A Parent’s Guide to Selecting the Best Skateboarding Shoes for Your Child
Skateboarding is a popular and exciting activity, but wearing the right footwear is essential to ensure safety, performance, and shoe longevity. As skateboarding instructors, we’ve seen all types of footwear at the skatepark, from inappropriate choices like Crocs, Uggs and sandals to more suitable options like purpose-built skate shoes and classic athletic shoes.
In the past, purpose-built skate shoes were not widely available, and skaters often used classic tennis and basketball shoes as an alternative. Today, these classic athletic shoes such as Adidas Campus, Converse Chuck Taylors, Nike Blazers, and Puma Clydes can still be a good option for skateboarding.
When it comes to selecting the right footwear for skateboarding, there are several key features to consider…
Flat sole: A flat sole provides an all-over contact with the deck, allowing for ease of movement as a skater repositions their feet for different moves. Flat soles can also provide better “board feel”, which provided better feedback to the rider, allowing them to feel the board more accurately and adjust their movements accordingly.
Tread texture: The shoe’s tread should provide enough grip to have control and stability while performing tricks and moves, while still allowing for easy adjustments in foot positioning.
Durability and materials: Skateboarding shoes should be made from durable materials that can withstand the wear and tear of the sport, especially in high-wear areas such as the “Ollie Zone” on the outer side of the leading foot.
Comfort and functionality: The shoes should fit well, be breathable to keep feet cool and dry, have a good grip on the sole for adequate traction on the skateboard. Extra support and padding for ankles can also be important for some riders.
Style: While not as important as the other factors, it’s always nice to have a pair of shoes your child likes the look of. Also, a shoe that they like the appearance of can be a source of motivation and inspiration for them to stick to an appropriate choice, rather than opting for unsuitably fashionable options.
Specialised Skate Shoes
Specialist skate shoe brands like Vans, DC, and Etnies are known for their skate shoes, and more recently, mainstream sports footwear companies such as Adidas Skateboarding, Nike SB, and New Balance have entered the skate shoe market. Specialised skate shoes are designed specifically to meet the demands of skateboarding, and generally tick all the boxes for basic requirements for the sport.
Regular sneakers, on the other hand, may have soles that are too thick, particularly in the heel area, and a tread that makes it difficult for skaters to adjust their foot position for various moves or even basic pushing and stopping techniques. This can be a source of great frustration for beginners and really hold their development back. Regular sneakers may also lack the durability required for skateboarding and can therefore need to be replaced more regularly.
Skill Level and Protection
When shopping for skate shoes, keep in mind your child’s skill level, as well as their specific needs. For beginner skaters, a classic basketball or tennis shoe can suffice, e.g a Chuck Taylor or even a pair of the humble Dunlop Volleys would be suitable. However, as your child progresses and starts performing more advanced moves, it’s important to consider shoes with added protection in the ‘Ollie Zone’ and impact cushioning.
In conclusion, when choosing the right footwear for skateboarding, make sure to consider the flatness of the sole, tread texture, durability and materials, comfort, functionality, and style. Skateboarding shoes, or classic athletic shoes with a flat sole, are the best option for skaters. Keep your child’s skill level and specific needs in mind and choose shoes that provide the right balance of protection, performance, and durability. Happy skateboarding!
Skate shoe company websites:
Mainstream sports footwear skateboarding divisions: