Skate boarding and the entire skater culture seems to become more and more popular every year. Twelve-year old girls who’ve never even stood on a skate board suddenly beg their parents for skater shoes. Shoe store employees are then faced with befuddled parents who aren’t quite sure of the differences between a skater shoe and a regular pair of tennis shoes, and without the expert help, probably would have purchased a cool looking pair of sneakers that were as far removed from skater shoes as tap dancing shoes are removed from roller skates.
So what makes skater shoes different than regular shoes?
They’re designed specifically for skateboarding, with their signature flat rubber or polyurethane sole that allows skaters to make better contact with the board and have maximum control while skate boarding. They’re also made wider to allow for more grip. The differences don’t stop there, though.
Some skater shoes have air pockets built into the heel to allow more shock absorption while skating to prevent bruising. Often the shoes are made from suede, and have double and triple stitching so that they stand up to the hard work of skate boarding, particularly trick skate boarding. They have shoelace protectors that keep the laces from hanging loose and possibly causing accidents. They’re cushioned and reinforced especially for the way the feet move and make contact with the board while skate boarding, and to make the shoe more durable. Still, avid skate boarders will wear out a pair of shoes faster than someone who doesn’t skate. The rough grip on top of the board wears at the soles, especially if a skater practices regularly or does lots of tricks.
While you might think you can still wear any old shoe to skate board, consider that all these features that make skater shoes special are there, not only to make you a better skater, but to keep you safer. A skater shoe allows you to grip the board better. You have more control which makes you a better skater, but also keeps you from falling off the board or having accidents as much. Control is key in learning to skate properly and remaining on the board. If you’re wearing a regular tennis shoe, you won’t have that same measure of control and you might find yourself surprised to be on the ground, hurt.
Spend the extra money on well-designed skater shoes. You’ll skate better, and you’ll have less risk of injury. And they’re not as expensive as you probably think they are. You can find excellent skater shoes like Fallen Troopers for $50 to $75 dollars, and skater shoes made by Vans, a company that’s been making skater shoes longer than almost anyone else, will run an average of $60. Globe is another skater shoe manufacturer that makes some of the best skate boarding shoes, also in that price range. A regular pair of shoes could cost that much or more, and with skater shoes you’re getting protection built right in.