Skaters sitting on skateboard

What are the best shoes for skating?

The best shoes for skating are lightweight, durable, and designed for the daily grind. Combine ultimate comfort and classic style today thanks to reinforced rubber underlays, our signature waffle outsole for a firmer grip, and a sturdy sock liner to keep your foot close to the board while you ride.

Keep an eye out for key features like strong gum soles, superior cushioning, and triple stitching that's built to last. Plus, sturdy canvas and suede uppers are a must-have to skate hard in style. 

Our signature DURACAP technology offers enhanced grip in high-wear areas and is engineered to withstand the abuse of the Vans Pro Skate Team. Tackle that double heelflip with an UltraCush HD sock liner that keeps you grounded so you—and your board—can handle major impact to the max. 

Looking for the best skateboard shoes out there? We’ve totally got you covered. Whether you’re tackling major tech trickery or serving up some daily stoke, Vans has got your back with durable skate shoes that can handle it all. 

The best shoes for skating are here for the long-haul:

  • Best overall: The Old Skool Pro Shoes are a total fan favourite. Tried and tested by the Van’s Skate Team, you can’t go wrong with reinforced rubber underlays in high-wear areas and our signature waffle outsole for a firmer grip. Plus, a long-lasting sock liner won’t pack out over time thanks to high-quality cushioning.

  • Best support: The Kyle Pro 2 Shoes feature our revolutionary Wafflecup construction with the support of a cupsole and the major grip factor of a vulcanized shoe. 

  • Best traction: The Chukka Low is a total classic designed by the Vans Skate team, and includes sturdy canvas and suede uppers for the best in boardfeel, flex, and traction. 

  • Best High-Top: The Comfycush Sk8-Hi Shoe is perfect for less intense days at the park. A padded tongue and collar are the ultimate combination of comfort and grip on the go. 

  • Best Suede Skate Shoe: The Suede Vans Sport is a retro take on skateboarding style. Featuring old-school V side stripes and leather accents, rock dozens of colours to express skate style with ease.

  • Best Unisex Skate Shoe: The Authentic Skate Shoe features a simple low-top and lace-up profile with a lower tongue than the Old-Skool style. 


What are skate shoes?

Skate shoes are specifically designed to improve grip and flexibility while you ride. They are usually built with reinforced rubber in high-impact areas and triple stitching for a long-lasting fit. While you can skate in army boots, skate shoes are a smart move if you're looking to get major air. 

The best skate shoes out there offer enhanced sock liners for major impact protection and strong rubber gum soles for major control as you ride by the water. More advanced skate shoes are designed with technical features that improve comfort and breathability. Rock a heelflip with professional picks like the Kyle Walker Pro. This pair is packed with extras that offer major support so you can ride longer, crazier rails with ease.

Plus, our brand new PopCush foam recipe snaps back and won't pack it in. We've worked with the pros to meticulously tune this technology for superior cushioning and custom energy return for every trick you have up your sleeve.


Is leather good for skate shoes?

Yes. Strong skate shoes are usually made out of leather, suede, or similar durable material. Authentic skate shoes need to be triple stitched together to make the most difficult tricks look effortless. Plus, sturdy canvas, suede, or leather uppers are a total must-have while you ride.

Are you tired of replacing your skate gear every couple months and checking prices on repeat? We get it. Long-lasting leather construction provides reliable durability that saves all of our skateboarders major time and money. Our skate shoes are engineered to withstand the abuse of the Vans Pro Skate Team so you can kickflip into the weekend with ease. 

Leather picks like The Simpsons X Vans Bart Chukka Pro Shoes are specifically engineered to deliver the best in boardfeel, flex, and traction. Upgraded for enhanced performance, you can protect your feet and catch some major air thanks to sturdy suede uppers and Van’s original waffle outsoles. 

Looking to level up your durability factor? The Van’s Old Skool Pro Shoe is a low-top, lace-up shoe that’s lined with 56% leather. Plus, padded collars level up support and flexibility and reinforced toe caps are engineered to withstand repeated wear. 

