Can You Skateboard With Any Shoes?

Skateboarding is an increasingly popular sport that is also regarded as an art form, means of entertainment, and a means of commute over short distances for some. Skating has millions of fans around the world and is an industry worth billions of dollars. Part of this industry caters to the needs of people who participate in the sport and the shoes they need for skateboarding. Over the years, many people have been asking questions about skateboarding.

A particular question got our attention, and it is: Can you skateboard with any shoes? The answer to this question is YES and NO. Yes, it is possible to skate in other shoes, however, not every shoe is suitable for skating (for example, you shouldn’t skate with high heels).

Skateboard shoes have even become a fashion fad over the years with Vans, a shoe company that was one of the first to start catering to the needs of skaters becoming one of the biggest shoe brands in the world. There are other skateboard shoe brands that have achieved global success like Supra and even Nike and Adidas have tried to get in on the skateboarding shoe business.

 

Skateboarding is similar to other sport in that it has its own recommended equipment and precautions to be followed to ensure the safety of those participating in the sport.

Required Safety Gear for Skateboarding

  • A helmet: A well-fitting helmet is important for prospective skateboarders to protect from potential head injuries from falls, which are a common occurrence while skating
  • Wrist guards: As the name implies, they guard the wrists against accidents and provide support to the wrists during falls to prevent sprains and other injuries.
  • Knee pads: Knee pads to protect the knees from scrapes and bruises while skateboarding.
  • Elbow pads: Wear elbow pads to protect the elbows from scrapes and bruises while skateboarding.
  • Closed-toe shoes: Wear these shoes to protect toes from accidental bumps or stubs while skating and to prevent injury. Also, ensure the soles aren’t slippery and have enough friction to give good control while skating and prevent accidents.
  • Googles or shatterproof glasses: To protect the eyes while skating.

Can You Skateboard With Any Shoes?

You can skate with any shoes but the shoes you choose to use are a huge factor that can affect your skating either positively or negatively. Skate shoes are specifically designed to help you skate better which is why they are on the list of recommended equipment for skating. Skateboarding shoes are designed with thick flat soles so whoever is skating can feel the board accurately beneath his feet, most skateboard shoes also have an oversized tongue to help protect your foot from possible injury while skating.

Differences between Skateboarding Shoes And Other Shoe Types

There are several ways in which skateboard shoes are superior to other shoe types when it comes to skateboarding. These differences are:

Purpose

The very first difference seems intuitive and is one of the major differences between skateboarding shoes and any other. Skateboarding shoes have been designed specifically with skateboarding in mind. All the designs that go into creating these shoes are made with consideration of the sport for which it is made.

It has increased durability, offers more protection, and gives you more control, which in turn makes you better and results in the sport being a more enjoyable experience all around. Skate shoes can be categorized into two different types the cup soles and the vulcanized soles.

  • Cup soles

Cup soles like the name implies are designed to cup your feet in a way that offers more protection than vulcanized soles. Cup soles generally feel harder than their vulcanized counterparts and protect your ankles and feet better while sacrificing board feel due to the thicker barrier between your feet and the board. Their thick soles make them better for jump tricks as they are sturdy enough to withstand the force generated while doing them but sacrifice board feels in order to do so.

  • Vulcanized soles

Vulcanized soles are made of individual components that are made separately and glued together to create a thinner sole, they provide the best when it comes to board feel and flexibility due to its pliable nature. Vulcanized soles are created by first heating the rubber part of the shoe to strengthen it and make it more elastic before it is attached to the top part of the shoe. The downside of vulcanized soles is that they do not provide a lot of heel support.

Whether you should use a skate shoe with a vulcanized sole or not depends on the type of skating you’ll be doing, if you are jumping from heights you might prefer cup soles. Vulcanized soles are better for skating in the streets and doing tricks on the ground. Vulcanized soled wear out quicker than their cup sole counterparts due to the rubber parts not being as durable.

 

You should pick a skateboard shoe depending on the type of skating you’ll be doing and how experienced you are at skateboarding. If you are new to skateboarding cup soles are recommended for their improved safety protection and support while vulcanized soles offer a better board feel which is of more importance to more experienced skateboarders.

Durability

Durability is one of the important features that differentiate skateboard shoes from other sneakers. Skateboard shoes are created with durability in mind because they have to handle a lot of wear and tear and stress due to the nature of the sport for which they are being used. Skateboarding is particularly popular for the flashy tricks skateboarders perform on their boards.

There are a lot of hours of trial and error while skateboarders try to master these tricks which places a lot of stress on the shoes while these practice sessions are ongoing. To make shoes durable enough to withstand their repeated use and wear and tear they are made from specially selected materials like action leather which is a cow leather layered with a coat of polyurethane[1].

Another fabric used is super suede which is a fabric made from synthetic microfiber that resists fraying due to its combination with polyurethane foam in a nonwoven structure. This material is extremely useful because it is resistant to scratches and abrasions. Skating shoes are also usually double or triple stitched and have reinforced plastic toe caps to make the front of the shoes resistant to stubs and protect the toes in case of falls or other accidents, skateboard shoes also usually sport lace protectors to prevent them from tangling up or getting shredded by the wheels of your skateboard.

Protection

The most important thing to take into consideration when engaging in any sport is safety. This is another area where skateboard shoes shine. Skate shoes are designed with the utmost consideration of the safety and protection of its wearers while skateboarding. These shoes are designed with reinforced toecaps on the interior to ensure the toes are protected in accidents.

These shoes also have wide tongues to aid stability and have thicker soles to absorb some of the force from jump tricks, high top skate shoes also provide support for the ankles and reduce the chance of getting a sprain while skating. The broader soles allow a larger surface area to make contact with the board resulting in increased traction which gives skaters more control over their boards.

Conclusion

Skate shoes are designed and built specifically to protect your feet and give you control while skating. Other shoe types cannot provide this same level of comfort and protection to your feet. Because of the thick soles other shoes have, you have little board feel which gives you less board control. You should only use any other kind of shoe when you’re an expert skater.

Glossary

[1] polyurethane – Link