Lakai MJ Oiled Mahogony skate shoe

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If you visit us regularly you will remember that last year when the canvas version of these Lakai MJ’s hit our feet there were some serious high fives going down. Not only has this simple, slim, comfy design moved forward, it’s become a skater’s shoe of choice worldwide.

This month Lakai have released an ‘all weather’ range for the winter months ahead and thankfully these arrived freshly boxed the day before a trip to Portugal’s stormy beaches. The good news is that they came back looking like they did when we left with them on, despite walking around on wet sand whilst we took photos of really bad surfing on 3 foot waves and avoiding puddles all over Lisbon trying to find skate spots. It tanked it down.

The oiled mahogany thing aside though, Lakai have produced a classic, timeless skate shoe that is not pretending to be some lame sports shoe copy, they’ve kept their class and delivered what we need; the shoes we skate.

Ask for them in your local skate shop, the one that really knows their shit – you’ll probably find Lakai’s full all weather range there that should assist you through the coming winter months.

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Etnies Jameson SC – The Supreme Comfort Collection

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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.

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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.

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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.

Zac

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Supra Avex review

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Supra‘s new team model for 2015, the ‘Avex’, incorporates new tech into the traditional skate shoe we already know and love, making it skate like no other. After sessioning in these over the last few weeks these shoes didn’t disappoint as there’s no shortfall in the balance between style and durability and by exploiting hot melt technologies, they’ve created a nearly seamless outer cage which will go unscathed. It’s built like a tank whilst maintaining ultimate flexibility.

From the second I pulled the laces tight I understood what all of the fuss had been about. The Avex didn’t need to be broken in, that’s right, not a hint of new shoe ankle roll, allowing me to shred from day one straight out of the box.

Encased within the outer cage is an internal mesh bootie, this makes the shoe feather weight, whilst allowing the shoe to breath with maximum efficiency. However this inner bootie provides only one downfall, where it is exposed from the outer cage along the side, for any Heelflip or Nollie enthusiast this exposed mesh will surely dissolve quicker than most. However if this mesh panel were simply placed a little more cautiously the shoe would have no complaints whatsoever. Despite this slight downfall in durability the toe area of the shoe held up extremely well as there are little signs of any thinning in the super-strong suede.

The Avex is neatly tied into one with the support of its EVA foam which spreads throughout the sole, absorbing elephantine amounts of force, whilst upholding board feel as it thins towards the toe. All of Supra shoes are now fitted with Suprafoam insoles further adding to this absorption and comfort.

Overall this new model performed exceedingly well, securing them as one of my go to shoes from this day onwards. I think we have a game changer here in the overall design of many modern skate shoes and I believe Supra are ahead of the times at this moment.

Henry Calvert

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Emerica vs Altamont Reynolds Cruisers

reynolds-cruisers-altamont-black-tan-largeA pair of these arrived on my desk last week and just opening the box gave me a satisfied smile that one can only recieve when appreciating shoes that are designed and run solely by skateboarders. The relationship between Emerica and Andrew Reynolds is one that should be recognised and saluted. Throw in Altamont and you know that these are going to be a strong purchase and that’s exactly what your feet feel like once slipped into these puppies. They are pure quality.

Andrew Reynolds wanted some ultra-slim, low profile boat shoes to skate and chill in, and the Reynolds Cruisers are the result. The mix of suede and denim work extremely well and should last way longer than your average thin suede-only skate shoe, especially if you are partial to blasting holes through the sides of yours due to ollie abuse, which should never be a problem.

The tongue gives extra support and the gum sole sticks to griptape like nothing else. In fact, after a few skates in these, moving around became easier ending in perfect grip. Overall, once worn in these work a treat. Try some for yourself this Autumn.

Etnies Jameson 2 Eco

Remember when Etnies launched their ‘Buy a shoe, plant a tree’ initiative to restore the Costa Rican forests last year? At the time, we were sent over a pair of these to check out and they were a serious winner. This year, the quest still goes on. Etnies’ drive to make shoes made from recycled tyre parts, bottles and cork are still going strong and are still as comfortable twelve months later.

Fake vulc and a canvas upper comes stylishly packed into the most basic and lightest shoe out there right now primed to be your best mate over the summer months. The best news of all is that you can grab these in the Etnies sale that is going on right now at £44.99. They come in 13 different colours this year so treat your feet to a pair of fresh pumps that will make you feel good about giving back to world that we shred on a daily basis.

Etnies Bledsoe low

etnies_bledsoe-low-dark-navy-alt1There’s a strong feeling when you get a package of shoes from Etnies to review. Skater owned shoe companies are by far the only option for my feet and Etnies being one of the leaders in this field usually never let me down. Etnies’ latest pro shoe once again deliver the comfort on the highest level straight out of the box.

These stylish canvas beauties sporting Tyler Bledsoe’s signature bring a new twist to his first pro shoe. They are low. Way low. Cushionwise, the Bledsoe Low rocks the party. Super comfy and tough on the touch. No flappy shoe business going on here whatsoever, just pure comfort. They come up slim with a lace locking system and toggle that you can take out if you don’t fancy it, but it does the job and tightens your ride. I don’t recommend skating vert with this in your shoe though, but when was the last time you saw Specs on a 14ft tranny? Exactly. He rules the streets and brings a smile to his game the width of an Alien Workshop deck, just as you will when your toes slip into his new pumps.

Highly recommended. Support skater owned.