2017 - 2018 was definitely a good period for skate shoes, with an enhanced variety of styles and constructions from a vast array of brands dropping throughout the year.
Everything from the slimmest of vulc models, through to female-specific twists on classic silhouettes popped up during the last 12 months, so we figured we'd put together a selection of our own personal favourites.
Most of the skate shoes featured here also received the full review treatment (including rider test videos) in the Sidewalk 100 - so if you're thirsty for more skateboard shoe info, you know what to do.
adidas Matchcourt High RX2 | Converse One Star CC Pro | DC Tiago S | DC Wes Kremer 2 | Emerica Reynolds G6 | éS footwear SLB 97 | Etnies Marana Michelin | Globe Eagle SG | Globe Sprout | HUF Dylan Reider Slip On | Lakai Riley Hawk | Nike SB Women's Bruin High | Nike SB Zoom Dunk Low Pro | State Footwear Elgin | State Footwear Salem | Vans Old Skool Pro | Vans x Spitfire Slip On Pro
Vans Old Skool Pro - Daniel Lutheran - Mint/Pink
Let's start with a new iteration of one of the most iconic skateboard shoes in skate shoe history - the Vans Old Skool. With beefed up construction as part of the Pro Skate range, this 2017 - 2018 Daniel Lutheran colourway of the Vans staple ticks all the right boxes for us. The thin tongue and overall construction enhances board feel and the upper's suede/canvas blend, in conjunction with the extra protection afforded by the Vans DURACAP, adds skate-specific durability to the shoe's overall build. A true classic...
Etnies - Marana Michelin - Navy/Grey/Red
If you're after something on the opposite end of the skate shoe spectrum to the thinner, vulcanised shoes that have dominated the market throughout 2017 then look no further than the Etnies Marana Michelin.
With a silhouette first released as the seventh Ryan Sheckler pro shoe, the Marana has been updated here with a focus on durability and affordability.
Incorporating Michelin's PC00 rally racing formula into the construction of the cupsole, the Marana Michelin offers unparalleled durability mixed with flex and board feel. As far as technical skate shoes released in 2017 go, this is right at the top.
Rider test video below.
adidas - Matchcourt High RX2 - White
adidas had the legacy aesthetic market covered in 2017 with the release of the skate-specific Matchcourt High RX2, a shoe influenced by the silhouette of the iconic basketball shoe, the 'adidas Top Ten'.
Increased tongue and ankle padding brings protection, reduced panels on the uppers increases durability through limiting the amount of integral stitching and the lightweight textile lining allows your feet to breathe.
With a collegiate inspired colourway and nods to the deep athletic adidas legacy, the adidas Matchcourt High RX2 offers a perfect mixture of aesthetics and performance.
State Footwear x Killing Floor Salem
2017 - 2018 saw the continued push of independent brands into a market previously dominated by established skateboard brands. Even the notoriously impenetrable skate shoe market saw movements in this direction with the emergence of skater-owned imprint State Footwear.
State's emphasis has been on producing clean-looking vulcanised skate shoes that nod towards heritage models and this Salem, with its ollie patch harking back to the late 80's, does just that. Additionally, by collaborating with indie skateboard brand The Killing Floor, State further foreground their commitment to the underground whilst producing simple but effective skate shoes.
Globe - Sprout - Black/Blue/White
With a silhouette inspired by the earliest skate shoes of the 1960's, the Globe Sprout skate shoe offers up lightweight simplicity with a minimal approach to upper construction (consisting of only two pieces) adding heritage stylings.
This simplistic look is coupled with Globe's variegated vulcanized sole offering extra durability in the high abrasion toe/heel areas, along with their patented Nitrolite Shockbed for added protection.
Rider test video with Dublin-based rider Gav Coughlan.
Lakai Limited Footwear - Riley Hawk x Indy skate shoe
A delicious looking collab offering from Lakai with this one mixing up Riley Hawk and skateboarding's most iconic truck brand into a durable, high performance low top. Drawing inspiration from the Lakai 'Camby' and 'Owen' models, this Riley Hawk number utilizes a deep treaded vulc sole and toe bumper to enhance abrasion resistance, whilst the higher profile lace stay should keep these tight with minimum mid-session lace adjustments. Topped off with co-branding from both brands, these are definitely worth a look for fans of Lakai.
