When it comes to skate shoes this season has plenty to offer in a "something for everyone" kind of way.
This year (more than in recent years) it is safe to say that every company has at least one shoe that is either a winner or they have a shoe that is very worthy of being tested, at the least. While most brands are focused on durability, function stays key. Some companies have new innovations and others are leaning on common denominators with the inner sleeve looking like what the open toe box was in 2009, a trend employed by every company under the sun.
Check out the best skate shoes to check out this spring.
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What: An equal mix of Emerica's smooth blend of influences both old and new.
Why You Should Skate It: Every upgrade seen here from the classic model was carefully thought out and they're made to help you skate better. The aesthetic is that of the 90's; athletic and sporty from the mesh collar to the perforated side panel. Then you see today's influence with a seamless toecap. The cupsole is very modern with the use of singular pronounced ridges on the toe and heel which wouldn't be there if they didn't serve a purpose. In this case it's to provide stability and improve that initial connection from the shoe to the griptape.
Dekline Tim Tim Mid
What: This is the mid top of Chad Tim Tim's pro model.
Why You Should Skate It: If you're into quality footwear without the flash and marketing, you'll love the Tim Tim Mid.The upper features different lines and fabrics you've seen on various vulcanized skate shoes, but on the Tim Tim those elements manage to work together. On the strongest version the heel cup is made of leather with a canvas side panel and a suede toe box and ollie area. It's pretty durable. You'll like that the toebox is reinforced by rubber.
[Dekline] Fallen Torch
What: James Hardy's Pro Model.
Why You Should Skate It: This low profile cupsole has an upper made of suede for skateability and mesh for comfort and breathability. Plus you know you want to test that toe box out.
[Fallen] DVS Vapor
What: The best non pro model shoe made by DVS to date.
Why You Should Skate It: This shoe is as good as it looks and its looks aren't lying. This is a shoe that shouts "I'm really well put together and I'm athletic and comfortable," which are all ideal skate shoe components. The Vaporcell molded midsole boosts support and enhances the fit while giving great impact protection.
[DVS] DC Cole 2 Lite
What: Chris Cole's third pro model with DC.
Why You Should Skate It: None of Cole's shoes on DC have sucked and this one is simply excellent. DC tends to place function first, so you know it will perform based on reputation alone -- but this shoe is a step up for DC in all categories. The fit is on-point because of the internal mesh sleeve. Combine that with superb fore foot flexibility (influenced by Mike Mo's shoe) and you get superior boardfeel. This is a straight-up winner.
[DC] Etnies Highlight
What: Etnies' reminder to the world that they make great skate shoes.
Why You Should Skate It: This shoe doesn't resemble most skate shoes so that should silence the critics (pretty much everyone) who believe all skate shoes look alike. Sole Tech Institute's (STI) feathery Evolution foam is the foundation of the Highlight's cushion-driven fit. It's in the midsole and outsole and also in the footbed. A bootie on the inside almost eliminates the need for socks, but that's just another interesting thing to mention. What you may find most intriguing is that silicone is reinforcing the ollie area, which may give new meaning to "boardfeel."
[Etnies] eS Accelerate
What: An updated Sole Tech classic.
Why You Should Skate It: eS is back, sort of, which is better news than seeing them go completely out of business. In this phase of this classic skate shoe company there are some newer iterations of previous popular models. This one is an updated Accel, hence the name. The outsole is strong and flexible and the inside features a tongue stabilizer and an STI insole. The coolest thing is that the ollie area is comprised of Thermo-Thane technology which makes the shoe longer-lasting.
[eS] Supra Magazine
What: An interesting and active skate shoe inside and out.
Why You Should Skate It: Supra makes the best hightop skate shoes hands down. Part of this is because they don't have a lot of competition in this segment because most other skate shoe producers would rather make low tops. But even if there was more competition the designers at Supra would still come out on top because they take risks. Their designs look like they copied something from the past, but it's so futuristic looking it can only be original. The Magazine's open toe box with panel stitching directly into the ollie area make it something you'd like to skate, but even more intriguing is the blade that sticks out of the outsole -- it gives you pinpoint griptape sliding precision.
[Supra] Lakai Brandon Biebel 4
What: Brandon Biebel's 4th Lakai pro model.
