Best Skating Shoes for Beginners

Choosing good beginner skateboarding shoes can be a bit of a hassle when there are tons of supposedly good options clamoring for your attention. In this best skating shoes for beginners buying guide, I’ll handhold you through the often-confusing selection process.

Related: How to Ride a Skateboard

If you want to know what starting-skateboarder shoes are the best for the money right away, scan the comparison table below or read the brief reviews after the table.

And if you want to gain an in-depth understanding of what factors to keep an eye out for when shopping, jump straight to the buying guide after the reviews.

Also Read: Best Wide-fit Skate Shoes

6 Best Beginner Skateboarding Shoes

The DC Men’s Court Graffik is the best beginner skate shoe overall. They’re a rad entry-level choice that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, but they’re definitely not the cheapest. The soles are thick and dampen impacts beautifully. And the tongue and ankle are generously padded for extra comfort. Get them in your usual size, and they’re MD BTW (medium width). 

*Affiliate Links Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. 

Top 3 Beginner Skateboarding Shoes Comparison Table

Best Overall

DC Court Graffik Beginner Skateboard Shoes

  • Size and fit tip: Medium width; they fit true to size. Order your usual shoe size.
  • Look fabulous: black contrasted with some blue
  • Great for just cruising around on a skateboard
  • Thick tongue, collar, and insoles increase comfort
  • Cupsole shoe design boosts toughness and longevity
  • For more experienced skateboarders, these shoes are great for skating transition
  • DC’s Pill Pattern treads: Grippy but not the grippiest skate shoes around; they’re cupsoles, after all
  • Have a durable suede upper
  • May feel a little too stiff at first, but that’s just the way it is with cupsole skateboard shoes. Break them in and you’ll love how nice they feel
  • Good everyday shoes that can be worn with pretty much anything: jeans, shorts, business suit
Great Officewear

Etnies Men's Kingpin Skateboarding Shoes

  • Sizing tip: They cut small, definitely size up
  • Firm stitching around the side of the toe box to toughen the shoes up for landing ollies
  • A little stiff initially, but that’s expected of any cupsoles
  • Thick soles that soak up skateboarding impacts decently
  • Upper made from long-lasting suede
  • Breathe better than many are good summertime beginner skateboarding shoes
  • Little to zero arch support: Get good supportive insoles if you need some arch support
  • Sold in muted matte black which makes them perfect for wearing in the office
  • *The tongue may move a little side to side, getting in the way of landing perfect tricks
Best Budget: Fits Wide

Globe Men's Motley Skate Shoe

  • Sizing tip: Shoes fit wider than most, buy them at least a half size bigger
  • Basic skate shoes made from strong canvas, but this material sucks at durability
  • Nice-looking skate shoes; compliments will overwhelm you
  • Low-profile skate shoes for new skaters with strong ankles: they’re not very protective or supportive
  • Not cushy and while they’re pretty grippy they’re not great for skating on wet surfaces
  • Everyday skate shoe but consider getting nice insoles (good insoles would cost more than the price of these shoes!)
  • Cheap entry-level skateboard shoes for the undecided; they’re not real skate shoes and likely won’t last more than 2 months. Buy them if you’ve yet to decide whether skateboarding is the outdoor pastime for you.

1. DC Men’s Court Graffik Beginner Skate Shoe (Top Pick, Great for Skating Tranny)

Size and fit tip: These fab skate shoes fit true to size. If you’re a size 10 U.S. Men’s shoe size, order size 10. In terms of width, these are medium-width shoes. Not the best choice for new skateboarders with really wide feet.

*Change out the laces and get narrow, nicer laces because the ones the shoes come with are flat and wide and don’t look nice at all.

The DC Men’s Court Graffik is similar to the Etnies Kingpin as far as looks and design. First off, the toe box is stitchless, but the region below the tox box boasts reinforced stitching. The stitching is merely decorative by the way. How do I know? Because the stitching popped after the first few kickflips, yet the shoes remained intact after the incident.

 DC Men's Court Graffik Casual Skate Shoes

Like the Etnies Kingpin, the DC Court Graffik is a mid-top option. So, expect a decent level of heel and ankle support as well as protection. You should also get a good amount of ankle mobility.

