low-top while others won't step foot on a board without ankle protection. Luckily, the Dunk comes in both forms, so it doesn't matter which side you're on. This varsity-inspired Syracuse colorway is a real eye-catcher on a sunny day in the park.
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