Best Skate Shoes Of 2016 | Wear Tested
Rubber toe caps, Hyperfeel, Impact I, Wafflecup, and G6 welded frames? There was a ton of new skate shoe tech and trends in 2016 that you probably haven't had the chance to skate yet. Luckily, we have a staff of daily skaters that we've thrown in front of our cameras to wear test all the top new models that hit the shelves this year. Get all the details below on our top five new skate shoes of 2016, in no particular order. Hit the blue buttons to see the shoes in action and watch our in depth wear test review videos.
Emerica Hsu G6
Jerry Hsu's new model brought new technology to the table while maintaining the style of the classic Emerica shoes we know and love. The magic is in the extremely lightweight vulcanized construction and G6 midsole. Many shoes are either too thick or too thin, but the Hsu seems to have just the right amount of cushioning to feel and skate like a vulc while soaking up high impacts, preventing heel bruises, and providing happy feet at the end of a long skate day. Packed with bonus features like an internally welded G6 frame, neoprene tongue centering bands, mesh ventilation panels, mid-top ankle support, and seamless durability, the Hsu G6 checks all the boxes of a great all around skate shoe.
Nike SB Janoski Hyperfeel XT
There was pretty serious pushback over the rollout of Nike SB's new Hyperfeel technology. Even we're willing to admit that, although it skates great, the Koston 3 is a little over the top. The Bruin Hyperfeel is more our style, but doesn't have the same Lunarlon insole. When the Janoski Hyperfeel came out with the classic Janoski upper, a Lunarlon insole, and an adapted collar design from the Janoski Slip, we were hyped. An all around balance of boardfeel and support with slip-on style comfort means you're ready for any spot. The only downside was the price tag. That problem was solved with the XT's addition of a low profile rubber toe cap without bulky seams. Extra durability at the same price gives you more bang for your buck in a shoe that skates like a dream.
Vans Kyle Walker
Vans is known for their classic board feel, but they were lacking a shoe for guys like Thrasher's 2016 Skater of the Year Kyle Walker who are down to huck on gnarly kink rails. The Kyle Walker Pro uses Vans' hybrid Wafflecup construction and UltraCush HD insoles to provide more support and stability in the heel while offering natural board feel in the forefoot. The beefy construction takes some effort to break in, but they loosen up to offer the board feel you need for all types of skating. If you're going hard every day, a little longer break in is a small price to pay for the protection and support your feet deserve. As with all Vans Pro shoes, DuraCap rubber underlays keep the Kyle Walker Pro going strong long after the suede begins to fade.
Adidas Lucas Premiere ADV
Lucas Puig's new model is his best yet. Substantially slimmed down from his previous shoe, the thin cupsole construction offers structure and support with excellent board feel. If you have a techy skate style like Lucas, you need the natural flexibility of a low profile shoe, but you also know the strain your feet can take when battling a challenging trick. The Lucas Premiere ADV skates like a thin vulc shoe while providing the protection you need for all day skate sessions. With the constant skater in mind, Lucas and adidas added large mesh panels for breathability and adiTUFF rubber underlays to prevent blowouts from repeated flicks.
DC Evan Smith S
Evan Smith was on a new level this year, and his shoe is a new favorite. It may look like just another rubber toe cap shoe, but it is easily one of the best in the category. Instead of adding thick layers of bulky rubber, Evan and DC added just one extra layer of foxing tape that extends around the toe of the shoe. This gives all the grip and durability benefits without adding excess weight, stiffness, and chunky rubber seams with long break in periods. Overall, it's a very low profile vulcanized shoe, but the Impact I outsole provides surprisingly impressive impact protection. Inverted cones on the tread pattern absorb energy without adding additional material between you and your board. Support and durability without sacrificing flexibility and board feel? That's what we all want.