The DC logo on the side makes a nice impression, too, but I can see how that could be a negative thing for some. And the puffed tongue and collar make for great comfort and support.

I found this shoe to be slightly more supportive than the Etnies Kingpin, actually. Plus

it gets a few brownie points as far as looks.

When you want skateboard shoes that keep your feet comfortable and protected while cruising around on your new beginner skateboard, get the DC Court Graffik.

And if you’ve been skating for a while and now want decent skateboard shoes for skating tranny in a dry swimming pool or in a skatepark, I recommend the DC Court Graffik. However, some might find the shoes too restrictive. It’s a mid-top, after all.

In terms of breathability, the DC Court Graffic loses the battle to the Etnies Kingpin. But regarding impact absorption, neither shoe beats the other.

Both shoes have a longevity-boosting cupsole construction and should last longer than a few weeks with daily beginner-level skateboarding.

The pricing is reasonable, too. And the skaters that gave this product thousands of +ve customer reviews can’t all be wrong.

2. Etnies Men’s Kingpin Beginner Skate Shoes (Good Office Wear)

This shoe looks a little beefy, but it’s not super heavy. It’s super comfy, too, thanks to the generously thick collar and tongue. You’ll love standing in, walking in, or skating in these shoes, but not before you drop in a decent pair of insoles.

But if you have flat feet or just need a little more arch support, these aren’t the best bet. I expected a certain amount of arch support at this price point, so I was kinda disappointed when that didn’t happen. If I didn’t have a pair of really thick old insoles laying around, I’d have returned these shoes.

Few beginner skate shoes can touch the Kingpin in terms of impact absorption thanks.
 Etnies Men's Kingpin Skateboarding Shoe The soles are thick, and the stitching around the front ensures the soles will never detach from the shoe.

Being comfortably cushioned makes these cupsoles soak up impacts like nothing you’ve ever worn. But they did feel kind of stiff initially, which wasn’t surprising for cupsole skate shoes.

Also, there’s reinforced stitching running across the toe box, which toughens up the ollie area. But it also means you won’t get that broken-in feeling right away. Either wear super-thick socks or just grin and bear it for the first few days skating in these shoes.

The upper consists of decent-quality suede, and you can expect some longevity out of these guys. And the tiny ventilation holes on the side of the shoes spelling the brand name’s first letter (E) make for great breathability. That makes this option a decent choice for summer skateboarding.

*Toungue design: If you’re not a complete beginner and are always wanting to land one more perfect skateboarding trick, you probably won’t like these shoes. Why? Because there’s nowhere to thread the laces through to prevent the tongue from shifting side-to-side.

Want to wear these skateboard shoes in the office? Go ahead. You likely won’t get compliments because no one would notice the muted black suede matte they come in, which is actually good thing. They have a beefy feel to them, but no one would ever think you’re wearing sneakers in the office.

3. Adidas Men’s Grand Court Sneaker (Most Durable)

Are you an Adidas fan looking for something that looks cool in a vintage-ish way, fits well, and lasts? If yes, consider the Adidas Men’s Grand Court Sneaker.

Lots of skaters out there think that Adida’s sensation — the Adidas Campus Sneaker — is the coolest skate shoe ever.
 adidas Men's Grand Court Sneaker

But that’s because these skateboarders haven’t tried the Grand Court Sneaker. This skateboarding sneaker boasts the cool iconic Adidas look while remaining fully functional for the rigors of beginner-level skateboarding.

The upper is all long-lasting leather. But leather needs a little more effort to wear in. Once you break them in, you’ll love how solid and comfy these entry-level skate shoes feel.

This cupsole skate shoe features a pretty thick sole and offers good cushioning and protection. And the toe box is a stitch-free single piece. Plus, the sneaker’s cupsole construction fosters longevity.

I rated the Adidas Men’s Grand Court Sneaker the most durable beginner skateboarding shoe. But no skate shoe lasts forever, huh?

Sizing? I did notice that this Adidas skateboarding sneaker runs somewhat small. I rarely recommend sizing up. But in this case, if you’re size 10.5, size up to 11.

