The Best Longboarding Shoes (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Get great control and stability on your longboard with these excellent longboarding shoes
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BY Lisa Conant / LAST UPDATED ON January 4, 2021
Longboarding was initially conceived by surfers who wanted a land-based activity that mimicked the feeling and sensation of surfing so that they could practice when they weren’t in the ocean. It’s a popular sport with a loyal set of athletes who not only use it to improve their surfing skills but also as an environmentally friendly and efficient means of transportation. You can ride a longboard to commute to work or go to school, meet up with friends, or just tool around town to check out what’s going on.
Having a shoe that is specifically designed for use on a longboard will greatly help to enhance your longboarding experience by providing more stability, grip, and control on your board. Functionality isn’t the only important aspect of a great longboarding shoe, however. You also want them to be comfortable and to look great. With that in mind, we’ve come up with some options to consider when choosing the longboarding shoe that will be best for you.
This shoe is one of DC’s most popular models for a reason: it’s good. It has a solid rubber sole that will keep your feet secure and steady on the longboard.
- This shoe is super sturdy leather construction that’s durable and long-lasting
- Added cushioning and support protect you while doing tricks
- This shoe is bulky and chunky—definitely not minimalistic
- Sizing tends to run small
For the more budget-conscious consumer, this shoe is an excellent cross between quality and value. Offered in a huge array of colors and patterns, there’s something to fit any personality or sense of style.
- This shoe is super affordable
- The slip-on design is super quick and easy to get on and off
- Available in lots of colors and styles.
- The sole is slightly thinner than on some other shoes and may wear out faster
- The stretchy side panels can get worn out by continued tricking
This is a shoe that will energize you while you ride, thanks to its specially designed construction. We love the simple, lace-up minimalist canvas design of this rugged board shoe.
- This shoe has a lightweight, breathable canvas upper that’s super easy to clean
- Extended vamp stitching is designed to hold up to the rigors of doing tricks
- Specially designed Flex Wrap construction offers flexibility
- This shoe is offered in limited color and style options and tends to be less expressive than many other models
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Benefits of Longboarding Shoes
- Comfort. Longboarding shoes are designed to be super comfortable so that you can travel far distances without getting any blisters or causing pain in your feet, which are your primary propellant on your board.
- Support. Longboarding shoes are made to provide greater lateral support for your feet so that you can have more stability on the board and during pushing off. They have padding around the ankles, or high tops to protect your ankles from getting fatigued or bruised from banging on the longboard.
- Improved balance. Along with better ankle and lateral support, longboard shoes have flat, grippy treads that ensure you stay attached to the board and don’t accidentally slide off at the wrong time or lose your balance going around turns or on uneven terrain.
- Style. Longboarders have a unique sense of style that is often just as important as the skill of longboarding itself. Longboarding shoes are designed to fit with the sport and aren’t just for improved function, but you’ll look good too.
Types of Longboarding Shoes
Vulcanized Sole Shoes
Vulcanization is the process of baking the shoes to form a strong bond between the upper and the outsole. This process allows for gummier and more grippy rubbers for traction, as it causes the rubber to harden, allowing for thinner soles and more board feel through the shoe.
Cup Sole Shoes
In a cup sole shoe, the upper is either sewn or glued to the sole with adhesives. These soles tend to be thicker than in vulcanized shoes, but you get better stability, durability, and protection from them. Cup sole shoes will also often have additional padding in the uppers, making for a more cushioned shoe.
This type of longboarding shoe is the most commonly used type of shoe. It sits below the ankle bone and can have either vulcanized soles or cup soles. These types of shoes provide more maneuverability and less ankle support because they reset below your ankle bones.
These types of shoes have uppers that come up past the ankle, hitting around where the Achilles tendon meets the calf muscle. They can also have cup soles or vulcanized soles. These types of shoes provide a lot of ankle and foot protection but can tend to limit motion and cause fewer minute reactions to the board.
The Vans brand has been connecting with youth culture to promote creative self-expression, authenticity, and individuality for over 50 years. Now under the umbrella of VF Corporation with other hard-hitting brands like The North Face, Timberland, and JanSport, Vans makes top-notch shoes like the classic Checkerboard Slip-On Shoe and the Authentic Shoe.
DC Shoes was founded in 1994 and quickly grew to be one of the world’s top leading skateboarding and longboarding manufacturers. Some of its more popular products include the DC Men's Kalis Vulc Leather Shoes and the DC Women’s Trace Shoes
Adidas was founded by Adolf Dassler in Germany in 1924 and is the second-largest sportswear manufacturer in the world. Adidas pioneered the development of spiked cleat shoes that have become required footwear in many sports. It’s well known for products like the timeless Stan Smith Shoe and the Copa 20.1 Firm Ground Cleats.
The Converse Rubber Shoe Company was founded in Malden, Mass., in 1908 by Marquis Mills Converse. The forerunner of the modern and well-loved All Star shoe was designed in 1917 and marketed under the name “Non-Skids.” Classic and timeless designs also include the Chuck Taylor All Star Shoe and the Chuck 70 Hi-top Shoe.
