Skateboarding is a euphoric sport. You cannot get over the adrenaline and dopamine rush you get when you master a new trick or the whipping of air around you. It all feels amazing. However, skateboarding is much similar to other sports as you need the right gear to perform well.
You will need a helmet (This is an absolute must. Never go riding without your helmet guys!!!), wrist guards (To protect your wrists in case you fall), knee and elbow pads (To protect your knees and elbows respectively), shatterproof glasses (To protect your vision of course) and of course, skateboard shoes (To prevent slipping and protect your feet). All these are important and you are definitely incomplete without them.
Can You Skateboard With Running Shoes?
For first time or rookie skateboarders, running shoes can be used but are not in any way recommended. The only reason these could be used is when you are learning the basics and will not be performing any complicated jumps and tricks. However, it is wise that you use skateboard shoes instead.
Disadvantages of Skateboarding With Running Shoes
The disadvantages of using running shoes for skating include:
Imbalance when skating
Running shoes are designed to be flexible and this means that they bend easily. They are ideal for running because stiff shoes bruise runners, thereby easily ruining their performance. Flexible shoes boost the responsiveness of runners. They tend to float and are much lighter on their feet. However, skateboarders have no need to be so. Hence, the reason why their shoes are much stiffer.
Skateboarders will need a great amount of force to control the speed of their skateboards, as well as create enough driving force when jumping over hurdles and sliding across grip tapes. Using running shoes for either of these activities could lead to you spraining your ankle as well as other forms of injury on your feet. This imbalance, as you can deduce, can be fatal.
They just aren’t durable
Running shoes are usually made from knit polyester or meshed nylon to increase flexibility. Therefore, they are not designed to handle the friction generated from coming to a stop, jumping over obstacles, and sliding while skateboarding. Excessive use leads to damage from the excessive wear and tear your running shoes are subjected to.
Skating shoes are made of a much sturdier material such as vulcanized rubber or super suede. Both of which are quite resistive to fraying. Their tolerance to the stress created by friction from skateboarding is quite high making it the more practical shoe to use. Using running shoes to skate could be quite expensive in the long run as more shoes will be damaged in comparison to if you had just used a skateboarding shoe for riding.
They are not safe enough
The soles of skate shoes are sturdy enough to withstand the rigorous sport that is skateboarding. These soles are also less thick than that of running shoes. Using shoes with thick soles to skate makes it incredibly difficult to handle a skateboard as it prevents you from having a maximum feel of the board.
Using running shoes with thicker soles could come at a very high price when performing jumps and tricks because when you do not feel the board well, you could take a miscalculated jump that could lead to a serious injury.
They make navigation slightly difficult
Running shoes generally do not have wide soles in comparison to skate shoes. The implication of this is that it becomes harder to navigate or control your board as your feet will not cover a larger surface area of the board. Remember that it is important for you to have a maximum feel of the board. Therefore, covering a wider surface area on the deck of your board provides you with the balance and stability needed to control your board most effectively.
Their heels are difficult to manage
Running shoes typically have raised heels which aid runners’ fluidity in running. This feature, however, creates an imbalance when skating because you would not have an adequate grip on the board. Skate shoes have flat heels that allow skateboarders to have maximum grip and feel on the skateboard’s deck. If you were to use running shoes with raised heels emergency situations that require you to jump off the board, push and stop could lead to you straining or twisting your ankle.
Factors To Consider When Buying A Skateboarding Shoe
Now that you realize the disadvantages of using running shoes for skateboarding, you need to know what factors to consider when buying skateboarding shoes as a perfect skateboard shoe for someone else may not necessarily be the best fit for you.
The Type of Skate Shoe
Skate shoes come in three different types, namely; high-tops, mid-tops, and low-tops. Regardless of the brands making them all skate shoes fall within this category. The difference between all three is the height of the shoe’s shaft.
- High tops: These have the highest shaft and they offer the most stability, warmth, protection, and padding. However, they are not the most breathable skate shoes for your feet.
- Mid tops: The shafts of these aren’t as high as those of the high tops but they do offer a considerable amount of stability, warmth, protection, padding, and dampening. They are more breathable than high tops.
- Low tops: These have the lowest shaft height and are very lightweight. Due to advances in insole technology, they offer great dampening and cushioning. However, they are not very much padded.
The Type of Shoe Soles
Your shoe soles determine the level of comfort of your shoe. They are of different types and serve different purposes. They include outsoles, insoles, midsoles, cup soles, vulcanized soles, and profile soles.
- Outsoles: This is the outermost part of the soles. It is what you see at the bottom of the shoe. It determines the level of grip, abrasion resistance, flexibility, and stability of your shoe.
- Insoles: These can be removed when they get worn out. They are designed to help with the breathability of skate shoes. They provide comfort when you skate and some are even antibacterial.
- Midsoles: These lie between the outsole and insole. They aid in the dampening of skate shoes.
- Vulcanized soles: The beauty of vulcanized soles is that skate shoes that have them do not have to be broken in. You can use them right off the bat. They have less density in comparison to cup soles and are very flexible.
- Cup soles: Now, these have to be broken in but they have better stability and dampening qualities than vulcanized soles.
- Profile soles: These offer maximum board feel/grip, cushioning, and flexibility. They are mainly suited for winter and wet seasons.
Your Feet Size
When searching for the ideal skate shoe you also have to consider the size of your feet. If you have wide feet, skate shoes with wide toe caps are your best bet. They reduce the pressure you feel on impact when you land. If you have narrow feet, you should definitely go for narrow skate shoes instead of the chunky variations. Lastly, if you have small feet, then the generic low tops are ideal for you.
In conclusion, you should skate with skate shoes, and keep your running shoes for running because your skate shoes protect your ankles, increase your skateboarding performance, offers optimal comfort, and are highly durable.
 Running Shoes – Link