In 2009, Habitat celebrated their ten years of making high quality skate products and pushing a brand image that highlighted some of skateboarding’s more pure ideologies by expanding into the tough market of skateboard footwear. What I’ve always loved about Habitat was how their products are designed to not jump out at you; in a way they try to avoid attention by just doing their thing and knowing, deep down that they’re doing it right. This dynamic has been breathed into their footwear and I know I wasn’t the only one to give this notion a warm welcome; there are enough tacky hi-tops and regurgitated half cabs on the shelves now and we were in need of something reserved, practical and made with skaters in mind.
The Quest is one of the six models that dropped last year and my first pair of Habitat creptillians that have seen first-hand the darkside of the griptape. On first glance, it’s the perfect low-profile shoe: thin tongue, seamless toecap, smart colourways and vulcanised sole. It skates like a dream without the need for the often-redundant technical tomfoolery that’s attached to many a shoe’s description. As a vulc, the incredible board feel goes without saying but what sold this shoe to me was the comfort; there is a subtle inner-padding that’s frequently absent on low-profilers that feels awesome when paired with PU footbed. This was not a rushed business venture by Habitat, this model is a tangible example of how effective being proud and meticulous about your brand can be.
This particular model is one of three collaborative shoes with mid-century artist Charley Harper. The detail on the outside is so intricate that I wore the shoes for three days without even noticing it. But when you do… oh boy is this stuff legit. The outlines of various animals are very lightly engraved into the synthetic/nubuck outer with such precision that it’s an appropriate companion to the shoe’s practical rigor. I look forward to trying out another pair and you should probably have a go too.
Austyn Gillette gives the shoe some loving below.