The good folk at SoleTechnology, the company behind the Etnies brand, have spent the last 29 years researching and developing skateboard shoes. This maybe longer than your entire existence, but they have never seemed to tire in their quest to lead the way in skate shoe technology. If you look back to the beginning of this impressive reign it’s easy to remember that they pretty much invented the traditional skate shoe look, that has evolved over the years.
Now in 2015, the scene has changed tenfold, with the intrusion of transnational sports brands dominating technological developments in skateboarding. Independent skate shoe companies have had to dig even deeper to provide not only ground breaking, unique designs, but to also produce high quality products on a par with these sports giants who have pioneered the lightest and toughest materials for those who want to break records.
Knowing that SoleTech have spent more hours since 1986 prepping these materials than you’ve probably spent skating streets, the flame could not have been passed to a better team to give the ‘athletes’ a run for their money In the Jameson SC, that flame should hopefully torch some sense into those who think that funding sports brands and allowing money to leave the skate scene is acceptable.
I must be honest here and admit that when Etnies started bringing out The Scout and similar sports-looking skate shoes, my heart sank somewhat. They looked from here like they were designed for non-skaters. I personally chose skateboarding to avoid mainstream sports and the tracksuit-clad knobheads who liked beating up skaters for fun in my local area. I certainly had no desire to dress like them. Skateboarding was, and still is unique; or is it anymore? Sports brand culture has infected the scene so badly that even skate shoe companies have had to re-address the balance of their designs to compete with the onslaught, but Etnies have brought their usual class to the table, spun my head with their use of man made materials and delivered Supreme Comfort to my feet like I’ve never felt before. Yeah, it sounds crazy but these shoes are like walking in space.
So the question is, can you skate in them? These arrived in the post for review the day before a weekend camping and skating trip. I took one look at the sole and immediately packed a pair of vulcs to skate in, as the foam-like undercarriage didn’t look they would cope with griptape whatsoever, but I was so wrong. They stuck perfectly allowing me to move freely on a cruise and suddenly skateboarding felt totally different for the first time ever. Another first was feeling a breeze in 28′ heat through the breathable mesh. These were the happiest feet I’ve had skating in years. I’m not sure if they would last forever if you skate daily and love your flip variations, but to cruise around in, they were perfect. Like any other skate shoe, the mesh is durable, but no shoe lasts forever if you are out there pounding it. Saying that, your heels feel well protected in the Jameson SC as there’s an inch of STI foam built in to assist the impact; technology that SoleTech are very well known for.
The Jameson has always been my favourite Etnies shoe as it’s a proper chiller, being simple in its design and one of their best sellers. It was never a ‘sports shoe’, but this version that mixes parts of The Scout, feels like what I’d imagine a sports shoe to feel like. That’s if you can remember they are actually on your feet, as they are seriously lightweight. Perfect to chuck in your bag for a trip and ideal for wearing after a session to give your feet some much needed loving. There are no rules to say you even need laces in them thanks to lycra spandex tongue straps inside the shoe. It holds together well and allows great movement too.
The greatest part of skateboarding is that us skateboarders don’t have or need rules as such, we all set foot on a deck for the first time with only one simple code of honour: that we support skater owned. One day, when skateboarders wake up and remember that worldwide, they will hopefully thank Etnies for being there; for caring about skateboarding and spending every minute of their day thinking about your feet.