February 26, 2018

21 Best Skate Shoes In 2018: Reviewed, Rated & Compared

best skate shoes

This handy guide will help you find the best skate shoes so that you can make the most of your board.

It will run through general tips on how to choose a pair of skate shoes and a brief buying guide. In addition, there’s a handy section on which brands to look out for and why I love them so much.

I’ll also be offering up reviews of the top 21 skate shoes currently on the market. Whether you’re replacing old shoes or buying your very first pair, this guide will make it easy for you to find the best shoes for skateboarding.

Image 
Product Name
Type of Shoe
Materials
Price Guide & Amazon Rating
View Product
DC Men's Court Graffik Skate Shoe

DC Men's Court Graffik Skate Shoe

Low-top

Leather

$$$

Vans Men's Old Skool Core Classics

Vans Men's Old Skool Core Classics

Classic

Suede and canvas 

$$

DC Men's Pure Action Sport Sneaker

DC Men's Pure Action Sport Sneaker

Low-top

Leather

$$

adidas Originals Men's Seeley Skate Shoe

Adidas Originals Men's Seeley Skate Shoe

Classic

Synthetic

$$$

Vans Men's Sk8-Hi(TM) Core Classics

Vans Men's Sk8-Hi(TM) Core Classics

Hi-top

Suede

$$$

Vans Men's Atwood Shoe

Vans Men's Atwood Shoe

Classic

Canvas

$$

PUMA Adult Suede Classic Shoe

PUMA Adult Suede Classic Shoe

Classic

Leather

$$

Etnies Jameson 2 Eco Skate Shoe

Etnies Jameson 2 Eco Skate Shoe

Classic

Fabric, recycled rubber 

$$

Vans Era 59

Vans Era 59

Classic

Textile

$$

Vans Classic Slip-on

Vans Classic Slip-on

Slip-on

Canvas

$$$


Why Do You Need Specific Shoes for Skateboarding?


It’s important that you wear the right shoes to skateboard for many reasons. You might be staying relatively still once you’re on the board, or you might be practising tricks – either way, you need something that allows your feet to move.

You’ll be bending and twisting your ankles a lot, so you’ll need something that offers lots of protection and cushioning around the collar and tongue.

You need safe shoes to skate in so that you don’t end up damaging your body, or risking falling off your board. Most normal shoes don’t have the kind of tread that allows you to skate properly and safely.

Skate shoes exist for a reason. If you want to really commit to skateboarding, make sure you invest in some decent shoes. You’ll want something that cushions your feet as they’ll be working hard while you’re having fun.

Another benefit of skate shoes over regular shoes is that they’ll help make things easier for you. They’re designed to look after your feet as well as help improve your performance.

It’s really worth getting proper shoes designed for skateboarding so that you’re getting the most out of each skate session!


What Should I Look For in the Best Skate Shoes?


Well, I’m glad you asked. There are lots of things to consider before you splash out on a new pair of skate shoes...


Think about what you’re going actually going to be doing for a second. Standing on a board and moving around.


As far as standing on a board goes, skate shoes often have a wider sole than normal shoes in order to keep you on that board. The soles of skate shoes offer much more grip than regular shoes, which is something you’ll be really grateful for, trust me.


Grip is definitely important!


And as for moving around? You might have an image of yourself gliding around, barefoot, on a board with the wind in your hair. By all means, give it a go, but I’m pretty sure you’ll rapidly understand why skate shoes exist!


If you’re new to skateboarding, look for something sturdy and protective. Skate shoes are often padded around the tongue and collar to keep you safe while you’re getting used to skateboarding.


Skate shoes offer a lot of protection to your ankles and feet. This will really come in handy when you’re moving around a lot, be that bending, twisting or doing tricks.


Canvas shoes may look cool but most of them will offer zero protection and are really quick to wear and tear. Admittedly, there are a few pairs of canvas shoes on my list but these are all justified, don’t worry!


A lot of cheaper shoes are held together with material glue which is okay for day-to-day use but won’t stand up to a day of skating. Make sure your shoes are stitched together properly by checking the linings and any joining sections.


