Skate shoes are shoes that have been specifically designed for the act of skateboarding. The original skateboard shoes were made by Vans after they had complaints from skaters that their shoes wore through too quickly. Vans double layered the canvas on the sides and added a suede toe cap to help strengthen the shoes against wear and tear.
Present day skate shoes have evolved greatly. Features often included in modern skate shoes are:
- Double padded tongue. The tongues of skate shoes are often very padded to protect the user from impacts when attempting tricks such as kickflips.
- Padded ankle collar. The ankle collar is also usually very padded for the same reason as the tongue.
- A very hard heel cup support. This is to prevent the heel from crushing and hold the shape even when under great stress due to skateboarding.
- Triple stitching. This helps the joins between layers of fabric in the shoe to hold for longer when being worn down by griptape.
- Mesh pads. The mesh helps air get to the feet in the shoe which keeps them a little bit cooler so the skater does not get so uncomfortable.
- Double layering. Skateboarding wears down the fabrics of the shoe so double, or sometimes even triple layering can help to increase the life of a shoe.
- Rubber toe caps. A rubber toe cap is much stronger than a suede or leather one and so will last much longer against the wear from griptape when doing flip tricks.
- Thin soles. The skater needs to be able to feel the board so a skate shoe will usually have very thin, grippy soles to make it easier to 'feel' what is going on with the feet.
- Lace protectors. Just as skating wears down fabric it destroys laces. Having lace protectors keeps them safe so the shoe will stay well fastened to the skater's foot.
- Elastic tongue straps. Tongue straps keep the tongue in place so the foot stays well centred and protected in the shoe.
- Heel air bag. A lot of pressure is put onto the heel when bailing large drops on a skateboard. Having some form of heel protection helps to make the skaters feet last longer before they get crippled from the pain.
- Light. Some skate shoes are very light so they feel more like just a slight extension of the feet, thus making the skate feel more 'natural'.
- Comfy. If people skate, they're usually going to skate for a long time and put their feet under a lot of stress so it is a good idea to make the shoes as comfy as possible.
Mmmmmm... Shoes good. Shame they only last for a few months if you skate a lot.