Your grom can wear any well-fitting flat sneaker to ride their skateboard. As long as the sneakers are the right size and have reasonably thin soles, there’s no reason your child can’t use them for skateboarding. But if your son or daughter wants to feel and look like a serious skateboarder, you need to buy the best skate shoes for kids you can afford.
Fortunately, the skateboard shoes market is a vast ocean that swarms with children’s skateboard shoes of all sizes and shapes. And having options is generally a good thing. But when you’re assessing a bazillion options, choosing the right one soon becomes a totally overwhelming exercise.
This detailed kids skateboard shoes buying guide (and reviews) aims to introduce to you a bunch of good options while also showing you how to tell good choices from absolutely crappy ones.
A Quick Kids Skateboard Shoes Buying Guide
Size: Skateboard shoes fit like regular dress shoes. Be sure to read reviews of the model you’re considering to get a clearer idea of how the shoe fits.
Fit: They should fit snug, not too tight that they’re uncomfortable nor too loose that your kiddo’s feet literally float inside!
Comfort: Beginners and kids need a bit more cushioning compared to seasoned skaters who do lots of technical skating.
Sole Type: There are two kinds of soles namely vulcanized soles and cupsoles. Vulcanized ones are thinner, lighter, cheaper, more flexible, and offer great board feel. In comparison, cupsoles are thicker, bulkier, and pricier, but they’re more protective and supportive besides being cushier.
Durability: Leather and suede last longer and break in well, but they’re not inexpensive. Canvas, textile/mesh shoes are much cheaper, and they break in easier, but they tear irredeemably fast.
Price: $50-$100 is a reasonable range.
Brand: Some of the best skateboard shoe brands include Etnies, Nike, Vans, Emerica Reynolds, Adidas, DC, DVS, and a bunch others.
Maintenance: How easy is to care for the skate shoe. Here’s a clear guide on how to clean your kid’s skateboard shoes.
5 Best Skateboard Shoes for Kids
Let’s roll! But before then, please read this: *Affiliate Links Disclosure: This website participates in the Amazon Associates program. And as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
1. Best Board Feel: Etnies Kids Blitz Skate Shoe
Etnies has become quite a formidable skate brand over the years, and this is because this company makes pretty good kids and adult skate shoes.
The Etnies Kids Blitz is pretty much the quintessential classic skate shoe, a sleek vulcanized shoe with a slim silhouette. The shoe has a clean, low-profile design that translates into unrestricted ankle articulation.
This option doesn’t provide as much ankle support and protection as do mid-top and high-top skate shoes. However, it lets your energetic tyke reach deep down and unleash their creative genie, pushing the limits and evolving into a skateboarder that turns heads.
The upper is all canvas, and while canvas isn’t very long-lasting, the twill weave used to manufacture it strengthens it quite a bit.
Even though this shoe doesn’t have a toe cap, I like that the front panel is a single piece with minimal stitching. More stitching may seem like a good thing, except the shoe starts ripping right at the place where one panel unites with another. That said, I appreciate the triple stitching that attaches the front panel to the top panel.
There’s enough padding around the collar, and this makes for reasonably comfortable skateboarding. The padding is designed to breathe well, but sweat little feet probably won’t notice a difference.
The so-called Form Lite 1 insole in these shoes is OK, as OK as inserts in vulcanized skate shoes. It’s thin, and your kid won’t get much support and cushioning from it. I suggest that you purchase nice thick insoles for your kiddo. Decent inserts that’ll encourage your tyke to step out every time they can and exert skateboard to their heart’s content.
What about board feel and grip? This is where the Etnies Kids Blitz Skate Shoes really shine. The sole is light, relatively thin, and extremely flexible, which is why the shoe offers amazing board feel.
My son’s been practicing new tricks especially ollies, and popping the deck of their skateboard’s never been easier. Impact absorption isn’t exceptionally good, but then they’re a small rider and there’s that much weight to dampen.
As for grip, the herringbone pattern on the outside keeps things nice and grounded, substantially increasing safety skateboarding. This zigzaggy pattern grips firmly on the skating surface, making slipping way less likely than would be the case with a less effective tread.
The laces are good quality, and they don’t unfasten during use as some do.
- Exceptional board feel and traction
- A lightweight, low-profile, classic vulcanized design
- Good padding around the collar
- Minimal stitching which means greater durability
- Good quality laces that stay in place once tied up
- Insoles thin and don’t absorb impacts well
On the whole, the Etnies Kids Blitz skateboard shoes for boys and girls are lightweight, flexible, reasonably comfortable shoes with exceptional board feel and grip. But you’ll have to invest in better insoles.