"It’s always better to buy one really good, slightly more expensive product than endlessly buying replacements for the cheapest ones you can find."

Ideally, your shoes will be padded on the inside to protect your feet, and layered on the outside to protect your shoes. Some styles are really padded out and offer a thick sole to protect your heels and feet if you want to give jumping a try.


Think about what you’re putting your shoes through and go for something a little bulkier with protection over the laces and toe section if you’re new to the game.  


Some shoes, for the more advanced skater, are designed for doing tricks and will be much thinner. This is to help you maintain more of an awareness of the board below you, allowing you to experiment more with tricks.


These will also be pretty lightweight as far as shoes go, and are super flexible to allow you to move around more.


Skate shoes are often made of reinforced or super strong leather to withstand all the work you put them through. Suede is pretty good, too, and normally offers good grip to the board; nubuck leather is a dreamy material that will last a long time while providing a sturdy grip.


Look for protected laces, too. Metal eyelets to keep your laces in your shoes or protective flaps over the laces are little details that will make a big difference to how long your shoes last.


Skate shoes often offer something called a ‘midsole’ which is essentially a foamy material that acts as a shock-absorber to keep you safe. While skate shoes look pretty cool, every little detail has been added to help you as much as possible. Take the soles, for example...


Vulcanized rubber soles can be great – some suggest they don’t offer much in the way of shock-absorbing but this type of sole offers amazing grip. This form of rubber also allows you to feel the board under your feet, which is great for trying new moves. Cupsoles are really good for tricks as they allow for increased contact and awareness of the board.


In terms of weight, you’ll want to be looking for something lightweight and padded out. When buying shoes in general, something that feels ‘barely there’ is often a good choice. If you can’t feel your skate shoes, they don’t have enough padding or reinforcements!


You don’t want something that makes walking feel like you’ve just done leg-day at the gym, but you also don’t want shoes that are 90% air. Anyone else suddenly thinking about disappointing crisp packets that are more oxygen than delicious potato snack?


How Much Should the Skate Shoes Cost?


It can be pretty easy to fall into the trap of ‘they cost more so they must be better’. Sure, this can be true sometimes but don’t immediately opt for the most expensive shoes you see and assume they’re the best!

Good quality men and women’s skate shoes tend to be in the range of $50-150. Children’s shoes are less than this, naturally, but will still probably be a little pricier than regular kids’ shoes. For me, I feel that anything much above this price range is a bit excessive, but we all have our own budgets.

You can get decent shoes for under $50 (anything less and non-sale might not be great, so beware). I’ve done my best to find something for every budget in the top 20 reviews!  

The price will vary depending on which brand you go for, so be prepared to pay a little more to get that Nike tick on your shoes. Standard skate shoes will be around the lower end of the scale, naturally.

Mid- to high-range products will often have added details or extra features that make them worth spending more on. Follow our brand and product guides to stay savvy...


Overview of the Top 21 Skate Shoes


So, now we know what to look for in skate shoes, we’re ready to look at some actual products. I’ve found the 20 best shoes for skateboarding and, lucky you, I’m going to share them with you.

I’ve briefly reviewed each of the shoes I’ve chosen so you can see why they’re so great. Hopefully this helps narrow things down a little for you!  

Many skate shoes are branded as ‘mens’ when they actually offer women’s sizes as well. Ladies, please don’t be put off!

A lot of the bigger brands on this list also offer small enough sizes for kids. The prices for most of the shoes on this list vary depending on size, color combinations, style etc so it’s well worth clicking through to the actual product page and having a look...

1. Globe Fusion Mens Skateboarding Shoe

Potentially my favorite shoes out there for skateboarding, these beasts from Globe have you covered for pretty much anything. These shoes are made from synthetic nubuck so are really designed to last. You can do whatever you like in these for quite a while without experiencing much wear and tear.

There are socks attached to the inside of these shoes to help your feet stay safe, whatever moves you’re pulling. There are so many lovely details to these shoes – reinforcement to protect them against ollies, stabilized heels for support and enhanced performance, and strong, grippy soles. The tongue is padded nicely but is integrated, so may feel a little bit strange at first if you’re not used to it! For me, these are the best skate shoes for men on the market.

