The 10 Best Skate Shoes of 2014

Which debuting shoe in 2014 deserves the #1 spot for S.S.O.T.Y.?

Which debuting shoe in 2014 deserves the #1 spot for S.S.O.T.Y.?

Any publication can tell you what they think is the best skate shoe of the year. That’s a fact. So in classic fashion, we wanted to find a better way of delivering this far too easy message and as a result, making it harder on ourselves for your benefit. It’s just how we work. ūüėÄ

Last year’s S.S.O.T.Y. list confused most, left some stunned and only a few were able to understand our ranking. This year, we’ve implemented a simple system to bring you the truest list with actual results. 2014’s S.S.O.T.Y. was determined by skating each shoe for a total of 5 hours and comparing our notes of their feel, durability and overall performance. Seeing as how the shoes were all skated for the same amount of time, the only element differentiating them are their beneficial traits. Some have better boardfeel than others but a difference in the outsole could change the results of one shoe to another. Yes, we know, this is entirely way too nerdy for a list that you’ll only read once and then be pissed at until we do it again in 2015, but we actually care.

With that said, thanks for checking out RL during 2014. Hope to see you around in 2015. Have a solid rest of the year.

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When Emerica transformed their quality cupsoles into vulcanized versions of themselves, a younger audience applauded with glee while an older voice murmured with bitter angst. While that older voice continues to clutch their beloved cupsoles, their murmurings were drowned out by the overwhelming response from consumers. With the Higher Quality campaign intact, the Reynolds Vulc came out swinging with sufficient cushioning around the upper but not nearly enough in the footbed. As a result, they’re starting off our list of the best skate shoes of 2014. With a thinner footbed, at the very least, you’re guaranteed perfect boardfeel for boss-like fs flips.

Sizing & Support: True to Size / Underwhelming
Shape: Accommodating for any size
Comfort & Cushioning: Fair
Boardfeel: Great
Durability: Fair
Price: Great
Overall Performance: Good

 

When a new model is based off of one of the most successful lifestyle models out, it’s hard to doubt its potential popularity. Adidas did just that in 2014 with their ZX Vulc model. It, aesthetically, shared many of the same bells and whistles that most appreciate from its predecessor but is skate-friendly for those who’ve never had the pleasure of wearing them. For a tech looking model, the ZX Vulc only half heartily put actual tech elements into this team model. The PU layer underneath the toe makes its durability good but the ZX’s loses points for flopping out sooner than we had expected. Not even the profound heel stabilizer or PU footbed could save this team model from feeling floppy during longer skate sessions. Solid effort but the shape of the ZX Vulc’s don’t make this model anymore appealing than their original lifestyle model.

Sizing & Support: True to Size / Fair
Shape: Narrower than most
Comfort & Cushioning: Fair
Boardfeel: Good
Durability: Good
Price: Okay
Overall Performance: Good

 

It’s purely coincidental that the PRod 8 is at the number 8 spot. In 2014, it received top honors as the most technical skate shoe of the year, but that by no means is an indication to say it’s the best skate shoe of the year. The Nike PRod 8’s are good. In fact, they might be too good for 2014. It’s a classic case of “great effort, wrong time”. While the supportive elements are quite possibly the best we’ve ever seen, the PRod 8’s lose points for venturing outside of skateboarding traditional thickness. If that wasn’t enough reason to have them at the number 8 spot, from what we hear, most skateboarder’s aren’t willing to take the $130-$140 plunge that’s required to get these on your feet. (#Obvi)

Sizing & Support: True to Size / Incredible
Shape: Molds To Most Shapes
Comfort & Cushioning: Great
Boardfeel: Fair
Durability: Great
Price: Too Rich For Most
Overall Performance: Great

 

Obviously we’re looking past this less than orthodox colorway when skating the Supra Estaban, but that only complements its actual performance values. What make the Estaban greater than, lets say the PRod 8 in this case, is its ability to give you a little bit of everything. It’s price point is only a bit cheaper than Nike’s PRod 8 but for it, you’ll receive better boardfeel, a thick sole that’s protective but not too overbearing and a leather option that breaks in quite nicely. The Estaban, despite its unconventional design is simpler than most other tech models and stays true to its skate-able form. In fact, it reminds us of how older skate shoes used to feel. The cushioning and ankle support push it into the #7 spot.