4. Emerica Wino Cruiser Beginner Skate Shoe (Budget Option)

Sizing tip: The Emerica Wino have a really slim fit and won’t work for anyone with even slightly wide feet and some normal feet. I recommend these basic skate shoes for new skaters with narrow feet. Everyone else (beginner with normal or slightly wide feet) should consider the Globe Men’s Motley Skate Shoe.

These skate shoes from Emerica are great for casual wear and aren’t bulky. But there isn’t much protection, nor are the shoes the most long-lasting I’ve tested.

This shoe isn’t a great option for any level of serious skateboarding. Unless you’re a complete beginner looking for a basic entry-level option that does the job (for a while), buy something else.
Emerica Wino Cruiser Skate Shoe

Honestly, if you’re an experienced skater, this shoe won’t last a week without you ripping holes in the upper. The upper is a one-piece canvas panel, but canvas doesn’t last long. That’s a fact every skater learns sooner than later.

But if you’re a beginner looking for a pair of wearable skate shoes that let you explore skateboarding without doing anything too crazy, they’re not complete crap.

The insoles aren’t removable, though. And if you wish to drop in better-quality cushy insoles, there isn’t enough room for that. And, don’t size up just so you could have enough space for better footbeds.

These shoes are good for cruising around on your beginner skateboard but won’t withstand real abuse. Buy them for chilling in and doing low-impact, beginner-level flatground tricks but not for hard-core skateboarding.

5. Adidas Skateboarding Campus ADV (Coolest Pick)

The Adidas Campus is one of the most popular Adidas skate shoes ever made, and there’s a reason for that. It’s well-made and features a cupsole construction plus a durable suede upper.

All those things come together into a decent beginner skateboarding shoe that doesn’t cost a small fortune.

The toe is stitch-free, and a stitch-free toe makes for increased longevity. But there are two rows of stitches running around the Ollie area.
 adidas Skateboarding Campus ADV

I thought the shoe would tear around that area from overuse, but the double stitching proved to be a blessing in disguise.

But there’s more. The shoe’s reinforced rubber heel cup does a ton of good to its durability.

Well, this isn’t like the cheapest shoe ever. But at that price point, the quality and functionality more than justify the cost.

Also, the relatively thick cupsoles take jumps and other high-impact moves well. The shoes feel a bit stiff at first, but don’t all cupsoles?

Mine are Burgundy, and I wear them with shorts, jeans, and pretty much anything else I like. And I keep getting that I-think-you’re-a-cool-girl kind of look we all crave.

6. Globe Men’s Motley Skate Shoe (Great for Wide Feet)

Sizing tip: Buy these basic skate shoes at least a half size larger.

This shoe offers little cushioning and not much protection. But it’s a cheap and skate-able shoe for a beginner. You’ll feel pretty much every impact.

You may want to get a decent pair of insoles if you pick these shoes. But why do that when you could buy a new pair of shoes at the same price lol? 

It’s not great for tricks, big transitions, or gaps. And honestly, even normal walking might rip this skate shoe in two months. Not the most durable option.

But the Globe Men’s Motley is a basic skate shoe a beginner can use to cruise around with as they learn balance and control.

Globe Men's Motley Skate Shoe

One quality issue other reviewers have mentioned is the soles peeling from the upper. And the laces tend to rip easily. But then, these are sub$ 40 skate shoes.

This vulcanized Globe men’s Motley skateboarding shoe runs a little wide, too. If you have flat wide feet like my husband’s, you’ll love that this shoe doesn’t cause any pinky toe pain. You’ll also love the great grip and board feel that the shoe provides.

Buy these if you love stylish, fashionable skate shoes that don’t cost too much. But if comfort and durability would be more important to you, definitely choose something else.

Best Skateboarding Shoe for Beginners Overall

For me, the DC Men’s Court Graffic wins.

It’s a basic casual skate shoe, and even though it looks somewhat puffy, it’s not too heavy. Being a mid-top beginner skate shoe, it offers a decent amount of ankle support and protection.

The color and tongue provide good padding, too. You won’t feel every impact because the soles are thick enough.

