Looking for the most durable skate shoe? Well, it’s certainly not Vans or Nike, but also the more dedicated skate shoe brands kind of disappoint. Most skate shoes last for about 60 to 80 hours given you don’t fix them.
We’ve skated a bunch of shoes over the years and identified a brand which isn’t exactly a skateboard brand. The quality of the suede makes all the difference, but that’s hard to find out because it depends on the age and type of animal.
From all the shoes we’ve tested, there are a few that outlast most skate shoes 2 to 3 times. Keep in mind that the age of your grip tape plays a huge part, fresh mob grip tape will chew through your suede much more compared to Jessup.
Sand those flick spots down before you even think about attempting your first tre-flip. I’ll give some tips at the end of this post to help you identify shoes that last longer. Right now it’s time for a bunch of skate shoes that last for a long time.
10 Most Sturdy Skate Shoes To Consider
We selected 8 skate shoe brands and 10 shoes to consider. While some are less durable than others, you also need shoes that offer control, comfort, and confidence. To our surprise, Adidas is on top, but Etnies and New Balance also performed remarkably well in durability.
Let’s go through skate shoes from durable to most durable. It’s a mix of cupsoles and vulcanized skate shoes. Some offer lots of support but lack board feel, others are very flexible while still holding up for a while.
10. Nike SB Stefan Janoski
While Janosksi’s aren’t the most durable skate shoes, they still hold up for at least 60 to 70 hours of hardcore skateboarding. For those who need a shoe that offers maximum board feel and not having to throw away shoes after a week, Janoski’s are a good choice.
The shoes tend to lose their shape after 60 hours of skateboarding, which is very noticeable. You get your regular kickflip and ollie holes like every other skate shoe before the lack of support requires you to buy a new pair. At some point, you’ll feel your feet moving inside the shoes because they will stretch and compromise stability.
While holes are easily patched using Shoe Goo, a stretched shoe can’t be fixed. Make sure to replace them in time, usually a good idea to own 2 pairs. One pair for daily use that can replace the pair you use for skateboarding. This will also save you some time to break them in, though Janoski’s break in pretty quickly.
9. Cariuma Vallely
To be fair, I haven’t skated these shoes but Cariuma claims they last up to 3 as long as regular suede skate shoes. I strongly doubt this because the quality of suede varies, so the question is compared to which type of suede?
For those that only skate vegan shoes the Vallely is worth trying out because skating canvas shoes will bankrupt you before you can say ‘DO A KICKFLIP!’. The Cariuma Vallely shoes are 100% vegan and the upper consist of durable vegan ‘suede’ and recycled fabric webbing.
The sole is made of slip resistant natural rubber, and the insole is made from bio-based foam. To top it off, the laces are made from organic cotton and a fully stitched outsole.
8. Vans Pro
The only Vans I personally like to skate are the Vans Pro. They aren’t too expensive and about as long as the Nike Janoski’s. The difference is that you often can get them for a lot less, especially when they are on sale.
The Vans Pro come in both vulcanized and cupsole skate shoes, where the former offer more board feel and the latter more comfort when taking on large drops. Vans are not the most durable skate shoes, but offer a fine balance between durability, price, and board feel.
Vans Pro offers rubber underlays in the areas where you need it. Both the toe box and the ollie area feature a rubber underlay once you chew through the suede. While rubber behaves a bit differently compared to suede when flicking a skateboard, it will make the shoe last longer.
With that said, Vans aren’t a bad deal if you want to get more out of your skate shoes but avoid their canvas models. They aren’t suitable for skateboarding.
7. Etnies Veer
Etnies Veer are tough and surprisingly lightweight for a cupsole. While less flexible compared to a vulc shoe, the Veer shoes still offer decent board feel. Usually a shoe with stitches around the toe box isn’t very durable, but Etnies solved this with a double stitched suede leather toe box.
This ensures that the upper endures for quite some time. Even though the area sticks out a bit, there are no signs of rips or tears after a good 20 hours of skateboarding.
Just like the Marana’s, the Veers come with the extremely durable Michelin outsole, which hardly wears even after 60 hours of skateboarding. The outsoles are a bit stiffer compared to a vulc outsole which sacrifices board feel for durability and impact protection.
6. Lakai Griffin
Lakai is an outstanding skate shoe brand that caters to the need of technical skateboarders like no other. The upper comprises a seamless toe box area and the laces are far back to prevent them from ripping on day one.
The Griffin is a remarkably flexible skate shoe with high-quality suede that lasts for a decent amount of time. In fact, the suede outlasted the outsoles.
From all the vulcanized shoes, this one came in second for durability. 80 hours isn’t bad at all for a vulc skate shoe, it’s actually impressive.
Lakai is a true skateboard shoe brand that is well respected in the skateboard community. You can’t go wrong with Lakai shoes, but everyone has their preference.
5. éS Accel Slim
The éS Accel Slim has been around for a long time and is based on the Accel OG, one of the first skate shoes eS made. This is one of the most popular cupsole skate shoes and offers all a cupsole skateboarder needs.
It has great grip, excellent board feel, flexible outsoles, decent insoles, and a snug fit. The most durable part of this shoe is the high quality suede on the upper. After skating for about 15 hours, there is some visible wear near the ollie and kickflip spots, but very minor.
Only after 35-40 hours of skateboarding, the suede showed some wear, but still nothing serious. It took over 60 hours to finally get some ollie and kickflip holes, after that they are still skateable for at least 20 to 40 hours if you patch the holes in time.
The tripple stitched toebox holds up really well and you’ll have a hard time tearing the upper. The resistant panels are properly placed which even makes the upper more durable.in the right places and ensure a long durability of the upper.
This shoe needs some time to break in and is stiffer compared to vulcs. It offers great comfort for those that often land primo or take on huge drops.
4. Adidas Busenitz Vulc
Years ago, Adidas failed at catering to the needs of skateboarders, but in the recent years they made a comeback. I was pleasantly surprised by how long these shoes lasted. The Adidas Busenitz shoes are one of the most durable vulc shoes you can buy.
Because of the lack of stitching around the toe area, you’ll have a hard time ripping these shoes apart. Sure, ollie and kickflip holes will appear (which takes a long time) but they will last for months. The durable textile and synthetic materials hold up great and the shoe offers great flexibility.
The grip on the bottom of the sole is excellent and still allows you to quickly move your feet in the proper position when preparing for a trick.
They are a bit more expensive compared to other shoes, but they also last longer. If your budget is tight, this might be a deal breaker. In the long run, they’re actually cheaper, but you have to decide for yourself.
3. New Balance Numeric
If you search Reddit for the new Balance Numeric, you’ll notice some raving reviews of fellow skaters. While most skateboarders think their own shoes are always the best, the Numeric makes a strong case to one of the best skate shoes you can buy.
If you are looking for a vulcanized skate shoe, that’s also durable, this is the one to get. They come with a double reinforcement band, which allows you to chew through two layers. Unlike Vans who offer a rubber second layer, New Balance offers quality suede with a consistent flick and a longer lasting upper.
The laces suffer the most wear, so be ready to bring an extra pair. The suede outlasts the outsole and the shoe will lose its shape after about 70-ish hours of skateboarding. By this time, you’ll also notice some serious wear on the outsole and the shoe will become less grippy, no holes though.
You can easily skate these shoes for 100 hours but they won’t be as effective. Not bad for a vulc, actually pretty impressive. If I had to recommend 1 vulc it would be this one.
2. Etnies Marana Michelin
The Etnies Marana are both hated and loved by skateboarders. Some don’t like the lack of boardfeel and others want nothing else because they are extremely comfortable. One thing that stands out about this shoe is how durable it is. It’s the second most durable cupsole you can buy.
This one is also the best skate shoe for wide feet, the toe area is wider than average, offering some relief for skaters that need some breathing room. This is about durability though and the Marana’s deliver, though it comes at a price.
The rubber toe box area won’t budge easily and lasts forever. It makes your ollies and kickflips feel a bit awkward at first. A full suede toe box just offers more control and predictability. The Marana Michelin requires some time to break in, especially since the Michelin outsole feels stiff in the beginning. Breaking in will take some time and the outsole will become more flexible.
1. Adidas Tyshawn
The Adidas Tyshawn is the most durable skate shoe you can get right now. Even though it’s a cupsole, it feels very flexible and offers enough board feel to perform technical tricks. The suede is of incredible quality and it takes over 80 hours to finally get some holes in there on Jessup grip tape.
The shape holds remarkably well even after 100 of skating. There is still enough support and hardly any noticeable extra wiggle room. The outsoles are indestructible yet very flexible. They feel more like a vulc-cupsole hybrid.
