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12 Signs You Need To Replace Your Skate Shoes + Fixes

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One thing that makes skateboarding expensive are skate shoes. Many skate their shoes until grip tape eats through socks, or until the outsoles fall off. Usually you know when it’s time to replace your skate shoes.

You need to replace your skate shoes every 2 to 6 months. If you skate over 3 times a week, replace your shoes every 2 months. If you skate 1 or 2 times a week, replace your shoes every 4 to 6 months. Holes in the outsole and toe area are signs you need to fix or buy new skate shoes.

How fast skate shoes wear depends entirely on your style of skating, the grittiness of your grip tape, and how often you skate. Even if you only skate transition and don’t do a lot of flip tricks, replace your shoes every 5 to 6 months. Sometimes wear isn’t visible, but skate shoes will lose their ability to support your feet, resulting in injuries.

joshlin 2 shoes ollie holes

12 Signs You Need To Replace Your Skate Shoes

Experienced skateboarders usually know when to buy new shoes, but even then most postpone it for as long as possible. New shoes often suck, even though you bought the exact same pair. Sometimes skate shoes perform the best at when they are almost gone.

Here are 12 signs that tell you really need to replace your skate shoes.

1. The Sole Flaps

One of the most annoying things is a flapping shoe sole, especially on your push foot. It’s not only distracting but can even lead to injury. A flapping sole makes your shoe unstable and even gluing them only is a temporary fix. It will start flapping again sooner than later. At this point, it’s time to consider dumping your shoes.

2. Ripped Stitches

This is the first sign that your shoes need to be fixed ASAP. Ignoring ripped stitches will result in unusable skate shoes. We’ve tested Nike’s that ripped within an hour, or at least some of the stitching came loose. If this happens, apply Shoe Goo as soon as possible!

Not every skate shoe wears the same, it really depends on the type of shoe. Some shoes don’t have any stitching near the toe area, which is usually a sign that it’s a decent shoe.

3. Too Much Wiggle Room

When your feet can move from side to side inside your shoe, this could mean that the whole shoe is stretched from the inside. Sometimes tightening the laces helps, but you’ll be likely to roll your ankles. Thicker socks might help for a while, but the best solution is to get a new pair.

4. You’re Using Duct Tape

Duct tape is a great temporarily fix if you have the choice between quitting your session are skate for a few more hours. Duct tape isn’t a magical fix. You’ll have less friction when doing kickflips and it won’t stick for a long time.

You could try to patch up the holes you’re trying to cover with Rip Care, Shoe Goo, and suede patches. A combination of these will do wonders.

5. You Patched Your Shoes With Cardboard

The solution for skateboarders on a tight budget but a fix that won’t last for long, not to mention the awkward feeling of cardboard in your shoes. Sure, it will prevent some abrasions on your front foot, but it’s only a matter of time before your grip tape will chew through the cardboard. You could replace the cardboard again and hope it stays in place, but you have to be realistic here; your shoes are beyond repair.

6. Your Sole Lost Its Grip

new balance skate shoes sole wear

Sometimes there may not be a single ollie hole, but you keep slipping away when you push your board or carve a bowl. When skate shoes lose their grip, there isn’t a single way to fix the problem. You need grip to stick to your board, but pushing and braking will make the soles wear pretty quickly.

Try to avoid braking with your push foot and learn how to power slide instead. If your skateboard wheels are of decent quality, you don’t have to worry about flat spots and power slides are pretty rad.

7. Abrasions on Your Foot

I remember a hot summer day and had a great sesh. It felt a bit of a tingling sensation near my kickflip area, but ignored it until I stopped skating. Once I stopped skating, I removed my shoes. I could have sworn I was wearing two white socks, not a red and a white one.

Anyway, you get what was going on. I should have just patched the holes, because it took quite some time for my foot to heal. Nasty.

8. Your Socks Have Holes

Related to the previous sign, holes in your socks mean you have to patch your shoes if it isn’t too late. Patch up the holes with suede, Rip Care, and Shoe Goo before you need to patch up your foot with band aid.

9. More Goo Than Shoe

There is a point where you can’t fix your skate shoes anymore. When your entire front of your shoe is held together by shoe goo and sue patches, you really need to consider replacing your shoes. You can patch up your shoes a few times, but at some point you must say goodbye and toss them in the bin.

