Why Do My Skate Shoes Rip So Fast?

Decent skate shoes aren’t supposed to rip easily, but if your shoes rip quickly, there are a couple of reasons. Keep in mind that skate shoes are supposed to wear eventually, expecially near the kickflip and ollie area.

There are easy ways to prevent shoes from ripping. Patching the vulnarable areas or Shoe Goo are well known methods, but it starts at selecting shoes that are less prone to rip. If you do a lot of flip tricks, you need a shoe that offers quality suede.

Look for a shoe that provides an extra layer of suede or rubber near the flick areas. Shoes that offer extra seams also makes a huge difference, but you also can choose to go for seamless.

ripped skate shoe with a large tear

A Couple Of Reasons Why Skate Shoes Rip

Skateboarding is a sport that exerts a lot of force on the feet. Decent skate shoes should be able to deal with impacts and wear from constant friction from grip tape, braking with your foot, or sliding down a transition while wearing pads.


The most obvious reason is friction. Skateboarding involves a lot of foot movements, which causes friction between the shoes and grip tape. Constantly moving your feet on grip tape, ollying, flick tricks, etc will cause your grip tape to chew through your shoe eventually.

Poor Quality Materials

Materials such as plastic, rubber, and other synthetic materials are often known to break, tear, and cause your shoes to wear rather quickly. Canvas skate shoes work for cruising but not for skateboaring and can tear within a few days.

Cheap skate shoes are often made of materials that aren’t great for skateboarding. While some convas is great for breathability, it shouldn’t be near the flick areas. It’s really simple; just pick suede skate shoes.

Poor Fit

If your skate shoes are too loose or tight, they can put extra stress on certain parts of the shoe and cause them to wear out faster. The shoe is only made to withstand the external forces of skateboarding, but the shoe may give up if a force is exerted inside the shoe. 

Moreover, loose shoes can come off quickly, get stuck with the wheels, and be subject to tension. 

Skating On Rough Surfaces

Skating on rough surfaces like concrete or asphalt can cause the outsole of your skate shoes to wear out faster. This may impact your comfort while riding the board and increase the chances of your shoes ripping. Hence, skating on smoother surfaces might decrease the damage or you could try replacing your outsole when it wears out.

Frequency Of Use

The more you skate, the faster your skate shoes will wear out. You could rotate different pairs but honestly that won’t make them last any longer and breaking in shoes is already a pain.

How To Avoid Your Skate Shoes From Ripping

Basically it comes down to sanding down your grip tape on the right areas and patching your shoes before tears and bigger holes appear. Here are some tips to help you make your skate shoes last longer:

Glue to fix holes on skate shoes

Buy Suede Skate Shoes

Suede shoes are the most durable in comparison to other materials of skate shoes on the market. They have been known to fare well when skating and offer longevity in comparison to canvas shoes which rip in a matter of days. 

Look for skate shoe brands with a good reputation, fortunately most brands offer great shoes but you want to look for shoes that have reinforced the areas near the kickflip and ollie spots. Some shoes have 2 layers of suede or a rubber-like material. Once you chew through the first layer, you’re still good.

Use Shoe Goo

You can use Shoe goo preemtively or retroactively. Glueing ollie holes work really well and fixing tears will make your skate shoes last a lot longer. Some skaters glue the stitches right out of the box to prevent them from ripping.

Patch Your Shoes With Suede (Avoid Duct Tape)

Duct tape works for a short session but quickly wears and takes away some of the flick feel. Consider cutting some suede from your old shoes and glue them over tears or holes. Your ollies and flick will feel a bit different at first but this gradually goes away.

Sand Down The Grip Tape

Grip tape is abrasive and obviously causes significant wear to your skate shoes. Sanding down the parts on the ollie and flick spots on your deck makes a big difference. Also, the type of grip tape makes a big difference.

Jessup isn’t as abbrasive as Mob for example, but some just prefer more grip than others. Sanding down specific areas is an old trick that really works.

Avoid Extreme Temperatures

Exposing your shoes to extreme temperatures, such as leaving them in a hot car or freezing them in the winter, can cause the materials to break down more quickly.

Store Them Properly

When you’re not using your skate shoes, store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. You can also add paper padding to the shoe to keep the shape intact. While this doesn’t make a huge difference, it might save your sesh one day.

How To Choose Quality Skate Shoes

There are a couple of ways to spot shoes that won’t rip though it also depends on your style of skateboarding. Basically you want quality suede shoes or at least suede on the areas that are most likely to wear. Reinforced seams (or seamless), extra layers of suede, lace protectors, cupsole or vulcanized, it all matters depending on your needs.

skate shoe ripped near the toe area

Reinforced Seams or Seamless

To reduce wear and tear in vulnerable areas, some skate shoes feature double or even triple seams in the toecap and heel regions. Even with the strongest seams, however, rough griptape can quickly wear down the shoes.

In this case, seamless toecaps are recommended, as they eliminate interfering seams in the front toe area and provide a comfortable flick for board rotation. It is important to note, however, that not all skate shoes have additional reinforcement in this area, making seamless toe caps less common.