Sizing & Support: True to Size / Great
Shape: Very Accommodating
Comfort & Cushioning: Great
Boardfeel: Good
Durability: Great
Price: Okay
Overall Performance: Good

 

When you’re an OG like Chico Brenes, your preferences come with all the experience that you’ve acquired from skating a long list of skate shoes. We didn’t expect anything less than great as a result from Chico and crew over at DVS. As with the number 7 slot Estaban, the Nica reminds us of a true OG skate shoe. A great balance of boardfeel went into this cupsole and most surprising of all is the protective underlying rubber toe cap. It’s a technology that was once underneath every piece of suede covered skate shoes but has since been altered for a more modernized take. The toe cap under the Nica’s suede is built to last but can be a bit overbearing initially. Overall though, the slanted sole makes for an easily accessible kickflip. More over, the cushioning and padding are on point with the DVS Nica.

Sizing & Support: True to Size / Great
Shape: Fairly Accommodating
Comfort & Cushioning: Great
Boardfeel: Good
Durability: Great
Price: Fair
Overall Performance: Great

 

As we’ve come to recognize it, the Lakai MJ happens to be one of the most underrated skate shoes of 2014. It’s appealing design and aesthetic carry the weight of two worlds: skateboarding & looking handsome as all hell. If those two key components aren’t enough for you to believe in Marc’s pro model, the shape of the toe is what makes the MJ incredible. The sole bows out a bit more than we’re used to seeing from Lakai and as a result, holds up the life of the MJ far more than we expected. Overall, the design of the MJ is a clear indication of how thought out it was. From the recessed paneling to the extremely lowered vamp, it was made for skating but gains points for its multifunctional dressy look.

Sizing & Support: True to Size / Good
Shape: Practically Perfect
Comfort & Cushioning: Good
Boardfeel: Great
Durability: Good
Price: Great
Overall Performance: Great

 

As the only real authentic paneled skate shoe on this list, the Converse Weapon Skate lands just shy of the top 3. While the tech invasion reigned supreme during 2014, the Weapon Skate created its own niche between said trend and our beloved old school skate shoes, which are essentially one in the same. While its smallest failure lies in its brave resurgence of a true paneled toe, let it be known that its the same reason that we loved it. It’s unknown whether a third stitch would’ve made a difference in durability¬†around the toe cap but even without, the two stitched toe handles a surprising amount of abuse. And as we praise its paneled toe, the real hero within the Weapon Skate is its sole/outsole. The height and durability of the sole is what makes the Weapon Skate one of the better choices of 2014. It’s unintentionally become the poster boy of what we’re recognizing as the “bulky skate shoe” phase that every skate company will eventually participate in. This bulkiness is reminiscent of how older skate shoes would protect you throughout an entire day and¬†more over, into¬†your adolescence in order to preserve your back for your +30’s yr old skate sessions.

Sizing & Support: Go A Half Size Smaller / Great
Shape: Exterior Appears Bulky, Internally Slim, Yet Forgiving
Comfort & Cushioning: Great
Boardfeel: Great
Durability: Good
Price: Good
Overall Performance: Great

 

The newly turned pro debuts his professional career with one of the better selections of 2014. It’s deserving placement comes as a result of mending the simplicity of a one piece toe cap while bringing a tech¬†aesthetic to an otherwise basic one piece toe. If¬†it didn’t serve as the perfect model to balance both technical¬†material and functionality, its Super Suede upper and durable outsole will win you over. The durability factor aside, it fits like everyone’s beloved Mike Mo pro but skates in a class of its own. The additional ventilation window keeps your foot cool during those unbearable summer days and fuses the best of both worlds: cupsole protection with vulcanized feel.