Globe Fusion Mens Skateboarding Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

82%
 Chance of Success

DC Men's Trase TX Unisex Skate Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

69%
 Chance of Success

2. DC Men's Trase TX Unisex Skate Shoe

It was never going to be long before DC popped up on my top 20 list!

These are pretty low shoes but still provide plenty of support to your feet while you’re skateboarding. DC is a trusted brand for a reason – these are great quality and very reasonably-priced.

The laces have metal reinforcements to make sure they stay in your shoes, leaving you free to do whatever tricks you like without worrying about ripping them out!

These shoes have a nice, neutral style and aren’t as obviously padded as some of the ‘puffy’ skate shoes out there. They still offer lots of protection to your feet and ankles, and the sole works hard to keep you safe while you skate.


3. DC Men's Court Graffik Skate Shoe

Get ready to see a whole lot of DC skate shoes appearing on this list and be prepared for zero apologies from me. These shoes are designed to last and are nicely bulky without making you feel as though there are concrete blocks attached to your feet.

DC have added little vent holes to these shoes to keep your feet breathing while you’re working hard. These are nice little low-top skate shoes but still manage to offer plenty of protection.

They’re made from extra-strong leather and the stitching really helps to hold them together in ways that glue just can’t do.

These are definitely unisex, making them the best skate shoes for women out there. They’re great for men and women alike thanks to their neutral and stylish design.

Sometimes ‘women’s’ shoes seem to compromise quality for style and, much as I like things that look nice, I want something that’s going to actually work!

DC Men's Court Graffik Skate Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

89%
 Chance of Success

Vans Men's Old Skool Core Classics

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

83%
 Chance of Success

4. Vans Men's Old Skool Core Classics

Another great pair of unisex skate shoes, this time from Vans. These are called ‘Old Skool’ and it’s not hard to see why – I love the style and vibe of these skate shoes so much!

Don’t worry; the design is fully modernized so these shoes are packed with great little details.

The soles are made from vulcanized rubber, again offering great support and protection against impact as well as fantastic grip. These shoes are really made to last and are well worth investing in.

They’re perfect if you’re new to skateboarding as they’re not so wide that they’ll feel really strange but they’ll still really help you stay on the board. Always good when it comes to skateboarding!


5. DC Men's Pure Action Sport Sneaker

The main bulk (and I mean bulk) of these shoes is made from leather, making these skate shoes really nice and durable.

The sole is super grippy, which means they’re a perfect choice for any skater, however experienced you are.

These come up a little higher than some other skate shoes so may take a few wears to get used to. This is all due to extra support and padding, so it’s nothing to worry about!

As with most skate shoes, I’d suggest wearing them around the house a few times to wear them in.

As with all DC shoes, these bad boys are made to last and it’s pretty likely you won’t notice any wear and tear for a long time.

DC Men's Pure Action Sport Sneaker

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

78%
 Chance of Success

adidas Originals Men's Seeley Skate Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

81%
 Chance of Success

6. Adidas Originals Men's Seeley Skate Shoe

I love that these shoes are specifically designed to be abrasion-resistant. I think we all know how quickly shoes can get scuffed up and scruffy, especially if you’re skateboarding a lot. Luckily, these Adidas shoes are made for use and don’t give up easily.

The sole is made from vulcanized rubber so is made to be super grippy and helps stick you to your board!

These are lovely and lightweight so you feel in control at all times, unlike with some bulky shoes that seem to have their own sense of balance.  

These are great quality shoes, and are comfortable and breathable – what more could you want, really?


7. Vans Men's Sk8-Hi(TM) Core Classics

As the name suggests, these are high-top skate shoes so be prepared to wear them in a little if you’re used to lower shoe styles. That said, I love these shoes from Vans. They’re another ‘classic’ skate shoe model and are a great way to express your own personal style while you’re on the board.

In terms of practicality, these shoes are still fantastic. There’s so much extra padding in these that you’ll be totally safe trying any new tricks. They’re pretty narrow which makes them a great choice for anyone who’s been skateboarding for a while and wants to experiment a bit.

