Focus On: Pro Footwear
Offering an enhancement on pre-existing firm favourite silhouettes, pro model skate shoes are designed to combine everyday functionality with technical advancements to ensure better responsiveness, boardfeel and all-round comfort when paired with any skate-specific setting. With brands such as Nike SB, New Balance Numeric, adidas, Converse and Vans all offering their own unique team-rider iterations, we thought we’d do a quick run-down of our top profiles from the past year.
Introduced in 2019 as a reengineered version of adidas team-rider Dennis Busenitz’s original model, the Busenitz Vulc II combines streamlined trims with molded inserts to deliver creative comfort from the get go. Having been with adidas since 2006, Kansas-born Busenitz is no stranger to the signature model game, with his similarly styled RX and OG Busenitz all gathering well-deserved attention over the years. Borrowing elements from the infamous Copa Mundial, the Busenitz Vulc II supplies any skate session with revised reliability via its over-spilt heel counter, fully vulcanised construction and its innovative Adiprene sockliner, whilst the design’s subtle ode to soccer-culture helps keep it inline with true athleisure tradition.
Obvious court-side references elevate the contemporary vibe associated with Tyshawn Jones’ latest release. Winner of Thrasher Magazine’s ‘Skater of The Year’ in 2018 and known for his relentless, non-stop energy, the adidas team-rider offers a trip down memory lane with these signature, high collared mid-tops. Paying homage to archival designs such as the old-school Rivalry and his pre-existing Vulc Adv from 2017, these enhanced skate sneakers are reimagined with memory foam inserts, Adituff and Adiprene technology and with an ingenious inner-vulc wrap that sets about ensuring impact protection is adhered to from first wear. Loyal to the skater’s perference, breathable mesh trims and a comfort-minded fabric lining helps make these robust and resilient skate shoes well-set for any street or park.
Joining fellow USA skate-team member Shane O’Neill with his own Tokyo 2020 Rawthentic revised Free 2, Nyjah Huston continues to impress with his forward-thinking creativity and his passion for the sport. Inspired by the caged Air Presto and Nike’s Free Running models, Nyjah’s contour-soled Free 2s were released earlier this year and have distinctive ties to the classic Zoom Spiridon. Listening to the feedback supplied following the release of its series predecessor, Huston brings amplified meshed overlays to the design to help boost active air-circulation, whilst the 360-degree rubberised upper and the bootie-inspired foam sockliner makes for a greater sense of practicality. The ghillie loop lacing system wraps the design up with a fuss-free finish that amplifies the design’s overall dedication to hard-hitting skate setups and ‘waste no time’ M.O’s.
Having been a solid member of the Nike SB skate crew since he was just 13, Australian skater Shane O’Neill’s signature model is one that combines streamlined simplicity with performance-focused trims such as Nike’s legendary Zoom Air Unit. Added bounce and impact protection is paired with a dual-lace security system, whilst the design’s overall vibe pays subtle homage to the classic Nike Janoski, a profile he initially collaborated on back in 2017 - the Nike SB Zoom Janoski High Tape. Appearing in videos such as Nike SB’s ‘The Extra Bit’, SLS “9 Club” member O’Neill isn’t one to shy away from creativity, whilst his latest involvement as part of the US National Skateboarding Team landed him with his very own instalment for the Tokyo 2020 Rawthentic collection.
A design that coincides with team-rider Tiago Lemos’s first anniversary with the brand, the NB#1010 Tiago shoes are built for purpose and performance with their Ortholite insoles and ingenious FuelCell midsole. Having collaborated with fellow skatewear company DC in the past, quick-footed Lemos is no stranger to signature models, with his Plaza TC S drop coming in fast after his appearance in the brand’s “De La Calle/Da Rua” edit. Early ‘00s and late ‘90s profiling makes a comeback through its chunkier appearance, whilst the design’s well-formatted structuring doesn’t stray far from the recently released Made in UK series. A legendary skater with a legacy to match, Brazil-born Lemos shows just how easy it is to combine everyday functionality with practical, performance-ready profiling.