Nike SB Women's Bruin High - Pure White/Platinum/Obsidian
As the only specifically female-oriented skate shoe on this list, Nike SB ‘Women’s Bruin High’ takes a bold step into new territory and takes one of Nike SB’s legacy models to create the first skateboard shoe designed specifically for women.
With input from Nike SB riders Lacey Baker, Leticia Bufoni, Sarah Meurle, and our own Josie Millard, the Bruin Women’s High boasts an enhanced fit which hugs and supports the female foot with a narrower arch, tapered heel and mellower toe piece than that found on a standard men’s skateboard shoe.
HUF - Dylan Reider Slip On Skate Shoe
With origins stretching back to his time on Gravis, this latest iteration of Dylan Rieder's paradigm-shifting dress-shoe-influenced slip on sees HUF update on the original through the use of their Infinity Rubber Compound. Additionally, HUF's iteration of the Dylan Slip On sees the removal of the prominent toe bumper which is replaced with an overall toe-bumper, raised high enough to protect stitching around the toe. In remembrance of Dylan himself, each pair of HUF Dylan Slip Ons also comes with a memorial card, featuring a poem by Dylan’s mentor and close friend Mark Oblow, with a portion of the proceeds donated to the Rieder family.
State Footwear - Elgin Skate Shoe - Black/Tan/White
Another simplistic and aesthetically pleasing offering from upstart skater-owned shoe brand State Footwear here, in the form of the Elgin model.
This is a low-profile vulcanised shoe that features subtle padding around the ankle, heel and tongue areas to ensure a snug and streamlined fit.
The upper is composed of suede, with a canvas sidewall triple-stitched for durability, a feature further enhanced by the hidden layer of perforated rubber that sits between the suede upper and the inner lining of the shoe.
All in all, a great low profile vulc skate shoe that will appeal to those of you turned off by the larger big box brands.
éS footwear Salvador Lucas Barbier 'SLB 97'
2017 saw the welcome return of one of the most iconic skateboard shoes of the late 1990's and arguably éS footwear's most celebrated ever model (along with the éS Accel).
This new iteration of the classic Sal Barbier designed SLB silhouette sees the addition of a number of technical features including a natural gum rubber cupsole, a breathable mesh construction on the tongue and on the interior of the shoe and a slimmed down toe piece that retains the overall aesthetic of this 1997 classic. Affordable, durable and harking back to a golden era in both skate shoe design and skateboarding itself. A true icon of the skate shoe game.
Nike SB - Zoom Dunk Low Pro
Originally debuting as a basketball sneaker in 1985, the Nike Dunk has been a favourite of skateboarders since day one thanks to its adaptable features and timeless design. The first iteration of the Nike SB skate-specific Dunk hit the market back in 2002 and over the interceding 15 years has seen innumerable colourways, collab releases and technical advancements cementing its place as one of the most-loved of all Nike SB's skate shoes.
The Zoom Dunk Low Pro you can see hear takes cues from the slimmed down Dunk Low IW (released as an Ishod Wair shoe in 2016) and adds suede in areas of high abrasion contact and canvas in recessed areas. The thin mesh tongue and breathable inner sockliner provide a snug, close fit and along with the Zoom Air insole, provides a cushioned and supportive fit for a slimmed down version of one of skateboarding's most ubiquitous shoes.
Along with the Nike SB Zoom Bruin Premium SE, (which you can see a Korahn Gayle piloted test video for below), the Zoom Dunk Low Pro has been one of 2017's most popular skateboard shoes.
DC Wes Kremer 2 skate shoe
2017 was a strong year for DC with technical additions to their line like the two shoes featured in this list, along with legacy reissues to keep the 90's fetishists happy. The DC Wes Kremer 2 was a firm favourite of ours, serving up a wholly new silhouette for everyone's favourite San Diego stoner.
This low top vulc pro model crosses the streams offering a laceable shoe that also works as a slip on if you're too baked to deal with lace hassle.