They lace up nice and high, and the laces are reinforced with metal eyelets. This makes sure your feet and ankles are safe and stable, as well allowing you to do any tricks without worrying about your laces ripping out.

They may seem very pricey in comparison with some of the other shoes on this list, but they’re well worth it!

Vans Men's Sk8-Hi(TM) Core Classics

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

85%
 Chance of Success

Adidas Men's Skateboarding The Busenitz Sneaker

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

75%
 Chance of Success

8. Adidas Men's Skateboarding The Busenitz Sneaker

Quirky name; fantastic skate shoe. These shoes have been designed in collaboration with Dennis Busentiz so you know they’re going to be good.

These are super comfy so don’t let the bulk put you off. They’re nicely protective and padded out to keep your feet safe while you skate.

They’re also ridiculously durable, which is just as well given the slightly higher price tag than I’d normally go for.

These shoes are made to be worn and allow plenty of ventilation to your feet. They’re snug without being too tight, so give yourself a few days to wear them in and get used to them.


9. Emerica Romero Laced Skate Shoe

These are the best skate shoes for anyone on a budget and are surprisingly great quality for their low price.

One of my favorite things about these shoes is the stabilizing wings that are built in to the tongue. This will really help keep it in place and out of they way while you do tricks or jumps.

The cupsole helps you feel the board more, meaning it’s easier to do tricks than it can be with bulkier options.

These are fantastic for anyone who wants that increased awareness of the board!

These skate shoes are a great option for anyone who wants high quality shoes without having to splash out too much.

Emerica Romero Laced Skate Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

77%
 Chance of Success

Vans Men's Atwood Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

88%
 Chance of Success

10. Vans Men's Atwood Shoe

Another shoe from Vans, of course – this is a skateboarding post, after all. These are canvas shoes but don’t let that put you off as they’re really built to last.

Vans are pretty much the only people I would trust to take a flimsy material and turn it into a durable skate shoe...

Metal eyelets mean that your laces are staying safely inside your shoes, which is always a bonus, let’s be honest. The outersole really helps offer plenty of grip to the board while protecting your feet from any shock or impact.

In terms of padding, they’ve managed to maintain a stylish shoe while bulking out the tongue and collar to make sure you’re safe.


11. Vans Authentic Womens Canvas Sneakers

Another Vans pair of shoes – these are branded as unisex so have a neutral design. Again, these come with metal eyelets to keep your laces safely out of the way. These look pretty narrow but actually fit really nicely and are snug without being too tight.

They take a little while to wear in if you’re not used to this style – the low-top may feel strange if you’re used to bulkier, higher shoes. Give yourself some time as they’re definitely worth it the wearing-in wait.

These shoes are made to last, so are perfect for skaters who want something durable and don’t mind making an investment purchase.

Vans Authentic Womens Canvas Sneakers

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

85%
 Chance of Success

Globe Men's Sabre Skate Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

83%
 Chance of Success

12. Globe Men's Sabre Skate Shoe

Another pair from Globe, these are a fantastic choice for anyone who likes big, bulky skate shoes!

They’re as padded as they come and are designed to be comfortable for long periods of time. The collar and tongue are nicely bulked out to keep your feet comfy and safe.

The heel features an ‘airbag’ style technology to really support your feet, which I’ve never really heard of before! The sole is nice and sturdy, again providing ample support for even the boldest tricks.

The inner sock provides yet more support but allows ventilation so you can stay comfortable at all times.


13. Nike Men's Stefan Janoski Canvas Skate Shoe

My first Nike listing on this review list, somehow! I love Nike as a brand for pretty much everything, and their skate shoes are very worthy of being on this list.

These are made from canvas but, Nike, along with Vans, are pretty much the only brand I would trust to make something sturdy from this material. That risk pays off massively as these shoes are really built to last and don’t show signs of damage until well into use.

These tend to run a little small in terms of width, so may take some getting used to if you normally wear bulky, roomy shoes. This does stand in your favour, however, as you’ll feel more in control of these lightweight shoes than you will with some of the bigger ones.

