Whether you’ve just started skating or you’ve been doing it for a long time, choosing the right skate shoes is not always a simple task. Even if the shoe looks good, it doesn’t always translate once you step on the board. That being said, there is a process you can follow to make sure your next pair of kicks actually helps you to skate better instead of keeping you behind relearning tricks and getting used to them.
The material used, the type of insole and outsole, the board feel, the grip and the level of impact cushioning are just a few examples of the details to evaluate before getting a shoe.
But how do you know which material, which sole or which grip is best for YOU? Read on to discover our tips to find a pair of shoes that are perfectly fit with your skills, skate style and most importantly, your feet!
CHOOSE YOUR SOLE
There are two types of insoles used for skate shoes: Vulcanized and Cupsole. The difference between the two types of insoles is mainly the stiffness of its rubber. The vulcanized sole is placed on the shoe by heating it at high temperature, making the sole softer and thinner. The cupsole is usually stiffer and thicker as it hasn’t been “cooked” on the shoe. Both types of outsoles are good, but it always depends on the way you skate.
The vulcanized sole is made for those who like to have great board feel. Vulcs are the closest thing to having no shoes on, allowing the ultimate board and terrain feel. This type of sole is loved by transition skaters and is very popular with rail enthusiasts and simple tricks lovers.
If you like to jump down steps all day, the cupsole will be much better for you. It may take a little longer for you to get used to your shoes, but believe us, your feet will thank you for supporting them with a thicker, stiffer sole with better heel support.
- Great board feel
- Higher flexibility
- High grip level
- Easy to get used to
- Decreased Durability
- Lower impact absorption level
- A good insole is necessary
- High durability
- High level of impact absorption
- Better heel support
- Less flexibility
- Harder to get used to
- Less board feel
DON’T FORGET TO CHECK THE INSOLE!
Too often, we buy shoes without even taking the insole out. This is one of the most important steps in the selection of a shoe. Take the time to remove the insole from inside the shoe, this will allow you to determine if the insole is too thick, too thin, too steep or too flat, comfortable enough, etc.
Many people keep their old insoles and transfer them from shoes to shoes. Except for odours that often tend to accumulate, it’s a very good way to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible in any pair of shoes. When you find an insole you love, keep it for as long as you can!
LOW, MID OR HIGH TOPS
While many believe that the height of a shoe doesn’t change anything, we assure you that this detail is super important, especially for mobility. Technical skaters usually choose low shoe while ramp skaters or simple tricks skaters who require less mobility at the ankles can opt for a higher shoe. If you like to skate both, you can also go with the mid-tops.
- Sits below ankle.
- Offers great mobility.
- Offers less protection than the high or mid top.
- Sits at the ankle.
- Offer more protection than a low top.
- Is less restrictive than a high top.
- Sits above the ankle.
- Offers the highest level of protection and ankle support.
- Offers less mobility.
PICK THE RIGHT MATERIAL
The main materials used for skate shoes are textiles, suede/leather and synthetic. The three types of materials have their advantages and disadvantages and for this reason, the preferences will be different for each skater, depending on his style.
A material often used for skate shoes is the canvas, which is not ideal for people who skate a lot. The look of canvas is stylish, perfect for those who prefer to just cruise around on their boards. Canvas is not the most durable material and its flick is often unpredictable. The good thing about canvas is that the material is lightweight and offers great breathability.
In this category we find suede and leather shoes. Suede/leather is the favourite material of many skaters for several reasons. the materials offer great and consistent grip, a stable flick and is easy to mould to your foot. Leather and suede shoes are usually very durable and comfortable. By far one of the most popular materials for technical skaters.
The synthetic materials simply imitate leather and suede. The difference is that the material didn’t come from the animal, but from the man. To be honest, synthetic materials are doing a good job at being exactly the same as leather and suede. They are even a little lighter. Many people prefer to stick to the real thing. Still a great option for animal-friendly skaters.
FIND THE RIGHT FIT
Sings of a perfect fit
- No pain, no discomfort and normal blood circulation in the feet
- Not too tight, but not too loose. You should be able to insert your index finger inside the shoe behind your heel, but not more than that.
- YOUR HEELS MUST ME STABLE IN THE SHOES AT ALL TIMES
Tips to get the best fit
- The sizes often change depending on the brands, so trying the shoes in stores is an ideal way to make sure you like them. Bring your board and step on it with the shoes for better results.
- Remember that shoes become larger when worn, so buying them a little tighter is often more clever than buying them a little too big.
- Walk in your new shoes for a couple of days before starting skating.