We’re a strange old species. The things that make us who we are are as varied and numerous as the volume of stars in the night sky. One thing that we all have in common though, is that we develop deep and profound attachments to the most inconsequential and strangest of things. Books, clothes, cars, food, places, they shouldn’t matter to us, but for a vast array of illogical and incredible personal reasons, they all do.
However, if you ask a skateboarder about the things that mean the most to them, the things that they can’t live without, the chances are that a lot of them are going to reply with the same answers. Their skateboards and the shoes they wear to ride them.
Like the boards they ride, the shoes they wear are crucial to skaters. They need their shoes to be tough, durable, and comfortable and to provide the sort of support that won’t let them down whether they’re practicing a trick flip or grabbing three feet of air off the top of a ramp.
Skate shows need to be able to take a beating without coming apart at the seams. They need to last and the longer they last, the tighter a skates bond with them inevitably becomes. It’s a simple formula - the longer a shoe lasts, the more attached a skater becomes to it and the more attached a skater becomes to a brand of shoe, the more likely they are to remain loyal to that brand.
We’re guessing that you’re looking for a pair of skate shoes, and like the most dedicated skaters, you’re trying to find the right skate shoes for you. This means that you’ll want them to be comfortable, hardwearing and it goes without saying, to look good too. Most of all though, you want them to last; and the longer they last, the better. That’s why we set out to find five of the hardiest skate shoes currently keeping the best skaters’ glued firmly to their decks.
Top 5 Longest Lasting Skate Shoes
OUR TOP PICK
Adidas is probably the last brand in the world that you’d ever think would be part and parcel of the skateboarding scene. Soccer? Yes. Track? Absolutely? But skating? Not so much. However that all changed when they teamed up with professional skateboarder Dennis Busenitz to design a skate shoe that he’d be happy to wear, put his name to and endorse. That was was when Adidas came up with the Busenitz Pro Sneaker.
Looking more like a traditional Adidas trainer than a typical skate shoe, these sneakers are a heavy street beast that has been built with the most demanding skaters in mind. Made from suede, a single piece toe compartment and solid rubber soles with a higher than usual outer wall, the Busenitz Pro was made to last; and last and last. And that’s exactly what they do. They last.
In fact, they last so long, that some of the skaters who are taken with them have stated that the grips on the soles have outlived the shoes. Busenitz has a reputation to uphold, and he doesn’t just put his name to anything. But the Buesnitiz Pro is a skate shoe that he’s more than happy to endorse and wear.
- These shoes come with the Dennis Busenitz seal of approval. They’re designed and built to suffer the rigors of street skating and feel comfortable enough to go and do whatever it is you want, or have, to do when you’ve put your board down for the day.
- They’re made to last. There are only two things that would survive a nuclear apocalypse. Cockroaches and every single pair of Busenitz Pro’s ever made.
- And if you don’t believe us, just read some of the reviews. Our favorite goes a little something like this “The suede is some of the toughest that I’ve ever skated, and overall the shoes are built like tanks” The Busenitz Pro gets a thumbs-up rating across the durability board from skaters everywhere. They love this shoe, and we’re willing to bet that you will too.
- That said, we’re willing to take that bet as long as you don’t have especially wide feet. The toe box on the Buesnitz Pro is a little narrow, so if your feet are a little wider than average, the fit is not only going to be a problem, it’s going to uncomfortable too.
- The shape of the sole and the high side can also be an issue if you suffer from plantar fasciitis or heel problems. As can the amount of padding, which can cause your feet to overheat and feel miserable very quickly. Especially if you lose all sense of time and place during a heavy-duty skate session.
Vans and skating are synonymous and can trace their relationship back to the nineteen seventies when Mark Van Doren, the son of then Van’s owner James Van Doren, designed and began to stencil the company’s infamous skate logo on his skateboards. The legend goes that James, seeing the logo and his son’s friend’s reaction to it, decided to make skate shoes, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Made from canvas, and featuring more stitching than a ‘Frankenstein’ movie, a solid, impact-resistant rubber sole, and a high ankle guard, the SK8-Hi is Vans signature shoe. Designed with comfort and maximum durability in mind, this is the shoe for the skater who wants to get the most from his sneakers and look good too.
