All skateboarding is, is putting ideas into action - Marc Johnson
Skateboarders are a breed unto themselves. They live to skate and they skate to live and everything in between is just day to day ephemera and life’s window dressing. The highs and lows of skating are akin to being catapulted around the Kingda Ka; when you’re up you’re really, really up and when you’re down, you’re way down at the bottom, scraping the floor. In the midst of those peaks and troughs, skaters soon realize that the only things they can truly depend on are the tools of their trade and the instruments that allow them to do what love to do more than anything else; skate.
That’s why skateboarders fall in love with their decks and why they become possessive about the sort of trucks and wheels that they ride and put their faith in. It’s a symbiotic relationship that skaters invest their lives in, and it becomes an all-encompassing partnership that helps to define who they are and, by extension, what they do. But the extent of a skaters’ reliance on their equipment doesn’t begin and end with skateboards, it extends far further than that.
Sooner or later, every skater comes to understand the importance of the role that their chosen footwear plays in their life of high flying and street cruising daring-do. Without the right shoes to glue them to their deck, they won’t be able to hit the ramps or carve concrete paths. And without the sort of sneakers that’ll allow them to point their boards where they want them to go and provide the kind of control they need to master the stunts and tricks that are part and parcel of skating life, they may as well just hang their boards up, head home, switch the television on and surf their sofas until the end of their days.
But skaters don’t pour the same sort of love of affection into their shoes as they do their boards. They can’t afford to, as they know their shoes are going to take a thrashing and won’t last as long as their decks will. That’s why skaters invariably get attached to easily replaceable, cheap shoes that they know they can trust. And if you’re thinking about learning how to skate, the best investment that you can make is a pair of cheap, board ready skate shoes that’ll do everything you need them to and won’t cost the earth to replace. So, we’ve come up with a list of the five best, cheapest skate shoes that you can lose your heart to, believe in and when they fail and fall to pieces, can easily replace. You’ve got your board, you’ve got your trucks and you’ve got your wheels. Now it’s time to get your shoes…
Top 5 Best Skate Shoes Cheap
OUR TOP PICK
We know, Adidas isn’t exactly a brand that’s synonymous with skateboarding. Running, jumping, and all the other things associated with track and field, absolutely. They’re all prime Adidas fodder. But skating? Not so much. Or at least they weren’t until the teamed up with professional skateboarder Dennis Busenitz to make the sort of sneaker that he’d be happy to put his name on and wear while popping an endless array of ollies.
Built to take a pounding during skate sessions, the Busnetiz features a higher than usual ankle support, solid rubber cupsole, one-piece toecap, and a just as tough and flexible as the man they were modeled after and for upper. They’re durable, long-lasting and while you’ll almost certainly weep when they go to that big skate bowl in the sky, you won’t have to take a loan out on your board to buy another pair.
The Busenitz is a life-changing shoe that’ll stick you to your deck and improve your all-round skate game, but won’t hurt your pocketbook when you need to get another pair. It also helps their cause when you see them and realize that they also look just as cool as Denis Busenitz does when he’s grabbing air.
- They’re made to a professional skaters specifications and designed to do everything that Buesnitz would want, and need, them too. That means that they’re durable and they’re going to last and wear well.
- Prices start at fifty dollars, which for a skate sneaker that’s purpose-built to ride hard and ride fast, is incredibly impressive.
- These shoes are beloved by skaters and were given one of the best reviews that we’ve ever read. In fact, it might be our favorite review ever. It said, and we quote “The suede is some of the toughest that I’ve ever skated, and overall the shoes are built like tanks,” We told you it was a great review didn’t we?.
- They take a while to wear in, so you’re going to have to bear with them and grin through the worst of the initial discomfort. It’ll be worth it, we promise but that doesn’t change the fact that the Buensitz’s might squeeze your feet and make them hurt in ways you didn’t think were possible when you first start wearing them.
Remember when we said that prices started at around fifty bucks? They do, but they rise pretty steeply toward a century depending on the size of your feet and the color and style of sneakers you choose to wear.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone, there’s a lot of people who aren’t familiar with Osiris Skate Shoes. They’re not exactly one of the first names that pop up in any sneaker related conversation. However, that isn’t a bad thing as even though they’re not a household name, that hasn’t stopped Osiris cranking out great skate shoes for more than a quarter of a century. Osiris is one of the best-kept secrets in the skate scene and there’s a good reason for that. They make incredibly affordable long-lasting skate shoes
They follow the blueprint for the golden rules of skate-shoes to the letter. Made from a combination of suede and synthetic leather, these hybrid sneakers have padded uppers and high ankle supports with vulcanized rubber soles that’ll stick to your board and hold on for dear life regardless of how gnarly and crazy your session gets.
A wise Bond villain once said that “names are for tombstones”, and we’re sort of forced to agree with his assessment that too much emphasis is placed on brand familiarity. Sometimes it’s nice to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new. And it’s even nicer when that something new costs less than forty dollars.
