We Tried A Bunch Of Nike Skate Shoes

There is a lot of hate for Nike in the skateboard scene because how dare a commercial company like Nike enter the skate shoe market? To those in the hate camp, I have some bad news; Nike SB skate shoes are one of the best for technical skateboarders.

Nike offers skateboarding shoes that offer superior board feel, their vulcanized shoes are top-notch and make your tricks ‘easier’ compared to some of the dedicated skate shoe brands.

Nike doesn’t offer the cheapest shoes nor are they the most durable, but even hardcore skaters can skate them for over 70 hours. Nike SB shoes are a bit more expensive, but well worth the price tag. Shop smart and you can even get them for a fair price if you’re patient.

Nike skate shoes are not suitable for those with wide feet, unfortunately, except for the Nike SB Alleyoop.

Nike Skate Shoes We Like

Let’s go through a bunch of Nike skate shoes. We rated them for durability, board feel, comfort, grip, price, and style. We selected shoes that are great for flat ground, offer great board feel, checked durability, and price.

1. Nike SB Charge

worn Nike SB Charge skate shoes

The Nike SB Charge shoes are great for those who don’t have the budget for a pair of Janoski’s. It’s a well-designed shoe and comes with a strong toe box and the laces are positioned higher up. The reinforced heel and toe box makes it a more durable shoe, but still not even close to the longest lasting skate shoe out there.

Still, this is a great entry price skate shoe that offers both comfort and lots of board feel. If you wear knee pads and slide a lot (like bowl and vert skaters) SB charge are a good choice as the toe box holds up really well.

The vulcanized shoe doesn’t offer much impact protection, and the insoles are mediocre. If you skate lots of big drops or high-impact skateboarding, replace the insoles to improve impact protection.

Reasons to Buy:

  • Relatively durable shoe
  • Lots of board feel
  • Great for flat ground and park skating
  • Affordable

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Not the longest lasting skate shoe on this list (still decent)
  • Not great for impacts
  • Insoles suck

2. Nike SB Zoom Stefan Janoski

used nike skateboarding shoes

The Janoski’s are a hit and have been for over a decade. The shoe is reasonably durable (for a Nike shoe) and offers superb board feel. The Janoski’s are grippy for at least 40 to 50 hours of skateboarding and once the fox tape starts to wear, there is at least another 20 hours of life left. At this point you might notice some tears if you do lots of flick tricks, which means it’s time to apply some Shoe Goo.

Despite improvements to the insoles, the Janoski’s aren’t great for high impact skateboarding. The insoles just don’t handle impacts very well, especially the front of the shoe lacks in that regard. It does offer some comfort near the heel where the Zoom Air unit helps to absorb some of the impact.

It takes a few hours to break them in, the sole might feel a bit stiff at first but this will improve pretty quickly. The suede quickly becomes more flexible so it doesn’t take long before flip tricks feel natural again.

Those who love this shoe don’t want anything else, though the Nike SB Shane has a similar feel and is slightly cheaper. Great for technical park skating and flatground, not for huge park features.

Reasons to Buy:

  • Keep a consistent flick
  • break in quickly
  • Superior board feel
  • Last longer than expected

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Not great for high impact skateboarding
  • Can be expensive if you skate often

3. Nike SB BRSB

Nike SB BRSB Skate Shoe

Inspired by the Nike Cortez and revamped for skateboarding, the Nike SB BRSB has lots of similarities to its cousin. One of the most notable features is the sawtooth sole pattern and the classic Air compartment which makes this shoe one of the most impact resistant Nike shoes.

The BRSB has a cupsole core with a vulcanized construction, making it the second cup-vulc hybrid on this list. This is an extremely comfortable shoe, mainly because of the Air bubble and the thick sole in the heel area. It is great for high-impact skateboarding, but you might feel a bit disconnected from your board if you are a technical flat ground skateboarder.

They break in pretty fast. After a few hours, they fully come to life but the heel area’s board feel doesn’t improve much after the initial break-in period.

As for the materials, the shoe comprises suede and canvas. The Suede is placed on the flick areas where the canvas allows for some fresh air. The laces are a bit more exposed and rip quite fast. Better bring an extra pair just in case. How durable they are remains to be seen. I will update this post once we know more.

The BRSB fit true to size though they can feel a bit cramped near the toe box like most Nike SB shoes.