Nike Men's Stefan Janoski Canvas Skate Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

74%
 Chance of Success

PUMA Adult Suede Classic Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

81%
 Chance of Success

14. PUMA Adult Suede Classic Shoe

Puma is another one of my favorite brands and these shoes are such a testament to that.

Firstly, I love the look of these – they’re nice and sturdy without being huge. They’re unisex and have a nice, neutral style to them.

In terms of practicality, these are really made to last and are super sturdy. They’re surprisingly lightweight, which makes them perfect skate shoes.

They do tend to make your feet relatively hot and don’t seem to offer much in the way of breathability, sadly.

That said, everything else about them is so great that I can deal with sweaty feet!


15. Etnies Jameson 2 Eco Skate Shoe

What skateboarding list would be complete without Etnies? This is one of the most skate-associated brands out there, and that’s because they know what they’re doing!

These shoes have a cupsole – perfect for anyone who likes to have extra contact with the board under their feet.

They also have that fantastic midsole I mentioned earlier, meaning your feet are so well protected from every angle. 

This wraps around your foot to keep it cushioned and safe, while the padded collar has your heel covered at all times - literally.

Etnies Jameson 2 Eco Skate Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

78%
 Chance of Success

DC Men's Net Lace-Up Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

83%
 Chance of Success

16. DC Men's Net Lace-Up Shoe

More from skateboarding giant DC, of course. These are pretty bulky for a reason – there’s extensive padding to the tongue and collar to keep your feet in the right place, as well as providing support.

The high, thick sole looks cool and also helps you stay stable – always handy on a board as well as off it, if you’re anywhere near as clumsy as I am!

If you have wide feet, these are ideal for you. They’re wide without being heavy and sloppy, so you can easily wear them in any situation.

They’re very comfy and are made to last and last, so are well worth the money.


17. Vans Era 59

These have vulcanized soles which help you maintain contact with the board and add grip.

The classic ‘waffle’ sole adds extra durability to these skate shoes, so they really will last, making them well worth the cash.

These are unisex shoes so are a great option for anyone who wants to be comfortable while skating.

They do pretty small sizes, too, so are the best skate shoes for kids that don’t compromise quality just because they’re for little ones.

They’re well-priced so make a good choice for kids who may change their mind about skateboarding after a few wears (although they’re great for day-wear, too).  

Vans Era 59

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

84%
 Chance of Success

Osiris NYC 83

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

83%
 Chance of Success

18. Osiris NYC 83

Osiris is a big name for those in the skateboarding-know. They make really great quality shoes that last for a long time. These shoes are no exception!

They’re made from a mix of leather and synthetic materials to guarantee sturdiness. They feature a high-top which helps keep your feet and ankles in the right place at all times.

This is so important as some people start flopping around and putting unnecessary strain on their ankles if they’re not used to low-top shoes.

They also feature a midsole to protect your feet, and have an abrasion-resistant surface to keep them from damaging. It’ll be a long time before you see any signs of wear and tear with these skate shoes.


19. Osiris Men's Clone Skate Shoe

One Osiris product just isn’t enough for this review list. They really do make incredible skate shoes!

Again, these are high-top shoes so offer lots of protection to your ankles. The collar is also really padded out and these shoes have a slightly ‘puffy’ appearance, which goes to prove how much support they offer.

This pair also has an anti-abrasion coating to keep them looking clean and new for as long as possible.

These are a great option for anyone with wide feet who struggles to find comfortable shoes. They’re not massive and gaping, don’t worry, but they will give you plenty of room while you skate.

Osiris Men's Clone Skate Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

85%
 Chance of Success

Vans Classic Slip-on

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

78%
 Chance of Success

20. Vans Classic Slip-On

For anyone who’s been waiting for slip-on, low-top skate shoes – here you go!

These are an absolute classic shoe, and are great for skateboarding. They’re made to be comfortable and the thick sole offers plenty of comfort as well as protection. These are designed to help your performance as well as keeping you safe. They might be slip-on, but they won’t slip off, don’t worry!

The sole is vulcanized, giving you an improved board-feel. The ‘waffle’ outer-sole is featured on these shoes, too, helping provide extra contact with the board. Happy days!

