The moment I got into the realm of skate shoes, I became overwhelmed with so many brands and options. After a lot of trial and error, I have overcome the hurdle of choosing the right skate shoes for me. And I don’t want the beginners of today to go through the same difficulty.
So, I have made a list of the top 21 best skate shoe brands in 2023. It includes leading brands like Adidas, DC, Vans, Etnies, etc., and emerging brands like New Balance, Hey Dude, etc.
Check the full list to know more about these brands, their product quality, pros, cons, and many more. Let’s get started.
List of the Best Skate Shoe Brands
I am not putting these brands in order of their reputation. So, you should check the whole list to find your favorite skate shoe brand.
Damon Way and Ken Block founded DC in 1994, which has become one of the most renowned skate shoe brands on earth. They used aggressive marketing techniques along with sponsorships in extreme athletics.
DC skate shoes typically use suede, leather, rubber, etc., to build sturdy and durable skate shoes. Most of their shoes are heavily padded to ensure the highest comfort. The designs are also trendy. I used the DC Kalis model, and it was pretty good, excluding the fact that the shoes are quite heavy.
Overall, DC is a reliable skate shoe brand in the market for all ages of skateboarders.
Adidas is an iconic brand for sportswear, especially skate shoes. Even though they started much earlier, the skate shoe section was founded in 1989. Since then, Adidas has been producing durable skate shoes for a wide range of users.
Their skate shoes are highly comfortable due to the thick padding. The upper material also has a very high quality. However, the main problem I faced with Adidas shoes was the thick midsole, which increased the weight and reduced the board feel.
Busenitz and Matchbreak models from Adidas are very popular for skateboarding. I love the timeless design of the Busenitz Pro shoes.
Pierre Andre Senizergues, a former skateboarder, founded Etnies in 1986. As a skateboarder himself, he knew exactly what to deliver. So, many of his designs, like the Lo-Cut, Intercity, Senix, etc., grabbed the attention of skateboarders. The brand even opened a skatepark in Lake Forest, California.
My experiences with Etnies skate shoes are extraordinary. I personally love the not-so-flashy design of Etnies’ shoes. The material quality is also solid to keep users tension-free for a long time. Just the padding could be a bit better to provide more comfort and protection to beginner skateboarders.
Vans was initially founded as Van Doren Rubber Company in 1966 by Paul Van Doren, James Van Doren, and Gordon C. Lee. You might have seen Authentic shoes from Vans, which was the first produced model. From there, Vans progressed to manufacture skate shoes in the 1970s.
From popular models like Old Skool to trendy Vans Pro, Vans produces skate shoes for men, women, and kids. I love the vulcanized Vans shoes for their excellent board feel. Leather, canvas, or suede is commonly used as the upper. The only problem I felt about Vans shoes was their durability.
Even though the company started over 100 years ago, its footstep in the skate shoe industry is relatively newer. William J. Riley Founded the company in 1906, and the initial name was New Balance Arch Support Company. It launched many iconic shoe models, including the legendary 991. Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs used to wear these shoes.
In 2013, the Numeric model was launched as the first skate shoe from the brand. Since then, the brand has drawn attention due to its superior craftsmanship and high-quality material. I just love the smooth finish of New Balance skate shoes, and the fit is awesome. But these shoes can be pricey.
Lugz was founded in 1993, and it was a popular brand for work boots. Gradually, the brand stepped into the skate shoe industry and offered various skate shoe models for adults and kids. The brand collaborated with various celebrities, such as Snoop Dogg, Howard Stern, Dr. Dre, etc.
Skate shoes from Lugz are known for great attention to detail and excellent durability. They make skate shoes using rubber, leather, canvas, etc. Though I personally didn’t use Lugz skate shoes, I heard positive experiences from my friends and other reliable sources who use Lugz skate shoes.
Mike Carroll and Rick Howard founded Lakai in 1999. Both of them were pro skateboarders and part of the DC team before starting their own skate shoe brand. Since its inception, Lakai has been offering versatile skate shoes for a wide range of skateboarders.
They mostly offer low-top skate shoes that have thicker outsoles with generous padding in all areas. So, Lakai skate shoes are highly comfortable and durable. I love the lace-up closure of these shoes. But the problem with Lakai skate shoes is you have only a handful of color options.
Most of you may have heard the name PUMA or seen its iconic logo. Rudolf and Adolf Dassler founded the mother company in 1924, but they parted ways in 1948. Rudolf started the brand PUMA, which has a colorful history of making casual footwear and sportswear.
