Best Skate Shoes for 2021 : With Top Details and Specs

When it comes to finding shoes for skateboarding, the first thing you will notice is that some shoes look the part and definitely do not play the part. Just like not all sneakers are created equal, it is the same with finding the right shoes for skateboarding. 

It comes down to boardfeel, padding (or lack there of), and the shoes durability. When you shoe is abrasively rubbing against your board’s grip tape, you are going to need a shoe that lasts. 

Here is a list of the best shoes for skateboarding with detailed descriptions on why or why not they might be right for you.

Best Skate Shoes for Kickflips

Cariuma CATIBA Pro

Cariuma started in 2018 with the goal of making sustainable shoes. The company sources ingredients like bamboo, cork, organic cotton, natural rubber, and sugar cane to make its shoes. Additionally, they use recycled packaging, allow skaters to buy one shoe at a time, and ship their products according to carbon-neutral standards.

The Cariuma CATIBA pro are perfect skate shoes for kickflips and heelflips. Cariuma designed these shoes with reinforced stitching in the areas you use for flip tricks. The reinforced areas use a triple stich, and the result is that it increases the life of the shoes.

There is an unreal level of side traction flick with the CATIBA pro. The material that separates the rubber sole to the upper part of the shoes uses thicker diagonal stripes carved directly into the outsole. These stripes improve the traction and flick of your flip tricks.

I loved the Cariuma Catiba Pro so much that I wrote a full review of it here.


  • The most environmentally friendly skateboard shoe. Learn more about Cariuma’s sustainability efforts here.
  • Incredible for flip tricks
  • Comfortable
  • Excellent board feel and grip


  • These are a little more expensive than some of the other options on the list. That said, you can always buy one shoe as a time (at half the price). If you skate regular, you can buy just the left shoe or vice versa if you skate goofy.

Best Shoe for Boardfeel

Nike Sb

Nike’s skateboarding line of shoes is called “Nike SB.” The brand starting making skate shoes back in 2002 and have been a major shoe manufacturer ever since. The reason skateboards love these shoes is because they are minimal skate shoe that looks incredible. By stripping away the unnecessary padding other shoes for skating added in, they created a shoes that offers more comfort and control over your skateboard. Many skaters enjoy having a shoe that allows them to more responsively feel the movement of their skateboard. When you can more closely feel your skateboard you will skate better.

A popular line of Nike SB is Nike’s Stefan Janoski Canvas sneaker.


  • Stylish
  • Responsive board feel
  • Durable


  • They tend to be on the more expensive side
  • Can run small

Best Classic Skate Shoe


Vans started making shoes in 1966. In the beginning they were not necessarily meant for skateboarding. Overtime, Vans has become the quintessential skate shoe brand that it is today. Because Vans are so well known they have made many different models of their shoes. The truth is some of them work phenomenally well as a skateboarding shoe while others do not. The key is finding the right ones that last and work well for you. Skateboarders love Vans for their impact absorption, classic look, and arch support.

A popular line of Vans that work well for skateboarding are the Old Skool Pro. These offer the classic skate look and board feel.


  • Comfortable
  • Gum rubber for grip


  • Need to be broken in
  • Can be less durable than others

Best Skate Shoe With Vulcanized Rubber Outsole


Lakai is based out of Torrance California. It was created in 1999 by Mike Carroll and Rick Howard (from Girl Skateboards). It is a company created by skaters for skaters. There is no shoe they create that wouldn’t be a good skate shoe. They are made specifically to skate in.

Check out the Lakai Proto Vulc Shoes.


  • Extra grip thanks to dual density rubber outsole
  • Comfortable premium foam foot beds
  • Durable


  • Tighter when first worn and will need to be broken in

Best Padded Skate Shoes (for that 90s feel)

Dc Skate Shoes

DC Shoes have been around since 1994. Overtime they have embraced the padded skate shoe feel. For an older skater like myself, I am drawn to these because they remind me of the skate shoes I learned to skateboard on. They are comfortable, padded, and have that 90s feel.