Sizing & Support: True To Size / Great
Shape: Rounded Toe Makes For Easy Flicking
Comfort & Cushioning: Great
Boardfeel: Great
Durability: Great
Price: Good
Overall Performance: Great

 

Undoubtedly 2014’s most talked about skate shoe, the HUF Dylan’s multifunctional¬†use¬†is more¬†than enough¬†reason to be in the number 2¬†spot. Let’s put¬†that aside for a minute and acknowledge the fact that it’s a surprisingly durable skate shoe with high quality materials to abuse or flaunt. As most of us here have come to know it, the HUF Dylan is the shoe¬†to wear in order to “impress a girl and once she’s tired of you, dump her and skate them”. On a more serious note though, the $110-120 price point mirrors the quality put into the Dylan’s in the event that you do decide to skate them. If you intend on using them in the more fashion forward sense, they’ll serve¬†you just as good. Although, just know that the narrow toe is extremely ideal for skating and has some of the better flicks¬†we’ve experience in 2014. If that wasn’t enough, the leather featured on the Dylan’s slide right off of the griptape but doesn’t open up with only a couple of sessions. The functionality, utility and performance¬†values¬†explain exactly why the¬†HUF Dylan’s are so high up on the list. One of the¬†few shoes of 2014 that’ll cost more but give back twice as much in return.

Sizing & Support: Narrow But True To Size / Great
Shape: Narrow But Breaks In Nicely
Comfort & Cushioning: Great
Boardfeel: Great
Durability: Great
Price: Higher Than Most For A Reason
Overall Performance: Great

 

What’s easily become one of the most beloved skate shoes of the year, Gilbert’s pro model brings Vans simplistic nature and underrated technology together for 2014’s Skate Shoe Of The Year. Not only did it gather a following, but it’s popularity exponentially grew once the protective mid version was introduced. It’s unbeatable Duracap vamp allows this shoe to outlast and outperform every skate shoe in 2014. Aside from that, the aesthetic doesn’t stray too far from Vans’ beloved look and only makes it harder to resist skating the Crockett’s. With an ankle structure implemented into this already great model, the Crockett’s can support any ankle during any and every type of skating. To only add to its greatness, the Wafflecup¬†outsole brings that Cupsole support and Vulcanize feel to the table, while the high impact¬†Ultracush insole protects your foot with every landing. If all these aspects of the Crockett’s don’t win you over and solidify its S.S.O.T.Y. title, we don’t know what else to tell you except you’re crazy.¬†

Sizing & Support: True To Size / Great
Shape: Great & Accommodating For Any Foot
Comfort & Cushioning: Great
Boardfeel: Great
Durability: Greater Than Most
Price: Great
Overall Performance: Amazing

Comments

  1. Thislistisstupid

    December 31, 2014 7:38am

    seriously this list is wack. A waffle cup which by the way defeat the purpose of vans is #1 there is the most hideous Stevie Williams skate shoe on the list and the Dylan reider elf shoe is #2. I for one have never seen anyone anywhere ever skating these shoes if they were purchased by anyone it was the skatepark ledge sitting poser boys thinking they were on team handsome fuck it Im drunk but c’mon now that shits beat

    Reply
    • Vito Corleone

      December 31, 2014 5:58pm

      The list is the “10 Best Skate Shoes of 2014”, not the ten best price point or ten most frequently skated shoes. If the guys at Ripped Laces believe this list is the way it is in the particular order it is, it’s because of the objective testing they try and do.

    • Colin

      December 31, 2014 7:06pm

      Waffle cup defeating the purpose of vans? Not really sure where this argument comes from. I’ve been wearing Vans for years, and personally, I’m stoked to have more support and the durability afforded by this pro model. These are my favorite shoes to skate, as I’ve mentioned in the comment below also. Do you know what waffle cup is? All it is is a vulcanized shoe with a cup sole around the heel section. This way, flip tricks have “vulc feel” but the impact and shape of the shoe remain more supported by the additional support in the heel. I dare you to try these as a New Years resolution, it sounds like you’re pretty into skate shoes and if that’s the case, I can’t see you being disappointed by these. If you don’t like mids, there are lows available. I have numerous pairs of both, looking forward to a different color of the mids becoming available. Furthermore, looking at the list, it contains a shoe from the majority of the big brands. I would be interested to see what you would put on this list if you were in charge of it? The whole idea is to highlight differences in trend between companies, as well as different technologies available across the market. I’m more interested to read this list with clear differences between the products than I would be to see a list comprising of every vulc shoe on the market. Only thing I would do with this list is sub out the Reynolds Vulc for the Westgate runner model.

