Eastbay Memory Lane: Skate Casual 15 Years Ago

Eastbay Memory Lane: Skate Casual 15 Years Ago

words // Nick Engvall

It’s hard to believe that 1996 was 15 years ago, but it’s even harder to believe how new to mainstream sports like skateboarding and BMX were then. Just a year earlier in 1995, the very first X-Games took place in Vermont, which in a way has been a major part of what has brought attention to “extreme” sports. Even more extreme, may be the change that these sports have had on the brands and shoes that are commonly associated with the sports and their star athletes.

Brands like Airwalk and Vans are still a major part of action sports today, sponsoring athletes in BMX, skateboarding, surfing, wakeboarding and more. While the growth of these sports has created major changes over the years for brands like adidas and Nike, who have created subsidiary brands like adidas Skateboarding and Nike 6.0 to offer better products for the new generation of athletes.

Looking back in this week’s Eastbay Memory Lane, the thing that stands out to me the most, is Dave Mirra being signed on with adidas. Mirra has since become a legend in BMX, and has earned a medal at every X-Games event since it began in 1995. The tire -tread like outsole of his signature shoe from adidas has since moved on to more race car inspired sneaker designs, and Mirra has moved on to a long term partnership with DC Shoes, who were non-existent back in 1996. The adidas Equipment Grady is also a noteworthy find, and probably the only skate shoe to ever feature ‘Feet You Wear’ technology. The same could be said for the asymmetrical lacing on the Nike Air Zoom Scream. I guess sometimes, less truly is more.

X-Games 17 hits Los Angeles later this week, and it’s a safe bet, Dave Mirra will find a way to take home a medal yet again.


Eastbay Memory Lane: 1996 Casual Shoes, Skate, BMXEastbay Memory Lane: 1996 Casual Shoes, Skate, BMX

Vans Chukka Low – “Chris Pfanner” – Dark Brown

Vans Chukka Low – “Chris Pfanner” – Dark Brown

words_Luis Sanchez

The all-new Vans Chukka Low arrives to us this month in this extremely clean colorway designed by skate-team rider Chris Pfanner. Chris went with the perfect look for this holiday season, working with a clean dark brown leather build. Dark brown laces and metal eyelets are also seen, along with an off white vulcanized sole below.

All in all,  yet another great release from the Skateboarding kings over at Vans.

Available: Vans Chukka Low – Chris Pfanner/Dark Brown

Vans Chukka Low Dark Brown

Skate Shoes: Fashion or Function?


Appearances are everything. We want everything to look good from our clothes to our gadgets, because those things reflect a part of who we are to the world. But do looks take a backseat to function when you want to do a higher ollie, a cleaner kickflip, a sicker trick? In a world where looks are strongly tied to identity, do you really have to choose? Luckily, this doesn’t have to be a black and white question. Since skateboarding has always been a more of lifestyle than a look, any skater you ask will have a different opinion.

Skating is about more than the board and the tricks, it’s about music, lifestyle, attitude, the whole enchilada. Within “skate style” there are different kinds of people, each with different needs and wants in a skate shoe. You have the casual weekend skater that listens to the music, hangs out at the skatepark with buddies, and knows some decent tricks; this boarder is interested in a blend of looks and modest durability. Then you have the hardcore, ankle-breaking, skate-vid-making, sponsor-seeking skate fiend who practices moves hours a day to stick the tricks just right every time; he wants the kicks that stand up to rigorous practice, provide support, and cushion against the shock of the concrete. And let’s not forget the emerging group of fashion-conscious, “skater friendly” folks who don’t skate but hang out in the scene; these guys (and gals!) relate to skateboard culture in many ways, but primarily express themselves through skate fashion. Where you fall on this spectrum factors into how you’d answer the question of “fashion or function.”

The hottest brands like Vans, etnies, DC Shoes, LRG and plenty more help bridge skate shoe fashion and function with their cutting-edge technologies. Most skaters would agree that shoe weight and durability are top requirements for a quality skate shoe. Modern production processes make it possible to create lighter-weight upper materials that can withstand shredding, stomping, and scraping while allowing shoe designers flexibility of design. This benefits those hardcore skateheads and the fashion conscious at the same time. Other specific performance technologies like heel air bags, lace protectors, sticky rubber soles, tongue straps, and above-and-beyond cushioning are necessary for the serious skater while providing nice perks to the casual skateboarding enthusiast or style-minded individual.

Judging by the flood of great-looking pro model skate shoes on the market from Adio to Zoo York, pro skaters care about both looks and function, and go to great lengths to bring equal status to the fashion aspect without sacrificing the technologies skaters benefit from. Pro skater Mike Vallely, who has a line of pro model shoes released through Element, says, “I think skateboarding is more fashion than function. It’s more aesthetic than anything else. It’s more rock and roll than athletics.”** Porter, Justin (2008, September 5). Woosh! Another Shoe Destroyed. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/25/fashion/25skates.html.

So what do you think? What establishes a great new skate shoe and keeps the most famous decades-old models flying off shelves? What features do you demand in your skate shoes?

How to Celebrate Go Skateboarding Day

How to Celebrate Go Skateboarding Day

Go Skateboarding Day

words and image_Nick Engvall

While most of the year, the sport of skateboarding might get a snarl and a glare from your friendly neighborhood watch program advocate, June 21st is the day that has become an unofficial national holiday of sorts. Today marks the 8th year of Go Skateboarding day, which might sound a bit like a phrase skateboarders are all too familiar with.

“No Skateboarding” has always pestered skateboarders trying to get some grind time in, whether it be on a posted sign at their local spot or the words of a local security guard. So in 2003, the International Association of Skateboard Companies decided to create a day in which everybody could celebrate by simply doing what most skateboarders already do on a daily basis, go skateboard. The idea behind the “holiday” was to promote the culture, that many of us so passionately support. They also had in mind that the day might be a way to bring awareness to issues that the skateboarding community deals with, and to show the world all about the creative celebration of independence that is skateboarding.  Most importantly it’s a reason to get together with friends and skate.

There couldn’t be an easier day to celebrate than Go Skateboarding Day.

All you need to do is grab your favorite pair of Chucks, Vans, or whatever sneakers best fit your style, pick up your board and go.

Let us know how you celebrated in the comments below.

Skate to work or to school, skate to the corner store, to your neighborhood skate park, or just skateboard outside of your house.
How to Celebrate Go Skateboarding Day

Available Now: I-Path Langston

words_Nick Engvall

Sometimes finding a sneaker versatile enough to wear to your office job, a quick skate session after the nine-to-five is over, and then out for a night with friends afterward can be near impossible. I-Path might have a shoe that is capable of all three.

I-Path has released new colorways of their Langston silhouette. The simple chukka style now comes in two classy styles, a black leather, and grey suede. The Langston also comes with a vulcanized sole and smooth toebox, meaning you’ll have complete control over your board no matter whether you’re squeezing your skate session in to an afternoon break, or commuting to work on your board.

Available now: I-Path Langston

I-Path Langston Black LeatherI-Path Langston Grey Suede