2. Best Cupsole Kids’ Skateboard Shoes: DC Court Graffik Boys Skate Shoes
Like most DC shoes the Court Graffik Youth Skate Shoes look really nice. Your son will want to sleep them! This shoe had adequate in all the right places, especially around the ankle and collar.
I ordered this for myself. Well, I’m always buying skate shoes. Not because I’m wealthy, but because I must keep funding this expensive hobby. Isn’t that what every true-skateboarder does? We’re in this together.
This shoe fits OK, but it did squeeze my feet around the toe box at first. Fortunately, the discomfort disappeared in one week after I broke in the shoes. I’d say this shoe isn’t the best choice for skateboarders with a very wide forefoot, but this isn’t saying the fit is narrow. It isn’t.
If you’re wondering what shoe size I bought, it was size 6. I’m a size 7.5 in most other shoes, but I ordered size 6 because that’s what the conversion chart said. As already mentioned, the shoes did feel a tad tight initially, but all was fine once I skated them and made them somewhat roomier.
Unlike the majority of the options I reviewed here, the DC Graffik boys’ skate shoes have a cupsole construction. Generally, cupsole skate shoes are more rugged in appearance and more durable than shoes with a vulcanized construction.
I’ve been wearing the shoes for 6 months, and they still look great. I keep getting compliments, and I love it. Well, I haven’t skated them much at all …. because they look really nice and deserve better treatment.
One thing I didn’t like very much was the laces. They feel quite soft and smooth, but not as sturdy as I like my laces to be. I must also say that the laces occasionally come undone, but it’s not too annoying that I’ve had to order replacement laces.
There’s another thing that could be improved: the inserts. They were nice and all that, but they fit awkwardly inside the shoes. Once I put on the shoes, I felt a bump of some sort around the middle of the foot. Upon inspecting the insoles, I noticed that whoever installed the left insole didn’t do a great job. They cut the inserts somehow, and I believe this prevented them from lying perfectly flat on the footbed. I purchased new insoles that fit better, which solved the problem.
I don’t know if the outsoles are made from rubber, but they’re thick and I can’t feel small rocks when walking. They look like they’ll last, but they’re not that much flexible, which isn’t surprising for cusposoles.
The pill pattern tread keeps me surefooted; I’ve not slipped off my skateboard of skidded to a fall while walking. But board feel could be better. And the grip is nothing quite like what it feels with vulcanized skate shoes.
- Stylish skateboard shoes that pull in compliments
- Comfortable mid-top skate shoes
- Affordable with a cupsole construction that promises increased durability
- Reinforced sides for ollieing
- Toe box tight initially but loosens up with wear
- Insoles could be better and more comfortable
- Grip good but not great
- Few parents felt they got knock-offs since the shoes didn’t perform as well nor lasted as long as real DC shoes
On the whole, I’m happy with my purchase and would buy this shoe again. Since the upper is mostly leather and it’s a cupsole construction, expect the shoes to take abuse like a boss. I hope you won’t end up with fake DC shoes that last two weeks before ripping.
3. Best Unisex Choice: Adidas Kids’Daily 3.0
What pops to mind when someone says Adidas? Adidas quality, that’s what. The Adidas Kid’s Daily 3.0 are well-made shoes, and no part of the feels cheap.
The shoe features the Adidas’ iconic three white stripes, but they’re also available in other stripe colors.
A twill-like upper makes for a nice-looking skateboard shoe that’s also durable. Look at your jeans. Do you see that ribbed diagonal pattern? That’s twill, and it accounts partly for the strength and durability jeans are known for.
However, there shoes I got had a bit of white gum between the upper and out sole. The white color did come off after several washes, but I didn’t expect a company like Adidas to sell unrefined products.
These mid-high skateboard shoes for boys and girls looks nice too. These shoes have that classic look we all love, making the sort of shoe everyone would like to wear every time.
The laces are sturdy and aren’t the type that snaps when you apply amount of strain on them. These laces last, and while I don’t know whether they’re waxed or not, they perform like high-quality laces that stay in place once you tie them up.
These are rubber soles, and like all rubber soles, these ones are supper grippy and quite flexible so your kid can try every kind of skateboarding stunt or trick ever invented.
At the same time, these soles are thick enough, thicker than the typical rubber soles on skate shoes. Being a little thicker than most make them good at absorbing impacts from jumps and whatnot.
The tongue feels comfortable and doesn’t keep slipping around. And the shoe’s collar is reasonably thick and comfy.
