Skateboarding is a fun sport that involves fast, smooth maneuvers across the ground that requires you to have pretty durable shoes.
So, how long do skate shoes last? Well, it depends on the type of skate shoes, your frequency of skateboarding activity, and the kind of tricks you perform in skateboarding. On average, skate shoes can last anywhere between 3-6 months if you use them with good care. Skate shoes are tough enough to stand up against ordinary wear and tear. However, it’s not always easy to tell how long skateboarders can withstand the aggressiveness of their activity. I would say that if you use skate shoes with suede upper, they will last much longer than skate shoes with canvas upper. Canvas rips away much faster than suede.
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How Often Skateboarders Perform Skateboarding?
On average, skateboarders usually do skateboarding for 3 to 4 hours on weekdays and up to 6 hours on weekends. In winters, most skateboarders perform their flips all day on Saturdays. So, the duration of skateboarding is a major deciding factor in the life of skate shoes. If you practice or skateboard just for fun for 6 to 8 hours a week, your skateboarding shoes from famous brands like Vans or Nike could last up to one year.
Why is Durability Important for Skate Shoes?
The durability of skate shoes majorly depends on how often the skateboarders use them for skateboarding. A highly durable skate shoe lasts longer because its sole is more robust and can endure multiple kicks without shredding.
Skateboarding shoes need to be long-lasting for moves like kickflips, power flips, heelflips, ollies, and halfpipe tricks. Shoes with limited durability can cause injury to your feet with repeated use of these skateboarding moves.
Typically, skateboarders consider their skate shoes to produce more tricks and repeated ollies than any previous model in its class, which translates to better performance and longevity over other models.
Furthermore, skateboarding sneakers are durable if their gripping soles don’t come off quickly and help add stability to your body when skateboarding.
Durable skateboarding shoes, which are good for allowing you to feel your board when you’re skating, require having the right sole to be able to do so. The nose on them should be a bit longer than typical sneakers. Otherwise, the top cap would start poking out due to repeated hitting of your toes with the skate shoe front.
What Factors Determine the Durability and Longevity of Skate Shoes?
The life of a skateboarding sneaker depends on the strength of toe cap, the construction of the sole, stitching of the upper, and the range of grip. An average skate shoe should last several weeks of skating as long as you’re not particularly hard on them or rubbing the material down too often with high-impact tricks.
So, here are some features that durable skateboarding shoes possess.
Skate shoes either have a vulcanized sole or a cupsole. Vulcanized soles have a tighter board feel as the sole is fused and glued to the shoe through the vulcanization (heating) process, but this can decrease durability as the rubber structure is degraded due to heating. This causes the sole to break down sooner as the vulcanized sole is thinner and flexible. Vulcanized soles are known for their grip as it is firmly fused to the skateboard due to aggressive treads pattern.
The cupsole of skate shoes is thicker, better cushioned, and more durable. However, it typically offers less board feel. It is stitched on the outside, and most of the time, provides better protection. Cupsole tends to be a bit stiffer and offers more support due to a cup shape in the rearfoot region, thus protects your feet from high impact. The downside of cupsole is that it tends to be less grippy because there is not an aggressive grip pattern on cupsoles.
If you’re a beginner, I’d suggest going for skate shoes with cupsole as they would last longer for you and provide more support. If you practice skateboarding with them, you will end up tearing out your vulcanized sole skate shoes within a week. Once you are getting better at performing technical skateboarding tricks and stabilizing yourself on the board, you could try vulcanized sole skate shoes.
I’ve also found this great video for a better insight of vulcanized and cupsole skate shoes.
Material and Toe Cap
I’d always prefer to select skate shoes with suede upper as it is much stronger than canvas. When you start performing tricks like ollies, that will result in massive holes in canvas shoes.
Apart from tearing soles, the poking of holes in a toe area of skate shoes is also a major concern for skateboarders. The toe cap is the area of skate shoes that wears out first for most skateboarders. Once it wears or completely rips off, the sole also starts separating from the upper.
The toe cap is a protective covering on the front tips of the shoe that is often made of hard, durable rubber.
Skate shoes need sturdier toe caps because they often take hard falls and are constantly subject to friction against the skateboard. Toe caps are perfect if you perform regular kickflips. A durable toe cap protects the front tip of skate shoes from being crushed by repeated landings during jumps. The material of the toe cap and its strength determines the durability of skate shoes.
You can also check out this great video in which the guy is explaining the importance of rubber toe caps in skate shoes if you want to perform kickflips.
A durable skate shoe should avoid unnecessary stitching and feature a one-piece toe cap so that it wears down evenly and doesn’t rip fast.
Apart from that, there should be double or triple stitching the areas of skate shoes that are most likely to wear down rapidly, such as the sides and heel collar.
The durability of skate shoes’ laces is often a problem. In the area where the laces emerge from the eyelets, they tend to rip easily. The weak eyelets are the primary reason for lacing ripping rapidly as the eyelet (lace hole) scraps on the board grip while doing kickflips or heelflips.
To reinforce laces, skateboarders have been gluing and taping the ends of their skateboard shoes laces to prevent fraying and wear.
How to Make Skateboarding Shoes Last Longer?
It’s quite important to retain your skate shoes as if you take care of them; they’ll also take care of you on the skateboard.
So, here are the steps that you can follow to make your skate shoes last longer.
- You can apply super glue on the seams and stitches to improve their strength so that they can withstand friction. You can use super glue on the seams of the heel collar, sides, and the nose of skate shoes.
- If you want the laces of skate shoes to last longer and your skate shoes have a longer tongue, I’d advise not to put laces in the bottom two to three holes. This will prevent the shredding of laces during kickflips.
- There is one more trick to prevent laces of skate shoes from wearing out faster. You can wrap a piece of duct tape around the lace at each hole from where it is coming out. The duct tape will protect the scraping of laces from the skateboard surface.
- Shoe Goo is the thing that every skateboarder must have to fill the holes in the skate shoes. Shoe goo doesn’t look pretty on shoes, but it will effectively increase the life of your skate shoes. If there’s are big holes or large cuts in your skate shoes, you can first patch the inside of your shoes with duct tape and then apply a thin layer of shoe goo. In this way, the shoe goo will not make your skate shoes messy due to its hardened rubber texture after it is dried out.
Pro tip: If you’ve an old pair of skate shoes that have word out so hard, you can cut the useful piece of suede out of them and use them to patch the worn areas of your new skate shoes with glue.
What are the Most Durable Skate Shoes?
After researching several relevant forums and asking professional skateboarders, I’ve picked out the most durable skate shoes. You can select any of them based on your style.
Emerica Reynolds Skate Shoes
Emerica Reynolds can last up to 6 months if you continuously apply shoe goo or superglue on the torn stitches and seams. The one-piece suede toecap is certainly a contributing factor to the shoe’s durability. Reynolds skate shoes feature traditional vulcanized construction for a better board feel.
Adidas Busenitz Skate Shoes
Adidas Busenitz are designed to keep the durability in mind. They have a super durable suede upper and feature a sturdy construction. They also feature cupsole for a better support and durability. The only downside about these skate shoes is their big tongue. It gets annoying sometimes.
Vans Pro Skate Shoes
Vans Pro skate shoes are pretty inexpensive with great ankle support, padding, and moderate durability with a sleek design. They feature an ultracush insole to provide better stability and cushioning for absorbing the impact. They feature duracap, that is a strong rubber layer under the areas of the tongue that are highly stressed by skateboarding.
Converse CTA Pros
Converse skate shoes have Pros line, that is made of suede upper with a durable rubber layer over the whole tongue to improve their strength. You also try them out if they suit with your style.