Can You Skateboard in Converse?

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Ready to shred the skatepark but wondering if your Converse kicks are up to the task? The short answer is yes, Converse shoes, especially those from their CONS line, are a skateboarder’s friend.

With a legacy that dates back decades, these shoes offer a rubber toe cap for control and even special editions designed for skaters. However, some argue that certain models may wear down faster. So, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of skateboarding in Converse!

The Rise of Converse in Skateboarding Culture

Converse was founded in 1908 and first rose to popularity through their basketball sneakers in the early 1900s. While initially designed for the court, the brand’s minimalist Chuck Taylor All-Stars soon found a passionate following in a budding community – skateboarding.

Throughout the 1960s and 70s as skateboarding began emerging as an extreme sport, the off-duty shoes’ durable canvas material and thick rubber soles proved ideal for gripping boards. Not only were they rugged enough to withstand grueling impact, but their flexible profile allowed natural movement.

As iconic skaters like Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta began shredding in Chuck Taylors, their popularity in skate parks accelerated. By the 1980s, the shoes had become indelibly linked to skate culture worldwide. Brand sponsorships and promotional videos further cemented Converse’s place within the subculture.

Today, over a century since launching, Chuck Taylors remain the go-to sneaker for skaters of all levels. Beyond just function, they represent the rebellious, DIY spirit at skating’s core. Through enduring trends and resurgences in the sport, Converse continues innovating their classic designs while honoring rich skateboarding history and tradition. For skaters, they are more than footwear – they are a symbol of individualism, grit and being part of a community.

What Makes Converse an Ideal Skate Shoe

Durability: The canvas material and sturdy rubber sole units withstand heavy impact from grinds and slides. The double-stitched seams reinforce vulnerable areas from board wax and wear and tear.

Board Feel: Thin, flexible outsoles allow skaters to feel the board for improved tricks and landings. The integrated toe cap protects toes from slamming into the nose.

Lightweight Cushioning: Converse shoes absorb impact without added bulk or weight-restricting dynamic footwork. The cushioned insole supports all-day comfort.

Secure Ankle Fit: The tight but slack-free fit keeps feet locked in place without restricting the range of motion for technical tricks.

Traction: The durable rubber toe cap and Wheel abrasion areas provide a multidirectional grip for slides, launches, and peels.

Style: From classic Chucks to the CONS line, options fuse retro iconography with modern colorways that reflect skating’s creative culture.

Specially Formulated Materials: CONS models feature suede and other hard-wearing materials to maximize the shoe life. Reinforced stitching withstands bending board tails and noses.

With thoughtful features engineered for board control and performance, Converse proves the simple shoe provides a natural extension of the skater’s feet for maximum control, board feel, and rugged dependability session after session.

Points of Contention

While revered for their iconic look and relative affordability, certain Converse models do have limitations that some skaters feel prevent them from being the optimal choice.

Durability Debate: The softer gum rubber outsoles on classics like the Chuck Taylor 70 are praised for board but criticized for their accelerated wear in high-impact skating. Hardcore park rats may prefer tougher rubber options. However, casual and lifestyle skaters still favor Converse for their lightweight flexibility.

Board Specifics: The low-top silhouette works well for street and casual skating but provides less ankle support for vert maneuvers. Square toe boxes may not suit those who prefer rounded profiles. Nonetheless, models from the CONS line address these needs via reinforced fabrics and built-in ankle padding.

Improved Materials: In response to durability complaints, Converse has introduced mid- and high-top versions using materials like suede and stitched orbital rubber outsoles promising longer life. While increasing the price point, these editions aim to satisfy professional-level skaters.

When considering one’s individual skating style and frequency, most find Converse a solid casual option.

But power skaters demanding maximum board feel and abrasion-resistance from a shoe may require occasional replacement or may opt for alternatives constructed with performance longevity in mind like suede Vans or Lakai footwear. Overall, Converse shoes satisfy a wide spectrum of skaters when properly matched to riding habits.

What Real Skaters Say About Converse

To get a well-rounded perspective, we consulted both amateur park skaters and professional street league competitors on their Converse experiences.

Favorable Feedback:

  • Many praised the natural board feel and flexibility for intricate tricks.
  • Beginners found the affordable price and simplicity easy to start with.
  • Vintage skaters felt nostalgic about models unchanged for decades.
  • Both men and women said Chucks were comfortable all day.

Durability Debate:

  • Powerful vert skaters reported soles wearing through quickly with hard landings.
  • Local pros said suede CONS held up better but may not survive competition-level abuse.
  • Online comments said quality varied between colorways and construction changes.
  • Skaters in wet regions had issues with water absorption in canvas.

Other Considerations:

  • Ankle support was too minimal for some aggressive park tricks.
  • Wider/higher models gained popularity for extra coverage.
  • Toe caps occasionally separated with heavy skate-park use.
  • Sizing recommendations varied – some liked a tight fit, others preferred room.

Overall, Converse received praise as a balanced casual shoe but criticisms of its limitations for intensive styles. Durability was the most debated factor, with opinions varying based on individual skating intensity and location. Clear communication of different models’ purposes would help skaters choose appropriately.

Alternatives to Consider

While Converse is a classic, there are various brands optimizing shoe construction specifically for skaters’ needs:

Vans – Models like the Era, Sk8-Hi and Pro feature durable suede uppers with Vulcanized construction for boardfeel. Wide range of styles.

Nike SB – Advanced cushioning and herringbone soles provide shock absorption and traction for grinds. Popular Dunk style.

Adidas – Skate-specific lines like the Busenitz have extra padding and Bash guards for impact zones.

Lakai – With foot-mapped designs and stitched rubber soles, options like the Newport target footwork tricks.

Emerica – Reinforced synthetics and herringbone patterns on The Reynolds increase durability for street moves.

DC – Chukka designs pair abrasion-resistant mesh and nubuck for control in transitions.

ETNIES – Sparingly executed lace-ups and velcros optimize ankle mobility across styles.

New Balance – 990v3 has padding above the ankle bone for flip tricks.

It’s advisable to try various brands at a skate shop based on your style – street, park or vert. Consider outsole materials, cushioning needs and toe protection matching your skill level and location’s terrain. Choosing versatility and longevity can optimize the board experience.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Converse shoes hold an undeniable place in skateboarding history and culture due to their minimal yet functional design. For casual skaters and those seeking a straightforward style, they offer a comfortable base to learn tricks.

However, it’s important to consider individual needs based on riding intensity and location. While popular among many, Converse shoes face legitimate criticism regarding durability shortcomings for aggressive park and street skating depending on the model.

Their softer rubber and less reinforced construction prevents Converse from being the top choice for competitive professionals or extreme terrain. But reinforced CONS editions and introductions like the Chuck 70 High aim to bolster durability.

In the end, Converse remains a staple that works well for mild skateboarding despite some limitations. 

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