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What are street shoes?

Street shoes. Skate shoes. Whatever you call them, what actually is this footwear that skaters are so keen on? Firstly, street shoes will mean something different to different people. We’re focussing on the best street shoes for skateboarding.

Whether referring to New Balance skate shoes,Nike skate shoes or old Vans skate shoes, all of this footwear will be designed for comfort and performance when riding a skateboard. All skate shoes look different and come in varying looks, but most look similar, given they all aim for the same things.

Benefits of wearing street shoes for skateboarding

So, why wouldn’t you just chuck on any pair of any old Nike shoes, adidas shoes or even jandals to tear up the skatepark? Skate shoes in NZ have been popular for many years and many reasons. Here are some benefits of a good pair of street shoes.


It’s fair to say that shoes worn for skateboarding get bashed around a bit. Even if you’re a semi-pro skater that doesn’t fall off your board often, your favourite pair of Nike skate shoes will be under constant impact. Thankfully, most skate shoes in NZ are built to last. Most street shoes use hardy materials and have extra reinforcement in areas of the shoe that come under the most stress. 

Top tip: If your shoes get dirty, cleaning them is easier than you think. Read our guide on how to clean white shoes for a few pointers. 

Better control

Even if you’ve been skating for years, you’ll remember how tough it was when starting out. When it comes to pulling off even ‘basic’ tricks like an ollie or turning corners, control is the aim of the game. Yes, the grip on your board is important. But what you wear on your feet also has a big role. 

It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about adidas skate shoes or New Balance skate shoes, most street kicks are built with soles that stick well to skateboards. Not only are they often specific materials, but even particular treads. All of this to help you stay in control. 


Many skaters probably wouldn’t like to admit it, but a part of skating culture is style. Obviously, you can wear whatever you want for skating. And that sense of freedom that comes with roaming the streets on your skateboard is a big part of the appeal. However, many popular skate clothing, from skateboard shorts to baggy shirts and street shoes, are going for a specific look. 

We always encourage people to make their own style. But, if you want to wear popular skateboard clothing, you’ll want to buy popular skate clothing brands and proper skate shoes. For a few pointers on picking out lifestyle kicks in general, read our buying guide on casual shoes.

Cupsole vs vulcunised sole?

When shopping for skate shoes, you may come across the terms cupsole and vulcanised sole. So, what do these terms mean? And which is better for skating? Here’s what you need to know:

Vulcanised sole

A vulcanised sole has been heated at a high temperature to make it thinner and softer. This particular sole may be better for skaters that want to feel the board more. Often, this means more experienced skaters. 


A cupsole is thicker and stiffer, as it hasn’t been through this heating process. Cupsoles are usually more for beginners, as your feet are more protected. Cupsoles will also typically last longer than vulcanised soles and feature a walls that cup the bottom of the shoes.

The range of skate shoes at Rebel Sport

At Rebel Sport, we’re proud of our selection of skate shoes for both men, women and kids. We stock leading brands, including:

Many of these footwear options feature the good characteristics we’ve discussed in this blog. If you’d like further advice on which skate shoes to buy, or want to try on footwear before you buy, drop into your local Rebel Sport. Our fitting experts are always keen to help and point you in the right direction. 

Converse Skate Shoes

Vans Skate Shoes


Other skatewear available at Rebel Sport

Why stop at skate shoes? At Rebel Sport, we also supply everything else you need for a great day skating. Our accessories and boards are from popular brands like Double$down, Quiksilver, Zoo York and heaps more. Some popular gear and accessories we offer include:

You can check out these items in person in your nearest store. Otherwise, shop online confidently, thanks to our price guarantee and $6 standard shipping.  

Top tip: A backpack can also be helpful for skateboarding. That way, you can take any snacks! Read our guide on how to choose a backpack for some ideas. 

Get skating to Rebel Sport

There’s a lot to consider when kitting yourself out for skateboarding. A big part of this is getting good skate shoes. View our range of men’s and women’s skate shoes online now. Other footwear blogs you may be interested in include: