Skate shoes have to deal with some very tough conditions and there’s no doubt that some skate shoes are more durable than others but often there’s a compromise somewhere. Often that compromise is most obviously felt in terms of board feel and flexibility.
It can be especially tough if you’re a veggie (vegan) or choose not to wear suede or leather. Canvas shoes have always been notorious for burning through on the sides quickly.
Traditionally when a shoe was enhanced for durability extra material was added to the shoe which would then reduce the amount movement the shoe would offer.
Today shoe companies have vastly improved the tricks they use to make shoes last longer.
Vans have been using the Vans Duracap on selected shoes for a couple of years now. The Duracap is a thin layer of rubber that completely wraps around the toe area on the inside of the shoe. This hidden layer isn’t felt in any way and doesn’t affect the feel of the shoe but is super tough. It can easily double the life of a shoe and as you wear through the outer layer of suede or canvas you know you have an even tougher hidden underneath.
Obviously using Shoe Goo or Superglue can further extend the life of a shoe but once you’ve had a pair that incorporates extra tough toe protection it’s difficult to go back to anything else.
The Vans Gilbert Crockett Pro is one of the toughest shoes available. It features the Duracap toe protection, the Vans Ultracush HD footbed and the updated Vans Wafflecup sole. Each element designed for the sole purpose of improving board feel, comfort and durability.
The Vans Chima Ferguson Pro skate shoe is one of our favourite skateboarding shoes of recent years. Built using the original Vans waffle sole gives the shoe a classic old school kind of feel and makes them instantly skate-able without the need for an uncomfortable and awkward breaking in period. The features a long single toe piece so wearing through laces is very unlikely and the Vans Duracap mentioned above features throughout the entire toe area making the shoe incredibly tough for such simple looking and lightweight shoe.
In keeping with the old school shoe feel the Chima uses the Vans Ultracush Lite footbed which whilst providing good cushioning support gives a much lower to the floor feel.
Vans aren’t the only ones to include extra durability into their shoes. The Nike SB Janoski is one of skateboardings most popular and iconic shoes. The Janoski is a well constructed shoe in its own right but the recent release of the Janaski PR version builds on the classic Janoski shape and improves the durability with a protective layer on the toe. Unlike the Vans Duracap the Nike PR toe protection layer is on the outside of the shoe but doubles the life of the suede beneath it.