- Osiris makes skate shoes for skaters and that’s all that they do. Well, that’s not exactly true as they also make clothing for skaters, but as a brand, they’re completely and totally skate focused. They know what makes a great skate shoe and they plow all of their knowledge into every shoe they make.
- And all of that knowledge? It comes at a price and that price is reassuringly affordable, as they retail at around forty dollars. That’s the sort of money that’ll put a smile on anyone’s face and keep everyone’s pocketbook happy.
- Worn by their own team of professional skaters (that’s right folks, Osiris sponsor their own team of skateboarders), Osiris sneakers are designed to be durable, functional, and comfortable and are made to help you grasp, and expound on, every skateboarding fundamental.
- Some reviews highlight the fact that Osiris sneakers don’t last as long as some of the more layman-friendly brands of skate shoes, but when they’re as cheap and comfortable as the Lumin is, immortality isn’t really an issue. They’ll last long enough for you to bond with and form an allegiance to, them and that’s about all that you can ask of, or want from, a cheap, value for money, skate shoe.
Since the mid-eighties, Stephen, Peter, and Matt Hill have been committed to a single cause, putting Australia on the map as a globally recognized skating center of excellence. And they’ve succeeded in doing what they set out with their skate centric company Globe.
Another brand of skate shoes that are made by skaters for skaters, the Motley Shoe ( and right about here is where all of the eighties hair metal fans release a collective groan) is sort of unusual for a skate sneaker as it isn’t made for ramp obsessed, hardcore skaters. It’s a shoe that’s made for the street skater, the board riders who find their pleasure in cruising, and performing the more commonplace tricks that take a couple of hours to learn and a lifetime to master.
Featuring a vulcanized rubber sole that provides bucket loads of grip, a one-piece toe section for added flexibility, and one hundred percent synthetic cotton construction, the Motley is a surprisingly tough shoe that’s made to appeal to a certain type of skater and make their lives infinitely better.
- Globe is an internationally recognized skate brand and if something has its name on it, it proudly wears it as a stamp of quality.
- As a brand, they like to brag about doing things differently and the Motley is most assuredly different. It’s a different type of skate shoe for a different type of skater.
- The most surprising thing about this incredibly surprising shoe is its price. Starting at around thirty-five dollars, it cheap enough for even the meanest of cheapskates to consider it a bargain.
- And the most unsurprising thing about the Motley Shoe (come on metalheads, let’s hear that groan) is that some reviewers have flagged it as being flimsy and uncomfortable. It is what it is, a lightweight shoe that’s made for street skating. That’s all it is and isn’t anything more and if you’re expecting more for your money, then look elsewhere as this Motley Shoe isn’t for you.
Unfortunately, it’s another case of prices starting low and climbing rapidly depending on style, size, and color. You can get them for thirty-five dollars, but your feet and personal taste have to fall within a very specific set parameters in order to do so.
DC has become a legendary name on the skate scene in a blink and you’ll miss it timeframe. The brainchild of rally wunderkind Ken Block and world-famous entrepreneur Damon Way, in less than three decades DC has carved their name with pride on the worldwide skate shoe scene thanks to designing and making incredibly affordable and dependable skate shoes.
One of their signature shoes, the Court Graffik uses an inbuilt vent system to keep your feet dry while you’re thrashing around your local skate park and prevents moisture building up inside the shoe which vastly increases its lifespan. With more padding than a Michellin Man costume, the Court Graffik is built to keep your feet safe while skating and made to be durable.
Then there’s the patterned, patented rubber sole that glues you to your skateboard so that the only time you and your deck will part ways is when you want to get off. And best of all? The Court Graffik does all of that for around fifty dollars. It’s a staggering amount of skate shoe for the money that you’ll end up paying for it.
- The Court Graffik’s vent system might, on paper at least, sound like it does all that much, in reality, its a gift from the skating gods. Thanks to the vents, your feet won’t sweat as much, your shoes won’t develop the sort of weaponized odor that terrifies grown men and your Court Graffik’s will last far longer than most skate shoes.
- While they’re not the cheapest shoes on our skate list, given how much longer they’ll almost certainly last than the others, at fifty bucks, they’re probably the best value for money.
- They’re made by DC and legions of skaters wear DC Shoes. There’s a reason why they wear them and that reason is why DC has become one of the most popular brands of skate shoes in the world. It’s true, they really are that good.
- DC doesn’t make their shoes to look good, they make them to be functional. If you’re looking to make a fashion statement, DC isn’t the brand for you.
There’s a certain hardcore faction of the skate scene that views DC’s unimaginable ascendancy to the forefront of the skate scene with derision and skepticism. And they tend to make their feelings known when they see skaters wearing them, so if you’re planning to make a trip to your local skatepark in a pair of DC’s, expect to be called a poseur. But at the price DC charge for their shoes, you can take a little ribbing and gentle mockery in your stride.
