Verdict from +100 user reviews

8 reasons to buy

  • Most reviewers dig the Lakai Proto’s ’90s-skating-inspired style, observing it as “dope,” “rad,” and “sick-looking.”
  • According to some shoppers, the Proto offers excellent value for its budget-friendly price.
  • Its stitchwork, color scheme, and leather material impressed several users, who appraised them as topnotch.
  • Though not as bulky as other skate shoes, it still has a heavy-looking build that exudes a retro feel, a few customers noted.
  • A handful of skaters reckoned the Proto to be a solidly constructed cupsole shoe as it holds up pretty well on the vert ramp.
  • Various testers praised the Proto for providing a great dose of comfort as well as legit impact protection on hard landings.
  • The Lakai Proto generally runs true to size, based on the reviews.
  • A couple of users liked the optional hidden lace loops system, which protects the laces.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Some customers said that the Proto feels stiff out of the box and takes a longer time to break in.
  • It does not provide much board feel, a few users mentioned.
  • The laces feel thin and may tear easily, a reviewer pointed out.

Bottom line

Taking cues from the ’90s skateboarding scene, Lakai launched the Proto as a tribute for Tony Hawk’s enduring impact on the sport. Designed for everyday skateboarding, the Proto features a sturdy, heavily paneled leather upper. It sits atop an XLK hex-tread cupsole, sculpted to deliver multidirectional grip and incredible cushioning on hard landings.

Comfort-wise, it has also a well-padded, snug-fitting internal sock system, and a plush Deluxe-Lite sock liner spreads underfoot. Priced at $90 apiece, the Lakai Proto, with all its qualities, is a good deal to anyone, skater or not.

Tip: see the best sneakers.

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Good to know

The Lakai Proto is available in men’s sizes ranging from 5 to 13. It runs on a traditional lace-up closure that makes for a custom fitting. Strapped underneath the eyelets, a set of hidden loops provides an option to protect the laces when knee-sliding the vert ramp. The tongue also has loops wherein laces can run through. Moreover, the Proto has a low-top profile, which allows the wearer to have full ankle mobility.

Superb in its function, the Lakai Proto also excels in style. It carries three decades’ worth of heritage filled with daring kickflips and laid-back, gritty styling. Anyone can pull off that rebellious skater look with these Protos. Dress these kicks in tattered and torn jeans or cargo shorts, topped with a plain tee or hoodie.

Keep it simple and do not overthink. Keep in mind that the Proto is a skate shoe, and thus it’s at home in the streets. This model is available in a set of groovy colorways such as White/Black, Black/Grey, Black, White/White, and White/Red/Black.

Its heavily paneled leather upper, overlaid with suede, makes it a catchy, fashionable silhouette, reminiscent of the Air Jordans and the Airwalk Prototypes, which began to spring out in the late ’80s and throughout the ’90s. Furthermore, its all-new XLK hex-tread outsole offers a 360-degree multidirectional grip, and its Deluxe-Lite sock liner has a deeply contoured heel and arch for a more comfortable stride.

A pair of pro skateboarders, Mike Carroll and Rick Howard, founded Lakai in California in 1999. Since then, Lakai became a recognizable brand in terms of style and function and got commercial success. Lakai pioneered innovative technologies as well as churned out fresh silhouettes which catered to any and every skater while paying homage to the rich history of extreme sport.

The Proto is Tony Hawk’s first Lakai model shoe, a tribute to the legendary skater’s career and impact on the skateboarding sport, lifestyle, and culture.  

  • Lakai branding is detailed on the sidewall, tongue, midsole, and outsole tread.
  • The tongue and heel area are stitched with loops to aid on-and-offs, especially when on the go.
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Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny McLoughlin is a researcher for RunRepeat covering football, sneakers and running. After graduating with a degree in computer science from The University of Strathclyde, Danny makes sure never to miss a game of his beloved Glasgow Rangers or the Scotland national football team. He has been featured in prestigious publications such as The Washington Post, The Irish Times, Footwear News and the like.