Pairing traditional running profiles with skate-modified necessity, New Balance Numeric have continued to conquer the market in a relatively short space of time. Designed in collaboration with Floridian pro-skater Jamie Foy, the signature NB#306 skate shoes pair OG New Balance aesthetics with Foy’s trend-setting character to deliver a profile well-suited to any set-up. Starting skating at the age of 1 and already owning contests by the age of 4, cool-tempered Foy is a force to be reckoned with, with his recent three-way collaboration with New Balance and Deathwish Skateboards landing him with the aptly titled nickname of ‘handrail innovator’. Inspired by the athleisure Pro Court Vulc sneakers and New Balance Numeric’s similarly styled Arto 358, the 306 marks the first signature model for the skater, whilst the design’s Ndurance rubber outsole, custom molded EVA insole and its butter-smooth suede exterior combine function and footing at its best.
A recent appointment to the Converse pro-team having joined last year, artist, architect and skater Alexis Sablone has lent her name to the One Star Pro Ox, a design that pairs tradition with modernised skate desire. With its chunky CONS traction rubber outsole and its instantly recognisable cut-out One Star sidewalls, the Pro Ox is a skate-specific sneaker designed to handle any demanding setting. The molded sockliner provides unrivalled comfort, whilst its vulcanised construction supplies the wearer with an undeniable boardfeel and level of resiliency. Known for her transcending energy, freewheeling style and understated character, Alexis Sablone channels her multi-faceted charisma into yet another eagerly awaited release with the Chuck Taylor famed brand.
Coined as one of the most gifted skaters of all time, there’s no real surprise as to how 25-year old Lopez managed to secure his very own signature shoe. Inspired by retro tennis profiles such as the 1980’s released Chris Evert and the similarly released Jimmy Connors shoes, the low-profile Louie Lopez Pro fuses functionality with even footing to ensure premium-quality comfort at every turn. Converse’s innovative CX foam cushioning is paired with their tacky CONS rubber outsole to ensure a premium-level of performance, whilst the use of rubber-backed suede across the uppers is designed to help keep unwanted abrasions at bay. A step up from designs such as the favoured CTAS, both Lopez’s Pro Ox and slightly chunkier Pro shoes are designed with contemporary creativity in mind.
Joining the Anaheim skate-team in 2013, Kyle Walker is a skater that is known for pushing boundaries. Having collaborated with brands such as Volcom and Real Skateboards in the past, the Kyle Pro 2 arrives born from inspiration siphoned from the classic Slip-On EXP Pro and fellow collaborative designs from the likes of Elijah Berle and Anthony Van Engelen. With practicality and ‘ready to go’ function at the forefront of both Walker and Vans’ creative vision, velcro-fastened straps replace the previous model’s 6-eyelet lacing system, whilst the PopCush footbed, WaffleCup sole and the perforated accents around the toe-vamp ensure a truly comfortable fit through any serious skate session. The peeking sole across the heel signs the design off with a little contemporary character, whilst its streamlined silhouette pays homage to Walker’s laid-back persona and unfazed sense of collectedness.
A design that follows in swift pursuit of the 2014 released ‘Walker Pack’, the Vans Chima Pro 2 is designed to tackle any skate style with ease. Mirroring Chima Ferguson’s exemplary board control and lofty pop, these low-profile shoes combine Pro Vulc Lite construction methods with traditional trims to deliver something truly unique. Not too dissimilar from the iconic Old Skool Pro or the signature model from fellow team-rider Elijah Berle, the DURACAP underlaid and Waffle outsole sneakers are fitted with Vans’ game-changing UltraCush Lite 3D sockliner to help give them that little added boost. Now residing in California having been showcased in Vans' ‘Spinning Away’ edit in April 2018, Ferguson and his second signature instalment still continue to take the scene by storm.
Shop all shoes at Flatspot.