The DC super suede upper with strategically placed stitching works against griptape abrasion in key stress areas, along with the double layered toe piece coated in anti-abrasion screening. Fitted with DC's Impact S technology, the Wes Kremer 2 also offers maximum heel protection without compromising board feel.
A definite win for us.
Converse One Star CC Pro
With a slimmed down silhouette allegedly inspired by Converse and FA rider Sage Elsesser happening across a pair of vintage One Stars whilst in Japan on tour - the Converse One Star CC Pro has echoes of 1970's tennis shoe aesthetics.
In accordance with Elsesser's desire for a skate-specific version of the classic One Star, this iteration sits atop the classic Chuck Taylor vulcanised sole and features much slimmer padding, enabling a narrower fit and a more pointed toe.
With low key branding, minimized upper paneling and a Lunarlon insole for support, these One Star CC Pros offer a classic slimline look with all the protection you could want.
Vans x Spitfire Slip On Pro
The second Slip On of our list of the best skate shoes of 2017 is, fittingly, one of the ultimate OG silhouettes in skateboarding history.
Originally introduced as the ‘Style #98’ in 1977, the Slip-On has been a mainstay of the Vans range ever since and was propelled into the mass footwear consciousness after being worn by Sean Penn in the 1982 film ‘Fast Times At Ridgemont High’.
Originally slated as a Daan Van Der Linden/Spitfire collab, since Daan's switch over to Nike SB, this Slip On Pro now boldly identifies itself as a Spitfire x Vans collab.
An all-suede black upper is backed with a Duracap under layer, doubling up the durability of the shoe, with Vans’ timeless vulcanised Waffle sole providing the grip and board feel that skateboarders have cherished since the 1960s.
Co-branded with Spitfire Wheels, the shoe also features the legend 'Get Lit' on the heel, an embroidered Spitfire 'Bighead' logo on the tongue and the Spitfire 'Swirl' on the insole. A tried and tested classic updated for the future. Highly recommended.
Globe footwear - David Gonzalez Eagle SG
The Globe Eagle SG is a cupsole skate shoe with extra padding via the Globe 'Shockbed' sockliner as befitting the death-defying antics of the pro endorsing said shoe, namely Colombia's own lunatic, Linda Lusardi look-a-like and SOTY David Gonzalez.
The drop-in polyurethane insole reduces impact and cradles the foot, a protective aspect reinforced further with a moulded arch-piece on the Shogun outsole.
Two main pieces of suede make up the shoe’s upper and are triple stitched together with the meeting point tactically shaped to avoid wear from griptape.
A simple-looking cupsole skate shoe with extra protective elements with a wider-than-average fit.
DC Shoes - Tiago Lemos - Tiago S
If you managed to get through 2017 without Tiago Lemos making your jaw drop then you need to start paying more attention. In fact, before we say anything about his DC shoe - go watch this Tiago Lemos Indy section.
Whilst we can't guarantee that the DC Tiago S will mean that you can switch back tail shoulder-high ledges, their combination of heritage aesthetics and shoe technology should definitely put them high on your list for potential skate shoe choices.
With an IMPACT-A air bubble in the heel (as a functional nod to previous Josh Kalis DC models), Ortholite sockliner and a tongue with centering straps to ensure a snug fit - this is an understated skate shoe with a lot of technology. If you're a cupsole/Tiago fan then these are a no-brainer.
Check the James Bush rider test video above first for further confirmation, then go peep the full DC Tiago S review here.
Emerica - Andrew Reynolds - Reynolds G6 Skate shoe
Finishing up on a classic skateboard brand, a classic skater and a classic shoe right here.
Given that Andrew Reynolds still has the ability to leap like a man half his age on a progressive level, it ought to come as no suprise that his 2017 shoe, the Emerica Reynolds G6, perfectly reflects this. Incorporating design and aesthetic DNA from his past signature shoes, the G6 features a toe piece resurrected from his early Emerica models with two layers of suede nestling within a therma-welded toe-cap, creating three layers of resistance against the punishment of griptape.
Additionally, the layer of G6 foam injected into the shoe’s midsole, coupled with triangle tread allows for fantastic grip and the best of both impact protection and board feel.
Check the rider test video below for more via the skateboarding masochism of UK flow rider Joe Hinson.