Here at Vans, we’re all about all-around support, flexibility and comfort so that you can skate in style. If you’re looking to get those creative juices flowing, use your customisation tool to make your skate shoes totally one of a kind.  

From laces to leather accents, you can customise literally everything to find your perfect fit. What are you waiting for? Get started today


Are gum soles better for skating?

Yes. Gum soles are the best type of rubber soles for skating. Not only do they resist sliding and general wear and tear, but they also offer extreme grip. While cupsoles are an option, vulcanized soles like Van's signature rubber outsole offer better flex and traction for technical tricks.

Vans skate shoes sole

Photo credit: Vans

It’s no secret that the outsole is the most important part of a solid skate shoe. Unlike standard running shoes, skate shoes need gum soles that provide extra grip while skating. Tried and tested by the pros, our signature Pro Vulc Lite Construction has 50 years of proven performance. 

Whether you’ve got wide feet or need a more narrow fit, cup soles are key to maintaining flexibility and versatility. Our gum rubber outsole construction delivers the ultimate in board feel for intuitive control so you can skate longer and harder than ever before. 


Do you need skate shoes to skate?

You don't need skate shoes to skate. However, skate shoes are an easy way to level up your grip and flexibility while you ride. A rubber gum sole and extra-wide base are engineered to help you hold onto your board better. Plus, a durable construction delivers major impact protection.

Green Vans skate shoes


Anything is possible with the right support. You can go with regular Vans shoes if you ride only cruisers or longboards. but grab a pair of pro skate shoes for more technical tricks. It may be harder to get major air with more standard shoes. 

Plus, they might wear out quicker than a more durable pair of shoes that are built to handle adventures at the park. 

Skate shoes are specifically engineered to tackle major impact and constant wear and tear. Skate shoes are the best way that you—and your gear—can tackle epic tricks all day, every day. Master that double heelflip in no time thanks to reinforced toe-caps and extra support in high-impact areas. 


Are canvas shoes good for skating? 

Yes. Canvas shoes are a solid alternative to suede for skate shoes for everyday use. However, suede is more equipped to handle major air. Both materials are extremely soft and flexible. 

Canvas is usually used to make leather-free skate shoes. While it may not be as wear-resistant as a leather alternative, it is a lighter and more breathable option that still provides solid support while you ride. 

Shoes like The Era Pro offer canvas uppers and sturdy suede construction for enhanced performance. Plus reinforcement rubber underlays in high wear areas provide unrivalled durability as you kiss the rail on repeat. 

This Is Era banner


Let’s be real. Canvas can tear easily compared to other, more durable options. Consider more hardcore gear if you're tackling more intense tricks. You can mix it up with a pair of shoes that blend materials. 

The Berle Pro is the ultimate combination of canvas, suede, and synthetic materials. Push the boundaries of skate progression with built-in conditioning and a LUXLINER build that integrates the tongue and internal lining for a responsive fit. 


How long do skate shoes last?

Skate shoes can last a month or a year depending on the material they are made of and how hard and often you ride. Once you've worn down the sole to a thin layer with holes, you should splurge on a new pair.

With skate gear, it really all comes down to the material. Canvas shoes won't last more than a couple days, especially if you're catching major air on repeat. Canvas tends to wear down quicker than more durable alternatives like suede or leather. 

Go for a tougher pair of shoes if you’re looking to kiss the rail like the pros. Professional skate shoes with suede uppers and reinforced toe-caps can handle it all. Plus, suede models designed with technical features for extreme comfort and impact protection.

Skaters sitting wearing Vans


Pro tip: wear one pair of shoes when you're riding to campus, work, or urban exploring in the afternoon. Then, have a separate pair of skate shoes specifically for the park when you're boarding. This will guarantee a longer lifespan for your shoes, especially in your kickflip spot. 

With the right gear by your side, you can skate your way through your trick list with ease. Whether you're headed to the park or down the street with friends, it's no secret that Vans has got your back with technical features.

We do not simply promote durability and major flexibility while you ride. We live it all day, every day. Our skate gear is tried and tested by the pros and backed by the best athletes out there—so you can skate your best 24/7.

What are you waiting for? Lace-up with the latest models today. Then, tackle life off the wall for the win.

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