10. Impacts Are Starting Hurt More

Those who only skate bowls and mini ramp/vert might usually don’t get ollie or kickflip holes. Sometimes wear isn’t visible, but the integrity of the shoe only lasts for a certain amount of time. At some point your shoe won’t protect you from impacts anymore, and I learned this the hard way.

In order to prevent heel bruises or even long-lasting foot injuries, replace your skate shoes at least every 5 to 6 months. Just like runners, skate shoes can’t support your weight or impacts forever.

11. Holes in Your Shoe Sole

Holes in the bottom of your shoe sole are caused by braking, pushing, and moving your feet on grip tape. Depending on the quality of the shoe and the tricks you do most often, holes on the sole might appear sooner than ollie holes.

Skaters that only cruise and hop curbs will obviously have this issue more often than those who tre-flip all day. There is no way to fix this. You might think replacing the insoles could work, but you probably have to throw them away within a day.

12. Your Shoes Smell Like Wet Dog

For those with sweaty, smelly feet, there is no proper solution but to place your shoes outside. Sometimes your shoes smell so bad that it just becomes too much. Try to get rid of the smell before your mom decides it’s time to throw them away.

When To Buy New Skate Shoes

DVS Commanche 2.0 wear
A skate shoe beyond repair

Even though your shoes might not show signs of wear, they lose their support after a while. Even if there are no ollie, kickflip, or heelflip holes, it’s wise to get new skate shoes every 6 months.

At some point, they just don’t offer the much needed arch support. Alternatively, you can replace the insoles to add support. Dr Scholl’s insoles, for example, are one of the cheapest and best you can get. For those who only skate bowl, vert, or mini ramps, replacing the insoles is a suitable solution.

Getting The Most Out Of Your Skate Shoes

repairing skate shoes

There are many ways to make your skate shoes last longer, and it’s pretty easy to get the most out of your skate shoes. There are a couple of factors that really affect how long your skate shoes last.

  • The type of grip tape
  • Your skateboarding style
  • Power slides vs braking with your foot

The most common reason skate shoes wear is obviously grip tape. Grip tape is abrasive and every time you ollie or flip your board, it eats a bit of the suede. How long your shoes lasts depends on the quality of the suede.

Some grip tape is more gritty than others. Jessup is pretty gentle on suede compared to Mob grip tape. Consider sanding down your grip tape before you skate your new deck. Just use some left over grip tape after you applied it to your new skateboard deck.

You can also just sand down the flick and ollie areas on your deck. This will keep your board grippy while you push and ride, and less abrasive on the trick areas.

Sacrificing Board Feel For Durability

Adidas Tyshawn skate shoe wear

You can buy the most durable skate shoes available, but you need to think about board feel vs durability. Many cupsole skate shoes last a lot longer and offer more support, but provide less board feel.

While this isn’t an issue for everyone, usually technical skaters benefit more from vulcanized shoes. They offer more board feel because of the thinner and flexible outer sole. It’s harder to pull off a tre-flip on skate shoes that feel like bricks, than on lightweight shoes that wear quickly.

It’s up to you to decide what works for your style of skating.

How Long Does It Take To Break in Skate Shoes?

I know, it sucks to buy new shoes. Often you’re so used to your old worn shoes that getting new shoes means you have to break in your shoes again. You can’t quite catch your tre-flips like before and your shoes feel alien to you.

It takes 2 hours to a day before your new skate shoes break in. It depends on the brand and type of shoe. Cupsoles take longer to break in than vulcanized shoes because they are beefier. Cupsoles are more sturdy and last longer, but feel stiffer compared to vulcs.

Just take your time, your board feel will come back like it always does.

Some Last Tips

  • Don’t throw away your old shoes, or at least cut some of the suede to patch your new shoes.
  • Apply Shoe Goo on your new shoes, especially on an near the stitching area. It will make them last longer.
  • Never, ever buy canvas shoes. You will rip them in a matter of hours.
  • Looking for shoes that last longer than average? Check out most durable skate shoes we’ve tested.
  • There is no such thing as the best skate shoes, but there are some terrible skate shoes out there. Be careful when shopping for new shoes and make sure you buy shoes that fit your style.
  • Fix your shoes at the first signs of wear. You can make them last a lot longer, sometimes up to 40 hours if you do it right.
  • Shop smart, you often can find great deals and sometimes buy skate shoes for half price. Be patient and monitor shops online, or your local skate shop. When you spot a great deal, buy your favorite skate shoes even if you don’t need them yet.

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