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Are Skate Shoes Bad for Your Feet? It Depends

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I recently recovered from a nasty foot injury because of worn Vans. By the time I realized they didn’t offer much impact protection, it was already too late. I Should have replaced the insoles, lesson learned. So are skate shoe bad for your feet?

Skate shoes aren’t bad for your feet depending on the type of skate shoe you buy. Cupsole skate shoes offer enough support for walking, but vulcanized skate shoes lack arch support and are generally considered to be bad for your feet.

Classic Vans skate shoes, for example, offer no arch support, little impact support, and aren’t suitable for every skater. Wearing them all day can result in sore feet. Their pro models, however, have special insoles (Popcush) but are more expensive and you can wear them all day.

Let’s look at what types of skate shoes are great for everyday wear, and what to avoid. I also have some recommendations for those who need lots of arch support when skateboarding.

The best skate shoes for skateboarding

Are Skate Shoes Good for Walking?

While skate shoes are primarily designed for skateboarding, many are also suitable for walking, provided they have the right features like sufficient cushioning, appropriate arch support, and a suitable type of sole.

Skate shoes can be suitable for walking, depending on several factors:

  1. Cushioning: Adequate cushioning in the shoe is crucial for comfortable walking. Shoes with good cushioning can provide the necessary support for your feet during extended periods of walking.
  2. Arch Support: Some skate shoes, like Vans Classics, offer little arch support, which might not be ideal for everyone, especially for those who require more support for their feet. However, other models, like professional or specialized designs, may offer better arch support and be more comfortable for daily use.
  3. Type of Sole: The sole of the skate shoe also plays a significant role. Vulcanized skate shoes are typically less suitable for long walks due to their harder soles, which might not provide as much cushioning and support. On the other hand, cupsole skate shoes are often better for walking longer distances, as they generally offer more cushioning and support.
  4. Personal Preference and Foot Type: The right type of skate shoe for walking also depends on your personal preference and the type of your feet. Each individual’s feet are different, and what works well for one person might not be as comfortable for another.

Cupsole skate shoes are great for walking and you can wear them every day. Cups offer lots of heel support and proper arch support, so long walks are no issue. Cupsoles soles are thicker and you can wear to school, work, and even other sports like mountain biking because of their grippy soles.

  • Cupsole skate shoes offer lots of support.
  • Suitable for both skaters and non-skaters.
  • Usually more expensive.

Vulcanized skate shoes aren’t really great for wearing all day. The thin sole and lack of arch support can feel uncomfortable after wearing them for a long time. It really depends on your feet though, my wife wears vulcanized skate shoe without problems. It’s something you have to find out for yourself. Vulc shoes also have lots of benefits for skateboarding:

  • They offer better boardfeel
  • Easy to break in, usually not longer than an hour
  • Cheaper

Is Skateboarding Bad for Your Feet?

Skateboarding is bad for your feet. According to Dr. Purvis from the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, skateboarding can be hard on your feet and ankles because of the all impacts. Proper shoes and/or insoles will reduce the stress from impacts and need to be replaced regularly.

Even if you only cruise the streets, consider replacing your skate shoes every 3 to 6 months (depending on how often you ride). How bad skateboarding is for your feet really varies from person to person.

My heels, for example, can’t handle impacts like before and walking barefooted for a day makes my feet feel sore. After years of skateboarding, my feet aren’t what they used to be.

Looking back, most of the older skaters stopped at some point. The hardcore street skaters have bad knees and hips, I personally only have issue with my feet because I switched to transition skateboarding a long time ago.

Even if you buy quality shoes that offer impact support or get special insoles, in the long run your feet will suffer. That sounds bad, but almost every sport will have some sort of negative side effect.

The good far outweighs the bad. I don’t mind that my feet need some extra support these days. I wouldn’t trade in all the fun I had (and still have). Skateboarding is great for your mental health, just like any exercise. Skateboarding does more for my wellbeing than any other sport. That’s just me though.

Why Do My Feet Hurt When Skateboarding?

I am not a doctor. If you experience pain every time you skate, consult a medical expert. I can only advice looking for different shoes, but picking the right shoe isn’t easy.

Your feet can hurt from skateboarding because of the following most common reasons:

  • You are wearing the wrong shoes.
  • You are new to skateboarding, and your feet need time to adjust.
  • An injury that needs to be treated.