Look For Durable Materials

The fabric of the skate shoes is integral to their performance. It would help if you chose shoes made of suede or leather, durable materials that make you worth the money you spend. 

Check The Sole

Thinner soles typically provide better boardfeel, as they allow for more direct contact between the foot and the board. On the other hand, since skateboarding tends to involve a lot of impact, particularly when landing jumps and performing tricks, shock absorption tends to be an important factor in reducing the stress on a skater’s feet and joints.

Thicker soles generally offer better shock absorption due to the increased cushioning between the foot and the ground. To elaborate further, there are a few differences between Vulcanized and Cupsole skate shoes, with one having a thin sole and the other having a thick one, respectively.

  • Vulcanized Skate Shoes: These shoes are thinner and have more flexible soles thanks to a process of fusing rubber and fabric together, referred to as vulcanization. They’re known for their excellent boardfeel which allows for greater control between the skater and the skateboard. However, they provide less shock absorption, which can lead to discomfort when skateboarding for an extended period of time or when performing high-impact tricks.
  • Cupsole Skate Shoes: Cupsole skate shoes have a thicker sole made from molded rubber, forming a cup around the foot. This design offers a more structured and comfortable shoe. The thicker provides better shock absorption leading them to be the preferred choice amongst skaters who perform high-impact tricks or for those who need more cushioning and support for their feet.

In essence, when it comes to the sole, if boardfeel and flexibility are your top priority, we recommend going for skate shoes that have a thinner sole. On the other hand, if you require a more comfortable experience or perform a lot of high-impact tricks, thicker soles will ensure that you can keep skating for an extended period of time and not stress out your joints. 

A thick sole is ideal for skateboarding because it allows for better balance and helps the shoes stick to the skateboard. They also absorb the shock and take a longer time to wear out. These also make for the most comfortable skate shoes to wear while skateboarding. 

Reinforced Toe Caps

For those that skate vert, bowl, mini ramp, or wear knee pads, consider rubber toe caps. When you fall and slide on your knees the upper and toe area wear quickly. Reinforced or rubber toe caps make a huge difference.

Shoes with reinforced toe caps can protect the shoe from wear and tear during flip tricks or other moves that pressure the toe. Be aware that rubber toe caps take away some of the flick feel, suede just feels more natural and gives a more gradual flick.

Good Brand Reputation

Do your research. Look for skate shoe brands with a reputation for producing high-quality, durable shoes. Skate shoes have improved a lot over the years and fairly new players have taken quite a market share for good reasons.

Nike and Adidas are great skate shoe brands these days, but dedicated skate shoe brands like Lakai are woth considering.


Quality skate shoes can be expensive, but investing in a good pair can save you money in the long run. Look for shoes that are within your budget but still meet the above criteria for durability and comfort.

Skate Shoes That Don’t Rip Easily

Below are our recommendations for skate shoes that don’t rip, at least not for a while. I already went into more details about durable shoes so lets keep it short. Check out out 10 skate shoes that will last longer. Some lasted over 100 hours while still keeping their shape intact, worth checking out.

Vans Old Skool Pro

The Old Skool Pro has a suede and canvas upper for durability, with reinforced stitching in high-wear areas. The shoe also has an UltraCush HD sock liner for added comfort and impact protection and Vans’ signature waffle outsole for superior grip.

Nike SB Janoski

The Nike SB Janoski collaborated with professional skateboarder Stefan Janoski and is a popular shoe for many reasons. While it isn’t the most durable shoe, they should last at least for about 70 hours. Fairly acceptable for a skate shoe though it isn’t the cheapest shoe.

The Janoski has a durable suede or canvas upper, a streamlined silhouette, and a low-profile design. The shoe also has a Zoom Air unit in the heel for added cushioning and impact protection and a flexible rubber outsole for a superior grip and board feel. A good pick for skateboarders that require shoes that offer lots of board feel and won’t rip quickly.

Etnies Marana

The Etnies Marana is designed with a durable suede upper and reinforced toe cap. It also features a thick, cushioned sole and a comfortable, supportive fit. While it isn’t the most flexbile shoe and takes a long time to break in, it’s one of the longer lasting shoes you can pick.

Adidas Tyshawn

Probably the most durable skate shoe we tested because the suede was still in tact after about 70 hours of skateboarding. This cupsole offers lots of impact protection and depsite being a cupsole, feels relatively flexible. It’s on top of our list of quality skate shoes.

Final Words

Skate shoes are designed to withstand the high-impact movements and abrasions that come with skateboarding. However, they still experience wear and tear over time, which can cause them to rip.

Friction from grip tape is the number 1 cause but also impacts from landing tricks and general skateboarding will lead to your shoes losing their shape and tear. Skate shoes shoeld have the right materials in the right places, reinforced areas, and decent outsoles.

To prevent skate shoes from ripping, it’s important to choose high-quality shoes that are designed for skateboarding. Make sure to fix time before it’s too late, sometimes simply patching and applying glue can add another 30 hours of use.

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.