Effortlessly cool, the vintage feel and retro appeal of the SK8-Hi and their solid reputation for inbuilt toughness has made sure that this Van skate shoe has remained popular among skaters for more than two decades. They don’t make like them like they used to. Unless the they in question are Vans, in which case they make them exactly like they used to. And always will.
- Vans is a skate institution. They know exactly how a good skate shoe should fit and feel and that, just as importantly, it needs to provide support and go the distance. The SK8-Hi earned it’s reputation the hard way by being just as tough as the skaters who wore, and continue to wear, it.
- Sk8-Hi comes in all of the colors of the rainbow, so if black isn’t your favorite shade of footwear, don’t worry. There’s a pair of SK8-Hi’s out there in your color of choice that has your name on them.
- If you’re going to put your trust in Vans, make sure you purchase them from a reputable site or store. Counterfeiters love the brand and most of the negative reviews Van’s receive are from skaters and SK8-Hi fans who have been hoodwinked by sellers offering them at much lower prices. Spend whatever you need to in order to get the real thing. Don’t get taken in by cheap knock-off’s and Van’s wannabes.
- Vans make them big to accommodate the wide-footed skater, so if that’s not you, it might be wise to drop down half a size to get the perfect fit.
One of the longest, and best, kept secrets in skateboarding circles is the Es Accel. Skaters love them for their comfort, resilience, and surprisingly lightweight feel. Es poured a whole load of scientific know-how into the Accel and nearly a quarter of a century after they first hit the scene, they’re still a favorite with the skateboarding “in-crowd”.
The Accel Original is all about padding, long-wearing, and tough as nails suede and a vulcanized rubber sole that’ll stick to the deck to the deck of any skateboard known to man. A serious skate shoe for serious skaters, the Accel’s reputation for durability, and comfort has gradually started to leak into the mainstream, which has only increased its desirability and enhanced its notoriety and prestige.
While Es have, for the most part, stuck to the winning Accel reputation since the shoes humble(ish) origins, they have tweaked the design a little in the intervening period, which has, if anything, only served to increase this shoes esteem. Es have made the Accel better than it used to be, and skaters love them for it.
- It grips, it’s comfortable, it lasts and it looks good. That’s the Accel in a skate shoe sized nutshell. And it’s also the reason that it has a legion of rabid devotees who refuse to wear anything else. I know, it seems crazy to us too, but it’s true. Maybe there really is some truth in the hushed skate-bound rumors that state “No other shoe will do. It’s Es or nothing”
- Possessed of the same classic skate shoe look that it had when it first debuted, the Accel’s perennial appeal lies with Es’s rigid adherence to the belief that if something isn’t broken, there’s no need to fix it.
- Despite looking high and low and near and far, we couldn’t find anyone who had a bad word to say about Es’s big guns. The price is, comparatively, a little high, but that’s about it. It would seem that their cast iron reliability really is bulletproof.
Etnies, like Vans, are a brand that has skateboarding in its DNA. After employing retired skateboarder Pierre André Sénizergues as designer toward the tail end of the nineteen-eighties, Etnies soon found that their future lay in the realm of the skate shoe. They embraced their destiny and have been at the forefront of the skate industry for more than thirty years.
The Marana Vulc is made to give the skater wearing it full control of their board. By allowing them to feel every minor tremble, bump, and fluctuation, the Marana Vulc ensures that the only thing any skater has to worry about is human error.
A slimmed-down version of the Marana, the Marana Vulc is made from hard-wearing suede and a vulcanized, shuck absorbent, rubber sole which combines comfort with a reassuring amount of durability and longevity. Another long-held secret of the skate world, the Marana Vulc is one of the chosen go-to shoes of choice for the more thoughtful and determined skater.
- Apparently professional skateboarder Chris Joplin is a Marana devotee. Which just adds another level of dependability to Etnies’ already unblemished reputation.
- Etnies were plagued, at one point, by the rubber soles of their shoes wearing out faster than the rest of their sneakers did. In order to fix this issue, they approached Michellin in 2012 and asked them to come up with a solution. Which Michelin did. And ever since then, Etnies’ reliability and durability have been the stuff of skating legend.
