Skateboarding shoes are one of the most underrated components on a skater’s equipment list. These unique shoes assist with the balancing process, as well as help to provide additional gripping properties.
Brands of skateboard shoes don’t typically design flashy shoes with bright colors and extravagant designs. However, that doesn’t make them any less important. Have you ever tried skateboarding in a pair of loafers or cowboy boots? Sometimes you don’t realize the importance of something until you are forced to go without it.
A pair of skateboarding shoes aren’t the most expensive fashion item in the world, but they’re not free, either. High-quality pairs of skateboarding shoes can run upwards of $100.
Normally, a price tag like that wouldn’t be a huge issue, but we’re not talking about light-duty sneakers. Typically, a $100 pair of sneakers get the special cologne treatment. They get used as little as possible, are handled with care, and are reserved for special occasions.
We don’t baby a skate shoe nearly as much. Unfortunately, skating shoes are abused regularly. The average pair of these kicks get stretched, torn, scuffed, and beat down like it’s their job. Technically, this is their job.
If you were forced to purchase a new pair of skate shoes each time they suffered a mortal wound, your bank account would end up on life support. Luckily, skaters are resourceful and know all about persevering after taking a beating.
Undoubtedly, you have a few methods of repairing your favorite skateboard shoes. Luckily, we’re going to provide you with a few more. Continue reading for a comprehensive guide on how to make skate shoes last longer.
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The Skinny on Skateboard Shoes
Skate shoes come in a wide variety of brands and styles. Despite this, at the core of most skate shoes, the basic design elements are the same.
Thick rubber soles, a padded tongue, and a thick cushion on the insoles are typical of most of the shoes that skate brands manufacture.
Your skateboard game might not become elevated by donning a pair of said shoes, but they do reduce the risk of injury. Comfort levels get raised when you rock a quality pair of skate-brand board shoes, adding to the overall experience.
Before we give up the goods and start dishing out our secret repair tips, it helps to understand common trouble spots. Keep your eyes on these areas of the shoe for potential damage.
Areas Most Prone to Damage and Wear
If you monitor these areas of a skate shoe, it’s possible to avoid severe malfunctions by catching problems early. Watch these sections of your shoes like a Tony Hawk for more durable skate shoes.
- The heel area is prone to damage. When we say heel area, we’re talking about the very back of the skate shoe, directly above the sole. Heel flips can damage the stitching on the heel section. Sudden stops using the heel are also a great way to rip the backs of skate shoes open.
- Soles on skate shoes might take the worst pounding out of any other area. The soles get slammed, dragged, and rolled, leaving the potential for a wide range of damage. If soles aren’t cared for, it won’t take long before your shoes talk to you. Shoes last longer when the soles are kept in good condition.
The Lace Area
- The shoelace area gets a lot of detailed stitching. It turns out this stitching didn’t hold up well to being beaten with a skateboard and stretched beyond belief. When a skater comes down hard or makes a hard shift, the shoes get stretched in all directions. It’s not uncommon for a skater to have a blowout, destroying the entire shoe.
Rubber Toe Cap
- The toe box, or rubber toe cap, is the first area to go sometimes. The constant running, shuffling, pushing, and kicking causes the toe box to fold constantly. When the toe box gets creased hundreds of times in one day, there’s bound to be some damage.
Now that you’re familiar with the biggest areas of concern, we can teach you how to fix them. These are some of the best repair methods to use on a skate shoe.
How to Make Skate Shoes Last Longer
Use Super Glue on the Shoe Laces
Grab some super glue and dab it on spots where the laces are starting to rip. It’s also a good idea to put a few drops of glue around the holes you thread the laces through.
Using this method can reduce friction between this area of the laces and the deck. This friction can cause rips from lace exposure, especially if you perform a lot of kick tricks.
Shoe Goo is Your Best Friend
Shoe Goo can work miracles on areas of skate shoes that need to get patched. The toe area of the shoe is prone to holes from wear. Apply the substance directly to the affected area to make skate shoes last longer.
Alternatively, you can be proactive and apply Shoe Goo to areas you know will eventually need repairs. This can prevent damage altogether, but you’ll need to keep applying the liquid every so often.
The Shoe Goo creates a shell-type of layer on the exterior of where you apply the Shoe Goo. There’s nothing like good, old preventative maintenance.
Here’s a pro skateboarder tip for you rookies. Shoe Goo repairs can take up to 72 hours to dry efficiently. Who wants to take a 72-hour break from skating?
