Are you tired of ruining your shoes quickly with skateboarding or longboarding? I certainly am, which is why I decided to go on a hunt for the longest-lasting skate shoes out there.
What do I mean by longest-lasting? I want shoes that stay flat and don’t warp with repeated ollies, nollies, and kickflips. I want shoes that won’t wear out or get a hole in the sole within a couple of weeks from constant foot braking. In short, I want shoes that will last through at least 3 or 4 months of constant riding.
So after polling friends and fellow skaters and combining their feedback to my own experience with skate shoes, I came up with this list of the 10 longest lasting skate shoes on the market:
- Adidas Busentiz skate shoes
- Vans Gilbert Crockett skate shoes
- Nike SD Dunk low skate shoes
- Es Accel skate shoes
- Emerica Figueroa (Figgy) skate shoes
- Emerica Reynolds skate shoes
- DC Wes Kremer skate shoes
- Globe Fusion skate shoes
- Etnies Marana skate shoes
In the rest of the post, I’ll briefly go over each of these durable skate shoes and give you the lowdown on them.
Longest-lasting skate shoe: Adidas Busenitz Pro
The Busenitz Pro have a distinctive soccer World Cup look translated into a skate shoe style. They’re named after pro skater Dennis Busenitz well-known for his fast and all-terrain skating. The Busenitz Pro offer a highly durable cupsole construction, single piece toe box, and rugged suede upper designed to resist tough street skate sessions. The tongue and collar offer a special anatomical fit that adds comfort to the shoe.
Many skateboarders report the Busenitz are the longest lasting skate shoes they’ve had. These shoes are built like tanks, with suede sides among the toughest in the market. The shoe has great padding for the heel, ankle, and top of the foot. Your ankle even gets protection from the tongue when doing high heelflips. The sole is very durable – the tread even outlasts the toe in some cases.
Overall, a very rugged skate shoe that will NOT give in after a few sessions of hard skating and heavy sweating like many others do. You’ll use them for a while without even seeing much wear on them. Because they’re so tough, however, it may take more time to break them in at first.
Longest-lasting skate shoe: Vans Gilbert Crockett Pro
The Vans Gilbert Crockett Pro is made with suede and canvas uppers reinforced in key areas, and a solid durable sole. The slim Ultracush footbed gives you good board feel while still providing nice cushioning when skating hard. Van’s proprietary sole construction provides the support of a cupsole wihout the cons of vulcanized shoes, i.e. loss of grip and board feel.
Overall, the Gilbert Crockett has earned its reputation as a long-lasting skate shoe. It will typically last 4 to 5 months for a frequent and intense street skater, while most shoes (except those on this list) tend to get holes after about 3 months.
The Gilbert Crocketts work great for hardcore skateboarding and BMX riding as they provide extra cushioning for landings. They offer good midsole cushioning after you break them in, and a durable rubber outsole. The grip they provide is just as well-suited for pedaling on your BMX or daily commuting on a longboard. The Ultracush padding also makes the shoes comfortable for walking.
These are very durable skate shoes overall – even though skaters have complained about stitching and suede material weaknesses in some batches, which Vans have acknowledged, offering to replace the faulty shoes. Hopefully Vans have now solved these issues.
Longest-lasting skate shoe: Nike SB Dunk Low
Initially a basketball shoe, the original Nike SB dunk lows were adopted by skateboarders and the iconic SB skate shoe was born. It’s a durable cupsole shoe with a flexible rubber outsole, a Zoom Air unit in the heel, and plush and responsive cushioning.
The SB Dunk Low is a solid and durable leather and suede skate shoe. It has a padded tongue (some riders love it, others would prefer a slim tongue) and shoe collar. The toe box accommodates most foot widths. The shoe is breathable thanks to perforations, slim and lightweight despite its strength.
The SB Dunk skate shoe has earned itself a strong reputation for being super comfortable and forever-lasting due to its highly durable stiff leather and construction. Some skaters cringe a bit about the creases that appear quickly on the stiff leather. The relatively high price is another caveat – though most riders agree you get what you pay for.
Overall, the Nike SB Dunk skate shoe truly has great fit and finish. Many skateboarders stick to this shoe for years after trying it, buying it again, mainly due to their exceptional comfort and durability. See the SB Dunk Low here on Amazon or here (Dunk page).
Longest-lasting skate shoe: Es Accel
The Es Accel have been around for a long time and are among the most iconic skate shoes on the planet. This is a technical and highly durable shoe with great board feel and control. It features high-quality skateboard-grade suede on the upper and ollie/abrasion resistant side panels. The vulcanized rubber outsole is grippy, flexible, and durable. The whole shoe is padded with PU special foam for impact cushioning.
You can ask any experienced skateboarder, the Accel are the real thing! Some riders have been wearing them since 1998 and feel the quality has even improved. The Es Accels have a timeless design, they are classic fat tongue skate shoes. They are light for everyday use and tough for technical skating. Definitely one of the longest lasting skate shoes out there. See the Es Accel’s price on Amazon.
Longest-lasting skate shoes: Emerica Figueroa (Figgy)
The Emerica Figueroa shoes are another technical skate shoe that lasts longer than average. It has a minimalist style and a relatively thin upper for good board feel, but with a reinforced one-piece toe cap and sides that are designed for regular kickflips and foot braking. The padded heel collar is super comfortable. The vulcanized soles are strongly treaded (triangle tread). These are quality built skate shoes with quality stitching and gluing.