    • Colin

      December 31, 2014 7:11pm

      And after reviewing last years list, I realize that the Westgate Runner is on there, thought it was more recent. So I wouldn’t change shit.

    • Jim Beam

      January 1, 2015 4:38am

      Whoever is fucking writing this is so out of touch with the majority of the skateboarding community. Top 10 (minus 1 or 2) worst shoes of 2014.

  2. gold

    December 31, 2014 6:12pm

    10-6 is literally backwards and i was cool with the rest until #2. WHAT ARE YOU GUYS PUTTING UP YOUR NOSE??????? DYLANS??? HA!!!!

    Reply
  3. Jasim

    December 31, 2014 6:20pm

    I think this list is well thought out, but you guys only considered shoes you likes. There should be like a poll or something to vote for the best skate shoe but hey, no one wants to skate Stevie williams’ gay ass Justin beiber sneaker or Dylan rieder’s team handsome model.

    Reply
    • Colin

      December 31, 2014 6:58pm

      I’m not sure what the stats are on the Stevie Williams / Justin Beiber shoe, but wasn’t the Dylan shoe the fast selling shoe of all time? Assuming the majority of these people heard about the shoe through skateboarding, chances are there are a bunch of people skating it. Those Crockett Pro’s are the best shoes I’ve skated, hands down. Fast to break in, great board feel and support and they hold up really well. I’ve bought a stack of them just to work through as required.

  4. bill

    December 31, 2014 6:48pm

    man these lists on this site always suck adidas,nike,converse should not be on it since they are not skateboard companies

    Reply
    • Tyler Dombrowski

      December 31, 2014 11:21pm

      As much as I dislike the corporate vibe, those companies are trying really hard to make badass kicks for skating and for the most part doing it really well. Don’t forget, Converse used to sponsor Rodney Mullen, “True OG Godfather of Hella-Tech skateboarding”!!! My beef with Nike is a damn size 11 is still too narrow for my size 9.5 feet. Come on, not everyone’s feet are freakin’ toothpicks! Gotta say the list seems well done and I hope that cupsoles make a bigtime comeback… can’t stand most vulcs

  5. Oliver

    December 31, 2014 7:45pm

    Agreed fully on the Crockett’s, one of the best shoes I’ve ever had. Will be trying the mid in the new year for certain.

    Reply
  6. vlagtr

    December 31, 2014 8:03pm

    Liked this list WAY more than Ride Channels!

    Reply
  7. YOyoWhatUp

    January 1, 2015 9:15am

    Duh everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!… this list is obviously based on what models came out this year and not what’s been the most popular (or what everybody is/has been monotonously wearing)! It’s an objective look and I think it’s a great list. So what if some of the color ways suck or some are seen as “uncool” models? These dudes skate, show their results and know their shit more then y’all do!!!

    Reply
  8. Obley

    January 1, 2015 8:57pm

    this is way off! why didn’t the huf classic make it? RL has been riding that wave all year. I guess it comes down to having only 1 shoe from each company. (purely objective….. )

    Addias ZX vulc? I have never seen anyone skate these ever
    P-Rods Kobe Bryant shoe? never seen anyone skate them. Who would honestly buy those?
    Stevie’s dance boot? no sir

    Reply
  9. Tyler Dombrowski

    January 3, 2015 12:15am

    One more thing- how did the new ‘eS Accelerate not make this list? Y’all musta not skated em, because those insoles are supreme, ultimate boardfeel, killer grip….. Everybody is obsessed with the Vulc-but-also-cupsole-kinda shit, and these are a perfect blend of feel with support. Also you KNOW they look tight as hell

    Reply
  10. sawdwafdas

    January 4, 2015 7:08am

    wtf i dont get it dylan reiders shoes look so bad if u brought them to a date the girl deserves to dump you who the fuck would wear them for non skating use

    Reply
  11. Anderson

    January 4, 2015 6:31pm

    No DC Lynx, DC Cole Light 2, Etnies Highlight, Etnies Marana E-Lite, or Es Accel? Those were definitely better shoes than some on this list.

