Cupsole vs Vulcanized Shoes

by Dan Bunn

Confused on what skate shoe to get? Luckily for you, we've put together our ultimate guide to the different types of skate shoes so you can find the right style for you.

Shop Lakai Skate Shoes and buy now from CSC - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store

Apart from the skateboard itself (and obviously your trousers), skate shoes are definitely one of the most important things to consider when it comes to skating. Whether you're looking for an ultra thin shoe for top notch boardfeel or some big chunky boys for ultimate protection; we're going to tell you everything you need to know about the differences between vulcanised and cupsole shoes so you can find the right shoe for you.

What Is A Vulcanised Skate Shoe?

Known for their lightweight construction and premium boardfeel and grip, vulcanised skate shoes have been the weapon of choice for countless skaters for years. Vulc shoes take their name from the process of how the shoes are made, in which the thin rubber outsole is glued to the upper before being wrapped with foxing tape and heated to harden the rubber in a process known as vulcanisation.

New Balance Jamie Foy 306 Vulc Skate Shoe (Green / White) - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store

Perfect flick and durability courtesy of the foxing tape on the New Balance 'Jamie Foy 306'.

Vulcanised shoes typically feature a thin and relatively flat outsole which gives the shoes their signature boardfeel compared to the thicker and stiffer construction of a cupsole. It's this boardfeel that makes vulcs the shoe of choice for skaters around the world with the thin construction making the shoes really quick to break in and offering unparalleled boardfeel allowing you to feel every inch of the board under your feet for ultimate control, whether you're flipping into grinds or pumping round a bowl.

Last Resort VM001 Vulc Skate Shoe (Black / White) - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store

You can often identify a vulc by the foxing tape which runs level around the whole shoe.

However, their thin construction can be a bit of a double-edged sword as it means that vulcanised skate shoes generally struggle when it comes to impact protection and support. This is why you generally see vulcs on low impact street or transition skaters rather than people launching themselves down 20 stairs, although you can always get around this by investing in some quality insoles like Footprint Insoles.

Most Popular Vulc Skate Shoes

What Is A Cupsole Skate Shoe?

Unlike the simple construction of vulcs, cupsoles generally feature a solid, one-piece sole unit which is then glued or stitched to the upper. Due to the sole's one-piece construction, cupsole shoes often feature sole units which are shaped to 'cup' your foot - hence the name - as well as allowing for additional features like a foam midsole for extra cushioning.

New Balance Tiago Lemos 1010 Cupsole Skate Shoe (White / Green) - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store

The New Balance 'Tiago Lemos 1010' with their signature FuelCell midsole.

As a result, cupsoles tend to offer less boardfeel but far better impact protection and support compared to vulcs due to the sturdier construction of the sole, meaning they're often more suited to handling high impact skating, like stair sets, gaps or rails, as opposed to more technical ledge skating. However, cupsoles now come in a variety of styles including thinner models which place more emphasis on boardfeel, such as the New Balance 440 or New Balance 288 Sport, meaning you can get the added support of a cupsole without compromising on boardfeel.

New Balance 288 Sport Cupsole Skate Shoe (Light Grey / Black) - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store

The New Balance 288S offers the perfect blend between boardfeel and comfort thanks to its thin construction and C-Cap midsole.

Most Popular Cupsole Skate Shoes

That's enough chit-chat though. Head to the shop to browse the full range of skate shoes and buy now from CSC. Or, find out more useful information on the CSC Blog. Safe.

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