When it comes to fit, these ones are roomier than you’d expect from the same size shoe from brands such as Airwalk and Vans. If your kiddo has wide feet, consider choosing these shoes because they run bigger and wider than most.
These skateboard shoes are available in several colors. You can even order an option whose stripes are the same color as your jeans to harmonize your style and look.
- Durable twill upper
- Thick rubber soles that absorb impact well
- A classic look that endears itself to boys, girls, and adults
- Sturdy laces that stay in place once tied up
- Great for kids with wide feet
- Canvas upper
Twilled canvas may outlast regular canvas, but it’s still canvas and this material isn’t known for durability.
4. Most Durable Kids Skateboard Shoes: DC Pure Kids Skate Shoe
The DC Pure Kids Skate Shoe looks like a sneaker, and its padding around the collar and inside make for a comfortable experience. But like most sneakers, this DC skateboard shoe looks and feels somewhat beefy and may not the best bet for beginning skateboarders. Not saying it’s extremely heavy, but it’s quite heavy.
The upper is made from mostly nubuck leather, and the shoe also features toe caps. Leather skateboard shoes, especially those with toe caps, typically outlast canvas skate shoes. If you throw the same level of abuse at each option over the same period of time, you can expect the leather shoes to hold up much better compared to their canvas counterparts.
Another aspect that bolster’s this shoe’s longevity is the double stitching on the upper. The stitching is well done, and there’s no mediocrity there.
However, a portion of the front section of the shoe is made of some synthetic textile material which stitches into nubuck leather around the toe.
This synthetic material may seem weaker than nubuck, but it’s held up pretty well to the constant abuse a friend’s teen throws at it. I ordered these shoes for a friend’s teenage boy as a birthday gift. And he literally slept in them because they felt so comfy.
This shoe’s laces are wide, flat, strong, and long enough. This makes them fasten the shoes securely on the young skater’s feet, and they don’t wear out quickly.
Also, the upper offers a decent level of breathability thanks to the padded foam tongue and perforations around the front panel.
But it’s not like kids notice any difference between breathable skate shoes and those that don’t breathe that well. If your kid’s feet are naturally sweaty, no kind of skate shoe can prevent sweating 100 percent.
These shoes have gum tree soles, and if there’s one thing that gum tree skate shoe soles are known for, it’s durability. What’s more, these out soles boast DC’s Pill Pattern which makes the shoes grippy enough for safety while skating.
The join between the upper and the out sole looks neat and clean; it’s nothing like the terrible workmanship often seen on dirt-cheap knock-off skate shoes. These are DC shoes, after all, and DC makes high-quality, comfortable, skateboard shoes for skaters of all ages.
One more thing: this shoe is available in multiple sizes and colors. There are sizes for toddlers, young children, and bigger kids in the 8-12 age range.
- Anti-slip pill pattern tread
- Solidly made with no trace of mediocrity
- Well-padded and pretty comfy
- Gum tree rubber outsoles + toe caps for durability
- Sold at a reasonable price
- Available in toddler sizes and big-kid sizes
- Looks and feels a little beefy and heavy
If you’re looking for a grippy, comfortable, cool pair of kid’s skateboard shoes which doesn’t cost a small fortune, look no further than DC Pure Kids Skate Shoes.
5. Most Versatile Kids’ Skate Shoe: DC Kids’ Pure High-Top EV Skateboard Shoes
The Pure High-top EV Skateboard Shoe is another kids’ shoe from DC you may want to give a good look. Like the DC Pure Skate Shoes above, this vulcanized skate shoe has a nice sneaker look.
The out sole is made from good quality rubber that amounts to some really decent board feel. But the insole could be better quality.
But unlike the DC Pure, the Pure High-top is a high-top skate shoe that offers lots of stability and protection. This quality makes them a good bet for beginner skaters who need lots of ankle support as they learn on a skateboard.
However, this high-top design doesn’t permit as much ankle articulation or mobility as do mid-top and low-top skate shoes. This isn’t much of an issue for beginners though.
One thing I admire about this pick is its looks. It’s cool and comfortable enough to use as casual street wear and supportive and protective enough for riding a skateboarding. There’s decent padding around the ankle for increase comfort.
This shoe is mostly crafted from synthetic materials, which makes it vegan. The upper material is strong and well-stitched, but it’s not as sturdy as the nubuck leather used to make the DC Pure. Nor should any parent expect this material to last forever.