    Reply
  12. AYAL

    January 5, 2015 6:43am

    I think HUF Classics is the best shoe of the year

    Reply
  13. Random Dude

    January 6, 2015 8:24pm

    I support skateboarding and do my best to support skater run companies. Sometimes I dont know what to think though. Skate shoes keep getting uglier and uglier. I pretty flexible but damn wtf is going on with skate shoes these days. Another thing is most skaters are broke. We cant be buying $80+ shoes that only last 2 weeks. The new PRods look like they can last forever but they also look like a spaceboot which im not down for.

    Vans: As much as I want to support them I cant be buying new shoes every week.
    Emerica: That “#higherquality” doesnt fool me. The quality and durability isnt the same anymore and plus the overall look of their shoes have gotten worse.
    DC: These are ok if your in middle school and want to be compared to the jocks wearing them with a Monster hoodie on.

    Idk just to name a few. Skate shoes have evolved into some hideous creation that almost no longer resembles a “true” skate shoe look. Now I find myself having to support companies like Converse just to have a decent looking skate show.

    Im not tryin to be a total hater but I think we can all agree the choices of good quality/ good looking skate shoes is getting slimmer and slimmer.

    Thanks Lakai for still putting out quality skate shoes. At least theres still one (in my opinion)…kinda funny how its a skater run company.

    Reply
  14. Diego

    January 6, 2015 9:12pm

    It’s difficult to make a list of the shies of the year because everyone have different

    Reply
  15. Diego

    January 6, 2015 9:16pm

    It’s difficult to make a list of the best shoe, because everyone likes different types of shoes and skates different stuff, so I’ll say that if you like vulc and easy break in shoes this list is for you.

    Reply
  16. Devin carlson

    January 7, 2015 8:47am

    I skated the reynolds vulc lows and they are great, very durable shoes well worth the $60 but I found reynolds lows for $35 on eBay so that’s what I’m gonna skate next , more fatter than the Vulcs but the Vulcs did hurt for heel flips in my opinion but the bottom grip never lost it’s tread even after 2 months of skating , I purchased a pair of Accels OG but havnt worn them since they are hard to come by and they are my fav shoes of all time , until I get another pair I’m not gonna skate them , but I loved the rowley classics this year , vans old
    Schools and era pro cardiel are always nice vans , I will try the crockets,

    Reply
  17. SC

    January 8, 2015 5:51pm

    No Brian Anderson Nikes?

    Reply
  18. G.Flores

    January 9, 2015 11:48pm

    No etnies highlight???

    Reply
  19. allaner

    January 12, 2015 7:19pm

    Dylan’s shoes have always been hideous

    Reply
  20. nish8026

    January 14, 2015 8:23pm

    This is a solid list with solid contenders on top!

    Reply
  21. dickieskate

    April 29, 2015 8:31pm

    The list doesn’t particularly look the I want it to but if they took the time to test all these shoes I believe they are a credible source. Although I would’ve liked to have seen the herman or the romero on here since they are like the best skate shoes ever in my opinion but the MJ is an amazing skate shoe and I’m glad to see it is in the top 5. Best lakais I’ve ever skated for sure.

    Reply
  22. Chris L

    May 2, 2015 5:30am

    From the perspective of someone into kicks, those Dylan shoes are quite possibly the ugliest pair of skate shoes I’ve seen in my entire life. Even if you bought them strictly for aesthetics, they look terrible from a dress shoe standpoint.

    Reply
  23. Otaku

    July 31, 2015 9:05am

    I took a look at this list to see what would be best for skating but as i scrolled though the shoes all i could think about some of them is i wouldnt be caught dead in them. Skating shoes are ment to prtect your feet but does some of these bramds even understand the fact that most people want shoes that work well and look just as well as they preform. Maybe its just me but thats my honest opinion.

    Reply
  24. Jenna Wells

    October 7, 2015 10:54am

    They’re all ugly banana shoes

    Reply
  25. Momo

    December 24, 2016 9:15am

    I got the emerica Reynolds vulcanized and the sole completely unglued in less than 5 months, without even skating. What a joke

    Reply

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