- The size beast rears its ugly head again. Made for the narrow footed skater, the Marana Vulc isn’t exactly made to fit wider feet. While it’s a common problem with skate shoes, it seems that the only way to correct it with Etnies is to go up a size, which leads to a whole new world of blister filled issues
- Some skaters have reported that the sole separates from the rest of the shoe after a number of punishing sessions. Is it the shoe or the skater? Does it matter? It’s food for shoe selection thought.
Founded by entrepreneur Damon Way and rally champion Ken Block in the mid-nineteen-nineties, DC Shoes ascendency to the top of the skateboarding world has been nothing less than stratospheric. So it’s lucky that they’ve got the product to back it up and justify their place at the top of the skating mountain.
The Court Graffik is a solid, well-padded, suede skate shoe that delivers comfort, stability and longevity in equal measure, It’s patterned rubber sole also makes sure that it keeps it, and you, stuck to your board whether you’re skating the street or hitting the ramp.
With their own inbuilt vent system, the Court Graffik keeps the air flowing around your feet at all times, which keeps them dry and reduces moisture build-up, which in turn helps to increase the Court Graffik’s longevity.
- Price-wise, DC is the most affordable option on the long-lasting list. They do everything the other shoes do, but they’ll put a much smaller dent in your pocketbook.
- That vent system. It’s the little things that make all the difference, and while it might seem like an inconsequential design feature it’ll greatly increase the lifespan of your skate shoes.
- It’s kind of impressive what DC has done with a monochrome skate shoe and the number of different Court Graffik options that are available. Variety really is the spice of skate shoe life.
- DC doesn’t make the best looking shoes. The Court Graffik is big, bulky, and a little shapeless. With DC it’s all about substance rather than style, and the Court Graffik epitomizes that ethos.
- Unfortunately, most skaters consider DC’s rapid rise to skate shoe fame and fortune as something to be mocked and derided and see them as being a “posers” brand. It’s slightly ridiculous we know, but these things really do matter. It’s something worth thinking about.
- Parting is such sweet sorrow. Some less than happy skaters have reported that the soles have a tendency to start separating from the rest of the shoe after four or five months. That’s not exactly the amount of bang for our buck that we like to see, but who knows what kind of abuse the sneakers were subjected to in that time?
Longest Lasting Skate Shoes Buyers Guide
Skate shoes last longer than normal shoes. They have to. They’re built differently because more is demanded of them. Like any shoes though, what they’re made of, makes all the difference.
What is the difference between skate shoes and normal shoes?
In a word, durability. Skate shoes have to be able to cope with and handle a lot more stress and provide a lot more support, to the wearer than normal sneakers do because of their primary function. They’re designed for and made to be worn by, skateboarders.
What Are Skate Shoes Made From?
Most skate shoes tend to use canvas or suede as they’re longer-lasting, tougher, and lighter than the traditional materials sneakers are made from. While canvas tends to rip and tear a little more easily than suede, they’re both durable and strong. A lot of higher-end skate shoes are also made from leather, but even though leather increases the longevity of the shoe, it reduces flexibility and isn’t a cruelty-free option.
The sole of a skate shoe is the most important factor in its construction. It should be made from lightweight, rubber that provides both stability and strength and should also possess a high degree of shock absorption for the wearer. Ideally, the rubber should also be patterned to increase the level of grip the shoe has.
Again, most skate shoes have either vulcanized rubber soles or cupsoles. The latter are sewn in and while they tend to outlast the former, they don’t furnish the wearer with the same level of feeling or connection with their skateboard as the former does. Both, however, are light and add the stability and support that other sneakers don’t have to skate shoes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to be skateboarder to wear skate shoes?
Absolutely not. In fact, some of the more popular brands of skate shoes have started making sneakers for a more mainstream market. As skate shoes are made to be more durable and long-lasting than traditional sneakers, they account for an increasingly large percentage of the sneaker market as more and more people are gradually making the transition to skate shoes.
Which skate shoe is right for me?
Like sneakers, no two skate shoes are the same. But now that you know a little more about skate shoes, why they last longer than normal sneakers and which skate shoes last the longest, you’ll be able to make an informed and educated decision. Even though we think you’ll never go far wrong with Vans SK8-Hi, maybe something else on the list has taken your fancy. The choice is yours.