I love these for their simplicity. They might not have all the fancy add-ons of some of the other shoes on my list but they do the job, they look good and they’re well-priced.


21. Osiris Men's Peril Skate Shoe

I wanted to end this review list on a high note, and Osiris seemed like a great option. I know I’ve included a fair amount of their products, but they’re just so great that I couldn’t resist!

These skate shoes are pretty bulky but don’t let that put you off. They feature secure laces set in a sturdy frame, and are bulked out with reinforcements to help them last. With about an inch-thick platform sole, these shoes will keep going for as long as you do.

They’re nice and breathable so you don’t need to worry about taking them off in public!

They’re also built to save your feet from impact so are great shoes for jumps and trying out new tricks.s

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

75%
 Chance of Success

Brands


These are just a few of my favourite brands and, in my opinion, offer some of the best skate shoes available on the market.

Adidas

Adidas are a great sportswear brand in general, so it’s no real surprise that they make fantastic skate shoes. Their skate shoes are designed to protect your feet (think lots of padding and chunky soles) but still manage to look pretty cool. Most of their shoes for skateboarding tend to be in the range of $50-90, which is pretty reasonable given the high quality you’re getting.

Their skate shoes come in a variety of colors so you can still maintain your own personal style while staying safe. Each shoe in their range has specific features depending on your skate style so it’s really worth looking into them.

Adidas build their shoes to be durable so they may seem pricey compared to some alternatives that you may find on the high-street. With Adidas, you don’t tend to pay extra for the brand name – you’re just paying for really good quality skate shoes!

DC

One of the ‘classic’ skateboarding brands, DC offer some of the best skate shoes out there. I’ll admit to being a massive nerd in high school and thinking they said ‘DG’, but I think most people have been aware of this brand for a long time, and there’s a reason for it.

DC shoes tend to be more expensive than some of the other brands out there, but they get away with it for the amazing quality they offer. They do tend to be a little wider than some other skate shoes out there, but this only serves as a great way to maintain balance and contact with the board.

DC offer great choices for ladies (some brands seem to forget about us!) and their style is recognized all over the world for a reason! These shoes are a great, mid-range option for anyone looking to buy new skate shoes.

Vans

Quite possibly one of my favorite shoe brands out there, for both skating and daily life. I love them as skate shoe brand as they offer so many different styles. They have some really lovely, low options as well as chunkier, high-top styles so there’s something for everyone.

They take reinforcement pretty seriously,which you can tell by how much longer your Vans will last in comparison to other skate shoes. Their shoes are pretty sturdy and offer support in all the places you need it. Surprisingly, for all the pros that come with Vans, they’re still nice and affordable, with most of their shoes coming in at around $50-80.

 I’ll be honest – how a shoe looks is still important to me so if I can find a pair that are practical and look good, I’m over the moon. So far, Vans tick all my boxes...

Converse Skateboarding

Another favorite brand of mine! I love their original range so was thrilled to find that they do a specific range of skate shoes. Essentially, they’ve taken their regular Converse and given them an upgrade – great news for all skateboarders.

Similar style; added protection. Their skateboarding range features a lot more padding and protection, as well as a much stronger grip on the soles. These shoes are designed to last and are much more durable than their regular range, which seem to last forever anyway.

Many shoes in this range also feature Nike additions, such as supportive insoles and technology designed for impact-protection. Collaborations are the best, ey?

These shoes are as reasonably-priced as their regular range. Sure, they’re more expensive but you’re paying for so many extra features so the relative-cost is still low.


Conclusion


Looking for skate shoes can be pretty overwhelming, whether you’re on your tenth pair or you’re just starting out. Hopefully this guide has cleared things up a little bit for you and you now feel more confident in buying yourself a new pair.

This buying guide is designed to suit people of all ages and abilities, and I hope that some of the shoes on the top 20 list caught your eye!

I’ve listed a few of my favorite brands but don’t let that limit you. There are so many great brands and skate shoe styles out there that are worth trying.

The tips on buying shoes should come in handy, wherever and whenever you decide to buy a new pair. Enjoy!

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Michael Dougie