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The Best Skateboarding Shoes, According to Pro Skaters

When it comes to what skaters recommend, expect the expected (Vans Sk8-His) and the unexpected (Nike Dunks and Adidas Gazelles).
The 7 Best Skate Shoes 2022, According to Skateboarders
Composite by Vice Staff

Sure, I may have taken a hiatus from skateboarding at 13, when I needed to kick my bat mitzvah prep into high-gear (woof, that haftarah, am I right?), but as a pre-teen with a black eye from trying to practice the moves for an old school kickflip off the chaise lounge, wearing an Emily the Strange tee from Hot Topic, I at least looked the part of the desperate wannabe-skater that I was. I went to X-Games with my dad yearly, had a poster of Jay Adams (RIP) on my wall, and owned Lords of Dogtown on DVD—all pretty standard ramp-tramp/ X-girl-fan behavior.

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Even though I’m not the expert on the best skate shoe, I know the right people to ask: skateboarders! I also asked them what they look for in current styles if their absolute holy grail shoes are unavailable. Surprisingly enough, only one shoe, the DC Lynx, was mentioned more than once, so while there didn’t seem to be a clear standout in the “best skate shoe” category, every skater we talked to had a top-notch rationale for their go-to pick. So without further ado, these are the best skater shoes, according to pros. Scroll through to see if your fave made the list. 

Adidas Gazelle ADV

Adidas Gazelles are so classic, there’s no excuse needed to jock them. That being said, they’re also the favorite shoe of Devin “Waffle” Woelfel, an Adidas-sponsored skater. He prefers all-leather styles over suede for their extra-support and “the way they look when they rip and get scuffed.” 


$98 at Adidas

$98 at Adidas

But Woelfel’s favorite shoe of all time? The 3ST.002s, a style that Adidas only made briefly and was designed by Scott Johnson, whose tenure at the brand in the 90s and early 2000s spurred some iconic designs. “The one I liked to skate was the 002,” Woelfel tells me. The Adidas 3ST.002 “skated like a slip on with no laces, but had way more support in the sole and rubber on the sides to catch the board better when doing ollies. It was a really technical shoe that people slept on.” A few pairs are still bouncing around online, so cop yours for real IYKYK energy.  

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$140 at StockX

$140 at StockX

$149.99 at EBay

$149.99 at EBay

DC Lynx 

VICE host Taji Ameen doesn’t just torment himself for our entertainment on One-Star Reviews; he also has a big-time skater past, and his favorite shoe of all time is the MC Rap from Etnies, which “reminds him  of old school shoes from the hip-hop/skateboard world.” The only bummer? They can be tough to track down. We could only find one signed pair on eBay, so set a “watch alert” for those, and in the meantime, opt for Ameen’s current favorite: the “incredibly comfortable” DC Lynx. Ameen swears by these as his go-to because “all of the coolest skaters wear [them]; obviously.” The Lynx is also skater Tommy Wisdom’s “Goldilocks of shoes” that he considers “among the best skate shoes of all time—slightly tapered front for flip tricks, a padded upper for heel flip tricks, and the perfect amount of board feel.” 


$65$33 at Amazon

$65$33 at Amazon

$65 at Parade World

$65 at Parade World

Nike Dunk High

Skateboarder Eunice Chang went from web developer to pro skater in less than a year’s time, which is quite impressive. She decided to quit her day job and pursue skating full-time in 2021, and has carved quite a comfy space for herself in the skateboarding realm; finding a community of girls who skate along the way. When it comes to shoes, she goes with Nikes—and Dunks provide surprisingly good ankle support on top of their streetwear-forward styling. “I love skating high-top Dunks!,” says Chang, “[because] they provide the most swag.” ‘Nuff said—I guess the proof is in the pudding.


$116$104 at Stadium Goods

$116$104 at Stadium Goods

$110 at Stadium Goods

$110 at Stadium Goods
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New Balance Tiago Lemos 1010

The first shoe endorsed by pro-skater Tiago Lemos, these New Balance sneakers come in very sophisticated colorways that not only look cool when worn casually, but also have the important board benefits of “feeling like you’re sliding into a silky down-comforter, pillow-topped bed,” says pro skateboarder Ariel Perl. Perl explained that a lot of people skate with thin-walled shoes like classic Vans, for more direct contact with the board, but he finds them too flat, and prefers the arch support of the Lemos that he says will “last a while, and have a good board feel.”


$109.99 at New Balance

$109.99 at New Balance

Nike SB Stefan Janoskis

Next on Perl’s best-of skateboarding shoes list was the Nike SB Stefan Janoski. This style is pretty iconic, and was Perl’s pick for a thinner shoe with a vulcanized sole that still has some support. Sadly, they’ve also become difficult to find in recent years, and can mostly be found on resale sites—Stadium Goods has the most impressive selection.


$150 at Stadium Goods

$150 at Stadium Goods

New Balance Jamie Foy 306

Moe Alvarez, aka @mividapocha, says her favorite skate shoes are New Balance Jamie Foy 306s for a lot of reasons. Most importantly, they’re “really lightweight and comfortable,” she says. In addition to their versatile good looks and wide array of color options, she appreciates that they’re “made out of suede; so they last a long time when doing tricks that blow out other shoes quickly.” (We’re partial to this forest green pair.)  


$89.99 at New Balance

$89.99 at New Balance

$50.15 at Amazon

$50.15 at Amazon
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Vans Sk8 Hi

When Alyssa Rae Hoffman first started skating, she’d skate pretty much any sneaker, “because, why not?” But after shattering her ankle while skating in low Reeboks, she will, “likely never, ever skate anything that’s low again.” Now she always skates in Vans SK8-His, because she “can lace 'em up tight and her ankles feel supported”—crucial for maintaining balance and avoiding injury. You may have been wondering if Vans would make the cut—well, here they are. 


$84.95 at Zappos

$84.95 at Zappos

$79.95 at Zappos

$79.95 at Zappos

If your kickflip is seriously lacking, and you’re yet to try one of the kicks on this list—maybe it’s the shoes, not you.


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