Why are longboarding shoes important and what kind of shoes are best though? That’s what we at Review Longboards decided to explore in this guide to longboarding shoes.
Why is it important to choose the best longboarding shoes?
Before we go further, I want to pose a question. How do you brake or control your speed on your longboard when riding? There a number of options. You can airbrake which involves spreading out your body and using air resistance to slow down.
There’s also sliding which can be an intermediate rider technique to control speed. The most popular braking technique is called foot braking which involves dragging the sole of your shoe in order to slow down the longboard safely.
Here’s where longboarding shoes come into play. Your choice of shoe determines how well you’ll be able to footbrake. For beginners just getting into longboarding(see our choices for best beginner longboards(link)), the choice of shoe drastically affects your control over the speed of the longboard.
Elements of Longboarding Shoes
Ever wondered why some skateboarding shoes are so big and bulky? There’s a reason for that.
When doing skateboarding or longboarding tricks, different areas of the shoe rub against the grip tape which causes wear on the shoe. To combat this, most skate shoes have an upper area made out of composition leather or upper suede which helps prevent the shoe from falling apart so quickly.
Typically skateboarding shoes also have more support on the heel than the toe. This serves a dual purpose: it allows the rider to feel the board better with their toe and also prevents foot bruises on the heel after performing skateboarding tricks.
For longboarders, the most important part of a longboarding shoe is the sole. As longboarders typically don’t do as many different tricks as skateboarders, the upper part of the shoe is not as important as the bottom.
Caution: Don’t longboard in shoes that have a tread pattern like running shoes! I’ve done it and it only resulted in me ruining my new running shoes within the month. Save the money, get proper shoes that will last a long time instead of ruining other shoes.
For skateboarding and longboarding, what‘s most important is that the shoe has a flat and thick sole with a minimal tread pattern. The tread pattern is especially important as it governs the friction that the shoe experiences when riders footbrake.
The best longboarding shoes have a thick sole made out of vulcanized rubber or polyurethane. This means that your shoe will last a long time even if you are riding and footbraking every day.
Best Longboarding Shoes
One of the main things to remember is a lot of the best longboarding shoes are essentially the same. What you have to decide is what kind of skate shoe you want. Do you want a minimalist shoe such as the popular Vans skateboarding shoes? Or do you want bigger ones like DC produces.
Ultimately the choice is up to you. The best longboarding shoes are the ones that you will wear. It all depends on your personal style.
Etnies Mens Jameson 2 Eco Skateboard Shoe
My personal favorite shoe for longboarding and for casual use, the Etnies Jameson 2 Skateboard shoes will last you a long time. They’re a minimalist skateboard shoe which I personally prefer, as I can wear them when longboarding and out during the day.
This best longboarding shoe has a flat sole made completely out of rubber which makes them perfect for beginners looking for a shoe for footbraking. They are also available in all different colors and designs to fit anybody’s personal fashion sense.
One thing to note about these shoes is that they do tend to run a ¼ size small. If you are close to growing out of your current shoe, consider getting a half size up.
DC Mens Court Grafik Skate Shoe
One of the best longboard shoe made by DC, this is the shoe that comes to mind when you think of a traditional skate shoe. It features a low top which has a thick layer of fabric to protect the foot from the rough grip tape of skateboards.
These shoes also feature a rubber sole designed to last against repeated contact with the ground. They have a pill pattern tread which resists wear and is guaranteed to last against continued footbraking.
The DC Court Grafik shoes also feature vent holes to ensure that your feet do not overheat inside of this thick shoes. With the sturdy construction, these shoes are guaranteed to keep your feet comfortable through hours of skating.
Osiris NYC 83 Vulcanized Skate Shoe
A high ankle variety skateboard shoe, these shoes provide more support than the previous two shoes. With lacing all the way up to the ankle, these shoes will help stop bad ankle sprains after a failed trick or bad landing.
These longboarding shoes feature reinforced areas designed to deal with constant griptape contact and a synthetic sole for contact with the ground.
While these shoes look big, they remain light and keep your feet cool and supported. They are also available in a number of different designs to match with every outfit you could imagine.
Vans Skateboarding Shoes
No list of the best longboarding shoes would be complete without including Vans. Its impossible to go to any skate park without seeing at least one rider sporting Vans as his choice for skate shoes. Van’s were my first longboarding shoe simply because they were cheap and looked good with anything.
These shoes also have a rubber sole designed to last against footbraking. Van’s claims that their signature waffle design for the sole enhances the board feel for the rider.
Vans are also designed with a vulcanized design that enhances the comfort and durability for the rider. As somebody who has ridden in Vans for years, these shoes last forever and will take whatever you throw at them. They’re machine washable too, making it easy to keep them looking new.