Longboarding Shoe Pricing
- Under $50: This price range will get you some good quality basic longboarding shoes, as well as shoes from newcomers to the market who are trying to build a name and reputation as a reliable manufacturer. Many cup sole shoes are in this price range.
- $50-$100: This is the price range in which you will find many shoes with high-quality construction and durable components. This range will have lots of variety of materials, colors, and styles to choose from.
- $100 and up: This price range contains some higher-end, more technologically advanced shoes that are designed to be super rugged and protective of your feet while you practice tricks. They use high-quality components in their padding, and most will use vulcanization as their means of adhering soles to uppers.
All good longboard shoes will be made from high-quality and rugged materials that can withstand the rigors of longboarding and trick practicing. If you go for canvas, make sure it’s top of the line. Leather is usually a more durable, albeit hotter choice for the upper. Suede is also an excellent and durable option, whether it’s real or synthetic.
Reinforced stitching with strong thread is key in any good longboarding shoe. Steer clear of shoes that are just glued together. Look for double or even triple stitching in areas that take the brunt of the abuse, like around the toes and heels to be sure that your shoes will last as long as possible and not just fall apart within the first couple of months of wear.
Along with strong stitching comes choosing a shoe that has enough reinforced components to hold up the demands and wear and tear that longboarding shoes are subjected to. Since these shoes aren’t just used for walking, you want to look for extra layers of material and stitching along the toe cap and sides to protect against abrasions from dragging your foot on the board. Reinforcements along the lace eyelets and heels are also important features to look for.
This is a key feature in a longboard shoe because heavy-duty materials and lots of reinforcements can really increase the overall weight of the shoe, which can be an energy sucker during your ride. No one wants to get fatigued too quickly, so the best longboarding shoes will be durable, but will still be lightweight enough for you to comfortably wear all day.
Let’s face it, you’re not just wearing longboarding shoes for their functionality. Most people want them to look good too. This is strictly a personal preference. Do you want bulkier, more cushioned shoes, or something more minimalistic and streamlined? Do you want loud, funky patterns and colors, or something more muted and understated? Lots of the top companies that manufacture longboarding shoes will have celebrities who are invited to come up with their own lines of designs and styles to set them apart from the competition.
- Grip. This is a key consideration and should just come standard in any good longboarding shoe. The sole needs to be made of grippy, durable rubber that will keep you on the board and allow you to confidently and easily control the board with minute or incremental movements of your foot.
- Cost. This is often one of the biggest considerations for consumers. If you’re on a tight budget, you can still get a really high-quality pair of longboarding shoes that will stand up to the rigors of the sport. However, if you are a serious longboarder, investing a little extra cash into a shoe that’s well-known for being tough and reliable is a good idea if you can afford it.
- Lace Protection. This is a consideration often overlooked by a lot of longboard riders. You’re going to put these shoes through the wringer, so definitely get ones that have metal reinforced eyelets and won’t tear the upper material or stretch it out, causing your shoes not to fit properly. An improperly fitting shoe or untied lace can lead to some major injuries when riding your longboard, and no one wants that.
Best Longboarding Shoe Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Before purchasing new longboard shoes, talk to your friends and fellow boarders about their favorite shoes and why they love them, or why they would steer clear of a certain brand.
- Read online user reviews prior to purchase to see what others have to say about the shoe you’re considering? You’ll know pretty quickly if they’re worth the time and money or not.
- Wear your shoes around the house for a few days to test them for comfort or fit issues, that way you can more easily return them if they're not going to be a good option for you, since the soles won’t be damaged or dirty from wearing them outside.
- Carefully applying super glue to the stitches of the shoe, especially in the high-friction spots, prior to wearing them can really help protect and extend the life of your shoes.
- When holes do start to appear in your shoes, you can use Shoe Goo to patch them up and further extend the life and wearability of your shoes. Small holes or even medium-sized holes don’t have to become huge holes if you’re diligent about caring for them.
Q: Are longboarding shoes good for skating too?
A: Most longboarding shoes are good for skateboarding, but skateboarding definitely puts more stress on shoes than longboarding, so canvas uppers won’t hold up as long on a skateboard user as they will on a longboard user, who is most likely doing fewer flips and tricks.
Q: Are longboarding shoes good for daily use?
A: Most longboarding shoes are ideally designed to be versatile and stylish enough to be great for daily streetwear. They aren’t however, a good substitute for running shoes or athletic shoes if you’re planning to use them for another sport.
Q: How long will my longboarding shoes last?
A: This definitely depends on how hard you are on them. If you’re wearing them every single day and using your longboard frequently, your shoes will obviously wear out faster than if you’re wearing them mostly for street use and not daily.
Now that you know all you need to know about what to look for and how to select your perfect longboarding shoe, all you have to do is decide. Are you drawn to the DC Men's Court Graffik Se Skateboarding Shoe, the Lugz Men's Clipper Sneaker, or one of our other top picks?
Let us know in the comments what’s your favorite and why, we love to hear from you.