How to choose the best skydiving shoes
The best shoes to wear for skydiving should provide good heel and ankle support for landing, remain secure on your feet at 120mph, and be in usable condition. Sneakers work best, while shoes that can easily come off like sandals, high-heels, flip-flops and others are prohibited.
There are thousands of options and a constant stream of new shoes being released all the time. Luckily for you, we have set up a guide with everything you need to know about how to choose skydiving shoes that suit your style and needs, whether you’re a first time tandem skydiver or an experienced solo jumper!
Best shoes for tandem skydivers: your favorite pair of sneakers
That’s right! For a first tandem skydive, you don’t have a whole lot to worry about. Your shoes need only to match the guidelines of this article, and as long as you don’t mind them getting a bit dirty, you’ve found your skydiving shoes.
What to look for in skydiving shoes
Here is a checklist of requirements for what we want in a good skydiving shoe:
- They won’t slip off your feet during freefall at terminal velocity; 120 miles per hour
- They provide stability and support for your feet for a few steps at the end of your landing
- Quality – they must be in good enough shape to handle it while providing support
What shoes to NOT wear skydiving
These types of footwear may be fashionable, but they are a bad idea for skydiving:
- Ugg boots
- Flip flops or sandals
- Cowboy boots
- High heels
- Open toed or open back shoes
- Knee high boots
- Soccer/fútbol cleats
All the shoes on this list are not suited for skydiving. Cleats and high heels are basically weapons, and your instructor will not be happy if they have to fight your ferocious footwear in freefall! Uggs, sandals, crocs, and any other shoes that don’t tie up securely will fly off in freefall, creating a hazard to other skydivers and everyone on the ground. They also will not provide enough foot support on landing, which is very important. Open toed or open back shoes can get roughed up on landing and won’t protect your feet from blisters, chafing, or the ground.
Best shoes for experienced or tandem skydivers
Vans are the first brand that comes to mind when talking about skateboarding, BMX, and that’s right, skydiving. Vans are low profile, lightweight, and provide good support.
Sport jumpers like how the smooth soles of their Vans allow them to pivot their feet while moving in the plane, and they’re suitable for comfortable landings.
Lightweight Vans are great for experienced skydivers, but those with less experience landing a parachute (like tandem and AFF solo students) should be extra careful to choose the right shoes with support.
We asked our fun jumping regulars which skydiving shoes they prefer, and over half said Vans Sk8 Hi skate shoes. The Sk8 Hi’s sturdy canvas and synthetic materials, padded collars for support and flexibility, and reinforced toe caps make for a foot’s favorite skydive. Some jumpers even like to include add-ons like locking laces for extra security.
Converse Chuck Taylors are a classic. There’s really no other way to say it. While they provide less support than other shoes, the lightweight canvas, sturdy construction, medical eyelets for sweaty feet, and classic style make for many skydivers’ perfect combination.
As an added bonus, you can create and customize your own Chucks on their website. Check out the Skydive Hollister shoes we designed in the photos above!
Nike SB Dunks are something of a collector’s item and are being traded like stocks, so it’d be odd to recommend them specifically for skydiving. However, a significant portion of skydivers surveyed claimed these shoes as their favorite. With their sturdy build, solid support, and additional adjustable strap, it’s not hard to see why skydivers love them.
You’ve found the best pair of skydiving shoes. Now what?
Congrats! The next step is to book your skydive. See you in the sky!