The best non-skate shoes for really skating


Following a surge in demand for the adidas Samba – a soccer shoe that’s also highly regarded by the skate community – we asked skate expert Anthony Pappalardo to come up with a list of his favorite non-shoes. skate which are also suitable for the board.

Skateboarding shoes are a relatively young market sector. While some brands produced skate shoes before the skateboard boom in the 80s, it wasn’t until the early 90s that the market opened up; first with major brands, followed by athletics companies.

Skateboarding is a unicorn where the majority of dedicated shoes are based on existing models from other sports. Think of the Converse Chuck Taylor; Nike Air Jordan I; adidas Stan Smith and Gazelle; Reebok training; and in the late 90s and early 2000s, many hiking and running hybrids resulted in the puffy “baked potato” era (eg, the infamous Osiris D3). Even the Vans Era was based on simpler shoes of the time. Skateboarding has always borrowed or was inspired by the culture of basketball, tennis and football rather than trying to break entirely new models.


Skateboarding is a sport that is practiced on the foot, so shoes designed for soccer (Samba) or tennis (Stan Smith) – thin models that allow foot control – are a good fit. Less is more, and the shoes that you could find on the shelves of department stores were offered at the right price. When Etines, Airwalk, Vision Street Wear and Vans started producing new models specifically for skating in the ’80s and’ 90s, designers and runners often took inspiration from these models rather than trying to innovate from them. zero.

In the late ’90s, major skate brands were looking to incorporate more technology, sometimes using blatant design gimmicks in their designs – think random bits of plastic, fake air bubbles, and hidden pockets – to stand out. This resulted in bulky shoes that rarely resonated with the general public. Aside from the aforementioned D3, Supra Muska Skytop, the occasional DC, and a few other outliers, puffy shoes have failed to break into new markets, and many sponsored skaters have bemoaned the remoteness of slimming vulcs.

In today’s landscape, big brands have started to adapt non-skate models already popular in skateboarding for skateboarding, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t many non-skate shoes that perform as well. . When building this list of the best shoes for skating, I looked for models that are not currently developed for shredding. One caveat is that some of these silhouettes were used for exclusive collaborations; I chose the garden variety versions.

adidas Rod Laver

The adidas Rod Laver is one of the first iconic tennis shoes. With a mesh and suede toe cap construction, the model wasn’t as popular with skateboarders in the ’90s as the Stan Smith, but it’s still a clean, functional cup sole that’s readily available. Unlike the Stan Smith, which has been adapted for skating several times by the Three Stripes brand, the Rod Laver remains a staple non-skate shoe. Savier released a very similar version in the early 2000s with professional skater Tim O’Connor, but many felt it lacked functionality due to its sole which lacked grip due to its flat construction and ” sublimated poem that was inscribed there.

Rod Laver shoes

(Available at 2 merchants)

(Available at 2 merchants)

Adidas Court Rallye Slip Shoes

Although they are described as skateboard-inspired, the adidas Court Rallye Slip shoes are not technically skate shoes. The shoe features durable Better Cotton materials, making it an eco-friendly choice for under $ 60.00. The advantages of the Court Rallye Slip are its simplicity. It’s a canvas vulc with ankle padding that offers tear and no frills – a perfect option without any unnecessary noise.

Court Rallye slip-on shoes

Nike Jordan Series .02

The newest model on the list and a little more elusive, the Jordan Series .02 is wild because it looks more like a skate shoe than a basketball shoe – or a Jordan at all. This is mainly because Jordan Brand has expanded into the lifestyle space for years, but the vulc construction, extended suede toecap, and overall slim construction make it perfectly adaptable, and even on the market. secondary, you can grab a pair for less than $ 100.

