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Skate shoes or skateboard shoes are a type of footwear specifically designed and manufactured for use in skateboarding. While numerous non-skaters choose to wear skate shoes, the design of the skate shoe includes many features designed especially for use in skateboarding, including a rubber or polyurethane sole with minimal tread pattern or no pattern, a composition leather or suede upper, and double or triple stitching to extend the life of the upper material. A low, padded tongue is often included for comfort.
Skate shoe companies have integrated a number of special features into their shoes. These innovations have a number of functions, including prevention of "heel bruises" (damage to the heel area of the foot caused by harsh landings from high distances), enhancement of "skateboard feel" through increased flexibility, and increased grip action.
These include but are not limited to:
- Cup soles
- Vulcanized rubber soles
- Air pockets in the heels
- Shoelace protectors
- Dynamic Grip Technology (DGT) (DC Shoes)
- Super Suede (DC Shoes)
- System G2 Cushioning (etnies, Emerica, éS)
- STI foam (etnies, Emerica, éS)
- Lace Loops that "hide" shoelaces
- Action Leather
- Thermoplastic Toe Box Reinforcement
- EVA Mid Sole
- Fusion Grip Rubber Outsole
- Asymmetric stabilizer
- Silicone Rubber makes shoes last longer (SiRC)
- Stash Pockets (under sole or tongue) (DVS, Ipath and Supra Footwear Company)
- Shock-Absorbing insoles (Nike SB)
- Kevlar-reinforced laces (Nike SB)
- Cold Grip Technology (CGT) (DVS)
- Lunarlon (Nike SB)
Many features of a skate shoe are designed to increase its durability. Skate shoes are subjected to the abrasiveness of a skateboard's grip tape on a regular basis when used for skateboarding. This is why skaters tend to go through shoes quickly. Super suede, action leather, and plastic underlying the toe cap help to increase the durability of a skate shoe. Lace loops and protectors are designed to prevent laces from shredding by shielding the most common areas that contact with grip tape.
Other common features include: triple stitching with thicker treads to prevent ripping, more width so that there is more contact with the board with thicker tongues and sides to compensate, and deep sole patterns for grip.
Examples of popular skate shoe brands
- Adidas Skateboarding
- Atemi Footwear
- Axion Footwear
- DC Shoes
- DVS Shoe Company
- Element Skateboards
- éS Footwear
- Fallen Footwear
- Globe International
- Gravis Footwear
- Habitat Footwear
- Lakai Limited Footwear
- Nike Skateboarding
- Osiris Shoes
- Puma SE
- Servant Footwear
- Simple shoes
- Supra Footwear
- Tribal Skate
- Vision Street Wear
- Vox Footwear
- World Industries
- Zoo York
- Made for Skate: The Illustrated History of Skateboard Footwear, Jürgen Blümlein, Daniel Schmid & Dirk Vogel, Gingko Press (2008) ISBN 978-158423348-0
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- 15 Things You Didn't Know About Skate Shoes, Salo, Adam, Skateboarder Magazine.