Still, this isn’t a low-quality shoe that falls apart in no time. If used for regular skating, expect it to last anywhere from 3-6 months, which is long enough in the boarding world. The shoe also features a toe cap for extra durability, and as an everyday shoe, it’ll likely last a year if not longer.
The laces are somewhat elastic, and that can be bad or good depending on the rider’s foot shape. If your kid’s foot is beefy and tall around the top, chances are that most skate shoes hurt a bit around this area. And they tend to take the shoes off when riding in a car.
Tying up the shoes with stretchy laces may help create a little more room at the top of the foot, fostering comfort.
But what if your kid prefers a tight, snug fit that’s not shifting the entire time? This isn’t much of a problem since you can always buy non-stretchy replacement laces. Besides, there’s a Velcro fastener at the top of the laces, and this helps crank down the fit to a really nice and snug place.
The price point could be more budget-friendly, though. I’ve seen cheaper all-synthetic skate shoes that are as comfortable while selling for $20 or cheaper.
- Great for skateboarding and for seeing the town
- Padding around the ankle for comfort
- Grippy rubber soles
- Have toecaps for increased longevity
- A high-top design that promotes protection and ankle support
- Stretchy laces for increased comfort
- Added Velcro closure for a snugger, more secure fit
- Black shoes cheap but other colors aren’t
- Insoles not great
- Upper made of mostly synthetic material, but there’s leather too
- Fit a tad narrow
In terms of fit, these shoes have a really narrow fit. The toe box is quite narrow and most kids even those with medium width feet would find these shoes too tight around the toe box. I’d ordered this in black and this set me back $27. However, most of the other colors cost above $50, which most parents would be bummed about.
Overall, these shoes looked nice and the price was good, but I returned them because they were too narrow for my son.
How to Choose Kids Skate Shoes: A Buying Guide
Honestly, there’s nothing really different to watch out for when buying kids skate shoes opposed to adults’ skateboard shoes. The kinds of things you consider while shopping for a kid are the exact same ones you to keep in mind while purchasing for an adult. And in this buying guide, you’ll learn everything you should consider during the process.
Are Skateboard Shoes Really Necessary?
Skateboard shoes aren’t the most important piece of protective gear, skateboard helmets are. Knee pads, elbow pads, and wristguards also come before skate shoes in terms of protection. But if you think your child doesn’t need skateboard shoes, think again — because everyone does.
They may ride in sneakers or even running shoes for a while, and that’s totally fine. But once they start learning heelflips, kickflips, ollies, and a host of other skateboarding tricks, buy them proper skate shoes.
It’s kind of easier to get painful heel bruises while skating in non-skateboarding shoes vs. riding in real skate shoes. You don’t want your kiddo to learn the hard way, do you?
I know you’ve spent a whole boatload of money on other gear such as a helmet and pads. But it’s time to invest in a decent pair of skate shoes to show your kid you’re really interested in their new-found pastime.
Choose the Right Size Skateboard Shoe
Skateboard shoes are supposed to fit (and most do) like regular dress shoes. If you’re a size 10 in normal dress shoes, skate shoes size 10 should fit your feet well. However, skate shoes from different skate shoe brands don’t always fit exactly the same way. For example, Vans have a wider fit compared to Adidas and Nike shoes which tend to have a narrower fit.
The best approach to take while choosing skateboard shoes for yourself or for your child is to read reviews online. Reviews are a great source of original information about how specific skate shoe models fit. Some shoes run a little wider, or narrower, or smaller, or bigger, and I’ve found that the most reliable way to know is read what owners of the shoe you want to buy are saying.
Skate Shoe Style: Low-top vs. Mid-top vs. High-top Skate Shoes
Skateboarding shoes come in three distinct cuts or styles, and each cut skates a little different than the others.
Low-top Skate Shoes
Low-cut shoes have the collar below the ankle. Low-cut skate shoes are typically light and allow for the greatest amount of maneuverability. Tricks that require a high degree of precision are best performed using low-cut style shoes.
Whether it’s kickflips, heelfips, ollies, and whatnot, low-cut options do a great job. Being light and allowing for a great deal of ankle articulation makes low-cut versions the most popular skate shoe out there. But there’s a downside. Low-cut styles are the least protective of all three styles.
Are low-cut skate shoes good for kids and beginners? Yes, but they’re most suited for advanced skaters who care more about maneuverability and performance and less about protection and support.
This is the kind of shoe your kiddo needs to be wearing when the summer comes around.
Mid-top Skateboard Shoes
Mid-top shoes are a sort of hybrid between low-top and high-top options. They’re not too tall and they’re not too short. In other words, mid-top skate shoes offer a decent amount of protection without sacrificing too much flexibility.