There are many other causes, but usually it is because you’re new to skateboarding. Your feet need time to get used to standing on a skateboard and pushing. Just take it slow and build up, and don’t forget to take a break.

Note that even experienced skateboarders get sore feet from skateboarding. It’s pretty normal but it should be manageable after a while. Even just pushing a skateboard can cause discomfort.

Leaning on your front foot while pushing a skateboard is a complex movement that causes stress on both of your feet. Trying to keep your balance is another cause, compensating and correcting your stance often results in foot cramp. Once you get better at riding, your feet will get more used to riding a board.

A few years ago I started riding switch and both of my feet felt sore only after a few minutes of skating. Basically, I was relearning how to ride a skateboard. It took a long time to get used to switch stance, but once I felt comfortable, the cramps and soreness went away (well mostly).

If you feel discomfort even when you know how to ride comfortably, consider different shoes that offer better cushioning. Keep in mind that there are many foot injuries that require attention from a medical expert. New shoes won’t always help.

Lastly, if your Achilles Tendon starts to hurt (usually your push foot) take a break and ride again once the pain is gone. This is usually because you ride too often and don’t take time to recover. A strained Achilles Tendon is no joke, I actually managed to get this injury from testing a couple of cruiser skateboards.

Skate Shoes That Offer Arch Support

Skate shoes that offer support provide less board feel but feel more comfortable. There are shoes that offer a bit of both but there is always a trade-off. In general, vulcanized shoes allow you to feel your board better because of the thin soles, but they don’t absorb impact too well when ollieing stairs.

Some say vulcs are better, other say cups are superior, it really depends on what you prefer. We’ve tested a couple of shoes that offer lots of support. Only get these shoes if you need comfy skate shoes that offer lots of support. These are not what I would consider the best skate shoes, but they do solve a problem.

eS Silo

Es Silo Skate shoes on a skateboard

This is the shoe I wear when my heels hurt. Now and then I get a heel bruise and they really make skating manageable on bad days. The eS Silo is a very bulky shoe, and it really takes a long time to break them in.

I wouldn’t pick them for board feel, I only ride them when I have to because the extremely thick sole makes it hard to feel your board. Ollies feel and kickflips feel awkward at the beginning, but it gets better after a while.

  • Super comfortable and can stay comfy after a long session
  • Lack of boardfeel makes technical tricks challenging.
  • Not the most durable shoe.

DVS Commanche 2.0

DVS Commanche 2.0 skate shoes on a skateboard

DVS Commanche 2.0 are great for those who are a bit heavier and/or taller than average, but they aren’t very durable. It comes with great insoles and the cushioning really does wonders. You can skate them for a couple of hours without having to quit because your feet hurt.

If you go for this shoe, be aware that the suede isn’t the best quality. Ollie holes will appear after about 30 hours of skateboarding and after 50 hours, they are completely gone. My advice is to glue the stitches (shoe goo) before you use them and patch the holes as soon as possible. If you don’t, they will rip apart quickly.

  • Not the most durable shoes, but extremely comfortable.
  • Great for taller and heavier skaters.
  • Again, bulky shoes like these offer less board feel.

DC Kalis S

DC kalis S are also very bulky shoes that offer lots of support. You can wear them all day like regular shoes and skate them for hours without discomfort.

Again, a very bulky shoe with great insoles and extremely thick soles that require some time to break in. Not ideal for board feel but great for those who need support.

Consider Insoles

dr scholls insoles

If you are happy with your shoes but want some additional support, consider insoles. I always replace standard insoles with Dr. Scholl’s, which are perfect for skateboarding. Many pros use them and for good reason. Also, forget about all these skate insole brands, they are after very expensive but can’t beat Dr. Scholl’s.

The hard plastic on the side protects your feet when landing primo and the gel pads absorb impacts. They aren’t a solution for everything, but they sure help to absorb some impacts. Remember to replace them, they will gradually perform less.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a skateboarder or just someone who loves skate shoes, make sure to pick the right shoes. Skateboarding can be particularly hard on the feet and the right shoes make a huge difference.

Make sure to replace your shoes regularly, even if you only skate bowls, vert, or mini ramps. I learned this the hard way and your feet take a long time to heal.

Consider insoles when you like hardcore skating, ollieing 7-stairs hurts when you wear vulcs. Proper shoes and insoles will make a difference.

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