Skaters agree the board feel on these shoes is awesome. Due to the added layers on the toe and side, it’s also very durable. Like some shoes in this list, a lot of seasoned skaters feel these are the best shoes they’ve skated and are buying them over and over for their comfort, board feel, and impact style.
Be aware that the Figgy’s are quite narrow, however, so they may not be the best-suited skate shoes for wider feet. See the price for the Emerica Figueroa (Figgy) on Amazon.
Longest-lasting skate shoe: Emerica Reynolds Low Vulc
I’ve owned Emerica Reynolds and they were particularly long lasting: about 4 months of consistent skating (although with shoe goo).
The Reynolds are 100% suede, which is longer-lasting, softer, and more comfortable than canvas. The one-piece toecap greatly reduces seam stitching and tearing problems under heavy skating usage, which makes the Reynolds a solid, longer-lasting skate shoe. The tongue’s moderate padding adds comfort without affecting the shoe’s lightweight feel and look.
The thin vulcanized construction of the outsole keeps your feet close to your skateboard deck and gives you better control than a thicker sole when carving and maneuvering. Meanwhile, the outsole is treaded with Emerica’s proprietary tread, giving you an optimal mix of grip and durability.
Check out the Emerica Reynolds Low Vulc here on Amazon.
Longest-lasting skate shoes: DC Wes Kremer
This shoe is skater Wes Kremer’s second pro model. DC’s proprietary Impact-S insole technology which protects your foot during hard landings, and the high-durability suede fabric, are specially designed for high-impact skating and result in a long-lasting skate shoe. The high-abrasion screen print on the vamp adds to that durability.
For many years, skaters have cited the DC Kremer as one of the best and longest-lasting vulcanized shoes they’ve skated in. The Kremers have great board control due to the vulcanized construction. They offer good impact absorption and the protective laces are a well-appreciated feature. These skate shoes fit well, wear well, and last a good while. Regular skaters commonly purchase them again once they do wear out.
Longest-lasting skate shoes: Globe Fusion
Globe Fusion are old school skate shoes that have long proven to be super tough and durable. They are rugged and fully padded shoes made of solid synthetic nubuck. They are ollie-reinforced, have integrated tongue and collar renowned for its comfort and support, and excellent sole cushioning for impacts. The S-trac tread pattern on the outsoles is designed for strong grip and high flexibility, while the heel stabilizer adds to the effective shock absorption.
Many skateboarders feel Globe makes the best fitting and toughest skate shoes today, and the Fusion is one of their classic models. You’ll often hear riders saying they’re skating in their fourth pair of Fusion in a row and that no skate shoe is as solid and long-lasting as this one.
Consider going half a size bigger than your usual size when buying the Globe Fusion skate shoes as they have a LOT of padding. See their price and reviews here on Amazon.
Longest-lasting skate shoe: Etnies Marana Vulc
The Etnies Marana Vulc is a slimmer version of the cupsole Marana, this one with a vulcanized outsole (see last section of this post if you don’t know what that means). The suede upper has injected rubber toe cap providing strong support and a mesh-lined tongue and collar that make it very breathable. The insole offers good cushioning and rebound. The outsole is extremely flexible with a sturdy, long-lasting tread pattern.
The Maranas (and particularly the Michelin version, even more durable) hold up really well over time and only start showing signs of superficial wear after a few months (at least in the winter) of skating. In contrast, other shoes get destroyed within a couple of weeks. Check out the Etnies Marana Vulc here on Amazon.
So what makes a durable skate shoe?
Skateboarders tend to go through shoes quickly due to the constant high-impact tricks and the abrasiveness of the board’s grip tape. The longest lasting skate shoes have the following features:
- Super suede: a specially strong and stiff suede material that’s designed to resist impact and abrasion. Super suede is regular suede (animal or synthetic) that is coated with polyurethane for increased durability.
- Action leather: similar to super suede, action leather is split grain leather that has been coated with polyurethane and has the appearance of full grain leather
- Reinforced toe cap: the toe area of the skate shoe is reinforced with plastic or rubber to make it more durable as this is where normal shoes wear out the fastest when skating.
- Lace loops and protectors protect the laces from the abrasiveness of the grip tape
- Double or triple stitching: prevents ripping when doing ollies and kickflips
- Tongue and collar cushioning, side panel padding: protects the skateboarder’s ankle and upper foot, reinforces the shoe in the areas where it gets the most impact
- Sole treads: rubber soles with deeper patterns, e.g. the famed waffle sole, make for a grippier and more durable skate shoe
- Cupsole soles: cupsole shoes cup your feet with thick soles that are like giant mittens, providing a thicker barrier between foot and deck. The downside is a less direct feel for the deck’s shape and concave.
- Vulcanized soles: thinner than cupsoles, they are more flexible and gummier, providing more direct board feel but less heel support. They make for slimmer shoes that work well for highly technical tricks but don’t offer as much protection for high-impact stunts.
Some tips for making your skate shoes last longer
Product shots courtesy of: Adidas, Vans, Nike, Es, Emerica, DC, Globe, Etnies