Have you ever wondered why a normal-looking pair of shoes is called “skate shoes?” Like running shoes and ballet shoes, skate shoes are designed in a certain way to support your feet while skating. Since skating is a different activity, you cannot use running shoes while doing flips. It might feel uncomfortable and unsafe. Like a ballerina, you need to wear shoes that will allow you to move gracefully while protecting your feet.
Skate shoes might look stylish and classy, but if you look closely, you will see they have a particular design. Really, what are skate shoes? Are the materials used for this kind of shoes different from the standard kicks? How will you know if a pair of shoes is a skate shoe? Find out here!
What are Skate Shoes?
A proper skate shoe is made with the consideration that skaters need protection and reinforcement in the right places. A skater’s feet are exposed to an environment and activity that involves a lot of jumping and flipping. Thus, their shoes should be strong and durable. The materials, stitches, and construction of skate shoes determine how long the life of a skate shoe is. Learn more about them below.
The most common materials used in making skate shoes are canvas, hemp, suede, and leather. Canvas and hemp are ideal because they are lightweight and breathable, but they may not be as durable like suede and leather. Meanwhile, you should decide based on how hard you are skating. If you are just skating for fun with your friends around town, then canvas or hemp will work for you. However, if you plan to practice more technical skateboarding every day and skate competitively, you need skate shoes that do not easily wear and tear. So choose between suede or proper full grain leather because these materials better handle rough surfaces like concrete and grip tape.
The reinforcement of the skate shoes depends on the quality of stitches or stitching. If you see that the skate shoes have thorough stitching, then most probably it will not wear out quickly. Thorough stitching also provides extra support in the key areas of your feet. Good skate shoes have double to triple stitching around the toe box as well as into the kickflip zones where the impact on your foot is greater. That is why the stitches are an essential factor to consider when buying skate shoes.
The Sole Construction
There are two kinds of sole construction for skate shoes. One is vulcanized, while the other is called a cup sole. Each of the two kinds provides benefits. The best sole construction boils down to your preference. However, do not just look at the looks or style of the kicks but consider your feet. All people have different feet and one type of sole construction might work better for you than the other.
A vulcanized sole has a flat shape that works best on the skateboard. It is flexible enough for ground tricks and technical street skating moves. You can expect that this sole is durable. This is because the rubber is heated for elasticity and strength to adhere it to the top part of the shoe rather than using glue. The only downside of this sole is the lack of support in the heel.
Skaters choose the cup sole construction because it offers necessary protection for the foot and ankle. Since this sole is sewn to the top part of the shoe, companies add support features such as airbags and heel support. Compared to a vulcanized sole that only has a classic rubber bottom, this sole seems to be safer to use. However, the harder feeling becomes a thick barrier between your feet and your board. Thus, there is less of a board feel while skating.
The Skate Shoe Profile
Now that you know what skate shoes are and are constructed of, you should also learn about its different designs. When you enter a shoe store, you will see that there are skate shoes that have low, mid, and high profiles. All these profiles have essential benefits. A low-top skate shoe is for more mobility while the mid top skate shoe is for added support for your feet. Meanwhile, the high-top skate shoe offers the most protection for the ankle, but it might restrict your moves and feel bulky. Like the sole construction, this category also depends on your preference.