Reasons to Buy:

  • Offers great impact protection
  • Comfortable shoe for regular shaped feet

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Laces rip quickly
  • Narrow at the front
  • Can get hot
  • Less board feel near the heel area

4. Nike SB Zoom Blazer Low

Nike SB Zoom Blazer Low

Along with the Janoski’s, the Nike SB Blazer vulcanized skate shoe is one of the most popular shoes for technical skateboarders. Despite their price tag, they last for quite some time compared to cheaper vulc skate shoes.

Their durability is outstanding because of the high-quality suede that lasts for ages. It takes quite some time before you chew through the premium suede, you’ll get through the fox tape first before you see your first signs of ollie and flick holes. The stitching on side panel of the upper however tends to rip rather quickly.

While the insoles aren’t much to write home about, the rest of the shoe performs great for those that skate park and street. The shoe is very flexible and offers a lot of board feel, which is the case for almost all Nike vulcanized skate shoes.

The sole offers a decent grip and is very thin, allowing you to control your deck even more. The shoe is very flexible and break in after a couple of hours. Over time, the shape of the shoe holds up surprisingly well.

Nike SB Zoom Blazer Low Wear

One of the best features is the consistency of this shoe, even after skating them for a longer time. The shoe gives a consistent flick even after weeks of skateboarding. The thread doesn’t wear as much as other shoes and offers a decent grip even after weeks of skateboarding.

Nike Blazers come in both low-top and mid-top models, so if a mid-top feels too restrictive you should opt for the low-top instead.

Those who ollie huge drops should be aware that the shoe doesn’t offer much impact protection. The shoe offers little cushioning, despite the Nike Zoom Air technology. You could consider replacing the insoles or pick a cupsole shoe instead. The padding doesn’t offer much impact protection, and landing primo feels uncomfortable.

Reasons to Buy:

  • Keep a consistent flick
  • Very durable suede
  • Soles stay grippy for ages
  • No ollie or kickflip holes, fox tape wears first

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Lack of ventilation, can get hot
  • Expensive
  • Stitches on the upper wear quickly

5. Nike SB Shane (Great Vulcanized Shoe)

Nike SB Shane skate shoe

One has got to admire the skills of Shane O’Neill and his pro shoe is one of the best vulcanized skate shoes Nike SB offers. They are lightweight, feature thin insoles, and offer a significant amount of board feel and control, boosting your confidence.

Like most vulcanized skate shoes, the Nike SB Shane don’t require much time to break in, the upper suede feels more flexible over time allowing for more flick control. Wearing them for a couple of days first will speed up the process, though a few sessions of skateboarding will work just as well.

The SB Shane isn’t a head turner and looks a bit boring because of its minimalist design. Since skateboarding isn’t a fashion show, their simplicity is actually one of their strong suits.

They are true to size for those with normal feet. The toe box can feel a bit tight if you have wider feet. The only con is the lack of impact protection. Just like most Nike skate shoes, the insoles aren’t great and might not be suitable for every style of skateboarding.

Nike SB Shane insole

The SB Shane laces are a bit further back, making it less likely to rip the laces. The nose and flick areas consist of quality suede, where the rubber toe bumper extends their life span, adding extra durability to the flick areas.

Great for flat ground tricks, rails, ledge tricks, smaller drops, and general low-impact transition skateboarding. Aspiring Homoki’s should at least consider replacing the insoles. They offer little impact protection but contribute to the board feel.

Reasons To Buy:

  • Just as good as the Janoski’s
  • Affordable
  • Exellent board feel
  • Consistant flick
  • Decent durability

Reasons To Avoid:

  • Nog for high impact skateboarding
  • Run a bit narrow
  • You’ll likely don’t want other shoes ever

6. Nike SB Ishod Wair

Nike SB Ishod Wair skate shoe

The second cupsole skate shoe in this list and one of the more stylish skate shoes Nike offers. While not everyone will appreciate this bulky model, it makes a very comfortable shoe that offers lots of impact protection.

For those that need a skate shoe with a bit more board feel but also want impact protection when skating larger features, the Ishod Wair is a shoe to consider. The cupsole construction is surprisingly thin compared to other brands, so you have more flexibility, a decent board feel, and still a shoe that can absorb shocks when ollying medium sized stairs.