Whether your kiddo is skating tranny, flatground, or mostly cruising around, mid-cut skateboard shoes got them covered. Options styled this way are super versatile. That’s why I recommend mid-top skate shoes for kids and beginners as well as pro-level skateboarders.
High-top Skateboard Shoes
These ones have the top of the shoe somewhere around the ankle. This shoe is the ultimate choice as far as foot protection and stability. But when it comes to ankle mobility, high tops don’t do so well.
High-profile skateboard shoes are a good option for a beginner kid or adult because of the great stability, support, and protection they provide. But they’re not the best options for performing the nimblest of skateboarding tricks because they restrict ankle movement significantly.
High-top skate shoes are what your kiddo needs to skate when skating conditions get all wintry.
Vulcanized Skate Shoes vs. Cupsoles
Skate shoes are divided into two main types based on how the shoes are constructed.
What are vulcanized skateboard shoes and are they the best option for kids and beginner adults? Vulcanized skate shoes have grown in popularity starting around 2006. It wasn’t easy to find cupsoles a couple of years back because manufacturers thought vulcanized shoes were the best option for everyone.
The reason vulcanized shoes became so popular was because they’re super flexible and light. But the most important reason’s that these shoes give skateboarders excellent board-feel. In the 1960s all the way through the 90’s, the most common skateboarding style was freestyle skateboarding. This style involved doing tricks and even dancing on a completely flat surface. For this reason, skaters needed ultra-light skate shoes that made technical skateboarding easy and much fun.
But it’s not the 1960’s anymore. Today, skateboarders spend awful amounts of time landing high-impact jumps and tricks at skateparks and out on the streets. While vulcs are still great, they’re not the best shoe for shock absorption. And that’s where cupsoles come in handy.
Vulcanized soles are made of pulverized rubber that’s integrated into the overall design of the shoe. They typically look white, and the soles look nice and smooth. And if you try to bend the soles, there’s very little resistance. But these soles are very thin, which means your kiddo will feel every large jump or trick.
Vulcanized designs are OK for light skateboarding, but they’re hardly the best choice for beginner skateboarders and kids. Because they don’t offer much cushioning and protection. Pro-level skateboarders love vulcanized options because of their amazing boardfeel. The heel area is design to lock the heel in pretty much the same way a cut would, and seasoned skaters love that.
These soles are sewn onto the shoes and in most cases, you can see the stitches that joins the shoes to the soles. These ones tough and durable, and since they’re remarkably thicker than vulcanized soles, they’re great at dampening impacts.
When it comes to landing giant jumps and high-impact skateboarding tricks, you want to rely on the cushioning capabilities of cupsoles. Cupsoles also tend to be sturdier and almost always outlast their vulcanized counterparts.
The downside is that cupsoles can be (and often are) bulky. Plus, the amazing cushioning these soles provide costs quite a bit of boardfeel.
Cupsoles vs. Vulcanized Skateboard Shoes
- Cupsoles are thicker and cushier than vulcanized designs.
- Cupsoles are more durable than vulcs but aren’t as light and flexible.
- Vulcanized options are remarkably lighter and offer terrific boardfeel.
- Vulcanized skate shoes are for low-impact tricks such as those done in flat-ground skateboarding while cupsoles are good for everything.
- Vulcanized soles and the upper form one integrated piece while cupsoles are manufactured separately and stitched onto the upper.
- Vulcanized soles are smooth an typically white while cuspsoles are course-textured and can be any color.
The nature and quality of the tread on the outsole determines how much traction the skater gets. Some companies have developed tread patterns designed to increase grip remarkably. A good example is Van’s famous Waffle tread.
Gum rubber outsoles tend to be pretty grippy, plus they tend to be quite durable. Be sure to read the specs of each shoe you’re assessing to learn if there’s any rubber technology the company’s used to improve grip, longevity, and cushioning.
Material: Canvas vs. Leather vs. Suede vs. Textile vs. Mesh Uppers
Canvas, leather, suede, textile, and mesh, which is the best material for a skateboard shoe? Each of these materials has its pros and cons. And in the sections below, I’ll walk you through those considerations to help you make up your mind.
Suede Skate Shoes for Kids
If there’s one aspect you need to pay lots of attention, it’s the material the skate shoe’s upper is made of. The most common material happens to be suede. This is because suede is reasonably supple (not too stiff), breaks in quite fast, and lasts. And if there’s holes on the upper, you can use shoe goo or old suede patches to address the problem and make the shoe last longer.