The ones that I like the best are the DC Central Skate Shoe.


  • Durable suede that lasts through ollie and kickflip attempts
  • Padded collar for that 90s skate shoe feel
  • Comfortable


  • Rubber sole will wear down
  • Tight at first and will need to be broken in

Best Skate Shoe Overall


eS is a skater owned brand that began in 1995. eS has always placed an emphasis on style and technical innovation. eS is owned by the parent company Sole Technology, Inc. That parent company is going to come up a few more times in this guide

A popular shoe from eS to check out is the Accel.


  • Cushioning
  • Strong boardfeel and grip
  • True to size
  • Style


  • Needs to be broken in

Best Impact Absorption Skate Shoes


Emerica began making skate shoes back in 1996. It is another brand that is owned by Sole Technology, Inc. Emerica embodies skateboarding. Rather than change with the trends, Emerica has consistently been making simple skate shoes for over 20 years.


  • Cup sole construction with G6 polyurethane midsole for extra impact absorption
  • Comfortable
  • Durable


  • Run a little narrow in the toe

The Most Durable Skate Shoe


Etnies is another Sole Technology brand that began in 1986. Etnies have stood the test of time and are still making excellent skate shoes and sponsoring an incredible skate team to this day.

A popular shoe is the Joslin. This is Chris Joslin’s pro model shoe. The sole of this shoe is made from the same rubber as the Michelin tire brand.


  • Durable – This has a reinforced toe cap area to extend the shoe through ollies and kick flips
  • Grip – This shoe’s sole is made from mich tire grip
  • Padded tongue and collar for extra support


  • Fit a little snug in the width. You will need to break these in.

Best Vulcanized Shoes

New Balance

New Balance Numeric began making shoes for skateboarding in 2012. Initially, they partnered with Blackbox distribution, the parent company owned by Zero skateboarding pro-Jaimie Thomas. At the time, the skateboard community was skeptical about why New Balance would have a skateboarding division. Today, the shoes are widely adopted as a beloved skate shoe brand.

A popular New Balance Numeric shoe is Jamie Foy’s pro model the 306.  These have the style and the durable reinforced suede to make them last longer.


  • Board feel – Vulcanized outsole gives these that grippy board feel.
  • Durable – these have a high quality reinforced suede with extra toe protection
  • Board feel – Vulcanized outsole gives these that grippy board feel.


  • Laces run short
  • Need to break them in (true of most skate shoes)

Best Shaped Skateboard Shoes


Fallen began making skate shoes back in 2003. The brand was launched by skateboard pro Jaimie Thomas. After a few distribution changes, the brand is still going strong today. Since Fallen was created by a skateboarder, all of its shoes are designed and tested to high quality standards by its team of pro skaters.

The Forte is one of the best Fallen shoes. These shoes have the best shape and board feel. They have enough padding to provide absorption while not following the minimal, no padding, trend of most skate shoes today.


  • Board feel – Vulcanized with thinly padded tongue and collar
  • Impact Absorption – Impact Foam” Insole For Long Lasting Impact Cushioning
  • Abrasion resistant suede


  • While they are true to size, the toe box can be tight.
  • Need to break them in (true of most skate shoes)

Best Shoe for Comfort and Style


Adidas began making shoes specifically for skateboarding in 1998. As a skate company, Adidas manages to give the quality and icon look of their brand into durable, high quality shoes skaters love.

The best skate shoes for style and comfort are the Adidas Daily.


  • Comfort – These have the OrthoLite sock liner offers soft padding inside.
  • Support (and more comfort) – Padded collar and tongue for even more comfort
  • Style – Adidas legacy stripes
  • Comfort – These have the OrthoLite sock liner offers soft padding inside.


  • The suede and stripes can take abuse with kickflips.