How to Choose the Best Entry-level Skate Shoes

Below is a detailed buying guide to help you decide what beginner-friendly shoe to choose. Below are 11 Things to Check for When Buying Beginner Skate Shoes:

1. Look at the Upper Fabric/Material: Will It Last?

Canvas skateboarding shoes are pretty common as are those made of textile and mesh. These options are breathable and light, really good summer skateboarding kicks.

But these shoes fall apart so fast unless they have a kind of improvement or treatment that boosts longevity.

Still, you can have canvas and mesh on parts of your starter skate shoes where you won’t have much wear. The area around the toe, heel and outer side of the shoe are high-wear areas. And having canvas or mesh there isn’t a good idea.

The best upper material for skate shoes is typically suede, leather, synthetic suede, and synthetic leather. Leather and suede are the most durable materials, with leather being more durable.

But breaking in leather skate shoes can be tough. Once you break them in, you’ll love smoothly they skate.

But it doesn’t mean canvas shoes are bad. Some skate brands are pouring various technologies onto high-wear areas, making the shoes last longer. New Balance, Adidas, Nike, and others are using rubber toe caps on the outside to lengthen the shoe’s life.

Other brands are adding a rubber layer underneath the canvas or mess in high-wear areas. For example, Vans Pro skate shoes may have a canvas exterior. But when the canvas blows out, there’s rubber underneath so you can keep skating longer.

The shoe below is my husband’s, and it has a canvas/suede upper. Can you see the black fabric where the canvas blew out?

2. Pay Attention to Where the Skate Shoe Stitching Is

The next important thing you want to pay attention to is where the stitching is on the toe. Look at where do the panels meet on the toe and the quality of the stitching.

When performing skateboarding tricks such as ollies and kickflips, or when skating rails, you’ll keep turning your foot over. When the side of your shoe comes into contact with the grip tape of your beginner skateboard, friction happens. And that part becomes a high-wear area.

So, if you have poor-quality stitching at a high-abrasion area of your skate shoe, it’ll blow apart at that place. A durable skate shoe will usually have reinforcement around the stitching.

Typically, skateboarding shoe manufacturers reinforce high-wear stitch lines using extra rubber or glue. Where there’s zero reinforcement around high-wear stitch lines, they’ll almost always blow out right there.

There’s nothing wrong with a pair of skate shoes that have stitching around the toe. But if you can find a similar shoe whose toe is a single-piece component, the better.

3. Shape of the Toe Box

When it comes to the shape of the toe, that’s a matter of personal preference. I can’t tell you that this or that other toe box shape or design is better than this one.

Some skate shoes have longer toes. Longer toes will definitely make your feet appear longer if you’re viewing them from the top. Some skaters prefer shorter toes, though, because that toe design is what works best for the tricks they do.

A guy I know prefers longer toes, and he’s size 11 US. His shoes are slip-on Vans Pro, and these shoes feature a no-stitching toe that looks pretty long.

But Tony loves his skating kicks because they fit his large feet really well. Plus he says he skates better in those shoes because there are no details such as laces and stitching to get in the way.

Some beginner skateboarding shoes have a shorter toe and are kind of narrow for skaters with narrow-ish feet.

Other skate shoe toes may have a square shape. And others may be square and wide for skaters with large, wide feet.

In the end, the best toe box shape is what feels comfortable to your feet and works well with your skating style.

 4. Look at the Soles of the Skate Shoes You’re Eyeing

I’d say that the sole is the most important part when it comes to choosing beginner skateboarding shoes. Well, soles are a matter of personal preference pretty much like fabric, toe box design, and shape.

Before you decide whether you’ll go with this sole type or a different one, think about your skating needs.

So, how will you skate?

Will be jumping down super long and scary stairs or skating 6-inch manny pads? Maybe you’ll mostly skate bowl? Or will you be skating handrails? Perhaps you’ll skate ledges most of the time?

Let your skating style guide you to the right kind of skate shoe sole. But understand this:

The sole you choose will affect a lot of things. Your soles will affect how you skate. It’ll also determine how you perform certain skateboarding tricks. The sole on your skate shoe will also affect how you protect your feet while playing.

Two Main Types of Skate Shoe Soles

These are:

  1. Vulcanized skate shoe soles
  2. Cupsoles

Let’s examine each sole type.

