What's up everybody! This is Tim withTactics Board Shop.
Today we're gonna go over skate shoe technology so you can make a more informed decision when picking your next pair.
We've got a lot to cover so let's get to it.
Whether you're a beginner looking for your first pair of skate shoes, or someone that just wants extra info on skate shoe technology, then you're in the right place.
I'm gonna talk to you about eachof the fundamental shoe characteristics: Durability Impact Boardfeel and Flexibility Fit and Style and lastly, some Quality of Life features.
All of these characteristics relateto each other and are intertwined.
If you want more impact support you sacrifice board feel.
If you want more durability yousacrifice flexibility.
There's no perfect skate shoe that encompasses every desirable aspect.
You need to find that balance that works best for you.
If you don't know the differences betweencupsole and vulcanized skate shoes, check out our video with shoe designer Paul Kwan from SoleTech.
He gives an informative breakdown of the differences between cupsole and vulcanized skate shoes.
Cupsole and vulcanized shoes have their advantages and disadvantages for different types of skating, And will be a big factor leading up to your decision.
With that, let's get into durability.
The highest wear areas on your shoes will be in the toe area, the side of the foot, and the sole.
First let's look at the uppers.
The materials used for the upper make a big difference in how long your shoe will last.
Suede is the standard for skate shoes and has stood the test of time for performance and durability.
It has a good consistent flick and holds upwell against lots of flip tricks.
Canvas is a much less durable material and will ripvery quickly if you're doing lots of ollies and flip tricks.
Unless there's some kind of rubber reinforcement, it's best not to skate shoes that have canvas in the highest wear areas.
Leather is tough and smooth.
It has a longer break-in period than suede but will end up lasting longer.
It feels a little stiff and slippery for flip tricks at first.
But once you break them in it willskate just like a suede shoe.
Some shoes are made with synthetic textiles, and thedurability will depend on what it's made of.
Rubber and TPU tend to be pretty durable, but knit materials and mesh are not.
Mesh will fall apart quickly.
It's fine if there's mesh on the tongue and on the medial side of the shoe but, don't skate shoes that have mesh in the highest-wear areas.
Toe caps and ollie patches can greatly extend the life of your shoe.
Rubber toe caps can give you a ton of grip and flick for flip tricks, but can make your shoe feel bulky in the toe region and will take a bit of time to get used to.
Printed on toe caps give you the extradurability without that excessively grippy feeling, and will feel similar to suede.
Some shoes come with a rubber layer underneath the upper material to keep the shoe going even after wearing a hole through the upper.
Shoe companies have different names for these under layers.
For example Vans calls their underlay Duracap, Adidas calls theirs AdiTuff, and Lakai calls their underlay Co-Bound.
Be sure to check the specs to see if a shoe has a rubber underlay or not.
Be mindful of the placement of the stitching and where the panel's come together.
Stitching tends to be a vulnerable spot and will be where the shoe eventually blows out.
Shoes that have a single-piece toe box tend to wear more evenly throughout the lifespan of the shoe.
You can pre-emptively Shoe Goo or superglue the stitching to make the shoe last longer.
Now let's talk about the outsoles.
Cupsole shoes ordinarily have a denser rubber compound on the outsole than vulcanized shoes.
Which tends to make them last longer on the bottom.
Also since they're one-piece on the bottom they're less likely to separate.
Gum rubber is a standard for skate shoes for its grip and durability.
But some companies have special rubber compounds for their soles.
Lakai has their Paramount rubber, New Balance has their Ndurance soles, and Etnies even partnered up with Michelin to make soles out of tire rubber.
Be sure to check for special rubber compounds that will make your shoes last longer.
Also shoes that have deeper grooves in the tread tend to have a longer-lasting traction before the soles get any bald spots.
Let's move on to impact support.
Impact support is important if you want to prevent injury and keep your jointshealthy after years of skating.
If you're gonna jump down gaps skate handrails or big transition, you'll want as much impact absorption as you can get.
Cupsole shoes have more built-in support in their midsoles and outsoles and provide better impact protection than vulcanized shoes.
I'm not saying you can't skate gaps in vulc shoes, cupsoles just have more cushioning.
Each shoe brand has their ownproprietary cushioning technology: Vans has UltraCush, Lakai has Delux-Lite, Emerica has their G6 foam and so on.
In general most foams such as EVAprovide a fair amount of impact absorption, but packs out over time.
Foams made from polyurethane don't pack out as easily and still provide good responsive support.
Vulcanized shoes primarily get their support from their insoles which vary depending on the shoe.
Insoles are a huge factor in how much impact support a shoe provides.
Be sure to check out what insoles are in the shoes you're considering getting and what they're made of.
There are aftermarket insoles that are made for skating available if your shoes don't have enough support for you.
Also, look for additional impact technology.
Especially in the heels such as airbags, special outsole geometry or customimpact absorbing compounds.
Now let's talk about board feel and flexibility.
This is where vulcanized shoes really shine.
Since vulc shoes are thinner, the break-in period is much shorter and you get a lot more boardfeel and control.
Which is good for technical, low-impact types of skating such as manuals, ledges, and flat ground.
Since cupsoles are thicker they will take longer to break into that sweet spot, but you can still perform well in those types of skating.
Having a well fitting shoe is important.
Especially if you do a lot of flip tricks.
A snug shoe will be responsive and you'll feel more comfortable trying tricks.
You also don't want too much extra length in the toe or your flip tricks will feel all wonky.
The shoe should feel like an extension of your foot instead of an extra flap of rubber hanging off your toe.
Try different toe shapes and profiles to see what fits and feels the best.
Some shoes come with a bootie type fit or an internal sleeve that keeps your foot secure in the shoe.
Keep an eye out for that because those shoes are super snug and comfy.
If possible try on the shoes first.
Or if you're ordering online, hit up customerservice and ask about the fit.
Some shoe styles have additional functions besideslooking sick on your feet.
A big advantage of slip-ons is that you don't break any shoelaces while still retaining a snug fit.
Mid top shoes offer plenty of mobility while offering a little bit of ankle protection.
High tops give you the most ankle support and protection though they're a bit more constricting and sweaty than low or mid-tops.
Lastly let's look at some quality of life features that don't necessarily affect the way the shoe skates, but makes the overall experience of the shoe more enjoyable.
It's always annoying when the tongue of the shoe flops from side to side.
Having some tongue centering straps on the shoe can save you a lot of annoyance with fixing and adjusting your tongue.
Shoe lace protectors can save you the annoyance of constantly replacing your shoelaces.
Not too many companies make shoes with lace protectors these days, so if you find some, cherish it.
Having some padding on the tongue andthe collar is nice when the board flings around and whacks you in the top of yourfoot or on the side of your ankle.
If you're wanting a little more protection look for a little extra poof in the tongue and the collar.
Breathability is key in the summer so your shoes don't get sogged out.
Breathable mesh or eyelets on the shoe in key areas can make a big difference once your feet start sweating.
Similar to slip-ons, Velcro straps are a quick and easy way to tighten up your shoe without dealing with the laces, plus they kind of look sick.
To sum things up.
There's a lot of options out there and every shoe has its strengths and weaknesses.
You need to find that balance of durability, impact, and board feel that works best for your style of skating.
If you got any questions at all leavethem in the box below, or just give us a call and we'll help you get the answers you need.