They fit true toi sizeThe Nike SB Ishod Wair shoes are suitable for those with slightly wider feet. The toe box isn’t too narrow and gradually shapes to your feet.

The Ishoid Wair aren’t the most durable shoes. A part of the mesh is covered plastic-like material which has the tendency to tear. The mesh does keep your feet cool in the summer and looks pretty awesome, though suede would have been a better choice to make the shoe last a little longer.

The rather big tongue is strapped to elastic bands which keeps it in place. The label placement is a bit weird, you have to rip it off the tongue. Minor detail but it annoyed me, really unnecessary.

Reasons To Buy:

  • Great boardfeel
  • Very stylish shoe
  • Great breathability

Reasons To Avoid:

  • Narrow toe box
  • Plastic mesh isn’t very durable

7. Nike SB Force 58

Nike force 58 skate shoes

Inspired by the Nike Force models, the Force 58 could be considered a customized Nike Air Force 1 shoe. I was skeptical at first because they are relatively cheap and feel like they won’t last long. I was right.

Despite many claims on certain websites about the Force 58 being durable, they really aren’t. We had to throw them away after about 45 hours of skateboarding, which makes them the least durable shoes on this list. The stitches on the toe panels rip easily and if you don’t fix this, the panel will separate from the shoe.

They aren’t that expensive though, and if you wait for a sale, you can pick them up for about 40 to 50 bucks.

Anyway, the Nike SB Force 58 are extremely light-weight and are on top when it comes to board feel. They are very close to the Janoski’s, but a bit more bulky. The shoes break in quickly. After 30 minutes, they feel more flexible and once the rubber around the toe wears down, flicking your board will feel comfortable.

The suede is almost only in the areas where you need it to be, where the other parts are made of canvas. Only the heelflip area is problematic as its also made of canvas. The canvas makes them great for those with sweaty feet or skateboarding in warmer conditions.

The cushioning isn’t great, like most Nike skate shoes, they offer little impact absorption and the insoles don’t make up for that. Even though this is a cupsole-vulc hybrid, I expected more comfort on bigger drops, but alas.

They feel comfy when you don’t skate big features, thanks to the padding around the ankle and mid-foot. Combined with the extremely great board feel, this makes it an excellent skate shoe for flat ground tricks and medium-high features.

Like I said, not the most durable shoe but they are cheap, which makes it worth considering the Nike SB Force 58. The wider toe box makes them suitable for skaters with wider feet, but the snug fit is also great for those with regular shaped feet.

Reasons To Buy:

  • Keeps a consistent kickflip but gives a chunky heelflip
  • Has a supportive & well-padded heel and side panel
  • Is a thinner cupsole with decent board feel and impact protection
  • Flexible like a vulcanized shoe

Reasons To Avoid:

  • Suede panels are prone to separating once stitching blows out
  • Laces rip easily

8. Nike SB Alleyoop

Nike SB Allyoop skate shoe

The Alleyoop is the successor of the Nike SB Dunk released back in 2002. Alleyoops are comfy and puffy cupsoles that don’t offer the most board feel but the most impact protection from all the shoes on this list.

It has a wider than average toe box, making it an excellent choice for skateboarders with wide feet. The suede is of outstanding quality though it doesn’t have any extra layers to chew through, and looking at the price tag, this might be a reason to avoid this shoe. You can, however, make them last longer by reinforcing the flick areas yourself, check how to make skate shoes last longer.

Despite being a cupsole, Alleyoop are very flexible, especially after breaking them in. Not as flexible as a vulc obviously, but enough to consider these your favorite skate shoes. They can feel a bit more cramped near the arch area and offer wide padding.

This is a great shoe for those that need arc and heel support, and have wider than average feet. They handle impact well, so if you also like to skate big features, it’s a shoe to consider.

Reasons to buy:

  • Keeps a consistent kickflip but gives a chunky heelflip
  • Has a supportive & well-padded heel and side panel
  • Is a thinner cupsole with decent board feel and impact protection
  • Flexible like a vulcanized shoe

Reasons to avoid

  • Keeps a consistent kickflip but gives a chunky heelflip
  • Has a supportive & well-padded heel and side panel
  • Is a thinner cupsole with decent board feel and impact protection
  • Flexible like a vulcanized shoe

9. Nike SB Nyjah Free 2.0

Nike SB Nyjah Free 2.0 skate shoe

While Nyjah isn’t exactly the most popular skateboarder, many appreciate his pro skate shoes. Nyjah loves shoes that aren’t to grippy, offer comfort, breathability, and impact protection. Since this is a cupsole skate shoe, that is exactly what you get.