1. Vulcanized Skate Shoe Sole (Offers Great Board Feel)

Vulcanized soles are some of the most common sole type on any skate park. It’s a pretty basic sole, but some skaters just won’t shred in anything else.

Vulcs are quite thin — the thinnest skate shoe soles that can be had. All these soles are is a thin piece of rubber coupled with an equally thin piece of canvas or sometimes a bit of foam on the inside.

And vulcs are super thin. With vulcanized soles, you’re going to feel pretty much everything. You’ll get great board feel, grip, and flexibility but little else. These reasons make vulcs the better option for doing skateboarding tricks.

But great board feel comes at a price. You’ll have to forego quite a bit of protection. Plus, you’ll feel all skateboarding impacts really sharply. Additionally, vulcs offer noticeably less comfort.

I own a really thin pair of cheap skate shoes I bought online, and I feel every little pebble. I can barely walk in those shoes.

Here’s one more thing. Most vulcanized skate shoes don’t last long. Skate shoes in general don’t last months if you skate them every day. But vulcs fall apart sooner especially if they’re low-quality shoes.

Pros of Vulcanized Soles

  • More board feel
  • More flexibility
  • More grip
  • Great at doing tricks

Cons of Vulcanized Shoes

  • Less protection
  • Less comfort
  • Less durable

How to Identify Vulcanized Soles

So, how can you tell if what you’re seeing on a pair of skate shoes are vulcanized soles? It’s pretty easy to tell if they’re vulcs or cupsoles.

This sole is produced by gluing together two pieces of rubber into a single piece. You can see the outer piece of the rubber sitting on the other one and running all the way around.

And if you hold a vulcanized beginner skate shoe so that the sole faces up, you can (in some cases) see where the two pieces of rubber come together. Look at the image below to understand what I mean.

What you see in the image above is my husband’s Vans skate shoes. And they have vulcanized soles. They’re vulcs, but the soles aren’t that thin. In fact, these shoes have lasted years.

But my hubby has been using them mostly for walking. He owns lots of cheaper skate shoes for skating because these genuine Vans were kind of expensive. Learn how to tell if your Vans skate shoes are fake.

If you’re not sure whether the soles are vulcanized or not, ask the guy at the skate shop. It’s not dumb to ask such a question as a paying customer, right?

2. Cupsoles (Less Flexible and Thicker Than Vulcs)

Unlike vulcs, cupsoles are thicker and stiffer (less flexible). If you try to bend a cupsole, you’ll feel quite a bit of resistance due to its increased stiffness and thickness.

To make cuspsoles, skate shoe manufacturers build a sole separately and sew it onto a finished upper. If you look at cupsoled skate shoes, you can actually see the stitches attaching the sole onto the upper.

Look at my hubby’s old skate shoe below and see what I mean.

If you’re willing to have less board feel in favor of more protection, greater comfort,

Pros of Cupsoled Beginner Skate Shoes

  • Tend to last longer than vulcs
  • Soles are thicker
  • More comfortable
  • Greater protection
  • Take skating impacts better

Cons of Cupsoles

  • Stiffer than vulcs
  • Less board feel
  • Less grip

How Can You Tell If a Beginner Skate Shoe is a Cupsole?

If the side of the sole has stitches, it’s a cupsole. But in some cases, you can’t see the stitches.

The best way to determine if a shoe is a cupsole is to attempt to bend it. If the skateboarding shoe feels too stiff, it’s certainly a cupsole.

But through new and innovative technology, skate shoe makers can and do improve vulcs and cupsoles to make them better shoes.

Improved Vulcanized Skate Shoes

For example, some companies use a rubber inlay between the vulc sole and upper to increase longevity. Another trick is to use a thicker footbed to help the vulcanized shoe handle jumps and impacts better.

Some vulcs may also have tougher rubber at the heel or at the ball of the foot to toughen them up and increase durability.

In the end, you have a vulcanized skate shoe having certain cupsole-like qualities. You get a shoe that handles jumps better, lasts longer, and offers more comfort — all while not sacrificing board feel.

But you can expect such improved options to cost a little more.

