Posts Tagged ‘footwear’

Braydon Szafranski’s Personal Relationship With His Shoes Finally Catches Up To His Relationship With Women

February 6, 2012

Hubba interview, 2009:
You’ve got some guidelines when it comes to slayin’ babes. Can you lace the public with some of your game?
It’s not necessarily that you can’t blaze the same girl three times. I’m just so obsessed with skateboarding and I like to do whatever I want at any time. If you end up blazing a girl a few times you’re gonna end up catching feelings and it becomes a lot harder to look at somebody and not give a fuck. I feel like I’m such a kid still and I’ve got lots of traveling and things I need to do. I’m not ready to get tied down. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with having a girlfriend, but I see some homeys dealing with arguments and drama while they’re on the road cause their girl is pissed they’re out of town all the time. At this point in my life I need to be skateboarding, traveling, hanging with the homeys and partying. I don’t see how I could have feelings for or take care of somebody else when I can hardly take care of myself.

ESPN interview, 2012:
What happened with Emerica?
It was one of those things where we both went our separate ways. They had to make room for new kids and I was off on my own path and I felt like after 11 years it was time for a change and to see something new. The whole thing is that we’re still really close. That’s still my family. I still go on trips with Miner and everybody else. They have my back, I have theirs for life. We both had different views on different things and I needed to go see what was out there besides one thing for the rest of my life.

Do you have a new home already?
No, I don’t have one right now. At the moment I’m enjoying life. Right now I’m wearing a pair of Converse, yesterday was a pair of Vans and the day before that was some Supras. I actually get to wear everything I ever wanted to wear, all those shoes I’ve been staring at for years and thinking, ‘yeah, that’d be awesome to get a trick in.’

3. Brandon Westgate – Emerica Part

December 28, 2011

Ancient cavemen surfers were known to coin a phrase, which went something like “when you catch a wave, ride it as long as you can.” Flip knew it, Plan B knew it, Powell for a while knew it and now Bay Stater Brandon Westgate. These past couple years Westgate caught a hell of a wave that may or may not have crested yet, depending on his next moves and how you personally rank homestyle hammers such as tiling a bathroom. For a few different reasons I responded more to this Emerica part released just three or four months past his vast and crushing opener for the “Stay Gold” vid, maybe because it was shorter, more condensed and potent, maybe just because of the last trick. He’s still got his teeth sunk into the San Francisco hills and I think this is some of the most impressive skateboardering this year from a physics perspective, partly cuz you never see a car or motorcycle pulling him up to those bump/bars. Also do we agree at this point to elevate the 360 flip over the bar to the Hall of Kings where it can sit alongside Josh Kalis’ one at the end of “Photosynthesis”?

Who Killed Es Footwear?

August 15, 2011


I’ll be missing u

It’s gotta not be the shoes: First thought I had upon official confirmation that the pioneering freestyler behind Sole Technologies was mothballing Es, not even ten years ago the mightiest shoe company out, was that the actual product probably had nothing to do with anything. The slippery slope greased up, in some ways, by the resurgence of the Accel itself (personally would ID the Nike Dunk as a co-conspirator) put footwear trends on a path toward the reigning minimalist silhouette atop a white vulcan sole to the point where shops might as well be doing their own Half-Cab and Chuck Taylor renditions. If anything I’d think the commodification of super-simple shoe designs bought Es a few more years than they might otherwise have had if the pendulum had swung violently back toward the basketball court, but then again a meteor could have struck the planet and we may all have wound up atomized.

Then some other people are quick to heap blame on big fishes Nike/Converse/Adidas/probably not Reebok for trolling through the shallow end with their fat wallets, fucking up the food chain for mellower sea creatures that never harbored deeper ambitions, sort of like the Jamaican lobster sang about in “Little Mermaid.” That lobster is convincing and seems wise. But if that were the case, how come Es can’t survive but companies with a fraction of the name recognition and history and established sales/shop networks can still make it? Thinking here of Vox, Dekline, the revived Axion and Duffs, NSS. Or what about little-loved competitors like Globe, Osiris, Circa? How come Circa still has two subdivisions? This may be one of those deals where the amorphous “international markets” comes in as the explainer, but I always thought that was why Es kept around those occasional space-age models in the garish colors.

You look at the Es team website and it’s interesting. On one end you’ve got journeymen pro-dudes like perennial teamriders Rick McCrank and Rodrigo TX, more recent addition John Rattray, you could even include Justin Eldridge here. And then you’ve got a slew of relative newbies like Jimmy McDonald, Kevin Terpening, Ben Raemers, Josh Matthews. We can carve out a middle tier for Bobby Worrest/Kellen James/Mike Anderson but if you’re one of those types who likes to dissect “fit” when it comes to roster moves it would be easy to formulate some messageboard post questioning the cohesion. Maybe there’s a cautionary tale about putting too much weight on up-and-comer internet favorites as opposed to picking some genre lane and staying in it, which seems like it’s working for a company like Emerica. Or maybe it’s a lesson about going the super-team route, and how you better have a good backup plan if and when your super-team scatters to the four shoe sponsorship winds.*

And maybe this episode is more a sign o’ the times than anything else, since it seems like a really big company hasn’t unwound in a while. Es is quite a bit diminished from its Menikmati heights nowadays, but it doesn’t sit right to see this end for an operation with so much history. First three Koston models, Muska’s airbag, Penny stepping in from the wilderness with a switch front-foot impossible of all tricks, the “Enjoy Skateboarding” series, a good run with Ronnie Creager, the Accel obviously, the overlooked “Especial” video, the first Arto shoes, the Contracts, etc etc.

As one of those people who skated in Accels or derivatives like the Square One more than any other single shoe over the past 10 or 12 years, I mourn Es, though partly it’s out of confusion as to how the company with the little tilde thing wound up on the chopping block as opposed to others shopping for some pro-backed identity in an overcrowded segment. I was and still am considering a separate post that may serve as a sappy love letter to the Koston 2, one of the hardest to love shoes ever made that gave back twice as much after they were broke in, and in some ways were ahead of their time in terms of a less-padded tongue and being something like an unapologetic mid-top.

*Another thought, might things have turned out different if Pierre-Andre had cut Koston in via an equity stake?