Why You Should Skate It: Lakai's last crowning achievement (out of several recent hit releases like the Camby and Vincent) was the Guy XLK, Guy Mariano's shoe. It featured an even mix of suede and mesh on a minimalist-styled upper and a kick-ass insole. The BB4 picks up where the Guy XLK left off and goes in a more athletic direction because Biebel is precisely that, an athlete. The quarter panel is made of mesh, like the upper's lining, which will make your feet less sweaty. The ollie area is formed by one border of the quarter panel and a deco double stitch that starts at the cupsole and weaves upwards, toughening the lace strip. And the XLK outsole it all sits on is the best cupsole on the market, when it comes to providing vulcanized feel and performance.
[Lakai] Vans Crockett Pro
What: Gilbert Crockett's pro model.
Why You Should Skate It: For decades Vans has been making a killing and doing it all very simply. The Crockett Pro is just an extension of their slightly more advance simplistic ways which I first noticed with the Cab Lite and most recently, the Chima Pro. Vans now makes comfortable shoes for all--even those like myself who couldn't understand how people found so much to love in such little material and padding. The Crockett Pro has a molded heel cup thus eliminating all the padding you see in most skate shoes, but still provides ample support. The Ultracush HD insole is one of the top three in skateboarding.
[Vans] Globe Taurus
What: Louie Barletta's pro model.
Why You Should Skate It: The people at Globe are on something that is making them produce top notch and durable skate shoes as of late -- especially with their last 3 pro models. Mark Appleyard's Mahalo, David Gonzalez's Sabbath and surfer Dion Agius' Los Angered were a sleek step up from the clunky-shoe producing reputation Globe used to have. What these three shoes have in common is that they were not only fashionable and skateable but they had great insoles and outsoles. The Taurus draws on this template and but it is so good that it essentially erases every Globe shoe before it. Yes it's another dress shoe-inspired skate shoe with an open toe box but it features Globe's sturdy and bouncy shockbed insole. On top of that it's got an inner booty made out of lycra for a specialized fit. Last but not least, its design is sharp and especially clean.
What: A shoe for the skater's skater.
Why You Should Skate It: adidas has a few classics in its skate portfolio but with the Seeley they're showing they understand what skaters need and there's no hype surrounding it. It's actually simple (in a good way) when you think about it. The Seeley has an open toe box and that is the only part of the shoe that isn't perforated. The vulc outsole grips well and the addition of a rubber toe bumper makes the vulc tougher for precise toe flicks.
[adidas Skateboarding] New Balance Numeric Logan 637
What: A shoe modeled after the New Balance 574 running shoe.
Why You Should Skate It: Always try new shoes from companies like New Balance, who have a reputation for producing comfortable, athletic footwear. The Logan 637 is a lightweight and technically-sound skate shoe that unfortunately most people will sleep on. It's their loss because in addition to that reliable New Balance construction, they're missing out on an injection molded EVA insole -- which I like because it's contoured for human feet, meaning you're getting support where you need it. The locations of the shoe's perforations (on the collar and toe box) make it more breathable. As a street skater you can't miss out on trying the Revlite foam midsole, which is more supportive and light than it is about big drops and bad landings. Consider the Logan 637 an all-purpose shoe that is most effective when used for ledge or transition skating.
[New Balance Numeric] Huf Noble
What: Yet another quality shoe from Huf's footwear line.
Why You Should Skate It: What I'm going to say may not make sense but bear with me. The Noble looks like a running shoe, but then again it doesn't; and it doesn't look like your typical skate shoe, and it's not. To quote Run DMC, "It's tricky." The cupsole is strong and springy and the upper is made out of good suede. The H logo is perforated for ventilation and the toe cap is triple stitched. Inside is a lining that's soft yet supportive and the heel gel insert is 100% for jumping down stuff.
[Huf Shoes] Diamond Brilliant High
What: Brilliant High
Why You Should Skate It: Whether you like Chuck Taylors or not you'll be drawn to this shoe which has a similar silhouette. Where I dislike the overly blank canvasness of Converse's all-time best-seller, the Brilliant High is a good example of how to prioritize craftsmanship, design and materials and make them all work together. From the above average suede upper, to the leather heel panel, to the low profile vulc sole, everything screams quality, durability and stylishness. The same points can be said about other Diamond models like last year's Capital and VVS 2 and this year's Le Sport.