Skateboarding Product Reviews

Element Shoes – Etna

Does the proverb ‘Third time lucky’ really work? Well, in the case of Element Skate shoes, I guess it does. The Etna was the third and final pair of shoes that Element sent us to test and seeing how the two previous models fell below standard, our hopes weren’t high.

I received this pair of Etna’s from Element Europe rider Bas Janssen himself. He recently switched from Etnies to Element Shoes and claimed the Etna’s were one of his favourite pairs to date.

I explained my scepticism, but with his offer of a free pair of kicks, I couldn’t refuse. Plus, I really wanted to find out if this new power move into the shoe business was actually going to pay off for the environmentally aware skate company.

Please note that Bas skates regular and me goofy, so the left shoe already had a hole in the toe area that I quickly amended with Shoe-Goo (Is that stuff still illegal..?).

Much like the other Element shoes Crossfire had tested, the Etna was light, flexible and grippy. That’s three key elements to getting a skate shoe right. However, the shoe design was just another rip-off and bland spin of a Nike Dunk with extra padding. When will the skate shoe market start getting creative like Airwalk or Etnies back in the day? There are only so many versions of the Rap or Calicut that can get ripped off.

Anyway, back to the task at hand- skating this shoe to bits. It’s mid summer so the sessions are long and hard, but these shoes haven’t budged or bust a stitch yet! I mean, apart from the gradual wearing away of rubber sole or the odd shoe lace that hangs on for dear life before an inevitable snap (Bring back the lace saver!), the Etnas on my feet are still keeping their shape and performing well. Could we have a winner for Element Shoes? Third time lucky?

The Etna was a pleasant surprise after a disappointing debut for Element’s shoe business. These also come in different colours. Go to for all info.

Ralph Lloyd Davis