The most expensive sneakers on our list, which might seem like a misnomer given that we’re talking about cheap skate shoes, the Vans SK8-Hi has forged an ironclad reputation with skaters everywhere. One of the oldest brands of skate shoes in the world, Vans and skating walk hand-in-hand with each other and while you’ll pay a little more for a pair of Sk8-Hi’s, those ten extra dollars will buy you a whole lot more shoe.
Built out of canvas that’s got more stitching than a high-class fashion show, Vans signature shoe is famous among skaters for its impact resistant rubber sole that grips like GI Joe and will never let go. Its high ankle is designed with comfort and flexibility in mind and lets you move in perfect harmony with your board, and ensures that you’ll have an incredible level of control over your deck at all times.
Skate shoes don’t come much cooler than the SK8-Hi. It’s helped to secure Vans place at the top of the skate mountain for twenty years and has been worn, and worn out by generations of happy skaters. Sure, a pair will set you back around sixty dollars, but it’ll be the easiest sixty dollars that you’ll ever, gladly, spend.
- SK8-Hi comes in all kinds of different colors, but trust us on this, the only color you’ll need them in is black. Henry Ford and Vans were cut from the same cloth, and they both knew that one color suits all.
- Vans earned their reputation the hard way, via the skateboarding world’s word of mouth grapevine. And the SK8-Hi is the shoe that made their name.
- At sixty dollars, the Sk8-Hi might be the most costly shoe on our list, but it’s also the best value for money. It’s a battle-hardened classic that’s well within everyone’s price range.
- Vans have a real problem with forgery and counterfeiting, so make sure you purchase your SK8-Hi’s from a reputable and trusted source.
Best Skateboard Shoes Cheap Buyers Guide
Before you invest in the cheapest skate shoes that suit you best, it might be worth considering a few of the following points before you reach a final decision about your footwear.
Can I Wear Skate Shoes If I Don’t Skateboard?
While they’re primarily made for the skateboarders, skate shoes can be worn by anyone. Skaters wear them when they’re not skating, which has opened skate shoes and their benefits up to a whole new audience. And what are those benefits? Well, we’re glad you asked. As skate shoes are designed and made to be tested to the absolute limits of what a shoe can do, they’re far more durable and hardy than an average pair of sneakers.
However, while they’re designed to last longer than most sneakers they are harder on the feet than most training shoes as the solid rubber soles that a lot of skate shoes are built around aren’t as forgiving as traditional materials. If you do intend to do a lot of walking in skate shoes, try to avoid those with vulcanized rubber soles as a cupsole will be far more merciful on your feet.
What Makes A Skate Shoe A Good Skate Shoe?
The best skate shoes tend to be lightweight and balance strength and durability with comfort. Ideally, a skate shoe should be padded to protect a skaters’ foot from the bump and knocks that are part and parcel of the skating world. The more protection a skate shape offers, the happier the skater wearing it will be.
One of the most unique features of all skate shoes is their traditional adherence to a vulcanized rubber sole, which serves two main purposes. It ensures a uniform a level of grip and is incredibly light, both of which are invaluable to skaters.
Are Cheap Skate Shoes Inferior To Expensive Skate Shoes?
Absolutely not. The main question that you’ll need to ask yourself when looking for a cheap pair of skate shoes is “Do they provide value for money?” For the most part, almost all skate shoes provide incredible value for money and are far cheaper than traditional sneakers.
As long as a skate shoe is padded, light, comfortable, and had all of the grip that you need to skate while wearing it, cost, or rather the lack of cost, shouldn’t even be a factor. One of the most widely acclaimed skate shoes in the world, the Vans Sk8-Hi is a relatively inexpensive skate shoe and DC’s, one of the most instantly recognizable skate brands, signature shoe, retails for a fraction of the cost of it’s more expensive, and often inferior, competition.
While the usual idea of getting what you pay for applies, without fail, to most spheres of life, it isn’t applicable to skate shoes. They’re made to last, but they’re also priced so that they’re easily replaced, as most skate shoe manufacturers know that skateboarders will burn through pairs faster than Tony Hawke will take first place at most skating competitions. They’re made to be comfortable, durable, disposable, and above all, cheap.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Cheap Skate Shoes Are Right For Me?
While we’d love to be able to definitively point you to a skate shoe and say “This one, this is the right shoe for you”, that’s a question you’re going to have to answer for yourself. You know how you skate, but more importantly, you know what your budget is. And the most important thing to remember when choosing your skate shoes always stick to your budget.
That said, if you were to ask us, as seasoned skaters, which shoes we wear and would recommend, it’ll always come down to two choices as we can never quite reach a consensus. We’d always, without fail, go for either Vans SK8-Hi or Osiris Lumin’s, both of which come with our tried and tested seal of approval.
Buth whichever cheap skate shoes you decide to go with, have fun, be safe, and may all of your wheeled adventures be happy.