Skate shoes that last the longest

A photo of durable, long lasting skate shoes. (Etnies Maran Vulcanized)

Skateboarding shoes are put through more punishment in a short period of time than any other type of footwear. Some are made to endure a constant attack by 60 - 80 grit sandpaper. After 17 years testing and trying all types and styles of skate shoe, it's apparent that some shoes are built better than others.

I can help you figure out how pick out long lasting shoes from the fashion first skate shoes.

I have read over some of the articles you can find online on this subject. Most will tell you about a specific shoe you can buy. They will recommend the brand and model right out for you. If that is what you are looking for then this article won't be able to help you. I want to show you how to tell if its a durable skate shoe or just a notch above a flip flop.

Instead of telling you what shoe you need to buy so I can get a commission on the sale, I will teach you how to tell if a shoe is a durable long lasting skateboarding shoe or if it's just fashion trash.

I just bought these shoes! How are there already holes in them?

One thing is certain! You won't catch me skating in cloth shoes!

Why do skate shoes get ripped up so fast?

Skateboards have grip tape on the top surface of the skateboard. Grip tape is essentially sandpaper.

Just about every skateboard trick, including the ollie, requires the skateboarder to slide his foot across the surface of the griptape.

Every skateboard trick you do slowly eats away the material on the skate shoe.

If you are like me, you are not sponsored by a shoe company. Which means you have to foot the bill for your footwear.

But how do you know the next skate shoes you buy will last?

This is a quick list of things we will cover.

  • Skate shoe material
  • Layers
  • Toe caps
  • Skate shoe sole material

Best material for skate shoes

Skateboarding shoes are made from many different types of materials. Not all of these materials stand up to griptape equally.

I have no problem with people wearing skate shoes even if they don't skateboard. Additionally, I see nothing wrong with people liking the fashion side of skateboarding and not skating. This just means more revenue for the many skate companies out there. The more you buy skate stuff, the more the companies can produce and innovate.

This article isn't for the skate faddies. It's for those of use who are giving our blood and sweat as a sacrifice to the concrete wave. We need the shoes that can take a beating just like we do.

Skateboarding, some are made to be affordable for skateboarders on a budget, and some are engineered specifically to withstand as much punishment as possible.

The serious skate shoes and fashion skate shoes are generally on the more expensive side. The toughest skate shoes are commonly expensive but just because a shoe cost more than 50 bucks, doesn't mean it's built tough.

Multiple layers of materials

Skateshoe companies (not all that long ago) started answering the needs of a skater by adding more layers in the critical areas of the skate shoes.

What part of a skate shoe takes the most beating?

The outer face of the shoe on the toe area takes most of the beating from skateboard griptape. Because just about every trick you can do requires you to become airborne, the way we do this is by popping the tail and sliding our foot across the boards grip tape. Do this 100 times a day and your skate shoes will be trashed.

Extra layers of protective material in this part of the shoe are a good indicator of a longer lasting skateboarding shoe.

Skate shoes with Toe caps

After owning a pair of skate shoes with a toe cap I can attest that they far outlast any shoe without one.

A toe cap is just another type of layer that added to the outer toe area or the entire toe area of the shoe.

Best sole material for skate shoes

We only need to go over two types of material used for the soles of skate shoes. And we only need to cover the second type because all skateboarders who want their shoes to last should be warned not to buy shoes with synthetic soles.

Rubber skate shoe soles

Rubber is the most resistant, longest lasting, type of material used to make soles for skateboarding shoes. This one is pretty obvious, what material is used for car tires? There are many different mixtures of rubber. The best type of rubber soles for skate shoes is called gum soles. The gum soles are usually tan or brown in color. Not only do they resist wear from sliding across grip tape the best, but they actually provide excellent grip.

Synthetic skate shoe soles

If you want your skate shoes to last, do not buy shoes with synthetic soles. Not only does this material break down quickly with use, but it usually has a cheaper look to match.

This is probably the second most important factor in the longevity of a skate shoe. Second only to having suede leather on the toes.

What makes a good skate shoe?

  1. Suede leather at least on the toes.
  2. Extra layer of material on the toes, or caps on the toes.
  3. Gum type rubber soles.

If you are about to buy skate shoes and want them to last. Use the list above to save yourself from buyers remorse.

There are many different skate shoe companies out there. I know everyone has their favorites. Keep in mind that all shoes will eventually wear down. The best shoe will wear out at the bottom before the toes.


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