Improved Cuspoles

Some skate shoes come with thinner soles for more board feel without sacrificing much comfort, protection, and durability.

I’ve also seen some shoes featuring a cupsole heel and a vulcanized toe. What more do these technologies do? Heel protection.

Heel Protection for Beginning Skateboarders

Some companies apply certain technologies that build heel protection into beginner skateboarding shoes.

Many manufacturers use EVA foam to create some kind of protective, impact-absorbing barrier between your heels and the ground.

Other brands use different but similar technologies to achieve the same goal-heel cushioning. For example, Converse skate shoes use the Zoom Air Bag technology to help their heels tackle jumps better. Nike skateboarding shoes also use the Zoom Air Bag tech.

Note: these heel-protection technologies can cause huge price increases. As a beginner, you can just choose shoes with thicker insoles instead.

What’s Better: Vulcs vs. Cupsoles?

For doing tricks, vulcanized skate shoes generally outperform cupsoles. But if you’re always jumping off stuff, cupsoles would be the better choice. And, some skate shoes are like a hybrid skate shoe created by combining certain characteristics of cupsoles with those of vulcs.

These hybrid skate shoes are designed to offer a balanced amount of every quality that you need to skate like a pro.

5. Insoles: Vulcs Have Thinner Insoles Than Cupsoles

Generally, vulcanized skate shoes have more technology built into their insoles than into the soles. In comparison, cuspsoles have most of their technology incorporated into the outsole.

In most cases, cupsoles come with pretty thin insoles but thicker outsoles. Vulcs by comparison feature thicker insoles and thinner outsoles.

You can always insert thicker footbeds into cupsoles or vulcs to improve comfort if you jump around a lot.

6. Tread Pattern or Design

Skate shoe tread can be confusing. Skate brands everywhere keep drumming support for this or that new sole tread that’s many times grippier than everything else. But that’s almost always lying.

Different skate shoe brands have different kinds of tread on their shoes. Regardless of what tread pattern it is — whether that is Van’s classic waffle tread or Adida’s herringbone tread pattern — each brand’s tread offers a certain level of grip and mo more.

I can’t describe the tread quality of every skate brand on the market today, but I can describe my experience with Vans, Adidas, and Nike skate shoes.

(i) The Vans Classic Waffle Tread (Choose Gum-colored Soles)

Is the famous Vans waffle tread pattern the grippiest? No, it isn’t. Vans skate shoes are grippy, but they’re not the grippiest shoes I’ve worn.

Vans are good skating shoes. But if they don’t have a gummed-out sole and instead have a red, yellow, or black-colored sole, buy something else.

Why? Because Vans shoes with soles in colors other than the gum color tend to lose their grip sooner. At least, that’s been the case for me.

It really doesn’t matter whether the Vans shoe you’re considering has the waffle tread or not. As long as the sole is gum-colored, buy it.

I feel that the grip I get from my Vans shoes’ tread pattern isn’t less grippy than what I get with competing skate shoes. That said, it’s not like you’ll slip around the whole time when skating Vans.

I’ll tell you what the grippiest skateboarding shoes are below.

(ii) Tread Pattern on Adidas Skate Shoes (Choose Gum or White-colored Soles)

Adidas skate shoes are some of the grippiest ever designed. Pretty much every Adidas skateboarding shoe my husband and I have skated has had tread that held up really well.

But we’ve also noticed that white-soled and gum-colored Adidas skate shoe soles have the best grip of all shoes from this brand. What’s more, the grip you get from white and gum soles seems to be consistent regardless of which Adidas shoe you have.

Adidas also offers skate shoes with black, blue, or green soles. But the grip on colored soles typically doesn’t hold up as long.

Some Adidas skateboarding kicks have the so-called herringbone tread pattern. Others have different patterns while some have two tread designs on the same sole.

But as long as you choose white or gum-colored soles, you’ll be fine. I’ve learned these small but important truths through testing over the years.

On the whole, Adidas skate shoes are really grippy. But they’re not the grippiest skate shoes on the market.

(iii) Tread Pattern on Nike Skate Shoes (Squeaky But Super Grippy)

Anyone who has skated Nike skate shoes know one thing — that Nike skateboarding shoes are the grippiest options. These kicks are so grippy that they squeak when you’re shredding parks and streets in them.