Over time, PUMA has manufactured many different skate shoe models, including Suede Classic, Suede Skate Nitro, C-Skate Vulc, and more. Many of its skate shoes are made with suede, rubber, etc.
PUMA skate shoes are fairly durable and have excellent grip. The comfort is also noteworthy. But I am skeptical about how budget-friendly these shoes are.
You might have already read about Pierre Andre, who founded Etnies. The parent company of this brand is Sole Technologies Inc. Under this company, Pierre launched another brand called Emerica, which means Etnies for America.
As a skateboarder himself, Pierre designed many skate shoe models that hooked thousands of skateboarders, including me. Emerica skate shoes are known for their excellent build quality, support, and protection. I have been using models like Romero Laced and Figueroa for a long time.
These classic skate shoes provide everything a skateboarder needs, except the board feels because of the cupsole design.
Bob Hurley founded Hurley in 1999. Though he was a surfboard shaper, he had a passion for creating exciting accessories for the youth. Over time, Hurley grew as a skate shoe brand, and Bob sold a part of the company to Nike in 2002.
Hurley is known for its classic men’s skate shoes. I used the Boardy model, which is a low-top skate shoe. The overall fit and comfort of Hurley shoes are satisfactory. But I am not that confident about the durability. The rubber soles tend to wear faster than other skate shoes.
This Italian company was founded by Alessandro and Dario in 2008. Both founders were footwear experts, and the company manufactures lightweight skate shoes for youth. Many of its shoes are made of canvas and have a different appearance than popular skate shoes.
I personally don’t like the boxy appearance of Hey Dude skate shoes. But I must admit these shoes are extremely comfortable. With thick rubber soles and moderate cushioning, Hey Dude shows are great for both skateboarding and casual wear.
These shoes could be even better if they had various high-top models and more color options.
DVS is probably the most futuristic skate shoe brand I have ever seen. The company was founded in 1995, and it manufactures shoes for skateboarding, snowboarding, and other sports.
While some of its skate shoe models give a retro vibe, other models are pretty trendy. For example, I adore the Comanche 2.0 and Enduro 125 models.
Excellent material, superior build quality, and desired comfort make DVS skate shoes highly attractive. I must mention the design variety of these shoes. But the thing I hate most about DVS shoes is the weird shape. Many models have a straight slant at the top.
It is another skate shoe brand that was founded by skateboarders. Tony Chen, Brain Reid, Doug Weston, and Tony Magnusson founded Osiris in 1996. The most iconic skate shoe from this brand is probably the NYC 93. Men’s Protocol models are also popular.
I personally prefer the less-funkier Men’s Protocol models. These shoes come with a thinner sole, so the board feeling is absolutely amazing.
The upper is often made of leather, suede, etc. I can never complain about the build quality, but the breathability is a bit compromised in these shoes.
This brand is especially attractive for roller skaters. Roger Adams started Heelys in 2000, where he put wheels in the soles of the skate shoes. As a result, you can switch to the roller skating mode any time you want. Though these aren’t my go-to shoes for skateboarding, having some fun with these shoes is perfect for many users.
Due to the wheels, the soles of Heelys skate shoes are much thicker than skate shoes from other brands. Beginner skaters might find these shoes suitable, but pro skaters will miss the board feel. The color patterns also look too striking, which isn’t my favorite.
Another exciting brand for roller skaters! Wedsf manufactures roller shoes that have retractable wheels. So, you can wear these shoes for skateboarding and roller skating. The design of these shoes is a bit bulky as the shoes house two pairs of rollers.
On a thick sole, the upper is beautifully built with leather, suede, and other materials. These shoes come with moderate padding in the tongue and collar area to give more comfort. Wedsf makes roller shoes for men and women. The only downside I felt with these shoes was the added weight.
Johnny Schillereff founded Element Skateboards in 1992. Besides skateboard decks, the brand manufactures skate shoes for all ages of skateboarders. It has both high-top and low-top skate shoes that come in a variety of styles.
Element offers durable skate shoes, from classic low-top Heatley 2.0 skate shoes to high-top Topaz C3 skate shoes. My personal favorite is the Element Preston 2 skate shoes.
The brown leather upper looks stunning, and the rubber sole has a better finish than many other skate shoes. The build quality could be better as the joints aren’t long-lasting.
WHITIN produces some of the most affordable skate shoes on the market. They also have a moderate lineup of barefoot sneakers made with knit material. These shoes provide great comfort and breathability, but I don’t think they are as good for skateboarding.
