The market for skateboard shoes has exploded in the past 10 years, and the range of products is now vast. Despite this, there is not that much difference between the different shoe brands. There are, however, a few elements to take into consideration before you make your choice.
The soles on skateboard shoes can either be “vulcanized” or “cupsoles”. Vulcanized shoes are where all parts of the sole, including the sides, are glued to the upper part of the shoe. The actual glue is the vulcanization, and the method used is the same you would use to repair a bicycle puncture. Vulcanized shoes are popular because they are incredibly soft from the first wear, and being so soft they often provide a good grip on the board. The problem with vulcanized shoes is that they quickly become very soft, so your feet tend to get a battering.
Cupsoles are the modern method of manufacturing shoes, where the sole is cast as one unit, with sides and all. This “cup” is then sewn and glued to the upper part of the shoe. As the sole is not divided into segments, cupsole shoes are more stable than vulcanized shoes, and it can often take a few days before your cupsole shoes feel “skated in”. The advantages with cupsoles are stability and how foot-friendly they are, and cupsole shoes generally last longer than vulcanized shoes.
One thing to keep in mind when buying skateboard shoes is not to buy shoes that are too large. Many parents prefer their kids to “grow in” to their shoes, but you have to put this aside when buying skating shoes. First and foremost, skateboarding is a physically demanding sport with strong forces pulling in different directions. As a result, skateboard shoes tend to stretch a lot (suede shoes stretch most, followed by leather, vegan materials and textiles), so you have less risk of quickly outgrowing your shoes. For the same reason, if you buy shoes that are too big, you will quickly find that they no longer fit properly after a short period of use, and this will directly affect your enjoyment of your board. There is also no getting past the fact that skateboarding is a sport that exposes your shoes to a lot of wear and tear. You will not find any type of shoes that will last for ever when you use them for skateboarding. When you buy skateboard shoes it is more common to have a shorter time perspective than when you buy shoes for normal use.