Skate shoes are the most expensive part of skateboarding. While there are ways to make skate shoes last longer, typically skate shoes don’t last longer than 60 hours. That means you have to replace your skate shoes every 10 weeks if you skate 6 hours a week.
This also depends on what type of skater you are, how fresh your grip tape is, and what brand you are using. Shoes will wear faster when using Mob grip tape compared to Jessup. The quality of the suede is important, which isn’t always obvious when you buy new skate shoes.
Patching skate shoes can make skate shoe last for 30 hours more, so investing in Shoe Goo and Rip Care is not too much to ask. Let look at why skate shoes wear and see how to fix the spots that usually show wear and tear.
Signs of Worn Out Skate Shoes
Most skaters will recognize ollie holes and wear from kickflips near the toebox. Soles can wear from simple braking with your foot or moving your feet on grip tape. Most skate shoes show the same type of wear, though some wear faster than others.
Ollie holes or the most common issue with skate shoes. As soon as you slide your shoe and it makes contact to grip tape, wear will appear. Many skate shoes have some extra protection near the ollie area, some shoes even come with 3 layers or have a rubber like material to make your skate shoe last longer.
It’s funny that you can see how often someone flips his skateboard. The Toebox is usually pretty worn and eventually will come off. Like ollie holes, kickflip holes are pretty common and hopefully you have a shoe with decent quality suede to prevent the front from coming off.
Heel Flip Holes
Heel flip holes appear at the bottom of the shoe sole. Depending on the material used, some shoes wear faster than others. By the time flip holes appear, your shoe also lost its grip, which is not something you can fix.
Depending on the shoe, laces are often the first to go. Super annoying but pretty common, so bring an extra pair of laces at all times. We all know that feeling when you want to tighten your shoe a bit and you tear off the end of a shoelace, sigh.
Skate Shoes Feel Loose
Even if you only skate bowl or half pipes at some point, your shoes will wear but there might not be any visual cues.. Skate shoes become less sturdy over time and while a flexible shoe provides more boardfeel, after they offer less support and increase the change of injury.
Even if you don’t skate street or parks, replace your shoes every 6 to nine months. Used up skate shoes offer little impact support and you’re more likely to roll an ankle or suffer a heelbruise. You can usually spot this issue when there is too much wiggle room and tightening your laces doesn’t solve the issue.
I had these Nike Janoski’s I used for bow skating and they look perfectly fine. Because I bail a lot with full force on my heels, I suffered a heel bruise which took a long time to heal. I land on my knee pads these days and replace my shoes at least every 6 months.
How Long Do Skate Shoes Last
How long a skate shoe lasts depends on the quality of the suede and how often you skate. Typically a skate shoe lasts 60 to 80 hours if you skate street and parks. If you only skate bowl, skate shoes can last up to 200 hours or more.
One of the longest lasting skate shoes I know of is that Adidas 3st. This is a cupsole shoe but pretty flexible compared to most Cups. It can last over 150 hours depending on the freshness and brand of your grip tape.
Typically, Cupsole shoes last a lot longer than Vulcanized shoes, but Cupsoles provide less boardfeel. While some don’t mind, Vulcanized skate shoe fans will have a frustrating time skating on Vulcs.
Those who want shoes that last longer should look for Cupsoles, there are Cupsoles out there that come close to the flexibility of a Vulc but last a lot longer.
How To Make Skate Shoes Last Longer
There are a few ways to make your skate shoes last longer. Most common is patching holes with RipCare or Shoe Goo, or a patch of suede from an old shoe and glue. This usually adds another 20 hours to your shoe, depending on how far gone they are.
Here are a couple of tips to make your skate shoes last longer. Remember that this won’t instantly fix your shoe because it takes some time for the glue to dry.
1. Glue Skate Shoes with Shoe Goo
Apply Shoe Goo when holes appear or even before you skate your shoes for the first time. Some skateboarders apply glue to stitching areas to make them less likely to tear.
Ollie holes are easy to fix by using shoe goo as long as there is still some suede beneath. If your grip tape completely chewed through your shoes and holes in your socks appears, try method 3.
2. Glue Holes and Tears With RipCare
Less commonly used but quite effective and a great alternative to Shoe Goo. RipCare is a very sticky black glue that is easy to apply. Once you applied the glue, it takes at least 24 hours to dry. It maintains its flexibility and doesn’t feel awkward when it comes into contact with your grip tape.
The best time to apply RipCare is after your sesh. Use the wooden spatula that’s included because it’s really sticky stuff and you don’t want to leave stains on your clothing. You’ll never get it out.
3. Apply Suede Patches To Fix Holes
Suede patches work great if your shoe looks beyond repair. Sometimes grip tape tears apart suede or completely chews through your shoe. By that time you may be a little late, but you can still fix your skate shoe.
Just cutout suede from old skate shoes which you probably have somewhere and glue it to your shoe using RipCare or Shoe Goo. It should last you a couple of weeks, which gives you time to search for new shoes and perhaps score a discount on older models.
4. Sand Down New Grip Tape
Most of the wear is caused by grip tape so when you apply new grip tape, use some left over grip tape to sand down the areas where you ollie and flip your deck. You don’t have to send down the entire grip tape sheet, just the ones that come into contact with suede.
This is a pretty easy preventive solution and make your skate shoes last a lot longer. Also make sure not to buy very gritty grip tape unless you prefer this type of grip.
Depending on how often you skate, what type of tricks you do, and the quality of your shoe, your shoes last between 60 and 200 hours. Technical skateboarders that do lots of difficult flips need to replace skate shoes more often compared to someone who has just started out.
Skate shoes make skateboarding expensive, so you better shop smart and have some budget aside to buy shoes when to go on sale. You can use new skate shoes for walking first, which reduces the time to break them in when you really need to replace your current shoes.