The rubber outsole has decent traction, which is praiseworthy. However, the overall protection is very low due to the knit material. I would say these shoes are more suitable for skateboarding on flat terrains where you have less probability of getting hurt.
They also have canvas shoes that are somewhat okay for skateboarding. The outsole of these shoes is flexible, so pro skateboarders might benefit from these shoes.
Nick Teshay founded Diamond Supply Co. in 1998. Initially, it was a skateboarding hardware company. But then it started manufacturing skate shoes and apparel. Currently, Diamond Supply Co. produces some cool skate shoes in a wide variety of designs and colors.
They have classic low-top skate shoes along with trendy high-top shoes. Besides skateboarding, some of their shoes are also fit for casual wear. The brand uses leather, suede, canvas, rubber, etc., to make its skate shoes. In terms of look and feel, the shoes really stand out. But I am not satisfied with the durability of these shoes.
ZGR has its base in slow-life aesthetics. The company was founded in 2011, with a touch of Nordic lifestyle. Over time, ZGR has produced many popular skate shoes, especially for women. Its slip-on canvas shoes are also popular as casual wear.
Besides, you will find canvas shoes for men. ZGR skate shoes are bright in color and have a bold design language. The overall build quality is also nice. But the premium finish is absent in these shoes.
So, I would not specifically choose them as high-end skate shoes. They are quite good for your regular skate shoes.
Many skate shoe models from XIDISO look like funky boots to me. The reason behind this is the unique design of their skate shoes. These shoes have a thick outsole, leather or suede upper, and a high-top design.
The lace-up closure extends to the shaft, which gives the shoes a boot-like appearance. While it isn’t bad, I am more inclined to classic skate shoes. I like the overall comfort and protection of these skate shoes.
These shoes will be great, especially if you are a beginner and don’t want to hurt your feet. But pro skateboarders might have some mobility issues with these shoes.
B.F. Goodrich founded PF Flyers in 1937. This original American sneaker brand produces a vast range of skate shoes, including low-top and high-top models.
The best thing about PF Flyers skate shoes is their simplicity. Their skate shoes are made with durable material, and the finish is awesome. However, the sole and cushioning thickness is lower than most skate shoes.
So, pro skateboarders might use these skate shoes to get a better board feel. However, beginners may not find these shoes highly suitable.
FAQs Regarding Skate Shoe Brands
You might want to check the answers to some commonly asked questions about the best skate shoe brands.
What are the best skate shoe brands in 2023?
As of 2023, some skate shoe brands are really on the fly. These include Vans, DC, Lakai, Etnies, and New Balance.
Are these brands suitable for different skateboarding styles?
Yes. Many of these brands produce different skate shoe models suitable for skateboarding, roller skating, snowboarding, etc.
Do these brands offer options for sustainable or eco-friendly skate shoes?
Of course. Brands are looking forward to making their skate shoes more eco-friendly. For example, Etnies offers eco-friendly Fuerte skate shoes for men. It uses recycled material to produce vegan-friendly shoes. Other brands are also working along this path.
Are expensive skate shoe brands better in quality?
Though price can’t always guarantee quality, expensive skate shoe brands are generally better in quality. This is because they put more effort into material, craftsmanship, etc. So, their skate shoes are more comfortable and durable.
Can I wear these skate shoes casually as well?
Why not! Skate shoes typically have a casual look. Be it a low-top or high-top skate shoe, you can easily pair it with your casual wear.
How do I choose the right size for skate shoes?
Put your foot on a piece of paper. Use a ruler to mark the front and back of your foot. Then, measure the length and match it with the standard size chart. This way, you can choose the right size for skate shoes.
Do these brands provide customization for their skate shoes?
If not all, many of these brands provide customization for their skate shoes. For example, you can get custom skate shoes from Vans, where you can upgrade the performance level and choose from different colors or materials.
Skateboarding footwear has evolved drastically over the past few decades. From classic skate shoes with more neutral colors and designs, skate shoes have now become a way to express creativity and spirit. So, brands are focusing on offering a diverse range of skate shoes for all ages of skateboarders.
I picked the top 21 best skate shoe brands, including DC, Adidas, Etnies, Vans, New Balance, Lugz, Lakai, PUMA, Emerica, Hurley, Hey Dude, DVS, and Osiris. The rest are Heelys, Wedsf, Element, WHITIN, Diamond Supply Co, ZGR, XIDISO, and PF Flyers. Explore versatile skate shoe options from these brands to make your skateboarding journey more secure and fun.