best vegan skate shoes

Here Are the 8 Best Vegan Skate Shoes in 2020

As vegan looking for shoes, it can be frustrating how pervasive the use of leather is. Even some “man-made” shoes will randomly include some piece of leather. Really annoying. And this is true among skate shoes, too.

But here’s the good news: Most of the best brands in skate shoes do have vegan options. The list below includes Vans, Etnies, Osiris, Adidas, Saucony, and Converse. So you don’t need to choose an unknown, random brand. You can get quality skate shoes.

First, let’s look at these 8 vegan skate shoes. Below that, I’ve also included a buying guide, with 6 factors to consider as you choose your shoes!

1. Vans: Unisex Old Skool Classic Skate Shoes [Buy]

Just like all Vans shoes, these are made with high-quality materials and provide great comfort. They’re available in tons of colors and patterns—see them all and check the price on Amazon.

The padded cuffs protect your feet from friction, which feels good while skating. The waffle-textured sole gives good traction.

With a canvas and synthetic suede upper (vegan) and reinforced toe caps, these shoes are protected from continuous wear. The side stripe is pretty iconic, as well.

They’re washing machine and dryer-safe, but they tend to run a little wide.

What I Like

  • Canvas upper is available in multiple colors.
  • Anti-slip outsole and padded cuffs.
  • Reinforced toe caps to protect from wear.
  • Unisex—for men or women.
  • Washing machine and dryer-safe.

What I Don’t Like

  • They tend to run wide.

2. Adidas: Originals Men’s Adiease Sneaker [Buy]

These Adidas skate shoes are 100% synthetic and vegan, with the brand reliability of Adidas. They’re available in three colors—see them all and check the price on Amazon.

They have a standout vintage style. They have a comfortable and breathable upper made of lightweight canvas. These shoes don’t need a break-in period—they come soft and malleable.

The vulcanized outsole gives you an excellent feel for the board with better traction and control. These shoes are supposed to be unisex, but the sizing is meant for men, so they can run big for women.

What I Like

  • Awesome vintage look
  • Comfortable and breathable canvas.
  • No break-in period is required.
  • Vulcanized outsole for a great feel.

What I Don’t Like

  • They run big for women (but they are meant to be unisex)

3. Etnies: Men’s Jameson 2 Eco Skate Shoe [Buy]

These eco-friendly men’s skate shoes are made of recycled rubber and plastic. They’re 100% man-made (no animal ingredients). They’re available in multiple colors and size variations. Check the other colors and price on Amazon.

These shoes have “recycled open-cell foam insoles” for comfort with stability. The extra padding is pretty nice. The outsole is made of recycled rubber, but it can get slippery.

They look good. That said, the tongue and collar are thinly padded, so they’re a bit less comfortable than some other shoes on this list.

What I Like

  • Made of recycled rubber and plastic.
  • Multiple colors are available.
  • Open-cell foam insole.
  • Reduces strain.

What I Don’t Like

  • The recycled rubber outsole can be too slippery.
  • The tongue and collar are thinly padded.

4. Osiris: Men’s Relic Skateboarding Shoe [Buy]

These are some durable vegan skate shoes. They’re made of synthetic materials but are reinforced in the high-abrasion areas. The rubber sole provides great traction, too. Check the price and the other colors on Amazon.

These shoes have a lightweight tongue and a padded collar that really allow you to wear your shoes for long periods without discomfort.

The canvas is comfortable and won’t restrict your movement. However, these shoes fit a bit narrow, so they’re not the best choice if you have wide feet.

What I Like

  • Skate shoes made of comfortable canvas.
  • Extra-reinforcement in high-abrasion areas.
  • Better traction.
  • Padded tongue and collar.

What I Don’t Like

  • Not suitable for people with wide feet.

5. Converse: Chuck Taylor All Star High Top Sneaker [Buy]

Yes, the most classic sneakers of all time are vegan. Whether you’re looking for skate shoes or a cool pair of sneakers for a casual outing, Chuck Taylors won’t let you down. Check the price and other colors on Amazon.

As a vegan of 13 years, I’ve owned several pairs of Converse over the years. The real Converse ones are much more durable than the knock-off brands I’ve tried.

As a skater, the design also protects your ligaments from potential injury, giving you more confidence.

These shoes have a vulcanized rubber sole, so they have great flexibility. They also don’t really need a break-in period. The canvas upper is soft and breathable from day 1. They’re also machine wash-safe.

The toe caps provide extra protection. However, these sneakers tend to run a little narrow, so they won’t suit you if you have wide feet.

There’s no padding on the collar, so they can be uncomfortable on the ankle if you have sensitive skin. But that has never bothered me personally.

What I Like

  • Most classic design ever.
  • Canvas upper for more comfort and breathability.
  • Flexible rubber soles.
  • Unisex sneakers for men or women.
  • Machine washable.
  • Toe caps for extra protection.

What I Don’t Like

  • Not suitable for people with wide feet.
  • No padding on the collar is uncomfortable for some.

6. Etnies: Men’s Stratus Skate Shoe [Buy]

If your feet tend to get hot, these skate shoes may be the choice you. They’re made of knitted mesh that has great breathability. Check the price and other colors on Amazon here.

These sneakers are fully lined with Lycra spandex for a comfortable fit. You don’t need a break-in period—the shoes are malleable right from the start. The interior fits like a sock, so you can wear them for quite a while comfortably.