Suede Skate Shoes:
- Are the standard (most common)
- Are more durable than canvas, mesh, and textile shoes
- Break in easier than leather
- Pricier than textile & mesh shoes but cheaper than leather ones
Leather Kids Skate Shoes
Leather skate shoes beat every other material in the durability department. That’s part of the reason leather kicks are the most expensive on the market today.
Leather is more or less like suede, but it’s a tad stiffer. This means it’s harder to break in leather shoes than any other kind of skate shoe. But once leather breaks in, it’s comfortable and fits really well. And because leather stretches a bit, you can ask a cobbler to help create a little more foot room if necessary.
Leather skate shoes
- Are stiffer than suede
- Are harder to break in compared to suede shoes
- Are the most durable skateboard shoes that can be had
- Can be pretty expensive, some of the most expensive skate shoes are leather shoes
Canvas Skate Shoes
There’s a humongous amount of skate shoes in the market today whose upper’s made of canvas. Canvas is comfortable and light, and that’s good. However, when it comes to taking abuse, canvas rips like ridiculously fast. I suppose this is why these are some of the cheapest shoes available. There’s no reason you can’t buy a canvas shoe for your young skater. But you should only go for these if you’re OK with replacing your kid’s kicks every week!
One more thing – canvas shoes aren’t the most breathable.
Canvas skate shoes
- Are light and comfortable
- Cheap, some of the cheapest choices out there
- Aren’t as durable as leather or suede
- Don’t breathe that well
Textile and Mesh Skate Shoes
I’ve seen that many skate shoes with a textile or mesh upper, but they’re there, and they’re quite affordable. To be fair, these kicks are comfortable and breathe nicely, which means they keep sweaty feet feeling somewhat cooler. But these are terrible for skateboarding and rip even faster than canvas shoes. I suggest that you stay away from shoes like these.
Textile & mesh skate shoes
- Are light and highly breathable
- Are affordable
- Rip insanely quickly
That said, it’s OK and normal to have decent quality skate shoes that have a mesh tongue or on the sides.
Laces Quality and Tying Pattern
Poor-quality laces snap after a few rides. They suck. And lace protectors aren’t that common these days. Consider buying waxed laces such as those they use to fasten hockey inline skates with. And if you’re creative enough (you can also watch videos and learn), there’s a way to tie the laces so that the loops stay hidden. This will minimize the friction between the laces and the griptape, and the result is definitely less wear and snapping.
Single- stitched skateboard shoes tend to blow out around high-wear areas such as the sides and the front. In almost every case, you want to pick out kicks with reinforced or double-stitching on the upper.
Also, shoes whose design incorporates a single-piece front panel without stitching are a great option. Stitches tend to be vulnerable spots, areas that encourage blowouts.
Applying shoe goo or super glue on the stitches can and does boost durability significantly.
Insoles and Heel Support
If you decide to buy a vulcanized shoe for your little one, be sure to invest in a high-quality pair of insoles as well. This is because most vulcs don’t come with good insoles or any insoles at all. And if they have flat feet, the only way they can enjoy pain-free skateboarding is to use high-quality arched insoles. Failure to use good insoles with flat feet is the surest path to foot cramps.
For beginners and those who’ve suffered heel bruises in the past, it’s a good idea to choose skate shoes that offers comfort around the heel area. Some shoes come with a reinforced padded heel that provides a cushy shield all around the heel. Others come with some technology such as air bags, and the result is more comfort and less heel injuries.
What Skateboarding Style Will Your Kid Mostly Do?
Another important thing to keep in mind while buying kids skate shoes is how the kid will use them. Different kinds of shoes suit certain styles of skating better than others. For example, the best skateboard shoes for cruising may not necessarily be the best option for street skateboarding or transition skating.
When I say steet skateboarding, I’m talking about technical skating. You’re skating all over the place, over every kind of found obstacles on the streets and sidewalks: benches, ledges, rails, and stairs. The skating surface is mostly flat.
For street skateboarding, your kiddo needs light shoes with great boardfeel. They need a vulcanized shoe. But if they’ll also be jumping stairs, they sure need tougher shoes. They need something with a much thicker sole for shock absorption; they need a decent pair of cupsoles in this case.
Transition skateboarding/Tranny Skating/Skating Vert
In this skateboarding style, the skater starts on lower ground and works their way upward, going for air. There’s massive ramps as well as half-pipes and quarter pipes to conquer. In this skating style, the skater tends to slide around on their knee pads a lot. This means the toes are pointing downward a l0t of the time. The best shoe for this a cuspsole with a reinforced toe/with an anti-abrasion toe cap.