Jordan Series .02 "Dear dean"

Nike Air Jordan I (Low and High)

It cannot be denied that Nike SB Dunks is the most sought-after skate shoe, and while we may wonder if the demand is driven by real skateboarders, the Dunk is an undisputed classic, whose synergy with skateboarding predates the tongues swollen and riots on the day of the release. So if you love the feel and look of Dunk but want to avoid the mark-ups, the general Air Jordan I Low and High version is a viable alternative that still delivers the quality, fit and feel of Dunk, less. the slight adjustments for skating.

Air Jordan 1 High OG "meerschaum"

Nike Retro GTS

The Nike Retro GTS was both a hit and an anomaly in 1996. Known for its avant-garde technological design, the Retro GTS was a simple vulc canvas with a mini Swoosh that several skaters adopted due to its cheap price and of his board feeling. In 2005, Supreme released five colorways of the GTS, including a bold yellow iteration, but it’s back in general release with an updated sockliner and durable canvas construction.

GTS '97

(Available at 2 merchants)

(Available at 2 merchants)

Onitsuka Tiger GSM

There is no cultural moment that can relate to the Onitsuka Tiger GSM, but its construction and simplicity is undeniable. GSM has been a deep choice for years, due to its availability, classic colourways, and grippy cupsole. Sure, the intricate flair mark overlaps the suede side and toe box, but honestly it just adds another layer of durability and with a slim, minimalist construction it’s a solid option with a ready-to-go feel. ‘use.


Converse Pro Leather High and Low

Without a shoe sponsor for most of the 90s before joining Axion, Guy Mariano only had one Converse ad around 1995 before he left. Along with several of his teammates, he was often seen skating Pro Leather, most notably in Girl Skateboards Mouse (1996). Converse CONS has released the Pro Leather on several occasions, including a furry suede version with Hopps Skateboards enhanced by a video piece starring Jahmal Williams and Steve Brandi and filmed by Josh Stewart, but for now the standard version is available. and eager to be skated. .

OG Pro Leather Bottom

Puma Sweden

Due to a cultural connection sparked by the Beastie Boys and Plan B skateboards, Puma Suede was undeniably ubiquitous in the early ’90s. Before the term “deadstock” became a common nomenclature, skaters combed through ” budget ass stores ”, looking for any pair of Suedes or Clydes they could find, often grabbing a seam ripper to remove the flair. Puma failed to capitalize on the trend and started a skate program with Robbie Gangemi, Kien Lieu and others in the mid-90s, but classic suede is now available in mass and still skateable as ever.

Reebok Training Plus

In 1985, Reebok put cross training on the map with Workout. Every brand, including Fila (whose fitness shoe mimicked the double-gum cupsole design) wanted a share of the market, but Reebok already had a foot, and with the Club, the footwork-friendly design and l The wrap-around toe cap of the workout have made their mark on skateboarding. . Kareem Campbell’s iconic Duffs KCK design was heavily influenced by Workout and became an instant classic, and the current Workout Plus offers all of the lines and feel of the original with a caveat: that buttery soft leather is about. tears, so have Shoe Goo on hand.

Workout Plus Trainers

(Available at 2 merchants)

(Available at 2 merchants)

Vans BMX Slip-On

When you think of Vans you think of skateboarding, but the BMX Slip-On is a bit of a rescue situation in that it offers the Wafflecup construction, Popcush sockliner and a rubber toe cap as their line. skateboarding does not offer. If you’re after the contoured fit and look of a slip-on, but want the impact protection and feel of a cupsole as well as increased ollie resistance, slip into the BMX zone on and grab this heater.

BMX Slip-On

Fila Original Fitness

In the 90s, before shoe programs were the most lucrative sponsor of a pro skateboarder, many sponsored skateboarders sold what was in their box and wore what they wanted. The Fila Original might have been a niche shoe centered on the East Coast, but its dual cupsole construction, simple colourways, and plush midsole made it a cult classic. Beloved by Stevie Williams, DGK started a collaboration with Fila in 2005, using premium materials and the classic gum sole, but the Original Fitness is still widely available and priced to match.

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