The outsole has good traction, too. The front part can get shredded if you’re doing really heavy grinding, however.

There are multiple colors available, and the detailing on the heel really looks good in my opinion. I would just recommended sizing up—these sneakers tend to run narrow.

What I Like

  • Knitted mesh for better breathability.
  • Sock-like insole for a comfortable fit.
  • Comfortable foam outsole for good traction.
  • Elegant detail.

What I Don’t Like

  • The front part isn’t that durable.
  • The sneakers tend to run narrow.

7. Saucony Originals: Men’s Jazz Low Pro Vegan Sneaker [Buy]

These sneakers are comfortable and classic—people love these. Very highly rated. They’re made of durable canvas, so they can withstand heavy use, too. Check the price and other colors on Amazon.

They have good traction even on smoooth surfaces. They stay comfortable even when wearing them all day—but some people would prefer extra cushioning. They fit well for both men and women.

There are three different colors, so you can choose the perfect pair to match what you typically wear (view them all on Amazon).

What I Like

  • Cool looking shoes with the contrast stitching.
  • Soft canvas.
  • Textured outsole for better traction.
  • Padded tongue and collar.

What I Don’t Like

  • The sneakers can get too hot for some.
  • They’re not as well-cushioned as some others.

8. Etnies: Women’s Mc Rap High W’s Skate Shoe [Buy]

These sneakers are designed specifically for female skaters. Check the colors and price on Amazon here.

They feature double Strobel stitching for durability. These sneakers have a padded collar and tongue, and the egg-crate midsole adds to the comfort, too.

These shoes are really flexible, which is great. You can twist your feet comfortably on the board, and the shoes won’t restrict your range of motion. The rubber sole provides good traction on all surfaces.

As they run a little narrow, I’d recommend you size up for a comfortable fit.

What I Like

  • High-contrast design stands out.
  • Double stitching for durability.
  • Egg-crate midsole.
  • Rubber outsole for good traction.
  • Multi-directional flex.

What I Don’t Like

  • The sneakers run a little narrow.
  • They can be too bulky for some people.

More Options…

I have another blog post with the 13 Best Vegan Sneakers for Men. There’s only a couple of shoes overlapping between that list and this list. But if you’re looking for more options, a lot of those would be good choices, too!

6 Factors in Choosing a Vegan Skate Shoe

Whether you’re an avid skateboarder or are just taking your first steps, there are a few things to understand about picking a vegan skate shoe.

1. Vulcanized or Cupsole

This refers to the type of rubber on the shoe. Vulcanized shoes are heated in high temperatures and are quite flexible, while cupsole shoes are harder. They both have pros and cons.

Vulcanized shoes are smoother and allow easy movement on the skateboard. They also break-in easily. Cupsole sneakers are more durable, have more heel support, and provide better impact absorption.

The stiffer rubber of cupsole shoes doesn’t provide as good of traction. This can be a problem for skateboarders. Not only do you need traction with the board, but also smooth surfaces like ledges, halfpipes, rails, walls, etc. For that reason, I personally prefer a vulcanized shoe.

2. Low-Top, Medium, or High-Top

Low-top Chuck Taylors—a classic vegan skate shoe. View colors and price on Amazon.

Low-top sneakers sit below the ankle level and allow for better mobility—but less protection.

High-top sneakers sit above the ankle level and offer the most protection, but they may affect your mobility.

Most skaters prefer mid-top sneakers that sit right at the ankle level. They offer a decent degree of protection without affecting the range of motion.

3. Upper Material

As vegans, we basically want either canvas or synthetic leather in a skate shoe.

Synthetic leather resembles the feel and look of real leather, but it may need a break-in period. Canvas is lightweight and breathable. However, it doesn’t provide as much support.

(With a thin canvas shoe like the Chuck Taylors, for example, sometimes the skateboard can come around and hit your foot and it actually kind of hurts… You wouldn’t get that with a more padded shoe.)

4. Insole Material

This layer on top of the midsole will affect your comfort as you skate. Proper cushioning will protect your feet and reduce discomfort, especially if you’re spending long periods out skateboarding.

Some sneakers have a removable insole that you can remove if you want to feel your board a bit more.

5. Toe Cap

A rubber toe cap is sometimes added to the front of the skate shoes to increase the durability and protection.

These toecaps won’t restrict the movement of your toes or affect your movement, but they can help your sneakers last longer. So I see them as a good thing.

6. Fit

Although online shopping for shoes can be a little tricky, these tips can help you pick the right size:

  • Read the comments on Amazon to see if the shoes tend to run big or small (I tried to include notes here on most of the shoes)
  • Once you get your shoes, always try them with your socks on.
  • Try on shoes in the afternoon, not after a full day of walking and standing on them.
  • Remember in most cases, the upper needs a break-in period.
  • If your toes can’t extend comfortably, the shoes are probably too tight.

Two More Recommendation for Your Vegan Journey

1. This is the best vegan multivitamin I’ve found in 13 years of being vegan. It has vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega-3—and nothing else. Translation: It only has the nutrients vegans are actually low in. Read my full review of Future Kind’s multivitamin here (with 10% discount).

2. This is the best vegan starter kit I know of. It’s a bundle of 9 beautiful e-books that help you transition to a healthy plant-based diet the right way. The advice is spot-on, and it has print-outs and checklists that make it easy to implement. Read my full review of Nutriciously here.

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