Here, your young skateboarder is spending tons of time at the park doing all kinds of jumps and tricks. They’re skating vert some of the time, street some of the time, and pool the rest of the time. It’s like freestyle/flatland skateboarding combined with technical skateboarding. The best shoe for this is one that offers a reasonable amount of boardfeel as well as adequate cushioning. And cupsoles do seem like the most suitable bet here.
For Cruising Around, Even a Sneakers Are Suitable
When you cruise, you’re basically riding your skateboard as fast as your skating skills allow. And you’re not trying to perform tricks or anything really technical. For this use case, pretty much any kind of skate shoes should be OK. Your child could easily use their everyday sneakers and enjoy every session to the max. Heck, they could even their board with runners shoes!
Feet Type: Does Your Kid Have Narrow, Wide, Flat Feet?
Looking at the sizing chart of the skate shoe model you’re thinking of getting for your son should reveal where they’re at size-wise. If they’re bigger than their age, definitely size up and vice versa.
Small feet tend to be wide and large feet tend to be narrow. I can guarantee you that there’s a bunch of shoes out there that’ll fit your kid’s feet no matter how large they might be.
If they have wide feet, definitely go with brands known to have a wide fit such as Vans. And if they have narrow feet, obviously choose from a company known to make skate shoes with a narrow fit. Nike skate shoes tend to have a narrow fit.
*These are generalizations, and some Nike shoes are wide while some Vans can be quite narrow. As mentioned elsewhere, one intelligent approach to help you find a well-fitting shoe is to read reviews online. Doing this has helped me get the right size skating gear for myself, hubby, or sons.
Are Some Skateboard Shoe Brands Better Than Others?
Nike, Etnies, Emerica, Nike, Adidas, Lakai, DC, and New Balance are some of the best-known skate shoe brands out there. These companies are known for their high-quality shoes, and if you choose cupsoles, you can expect a decent amount of longevity. But we all know that skate shoes are bought to be destroyed. No model regardless of quality or brand lasts long when subjected to regular skating.
What’s Considered a Good Price Point for a Kid’s Skate Shoe?
You should be able to find good skate shoes for kids anywhere between $50 and $100. Typically, pricier shoes tend to be better in terms of quality versus cheaper ones. But I’ve also seen overpriced junk, counterfeits that pretend to be real deal while costing tens of dollars less. Vans are some of the most counterfeited skate shoes out there, and you need to know how to differentiate between fake Vans and genuine ones.
Fortunately, there’s almost always a sale going on online. If you keep looking, you might be able to get really nice shoes at a fraction of the normal cost.
How to Break in Skateboard Shoes
Do skateboard shoes need to be broken in? Yes, they do. But skate shoes are way easier to break in compared to roller skates or inline skates for kids.To break skateboard shoes in, all Ryan needs to do is wear them for a few hours or days. As mentioned earlier on, vulcanized shoes are a little easier to break in versus cupsoles, but it’s not like cupsoles are extremely hard to break in.
Another way to give your son’s that comf0rtable worn-in feel is to bake them in the microwave. I didn’t know you could actually cook skate shoes the same way you cook rollerblades. But I bumped into the video below and learned you can easily bake skate shoes in the oven to hasten the break-in process.
The process works like this: remove the insoles. Put both shoes in the oven and set it to run for about 30 seconds. Then, remove the shoes, put in the insoles, and slide in. Start walking around and so for some time. Next, put the shoes in the oven again but this time around with the insoles in. Bake for about 20 seconds and remove the shoes. Wear them and walk around the room for a few minutes and you’re done.
Video on how to break in skateboard shoes fast.
How to Clean Skateboard Shoes
Since the best skate shoes for adults and kids are made of suede or leather, I decided to dedicate this section to showing how to clean suede skate shoes. Follow the steps outlined below to clean your child’s skateboard shoes without ruining them:
Step 1: Use a suede brush with soft bristles to scrape off loose dirt and debris.
Step 2:Remove dark stains. To tackle stains properly, spot-clean them using a mixture of water and white vinegar in the ration 1:1. If there are stubborn stains on your kiddo’s skate shoes, invest in a decent suede-specific cleaner. Use a toothbrush to work in the suede cleaner into the stained areas of the shoe.
Step 3: Use a brush with soft bristles to agitate the uppers, outsoles, and insoles.
Step 4: Rinse off the soapy dirt and air dry the shoes. Don’t dry them out in the sun or toss them in a drying machine.