You can actually hear the squeak, and the only way to stop as far as I know is to buy less grippy skate shoes such as Vans, Adidas, or others.

Nike skate shoes can keep their grip for months, and it’s always consistent. You’ll never worry about slipping off your skateboard in a Nike shoe — unless the shoe has design faults.

With Nike shredding shoes, it really doesn’t matter the color of the sole. Pretty much all Nike shoes have excellent grip regardless of whether the soles are gum-colored or not.

7. Skate Shoe Style: Low-Top, Mid-Top, and High-Top Styles

As a beginning skateboarder, you need shoes that work well with your style while offering adequate comfort and protection. Speaking of skate shoe styles, you can choose slip-ons (no laces or other finicky closure type), low-tops, mid-tops, or high-tops.

(i) Low-Top Beginner Skate Shoes

Low-top beginner skateboarding shoes are the most common. Skaters love low-tops because their lower profile translates into more ankle mobility which means better tricks.

The downside is that low-tops offer little ankle protection and somewhat less stability. Nothing hurts like when your ankles get smacked by your skateboard. Ouch!

Pros of Low-Top Beginner Skate Shoes

  • More ankle mobility
  • Look like everyday shoes


  • Skateboard strikes on the ankles
  • Less ankle protection and stability

(ii) Mid-Top Skate Shoes for Novice Skateboarders

Mid-top skate shoes are a great choice for both beginners and more experienced skateboarders as well.

With mid-tops, you get decent ankle protection and mobility.

Pros of Mid-top Skateboard Shoes

  • Decent ankle protection
  • Good ankle mobility
  • Works well for beginner skaters and pros

Cons of Pros of Mid-top Skateboard Shoes

  • Good rather than excellent ankle mobility and protection

(iii) High-Top Beginner Skate Shoes

High-top skate shoes aren’t the best option for beginners even if they offer the most ankle support, stability, and protection. The issue with this style is that it offers way less ankle mobility.

Doing tricks in high-top skateboard shoes can be challenging for beginners and even seasoned skaters. Skating in these shoes requires some getting used to. That said, bowl skaters and tranny skaters use high-top skate shoes a lot.

Also, high tops tend to feel a little too rigid. Plus, the extra material needed for the high upper adds weight to the shoe. High-top style skateboarding shoes tend to be heavier and bulkier than either low-top or mid-top shoes.


  • Lots of support and protection for the ankles
  • More stability

Co ns

  • Heavier and bulkier than low-tops and mid-tops
  • Restricts ankle mobility

(iv) Slip-on Skateboarding Shoes

Slip-on skate shoes look really nice and stylish. And there’s no more fussing with laces or worrying about broken eyelets. They’re light and have a really low profile — actually the lowest profile ever — and board feel is amazing.

However, you’ll get almost zero ankle protection. If board feel (performing tricks) is more important than protection, choose these. But mid-tops should be a better option for a complete skateboarding beginner.

Pros of Slip-on Skate Shoes

  • Great board feel
  • Excellent ankle mobility
  • Super light
  • No wasting time tying laces

Cons of Slip-on Skate Shoes

  • Almost zero ankle protection

8. Give Some Thought to Fit

Well-fitting beginner skate kicks feel nice and snug. Your feet aren’t supposed to move all around inside the shoe during skating. The toes may touch the front of the shoe a little, but they almost touch rather than touch that’s also OK.

But your toes shouldn’t be too far back. Because that can pile lots of pressure on your toes when you’re doing certain tricks. Also, the top of the shoe’s toe box shouldn’t be too tight that you experience pressure points.

If you’re sure about your shoe size, order your starter shoe in your size. Don’t try to size up unless you’re certain that that brand’s shoes don’t run true to size.

Unsure about your foot size? Get a piece of paper and set it against a straight wall. Using a pen, mark where the largest toe reaches. Then, use a tape to measure the distance from that mark to the end of the paper and use that number to calculate the correct size from the model’s size chart.

