As skateboarders, we're picky about shoes. We get particular about the shape, length, width, color, material, brand, and whose name is on them. But one factor that absolutely can't be compromised on is whether the shoes are vulcanized or cupsoles.
Vulcanized shoes are made by attaching the flat rubber bottom of the shoe to the upper part using a strip of softer rubber around the edges. They are heated and a bond is created between all the components. Cupsoles, however, are made by constructing the entire sole of the shoe separately from the top. The whole shoe is then glued or sewn together.
Ultimately, the finished products look and function differently. Vulcanized shoes generally have better board feel, and a shorter break in period. The softer material on the sole also allows most vulcs to grip the board better.
What cupsoles lack in board feel, they make up for in support. The sturdy bottoms may not allow you to feel every inch of the board the way you would with vulcs, but they may save you from heel bruises.
So which style is better? If you're a more technical skater who's into flip tricks and ledges, we recommend going with vulcanized, but if you're a rail chomper or a transition skater, cupsole is probably the way to go. However, just like everything else in skateboarding, there are no rules, so the best way to figure out what you like is to just try both.