How to Make Skateboard Shoes Last Longer
- Apply shoe goo on the stitching before handing the shoes over to your child for use.
- Apply some superglue on high-wear areas of the shoes before the first use.
- Buy cupsoles instead of vulcanized skate shoes because they’re tougher and more durable.
- Buy shoes whose product description says have a rubber underlay. Even when holes form on the exterior layer, the layer underneath remains defiant. And the shoe can be worn a little longer than would have been the case without the rubber underlay.
- Take care of the griptape. If it’s too gritty, it extremely coarse texture could end up tearing your kid’s skate shoes in no time. In this case, the remedy would be to sand down the griptape a little before handing the shoe to your tyke for shredding.
Kids Skate Shoes FAQs
Should I Buy Vulcanized Shoes or Cupsoles for My Child?
For beginner kid skateboarders, cupsoles are almost always the best option. Cupsoles outlast vulcanized options for the most part, and even though they’re a tad harder to break in, they’re not too challenging. But if you find a pair of cupsoles made of a durable upper material and which have relatively thick soles, that’s also good.
Can You Use Running Shoes for Riding a skateboard?
You can, but that’s not a good idea for the most part. Running shoes have really thick soles that absorb impacts like no one’s business. What’s more, runners are great when it comes to providing foot support. If all your child will do is cruise around, they can use their running shoes. But it’s impossible to pop the board or perform any kind of skateboarding tricks in running shoes. Get your kid proper skateboard shoes and thank ma later.
Low-tops, Mid-tops, and High-tops for Kids?
If they’re complete beginners and care more about foot protection and stability than anything else, hi-top shoes are the best bet. Mid-tops are more protective than low-tops and don’t restrict ankle articulation the way high-tops do. Low top skate shoes tend to be lighter, and they allow for the most maneuverability. However, low-top options aren’t as protective as mid and high tops. In the end, the best skate shoe style depends on what the skater values most: protection vs. ankle movement. It also depends on the rider’s skating style.
How Do You Break in Skateboard Shoes and How Long Does it Take?
Skating the shoe a few times or wearing it for a couple of days is the most effective way of breaking it in. If the skate shoe doesn’t feel worn in even after several days in, you should have picked out a different kind of shoe.
How Can I Make My Kid’s Skate Shoes?
One way to make skateboard shoes last longer is to buy durable skate shoes. Not all skate shoes are created equal and some last reasonably longer than others. Generally, cupsole skate shoes with a leather or suede upper outlast vulcanized skate shoes with a canvas upper. Another way to get more life out a pair of skate shoes is to apply shoe goo around the stitches from time to time. Make sure to apply some shoe goo right after you purchase the shoes and on a regular basis afterward. Shoe goo’ing skate shoes is the best way to make them last longer.
Does My Kid Need Socks While Skateboarding?
Not really, but there’s no harm if they want to use socks. Socks don’t do much in terms of reducing impact, but they add to overall comfort of the skate shoe. And if your kiddo owns a pair of sweaty feet, wearing socks with a great sweat-wicking ability helps a lot. But if they don’t have sweat feet and prefer to skate without socks, that’s totally fine.
How Much Do Kids Skate Shoes Cost?
It depends on the quality of the shoe, the brand, where you buy, and when you buy. If you buy from one of the top brands such as Vans when the shoe isn’t on sale, you’ll end up paying top price for the shoe. If you’re OK with purchasing shoes with questionable origins (knock offs) online, you can get unbelievably cheap ones. All that said, good skateboard shoes for kids cost anywhere between $40 and $100. $50 is pretty much the sweet spot as far as price.
Now that you’ve learned how to choose kids skateboard shoes, it’s time to pick out a pair you believe would work for them. Did you any of the recommendations on this post? No? Maybe you or your child have skated better options. Please tell us about it in the comment box below.
I'm Esther Moni, a proud stay-at-home mom and a psychology graduate of the United States International University (USIU) . I hate it when anyone calls me a housewife, because what does housewife even mean? Being a mother of two babies and a pup, Bailey, as well as being Ricky's wife tires me to no end, but I still manage a smile at the end of it all. And when my boys aren't done doing mischief, I juggle writing a post on parenting or baby gear performance for this blog and running my little counselling office based out in Nairobi. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/esther.moni/">Visit my Facebook profile here</a>, and this is my <a href="https://ke.linkedin.com/in/esther-moni-3841b573/">LinkedIn profile</a>, and here's my <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKcVb3NNDrURDH8C0KiAE1g/">nascent youtube channel.