Just like the Adidas Busenitz, the Tyshawn’s grip is superb and still allows you to move your feet quickly in the right position. They require some time to break-in but when they do, they will boost your confidence. The suede and outsole still hold up after the shoe loses its shape, which is remarkable.
For those on the fence about cupsoles, consider the Busenitz, which offers more flexibility. For those that need shoes that last for ages, this is your number 1 pick.
Long Lasting Skate Shoes We Recommend
We skated these shoes on various grip tapes and various skill levels. Since you’re probably not a pro but just want to get the most out of your skate shoe, we probably can advise some pretty rad shoes that will last.
Most Durable Vulcanized Skate Shoe
If you are looking for the longest lasting vulc skate shoe, you can either go for the Etnies Veer or the New Balance Numeric series. Both are great for technical skaters that require shoes that last longer than average.
Most Durable Cupsole Skate Shoe
Again, you have two choices. Either go for the Etnies Marana Michelin or the Adidas Tyshawn. They are pretty on par though the 3st’s last a lot longer and offer more board feel compared to the Marana’s.
If you have regular feet got for the Adidas 3st, those with wider feet might consider them too small. Unfortunately, they aren’t true to size, so getting half a size bigger is recommended.
How to Make Skate Shoes Last Longer
How long skate shoes last not only depends on the quality of the shoe. If you only skate bowls, your shoes will last a lot longer compared to a technical street skater. The freshness of your grip tape and the type of tricks you affect the durability of your shoe. I’ll save this for another blog, but here are a few tips to make your shoes last longer:
- Patch your shoes with suede from old shoes (and shoe Goo)
- Use skate shoes for walking or daily use first before shredding them.
- Patch tears and minor hole with Shoe Goo.
- Put Shoe Goo on stitching before you skate. This will offer an extra layer of protection.
- Don’t go with the grittiest grip tape, or at least sand down the flick areas.
What Makes A Skate Shoe More Durable?
When shopping for durable skate shoes, there are a couple of factors to consider. Some are easy to notice, while others are less obvious. The key factor is the quality of the materials used.
By now, you probably know that canvas is a terrible choice and suede is the way to go. Even leather would be a better choice than canvas, though it behaves less predictable when flicking your skateboard. Here are a couple of things to look for:
Suede On the Right Areas
It’s all about suede, though not all suede is equal. Why is suede such a good choice? Mainly because it’s abrasion-resistant and behaves in a predictable manner. When you flick your foot, suede will give a more gradual flick when it slides against grip tape compared to other material. You’ll feel more confident and are more likely to land tricks more consistently.
Not all suede is of the same quality, but it’s hard to tell by looking at a shoe because the level of quality depends on the age of the animal’s skin or hide. It is the most common material used though, also because suede molds better and adjusts to the shape of your feet. Sometimes a shoe can feel tight, but this will go away after a while.
Skate shoes aren’t usually made of 100% suede, often they’ll comprise a combination of canvas, nubuck, or leather. The areas that come into contact with grip tape should be suede.
Patent leather is made from the outside of animal hide, where suede is made from the inside. Patent leather is less durable because it’s thinner compared to suede. This means patent leather skate shoes will wear faster and should be avoided. Usually a skate shoe is made of several materials, including patent leather, but not near the areas where you come into contact with your grip tape the most.
Vegan leather is relatively new and a great choice for those who don’t want shoes that involve the harming of animals. Cariuma claims that their vegan leather lasts 3 times longer than regular suede, but we are unable to confirm this at this moment. From what we’ve heard, they have massively improved over the years, which is great news for vegan skateboarders.
Never go full canvas! Usually, skate shoes are made of suede and canvas for breathability, but make sure the upper is made of suede. Canvas can’t deal with abrasive material like grip tape and it takes only a couple of ollies to ruin your shoes.
Vans classics or Converse All Stars, for example, are entirely made of canvas and a terrible choice. Canvas is a lot thinner and less durable material and not suitable for tricks. If you only cruise around town, there shouldn’t be any issues.
It’s impossible to get skate shoes that don’t rip, all skate shoes at some point need to be replaced even if there isn’t any visible wear present. Take the hours we skated these shoes with a grain of salt. How long they last really depends on the type of grip tape and how often you perform flick tricks.