Skateboarding has evolved from surfing and the first generation of skateboarders did not even use shoes when they were skating. This often resulted in a number of bruises, and bloody, broken toes. The birth of skating in the 1950s paved the way for the first actual skate shoes that came out nearly a decade later.

If you want to learn more about different skate shoe brands, check this out!

Vulcanized or Cupsole Shoes?

Nowadays, skate shoes can be divided into two styles; Vulcanized skate shoes and cupsole skate shoes.

Vulcanized models are more geared towards board feel and grip and they are constructed by gluing and melting the sole directly onto the shoe. This makes them thinner and more flexible leading to a better board feel. However, this comes at a price. While vulcanized shoes are great to skate in, they usually aren’t as durable as cupsole ones.

Cupsoles are stitched directly on the outside of the shoe. This means that you can provide more technology into the sole itself which makes the shoe more durable and more impact resistant. On the other hand, a cupsoles usually loses to vulcanized shoes in boardfeel.


Nowadays a number of skate shoes are using the same technology used in modern athletic shoes while still maintaining the feel and tradition of a skate shoe. Depending on the model you can also have extra padding and cushioning within the shoe to protect your feet from high impact skateboarding. There’s also a large variety of low tops and high top skate shoes to provide more ankle protection if needed.

Upper material and durability

Skate shoes usually come in two different materials; suede and canvas. Since the upper is almost always the first part that wears out it is important to think what you are looking for in a skate shoe. In addition to durability, these two materials have differences in breathability and feel. Suede being the preferred choice for better grip and durability.

Canvas, on the other hand, is great for chilling on a hot summer day and cruising around on your board. However, flip tricks and ollies can rip your canvas upper in a matter of minutes.

For skateboarding we suggest getting a suede upper for better performance and more bang for your buck.

Midsole material

Most skate shoes come in two different midsole materials; EVA (vinyl acetate) or PU (polyurethane) foam.

EVA foam is usually lighter but can still provide good impact protection for your feet when skating on hard surfaces. PU midsoles on the other hand are usually longer lasting since they don’t flatten or compress over time. Though, they are a bit more expensive and slightly heavier on your feet.

Many skate shoe brands are also using their own technologies to bring out better protection for their shoes. So keep an eye out for what your favorite brands have to offer.

Rubber toe cap

Nowadays more and more skate shoe brands are making their own interpretation of a classic rubber toe cap shoe. The idea behind a rubber toe cap shoe is to provide more grip on your flick while also having a longer-lasting shoe. Generally speaking the rubber toe caps do exactly what the they’re advertised, but keep in mind that going from a suede upper to a rubber toe is going to take some getting used to. Also, it is important to notice that usually the biggest wear-and-tear happens close to your pinky toe which might not be protected by the actual toe cap.

Did our skate shoe buyer’s guide help you in your search for a new pair? Let us know in the comments. 

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