If you lived through – and perhaps regretfully participated in – the chunky, chunky skate shoe trend of the early years, we understand why you may have some reservations about reading this article. But the good news is that skate shoes have changed a lot since we were all trying too hard to emulate our pop-punk heroes of that era.
And if, like many of us, you were simply following a 2000s shoe trend instead of being legitimately involved in skateboarding – an official Olympic sport from 2020 – we would like to point out that skate shoes, in actually serve a very specific purpose for truly talented people.
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So here’s what you need to know: Flat soles are a crucial part of skate shoes, allowing riders to have better control of their boards and maximizing their ability to balance themselves. The overall construction should also provide a decent amount of cushioning. When you’re literally throwing yourself through the air, impact protection is key.
And of course, skate shoes aren’t the first practical shoes to be co-opted by those more concerned with fashion than function, so if you’re still into that style of shoe, go for it. As the major sportswear brands hone all their ideas on skate shoes, it’s hard to resist these cooler and more stylish offerings. As for the pros, you know what separates good from good, so keep scrolling to shop our picks of the best men’s skate shoes.
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Best Simplified Skate Shoes
SB Nyjah Free 2 Skate Shoes
Due to its clean silhouette, the SB Nyjah Free 2 may not look like a typical skate shoe, but it’s definitely built like one. Its design references Nike’s classic Air Zoom Spiridon running shoes, with this second iteration replacing the first line’s rubber upper with mesh panels for increased breathability.
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The Best ’90s-Inspired Skate Shoes
Numeric Tiago Lemos 1010 Skate Shoes
Brazilian pro skateboarder Tiago Lemos picked these New Balance beauties as his first skate shoes he’d like to support. Along with all the cool advancements, including the comfortable and supportive FuelCell foam midsole, the pair of skate shoes feature a modern take on a ’90s style.
Best Professionally Designed Skate Shoes
CONS Louie Lopez Pro Nubuck Leather Skate Shoes
Converse’s foray into sportswear actually started with basketball, but the brand eventually developed its CONS arm, which focuses specifically on skate shoes. Made with a rubber-backed nubuck upper and finished with a foam insole, it’s obvious that a pro skater designed this pair.
Best High Top Skate Shoes
Sk8-Hi Skate Shoes
Despite the somewhat obvious “Off The Wall” tagline, Vans are arguably among the most popular skate shoes worn by non-skateboarders. But for those who ride, this brand is legendary. This pair, constructed from suede and canvas uppers, is just the second model to feature the iconic Vans Sidestripe. Reinforced toes and padded collars ensure the shoes are up to the task.
Best Low Top Skate Shoes
Tyshawn Low Skate Shoes
A reimagined take on pro skater Tyshawn Jones’ Adidas skate shoes in a leather and suede construction sees the pair revised as low tops. With the German brand’s hard-wearing Adituff toe reinforcement, Adiprene sockliner and ultra-comfortable memory foam lining, this one is suitable for all kinds of figures.
Marana Slip XLT Skate Shoes
Undoubtedly one of the most beloved skate shoe brands of the 2000s for skateboarders and non-skaters alike, Etnies refined their well-known Marana and opted for a slip-on style. With its Michelin outsole, double-wrapped vulcanized foxing tape and durable rubber toe cap, it’s still a skate shoe through and through.
Lakai has been a footwear company designed by skateboarders for skateboarders since the beginning. Founded in 1999, the brand has evolved to meet today’s idea of what constitutes a skate shoe – from its comfortable insole and grippy outsoles, the Cambridge has it all wrapped up in a slimmer, more naughty.
This suede number by éS proudly sports the puffy tongue in all its ’90s glory. The durable cupsole construction and perforated side panels will make it easy to pull off all the stunts, even if it just means rocking a pair to satisfy. a desire for aesthetics of this decade.
White sneakers have become a wardrobe mainstay, and with 90s fashion all the rage right now, a neutral-toned pair of skate shoes will tick several boxes whether you decide to get into the gym or not. . Also, an EVA insole is always a win.
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Wino Standard Skate Shoes
These Emerica skate shoes feature a triangular tread rubber outsole and cushioned EVA footbed, all in a low profile construction. Fantastic for cyclists, sure, but we’d wear them everyday too.
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