Beginner Women Skate Shoes

Women’s skate shoes are typically 1.5 sizes bigger than men’s. So, if you’re a girl and are craving a guys’ skate beginner shoe, choose one that’s 1.5 sizes smaller than your size. For example, if you’re size 9.5 women and want a men’s shoe, choose a men’s size 8.

Buying Skate Shoes for Beginner Kids

As for beginner kid skateboarding shoes, don’t try to size up. Skate shoes aren’t supposed to be grown into. They need to fit properly from the get-go. Plus, your kid will have skated them to the ground before they outgrow them.

Kid’s skateboard shoes start at toddler sizes and go all the way to size 10. Some companies consider size 10 to be toddler size while others consider that a kid’s size. From there, you have size 11, size 12, and size 13.

After that, you go to size 1 all the way through size 7, and at this point, kids’ skate shoe sizes can overlap with men’s sizes. In fact, kids’ size 7 is the same as men’s size 7.

What If I’m a Beginning Skateboarder With Wide Feet?

Look for brands or skate shoe models designed for skaters with wide feet. Read Best Skates Shoes for Wide Feet.

If the shoe you’re eyeing seems too narrow, don’t size up. Instead, find a shoe with a wider toe box and buy that.

And if you’re wondering which skate shoe brands make wide-fitting models, know this: it’s not about the brand; it’s about the specific shoe model you’re looking at. So be sure to read reviews to know which models in a given series fit skaters with flatter wider feet.

Etnies Marana cupsole skate shoes (probably the widest beginner skate shoe available), Emerica Reynolds, New Balance Numeric 913, DVS Commanche 2.0, and a few other shoes have spacious toe boxes and folks with voluminous feet.

9. The Tongue Should Stay in Place (Have Gussets or Buy Slip-ons)

I once bought a pair of skate shoes whose tongue kept shifting from side to side. It was annoying, really annoying.

But it got even worse. The moving tongue gave me press points. I endured the annoyance and discomfort until the shoes fell apart.

That’s when I bought a pair that had elastic gussets that held the tongue in place. The gusset came from under the midsole and ran through a loop under the tongue, securing it.

So, keep that issue in mind. Or just buy slip-on skate shoes and stop worrying about shifting tongues.

10. Toe Caps Have Become Quite the Trend

The toe cap trend kicked off in the ’90s and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Intermediate skaters and pros leverage the toe cap to land really smooth tricks.

But as a beginner skateboarder, you’ll need toe caps for a different reason — durability. Since suede toe caps generally outlast rubber toe caps, I suggest that you go the suede route.

Some shoes have suede toe caps while others have rubber toe caps. And each toe cap material translates into a different way of flipping a skateboard around. I can’t say rubber toe caps are better than suede toe caps. Each cap type skates differently, not better or worse.

11. Beginner Skateboard Shoe Price and Best Brands

As a beginner skateboarder, it’s not wise to buy more skate shoe than you need. At this point, you’re not sure if skateboarding is the kind of pastime you want to take up.

So, start with more affordable shoes. Only upgrade to pricier skates shoes packed with tons of features down the road when you’ll have evolved into a much better skateboarder.

How much do good beginner skateboarding shoes cost? Every brand offers different price points, but you can get good skate shoes at around $50-$70. The best time to buy your first-ever skateboarding shoe is when your local store has a sale going on.

I bought my first pair of skate shoes at $40 nearly 50% less than the original price. And the shoes lasted 6 months. Because as a beginner skateboarder, you don’t skate all that much or hard.

And what skate shoe brand should I go with a new skater? You can patronize whatever brand you want. But you’re less likely to make mistakes with more established skate brands. Brands such as Vans, New Balance, Emerica, Adidas, DC, Etnies, Nike, and others.

*Buying skate shoes from different companies and using/testing them is the most reliable way to determine which brand will work best for you.

Wrapping It All Up

As a beginner, you want to choose comfortable shoes that absorb impacts well while offering enough support and protection.

I suggest you kick off your skating career with a pair of tough cupsoles.

Don’t spend too much money on your first pair of skate shoes. Instead, hunt around for a low-priced option that does the job. Remember to wear a certified skateboarding helmet before stepping on your skateboard. Don’t forget to wear good skateboarding protective pads, too.