The SB Nyjah are the most durable shoes on this list but their runners like design also raises questions about board feel and flick consistency. The updated rubber mesh that covers the main flick points is extremely long lasting, though it offers less ‘flick feel’ compared to suede.

The soles aren’t as durable as you would expect from a Nike SB shoe, especially compared to Janoski’s or blazers. The grip wears quickly, but this could also be by design. Some skaters don’t like grippy shoes, and there should be a decnt balance between freedom of movement and grip.

Because of the cupsole construction, landing primo isn’t as uncomfortable as landing primo on vulcs. Despite that, this isn’t a shoe designed for large drops but sits more in the middle. This is also an excellent shoe for the more technical bowl skaters and average park rider.

For those with sweaty or warm feet, or that skateboard in warmer conditions, this shoe isn’t a good choice. The breathable mesh offers the cooling and ventilation you need and holds up well over time because of the rubber material that covers the shoe.

Last, the Ghillie loops protect your laces from ripping and the rubber surrounding the laces and tongue further reinforces the upper, no need for an extra pair. The round shaped laces are an interesting choice as they are prone to loosen while you skate. Consider replacing them with different laces if this bothers you.

Pick these shoes if you prefer comfort, style, but don’t mind feeling less connected to your board. While they don’t offer as much board feel compared to vulcanized shoes, they offer much more protection.

Reasons To Buy:

  • Suitable for high impact skateboarding
  • Decent board feel and durability
  • Very comfortable shoe

Reasons To Avoid:

  • Expensive compared to other shoes
  • Board feel isn’t great
  • Can feel bulky

Are Nike Skate Shoes Any Good?

Nike SB skate shoes are great for technical skateboarders but aren’t the most durable skate shoes you can buy. However, they offer superior control and board feel. Nike SB shoes are very consistent even when they wear down to a certain extent. They allow for a more delicate flick of your board but come at a price.

Sadly, their cheapest models are close to 80 bucks, so this means Nike isn’t for everyone because replacing your shoes every month or two is expensive. Keep an eye out for sales, sometimes you’ll be able to find a decent pair of Janski’s for less than 65 bucks.

Are Nike Skate Shoes For Wide feet?

Nike SB shoes aren’t suitable for wide feet because of the narrow toe box. However, the Alleyoop and Force 58 have a wider rounded toe box that works for skateboarders with wide feet.

Not only are Nike SB shoes rather narrow, all Nike shoes feel cramped if you are a size wider than average. Their Tennis shoes, runners, basketball shoes, and whatnot all have this problem.

Nike skate shoes are known to be quite narrow and not well suited for wider feet. The exception is the Nike SB Force 58 since it has a more boxy toe box that better fits a wider foot without cramping your toes.

Check out our best skate shoes for wide feet article if you are one of those with wider than average feet.

Are Nike Skate Shoes Comfortable

Nike SB shoes offer enough comfort for daily wear but aren’t the most comfortable skate shoes. Nike designed them for performance and most Nike SB shoes don’t handle impacts very well. There are a couple of exceptions like the Nike Alleyoop, but most shoes offer little support.

If you want more comfort out of your skate shoe, I’d suggest replacing the insoles. Nike skate shoes are notorious for their subpar insoles. To be fair, the more comfortable a skate shoe is, the less board feel and control it offers. Lots of cushioning and thick out soles lead to feeling disconnected from your board.

Which Nike SB’s Should You Pick?

That’s really up to your needs and type of skateboarding, but we can help you on your way a little. If you want an affordable shoe that offers lots of boards feel and aren’t too worried about durability, pick the Force 58.

If you want a comfort and need lots of impact protection, check if you can pick up some Alleyoops somewhere.

If you want the best Nike SB shoe, there is only one: The Nike Stefan Janoski’s are by far the best (in our opinion) skate shoes you can buy. They offer extreme board feel and will allow you to really connect to your board.

Photo of author

Ruben Vee

I love skateboarding but my age is catching up. I decided to use my experience to skate less and write more. 20 years of skateboarding allows me to offer original and unique insights for many styles of skateboarding.