Finding the best longboarding shoe can be a bit annoying. If you know what you're doing, you'll know exactly where to order from and what to order - but if you're just a beginner, the options can be a bit much. You need something durable that will stand the test of time, but you also need shoes that won't hinder the actual longboarding.
Because there are so many options, ordering online seems like a risk. You should look for a flat, thick sole, a good traction pattern, and a good ground and grip tape connection.
Don't worry if you're still not sure how it all works - we made a friendly little guide for you to use before spending your money. It's a kind of crash course for longboarding shoes that will ensure you know how to pick the perfect ones. And we have a few suggestions along the way, just in case you don't want to go through the stores yourself!
Top 5 Best Longboard Shoes Reviewed
How about we run through our top five before we get to the actual explanation and the guide? For those who don't want to do all the research and hunt for good models themselves, here are the shoes that we know will work for everyone!
Experienced skaters will probably think that this is too obvious to be on the list, but we would have to disagree with you all. The Sk8-Hi's have been on the market for as long as longboards have, and for a good reason. They cover all of the boxes they need to be a good longboarding shoe, with a few extras here and there.
Vans signature waffle rubber outsole provides excellent traction, and the high ankles add some simple but effective benefits to the picture. First of all, the most prominent part would be the added ankle support, something that low-tops can't offer. But even if you're not worried about the support, it's good to have something between your ankles and the board - and well, your ankles and the ground (and everything else). Bruises on that part of the leg are annoying, so why not nip them in the bud?
And in addition to that, the leather padding on the collar makes them comfortable enough for long days. Sure, it's not comfort that might meet the expectation of someone coming in after wearing some modern sneakers, but as far as longboarding shoes go, they're still up there with the best of them. Plus, the look is absolutely iconic, and that just has to be taken into consideration as well!
DC's Graffik Skate shoes came out in the 2000s and made an impact. The classic oversized logo on the sides makes it easy to know what you're wearing. Does the shoe hold up, though?
We're happy to say that this truly is one of the classic shoes that does everything as advertised. The materials are durable, with thick specialty leather all around (there are also nubuck and suede versions, depending on which colorway you choose). The foam-padded tongue and collar add to the comfort levels, but more importantly, they make maneuverability easier as they contrast the tough leather around it.
They come with DC's trademark Pill Pattern tread on the bottom, and the shoe is constructed with a cup sole design. Every well-known company has some signature, trademarked, or patented tread pattern - while none of them give some out-of-this-world grip, they are noticeably higher than lesser-known brands. After all, the skate and longboard community values quality because it impacts their performance more than anything else.
The classic DC shoe is everything you'd want your longboarding shoe to be, so it all comes down to a style preference at the end of the day.
Next up on the list is another classic brand that all of us know and love - Globe!
Now, while you can say that all of these shoes offer pretty much the same features, the small nuances in quality between a good and an excellent longboarding shoe can affect your performance just enough for it to matter.
The Motley Mid skate shoe is no different. Does it offer a comfortable design with good ankle support? How about a vulcanized rubber bottom for good grip and traction? The bottom part might be what separates it from the pack. Globe signature thread on the bottom soles provides superior grip.
Because of this, the Motley Mids (and Globe in general) are well-respected in the longboarding community. We chose this particular model instead of another from Globe is pretty much based on the added comfort. The mid-ankle design adds a little extra to the mix, but you'd probably be safe in choosing any other model from Globe's collection!
The Nike SB Check Solarsoft Canvas is one of the most rugged and durable models that the brand has ever released. And because of this, they have quite a bit of reputation that follows them. The minimalist lace-up canvas design provides excellent comfort. To be honest, it, in combination with that swoosh logo on the side, is a combo that needs no other introduction.
The Canvas upper is lightweight and breathable while being reinforced in just the right spots for skating and all the damage it inflicts on your shoes. There's extended vamp stitching across the shoe, which adds to the already durable design. These shoes literally want you to throw them around as much as possible, so you can consider it a challenge to try and destroy them.
But it's not all about being rugged and durable; the comfort is there too. The drop-in Solarsoft sock liner gives you a nice cushioned feel, while the high-density foam collar adds ankle protection and comfort to a shoe style where they're often missing. And with all of the features mentioned above, there's an added Flex Wrap design that helps these shoes be as flexible as possible. Skate shoes are generally made to be flexible, they have to be, but these take it to a whole new level!
While the Adidas brand is more known for soccer and basketball, the German giant has its fair share of shoes that are either designed specifically for skating or longboarding - or work perfectly for both things even though they're more of a trainer or old-school walking shoe.
Though we could go through a couple of models right now, we'll stick to the iconic Seeley skate shoe. While some might not put the brand up there with Vans, DC, or Osiris - Adidas's place in the longboarding world is a kind of "those who know, know" situation. They really do come with all of the features that a longboarding shoe needs. Vulcanized rubber soles? Check. An abrasion-resistant upper? Plus, the three stripes on the sides add the iconic Adidas look that no other shoe can live up to.
So how do they perform in reality? Well, to be perfectly honest, as well as every other model on this list! They are comfortable and can be worn throughout the day without treating your feet harshly, and that rugged rubber outsole provides impressive traction. It has proven to be resilient and durable. Ankles aren't as protected as they would be on some other models, but it's pretty much everything you get on any other longboarding shoe with the classic 60s/70s shape.
The one thing that old school low-top design might be bad at is ankle protection, but that's pretty much something that's expected, and they still provide enough protection for most of us on longboards out here!
Choosing Your Longboard Shoes: Buyer's Guide
So now that we went through some models that we feel you should check out immediately, it's time to talk about longboarding shoes in general. What type of longboarding hoes exist, and how does it all work?
Cup Sole Shoes
The first style that we feel needs mentioning is the Cup Sole design. These are made by either sewing or gluing the upper to the sole using high-quality adhesives. You might have seen the term used when we talked about DCs Court Graffik model, and that shoe is the perfect example of all the benefits that Cup Sole models bring to the table.
Cup sole shoes tend to have more padding on the upper, and the sole tends to be a lot thicker. Now, this doesn't only mean that you get more shoe for the money; they'll be more comfortable and more durable.
Vulcanized Sole Shoes
While the DC Court Graffik is the classic Cup Sole shoe, the rest of our list, as you might have noticed, is pretty much all vulcanized sole models. These are made by baking the shoes to form a really strong and durable bond between the outsole and the upper.
They often have superior traction and grip, as the process provides the shoes with what can only be described as a gummier rubber. The soles are usually thinner, which means there's less material between you and your board. This gives you more control but sacrifices comfort.
Low Vs. High-Top Shoes
The next and final factor to consider is whether you want a high-top or a low-top shoe. Both styles are present with Cup Sole and Vulcanized models, and both pretty much come down to the rider's preference.
The collar on low-top shoes ends below the ankle, and while it gives you more control, they leave the ankle exposed to get banged up by the edge of the board and, well, the road that you're riding on. High-top models take care of this as their collar ends above the ankle, usually below your calf muscle. They sacrifice a bit of control but add a lot of protection to the usually exposed ankle bone.
That's about it from us at this time, but there's one last thing to do in the article - give you our favorite shoe from the list! All of these are great, and you really can't go wrong with any of the models, but there is such a thing as personal preference, and it's usually the most crucial factor.
It might come as a bit of a surprise, but the Nike SB Check Solarsoft Canvas Shoes are our favorite of the bunch. We know, we know, there are DCs here, along with Vans and Globes! But, the Nike just provides an excellent amount of comfort,v while having a good grip and offers excellent control. If you want excellent grip, go for the Globe Motley model, but the Nike's just do the most for our money!