To some 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's triumphant entry in the Tokyo Olympics, we've no doubt that skateboarding will see a heavy 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.
Nike x Undefeated Dunk Low "5 On It"
Every time these brands come together to churn out a new collaborative sneaker, we are quickly reminded why UNDEFEATED X Nike is one of the best partnerships out there. Look no further than these Dunk Low. Part of the UNDEFEATED x Nike "Dunk vs. AF1" pack, the sneaker features a wavy royal blue leather upper with purple-colored quarter panels. Five textiles and prints, including snakeskin , leather, nubuck, suede, and canvas, cover the shoe's body, creating its distance aesthetic. At the skatepark or on a casual fit, the sneakers are going to look great on your feet.
adidas x Mark Gonzales Aloha Super "Brainwash Victim"
The fifth collaborative venture between the two entities, the Aloha Super is another sneaker that will look fantastic on your feet whether you are a skateboarding legend or a casual fan. The cloudy grey suede upper pairs nicely with the grey outsole and hint of pink on the tongue. These are in the "I can wear this everyday confidently" category.
Palace x Vans Authentic "Jeremy the Duck"
Both Palace and Vans are favorites among skaters and within the streetwear community. So, it is hard to believe that these two brands took so long to come together on a project. In the playful shoe collection Jeremy the Duck is the star — Palace's alleged "Employee of the Month, Every Month," and mastermind behind the collaboration. His signature "face" is plastered all across the canvas shoe, with a cobranded midsole. No matter what the story, Palace and Vans knocked it out of the park on this one.
Vans Skate Sk8-Hi Reissue
The Vans Slip-On will always find its way onto "best of" skate lists. While the checkerboard colorway might be the classic, we love the more understated off-white hue of this pair. A suede 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. You won't look like a poser in these.
adidas Busenitz "15th Year Anniversary"
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. To commemorate their 15-year partnership, the duo dropped the Busenitz Indoor Super. The sportswear brand has taken its iconic indoor squash model from the 80s and repurposed it for high-performance skateboarding. It sports durable and flexible perforated suede and nylon overlays with a bold "XV" on the back of the heel. Not only is the cupsole uniquely tooled, but it is also designed for maximum board control. Even more so, the black and red colorway look dope with the shoe's gum sole.
adidas Tyshawn Shoes
Tyshawn Jones is one of the most exciting new talents in skateboarding, winning the 2018 Thrasher Skater of the Year Award. His first-ever Pro Signature skateboarding sneaker is a performance sneaker, through and through. Sharing some basketball shoe DNA, it is equipped with an Adituff reinforced toe, an EVA midsole, and an inner vulc wrap to provide unwavering support and high-impact absorption. It is one of the better-looking signature skate shoes to drop this year.
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.
Palace x Crocs Classic Clog
Palace x Crocs
Yes, Crocs have escaped the realms of fashion obscurity and firmly established themselves as a semi-respectable option. Statistics don’t lie, Crocs Clogs are some of the hottest shoes right now. Crocs have been racking up a laundry list of exciting partnerships with artists and brands over the past few years. This Palace x Crocs collab seems to be the perfect addition to our list today. The lauded skateboarding brand has dressed the clogs in a summer-friendly camouflage print. It even comes with 11 Palace Jibbitz charms, allowing you to customize the shoe to your liking.
Oh, and yes, you can skateboard with Crocs. There are people who have managed to pull off a few kick-flips in the clogs. But, we don't recommend it. Maybe stick to wearing these to the skate park before switching into something more performance-friendly, like the SB Dunk Lows below.
adidas Forum 84 Mid ADV "Diego Najera"
We've noticed that sneaker brands have been giving even more love towards skateboarding amid skateboarding's debut in the Tokyo Olympics. Diego Nájera is someone we are sure will take home a gold medal at some point in his career. For his signature shoe, adidas reworked its iconic Forum basketball silhouette, adding references to Nájera's LA upbringing, love for tuner car culture, and skate style. We need these in our rotation.
New Balance Numeric 1010 "Tiago"
The Numeric 1010 is a skate shoe that won't let you down. It is a performance sneaker that looks great — the holy grail for those of us who straddle skater culture and streetwear. The New Balance skate shoe has a distinct retro aesthetic, giving the shoe a more timeless feel. All of the staples of a best-in-class shoe are here, including durable materials, a comfy and reinforce midsole and a rubber cub outsole. You really can't go wrong with these.
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