Use a hair dryer to shave off precious hours from the drying process. Apply the heat directly to the repair area, and you can be back on your skateboard in a couple of hours.
Prime Your Grip-Tape and Skateboard Deck
99% of the cosmetic damage a skate shoe suffers is from the hands of the grip tape. A constant scraping and scuffing regimen from coarse, unforgiving grip tape will have your shoes worn to nothing in no time.
Use your spare pieces of grip tape that are leftover after cutting the tape to fit your board, and sand the deck down before the first use. Sanding down the grip-tape you applied to the deck will eliminate a lot of the potential damage your shoe suffers.
Is Duct-Tape Worth It?
Duct tape is worth it, but only in short-term situations. It’s a good idea to pack a roll of duct tape in your backpack for emergencies. If your shoe rips or needs emergency repairs, break out the duct tape to make it through the rest of your session.
When you get home, you’ll have to find stronger materials as a means for a permanent repair. The duct tape won’t hold forever.
However, in a jam, the duct tape will give you the luxury of not having to cut your day at the skatepark short. When you’re on fire, this can be a lifesaver.
Can You Fill It, Deep in Your Sole?
You can use any polyurethane adhesive for this job, but we prefer Sikaflex 221. The Sikaflex must be applied with a caulk gun, so you’ll need one of those, as well. This stuff can help after hard landings.
If you blow your shoe out or wear a hole through the sole, this adhesive will turn your shoe into Frankenstein. Your skate kicks will return straight from the dead with this miracle adhesive. This stuff dries quickly and turns into rubber after you apply it.
This couldn’t be any more convenient for repairing a blown-out skate shoe. After you apply it and allow some time for drying, use a piece of cardboard and elbow grease to shape the Sikaflex, so it’s even with your soles. You’re using the same effect as sanding when you do this.
Now that you’ve got our secret sauce for shoe repairs, how about some helpful knowledge for choosing a nice pair of skate shoes? If our bulletproof tips weren’t enough to save your shoes, it might be time for a new pair.
Maybe you’re on your first pair because you’re a rookie skateboarder. A pair of new shoes could have already been on the menu. Whatever the case is, keep these important factors in mind when you’re making a decision.
Choosing the Right Skate Shoes
The durability of your skate shoes will boil down to one simple factor. What are the shoes made from? When it comes to any items that will take a beating, the only thing you can rely on is the material used to fashion these items.
Generally, skate shoes are made from either leather, suede, and canvas. Leather and suede are going to be more durable than canvas.
However, leather shoes aren’t going to be very comfortable on your feet for skating for long periods. If you’re looking for durability, suede shoes are going to be your best option.
Canvas breaks down easier than both of these materials, but that doesn’t take it out of the equation. During the summer, canvas shoes can provide a cooling relief to your feet because of their lightweight design. The breathability of canvas shoes is unmatched by suede and leather.
If you’re a light skater who prefers cruising or longboarding, canvas shoes might be a better option for your feet. You could always reinforce canvas shoes with our repair tips and make them bulletproof.
Now that you have all the relevant repair tips and pertinent information for acquiring new skate shoes, you’re nearly unstoppable. Before getting unleashed into the world of skateboard shoes, we have a few more last-minute tips you need to remember.
Last Minute Skate Shoe Tips
- It’s never a bad idea to keep a backup pair of skate shoes. When you buy a new pair of skate shoes, don’t throw away the old ones. Keep them as a spare or alternate to make skate shoes last longer.
- Never use hot glue on your shoes for any reason. The chemicals used in hot glue will make the material in your shoes weak, leading to failure and additional damage. The heat from the gun could also burn and damage your shoes.
- Read reviews about skate shoes before you pull the trigger. Ask your fellow skaters how they feel about certain brands and designs. When you’re purchasing something that gets used as often as skate shoes, you’ll want some reassurance they’re reliable.
- Always try your skate shoes on before you buy them. Most skate shops will even let you push a skateboard across the store a couple of times to get a feel for them. Comfort is important in skate shoes, and you’ll want to make sure shoes provide a high level.
A good brand of skate shoes can last a long time, regardless of the damage they sustain. A high-quality pair will be fashioned in a way that allows extended shelf life.
After average life expectancy gets met, that’s where your expertise as a cobbler comes into play; or at least your ability to follow our repair guide. Using proper repair methods is not unrealistic to get an additional six months to a year out of your skate shoes.