Skateboarder shoes or skate shoes are a type of footwear specially designed for skateboarding. It was first manufactured by Vans in the late 1960s in Anaheim, California to be used by skaters in Southern California where skateboarding was gaining popularity as a pastime. Since then, skateboarder shoes have evolved in terms of aesthetics until it settled with a generic design.
Today, many people wear skateboarder shoes as part of pop culture fashion because of their cool and trendy look, but skateboarder shoes are more than just a stylish footwear. They are manufactured using a technology that provides skaters comfort, protection, and durability. What’s more, skateboarder shoes also vary according to the different styles of skating.
For many decades, skateboarder shoes are a mainstream fashion style that many shoe brands such as Vans and Adidas design their models to look similar to skateboarder shoes. Differences, however, are observable in terms of performance and durability. Skateboarder shoes still outperform these look-alikes.
How are skateboarder shoes different from other shoes?
The major difference between skateboarder shoes and other shoes is purpose. Skateboarder shoes are designed to help riders while they are on top of their skateboards. However, other shoes are designed for other purposes such as walking, running, and sprinting.
The more distinctive feature of skateboarder shoes is the way their sole is crafted. The sole of skateboarder shoes are made up of rubber to give riders a better grip and control over their skateboards. Specifically, the toe area of the skateboarder shoes allow riders to “feel” their boards better, while the heel area allows riders to land safely when performing demanding tricks.
Do you really need to wear skateboarder shoes?
You might be wondering whether skateboarder shoes are a necessity for skating. Actually, it is not! You can skate with whatever kind of footwear. Skateboarder shoes are designed only to assist professional skaters by making their skating more comfortable and making their trick performances easier. However, while you don’t need to own a pair of skateboarding shoes, it is an advantage to have one if you want to learn and master skating.
How are skateboarder shoes designed?
Skateboarder shoes are designed with these things in mind: grip, comfort, durability, and protection. Shoe makers achieve these characteristics by using the right material and design in manufacturing skateboarder shoes.
Specifically, skateboarder shoes have a sole that is made up of vulcanized rubber bearing little to no tread. This makes skateboarder shoes more durable than other types. In addition, skateboarder shoes have an outsole which is made up of rugged rubber to give skaters a comfortable grip and control over their boards. This outsole also provides skaters protection when landing after a difficult trick. Meanwhile, the upper of skateboarder shoes is made up of suede that is made durable with double or triple stitching.
Today, shoemakers produce high-tech skateboarder shoes that has more advanced features than the typical ones.
How did skateboarder shoes make their way to pop culture fashion?
Today, skateboarder shoes are no longer just a skating equipment. Non-skaters also loved the comfortable and trendy look of skateboarder shoes that the latter became a fashion trend. Their popularity rose when they were featured as fashion in several movies such as the 1982 classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Skateboarder shoes even managed to surpass the popularity of the game it was originally designed for. Whether you are skater or not, wearing skateboarder shoes can be a part of your life as long as you know how to wear them.
What popular companies produce skateboarder shoes?
Among the most dominant companies that manufacture the most popular skateboarder shoes are:
- Nike SB (Dunk, Charge, Zoom Stefan Janoski, Court Vision)
- Vans (Slip-On, Old Skool, Sk8 Hi, Era, Authentic)
- Converse (Chuck Taylor All Star, One Star, Alexis Pro)
- New Balance (Numeric)
- Adidas Skateboarding (Busenitz Vulc, PUIG, Seeley Sneaker )
- Huf (Skateboard Shoe, Cromer)
- DC (Trase TX, Court Graffik, Pure Skate Shoe)
- Supra (Stacks Ii)
What makes great skateboarder shoes?
While most skateboarder shoes look the similar, there is an utter difference among them. For starters, the list below provides some of the important characteristics of great skateboarder shoes.
- Flexible. A great skateboarder shoes should fit your feet perfectly and not give you a restrained feeling.
- Waffle-patterned. The sole of skateboarder shoes must have a waffle pattern as they are proven to provide maximum grip for riders.
- Quality suede. The suede used for the upper part of skateboarder shoes ensures its durability, which is why skateboarder shoes must have quality suede.
How do you choose the best skateboard shoes?
True, choosing the skateboard shoes that are best for you takes time and a serious decision-making. If you want to do this right, be guided with the points given below.
Choosing the sole
Skateboarder shoes use either vulcanized soles or cupsoles. Durability and protection spell the difference between the two. Vulcanized soles provide better protection and heel support, while cupsoles offer durability. It is up to your preference which you would consider more important.
Soles also vary in thickness. A thin sole gives you a better feel of the skateboard. On the other hand, a thick sole provides you better protection from high-impact drops.
Choosing the top
Skateboarder shoes come with one of the three kinds of tops, namely low, mid, and high. These tops differ in terms of ankle protection and freedom of movement. Low tops allow riders to move easily, while high tops provide the best ankle support. If you prefer both of these characteristics, you may opt for mid-tops.
Choosing the Fit
Another important thing to consider when buying a skateboarder shoes is the way they fit your feet. Skateboarder shoes may be narrow or wide. Before buying your chosen pair, make sure you tried them on and you are sure that the inside of the shoe do not push against your foot. Most importantly, go for the pair that makes you feel comfortable.