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How to Buy Skate Shoes

As you start skating, you might pick up a pair of old sneakers. But there’s something so amazing about picking out a brand new pair of skate shoes. Many companies have been built off of skate shoes, and many pro skaters got their start from shoe companies. Let’s take a look at how you can buy your best pair of shoes.

If you don’t have the right shoes, skateboarding can become more uncomfortable, and can also become more difficult. Especially when you’re starting out, buying the right skate shoes becomes an investment.

It’s important to state right here at the beginning that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on skate shoes. You don’t need to buy a pair of $300 Nike SBs on StockX. There are plenty of great skate shoes that will last awhile for under $60. Companies like Vans, Circa and DC all offer skate shoes that are high quality, but don’t break the bank.

Why Buy Skate Shoes?

Skate shoes are designed specifically for, get this, skateboarding! The rubber is designed to last longer against the constant rubbing of the concrete and griptape. The rubber is also strategically placed so it gives the shoe more protection and makes it last longer.

Even with all this protection, skate shoes still get ripped up pretty quickly. Every time you do an Ollie, or just about any trick, you are rubbing your shoe across a piece of sandpaper. So it does take a toll on the shoes. So don’t think that you made the wrong choice just because your shoes got a hole in the side after 3 months. That’s pretty normal.

Common Wear-Down Spots

There are a couple of different spots on your shoes that are more prone to wearing out than others. The main spot is the outside edge and toe of whatever your front foot is. Right foot if you are goofy or left foot if you are regular. This is the side of the shoe that slides up the skateboard every time you do a trick.

So this part of the shoe does get torn up and will develop holes. This is not something that you are doing wrong. This is just part of the wear and tear of skateboarding. Especially when you’re learning ollies or kickflips.

The next spot that you will see wearing on is actually the bottom of your shoes. This is from the constant friction with the ground and top of the board. Especially if you’re dragging your foot to slow down or stop. This can rub away at the grip at the bottom of your shoes, making them completely smooth and sometimes wearing all the way through.


With all that in mind, it’s time to start looking at some skate shoes. The most important skate shoe is the comfort. If you’re not comfortable in your skate shoes, you’re not going to want to skate. Plus, who wants to skate in uncomfortable shoes?

Another important aspect is incorrect sizing. Skateboarding puts extra stress on your feet already. Make sure when you are trying on shoes, they fit well. All shoes do not have the same cut and sizes so you have to try them on. You don’t want something that is squeezing your feet or poking you weirdly. If they don’t feel good in the store they won’t feel any better later on. 

With skateboarding, most of the focus is on your feet, and what they are doing. This means you need to be able to feel what is going on underneath your feet. There is also a lot of impact that your feet take when skating. This is where insoles come in handy. To learn more about insoles, check out this blog post

Getting the Right Fit

This leads me to my next piece of advice about buying skate shoes. Never buy a pair of skate shoes online that you have not worn before. It’s something you probably will end up regretting.

First of all there is no set shoe sizes. In one brand you might be a 10, the next a 10.5, and then another you might be a 9. Also if you have never worn the shoe before then how do you know what it feels like on your feet? You can’t know that. There are too many variations between different shoe brand and even between different styles of shoes of the same brand.

So if you have not had that exact brand and style of shoes before and know that you like it, go into your local shop try them on see how they fit.  Then you can go and buy the same pair again online.  If you really have to you can buy online for the first time buying that style of shoe.

Skate Shoe Styles

If you look through the history of skateboarding, you’ll notice a lot of changes in the shoes. There are a couple of different main styles of skate shoes. There are the low-cuts, mids, and highs. Most of the skate shoes that you will see are low-cuts, because that’s the current style right now. This allows for the greatest ankle mobility, which makes tricks somewhat faster.

Mids come up a little higher just about to the bumps on the sides of your ankles. Highs go above that. Mids and highs will give you a little more protection against rouge boards and rolling your ankle. All have their benefits, but really depends on your style.

The other part to look at is the toes and side of the shoe. This correlates with that main wear point we were talking about above. Some shoes are suede or just cloth. This will wear away faster than shoes that have a rubber edge around the toes. When picking out shoes, make sure you buy ones that have that thick rubber around.

Finally, it’s how the shoe looks. It might seem a little silly to include this here but it does come into effect. You have to like your shoes. If you don’t like looking at your feet, skateboarding is harder. So part of getting a pair of shoes is, do you like how they look.

To Recap

So, you’re looking at all of these different points:

  1. Comfort
  2. Shoe Size & Fit
  3. Reinforcement
  4. Style

With these all this in mind, you should be able to go into you skate shop and get a pair of shoes that you are happy with. Shoes are one of the main things that you will be getting for skateboarding, and you’ll be getting them a lot.

It mostly depends on how often you are skating, but shoes do get worn out. Don’t think that you are doing something wrong or incorrect when you have to buy shoes more often than you ever were before. In fact, it’s a sign you’re doing it right!

In Conclusion

Now go out there and skate! We hope you found this guide helpful. Did it help you pick out a pair of shoes? Take a photo and tag @brailleskate, #brailleskate and #brailleskateboarding on Instagram! We love seeing what you guys are up to and would love to see more of them!

If you’re new to skateboarding and looking to improve your skills, definitely check out Skateboarding Made Simple. It’s the most detailed lesson plan for skateboarding that exists. With 9 different volumes, you’ll go from learning how to ride on a board, to skating skateparks and landing more advanced flatground tricks in no time!

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