It’s the comparison that everyone has been asking us to do. Normally, we let every model speak for themselves but due to the overwhelming requests, fuck it.
2014 is the year of the runner toe. No other aspect in skateboarding footwear has ever been spoken about as much as the return of the runner toe. What forced the designers at Nike and Emerica to such a risky design? We have no clue but from our POV, we could understand the recent challenge in designing skate shoes. Think about it, if you were the skate shoe designer for either brand, what would you come up with? Probably something that’s inspired by something that’s already currently out. The market has been the same for the past 5-7 years. Here’s the formula: Cupsole with Vulc-feel, one piece toe cap, deco stitching and one technical aspect…maybe. We’re all bored of it. Consumers have admitted the same but unfortunately, aren’t willing to skate the runner toe when it’s finally put in front of them. Aside from putting two brands that consumers ultimately rivaled against one another, this article’s purpose is to show that either shoe is right for you. It’s basically up to you to decide which one works the best because we all have different needs. After reading our summary, leave a comment and discuss which one sounds better to you….or don’t.
The worlds most openly tall skateboarder had something to say with his first official Nike SB Pro Model. If his commercial suggested anything, the Project BA will make you look so good that women are willing to undress you, dress you and then throw paint at you. As long as they’re picking up the tab at the end of every meal, they can Jackson Pollock us as much as they want.
The shoe itself is impressive. It’s Nike’s way of showing some diversity but more than that, it’s an opportunity for their design team to prove to the masses that they can use their acclaimed running technology for the greater good of skateboarding. Rumor has it that BA himself was found skating in actual Nike Running shoes (don’t ask which models, we don’t stalk him that much) before ultimately going through with the design of his latest shoe. That sort of dedication shows through with his pro model and surprisingly transitions well. As with any shoe, some already hate it. Again, we don’t deny the fact that this shoe won’t work for some. For the BA’s to work, it’ll require a lot of break-in time. More than what you’re normally used to. We walked in the BA’s for 3-hours before trying to skate them and were still left unsatisfied about how they felt to skate. It’s comfort will override it’s initial stiffness but the BA’s require a lot more time to become the amazing skate shoe that they appear to be. Justin Brock has been found skating in them recently and makes them look better than most. With all that said, we still forced ourselves to skate the BA’s after only walking in them for 3-hours and found out the following: Yes, you can kickflip and skate in them, even with their initial and current stiffest. The TPU embossed toe provides a lot of durability and the toe cap itself seems to be reinforced, making it stronger over the Westgate’s toe. The height of the toe might even provide an easier flick for some. Where the BA’s really reign supreme is in their arch support. For those with a drastic need of support in their arch, we highly recommend the BA’s. The only draw back with that is it heightens the toe to heel level in the process. It’s for some, y’know…the busenitz crowd, but not for us.
The biggest loss for the BA’s is its outsole. Even after finally breaking them in, the outsole remained incredibly slippery for a long period of time. We heel dragged down some hills in order to get past the slick factory finished oils that remained but it still wasn’t enough to satisfy us. Even while pushing, we found our foot sliding out of place. Here’s an accurate portrayal of how It made us feel = 🙁
Be that as it may, the outsole is really deep and should (hopefully) provide a shitload of traction once it wears down even further. The one remaining aspect about the BA’s that gives it the edge VS the Westgate is that it’ll probably last longer. With the combination of a reinforced toe, TPU embossed upper, and a thicker outsole, it’ll ultimately equate to having a durable but not necessarily enjoyable skate shoe. Will you enjoy it after the week(s) that it requires to break-in? Yes………………..but.
Although they share similar looks and features, the Emerica Westgate is the polar opposite of everything we mention in BA summary review. You can easily skate them out of the box, the suede toe is pointier and lower in comparison but, we can’t guarantee the same Pollock-esque outcome with chicks. Sorry. What we can guarantee is some immediate skating, out of the box. The biggest attribute that the Westgate’s have over the BA’s is its considerate break-in time and this is due to the amazing flex grooves in the outsole. Because of the flex grooves, the Westgate breaks in faster than a college freshman at a twerk contest. That’s one of the many aspects that’ll win you over. Another, as strange as it may seem, is its leather heel counter. Probably one of the more satisfying fits in skateboarding footwear history, seriously. The combination between the heel counter and the inner-booty makes the fit of the Westgate a dream for any skater. Some find it a bit snug at first but after an hour or so, they should form to your foot. For those of you that loved the Herman G6, you’ll find no surprise in being able to transition to the Westgate. The only thing you’ll probably have to get over is the aesthetic of the shoe. We’ve gotten remarks such as “You look like a fucking tech nerd from Best Buy’s GeekSquad” to “They look like Dinosaur feet.” So long as you’re willing to embrace either statement, you should be fine. Also, these are the dinosaur feet of the shoe world. Just wanted to clear that up.
The runner toe comes into play right away with the Westgate, whereas the BA’s actual toe takes the wear before finally playing the runner toe. Here’s why: the toe on the Westgate is that much more outright. It sticks out more than the BA’s, causing it to wear instantaneously. It’s bittersweet considering the corner between the runner toe and sole make the flick remarkable. Really easy and consistent flick, but only for so long. Once the runner toe wears down, you’ll feel a difference when flicking. It’s somewhat heartbreaking because you’ll have the perfect flick for only so long but that can really be applied to any shoe. The oiled suede does a good job of holding up and the reinforced toe is great but not greater than the BA’s. The BA’s is harder, hence making it hard to get proper board and flick feel. The Westgate’s are as enjoyable as any shoe we’ve ever reviewed and it is quickly becoming one of our favorites but we’re wishing the durability of the runner toe held on for longer. If only the density of the rubber toe was harder, the Westgate’s would be the clear winner of the two. It’s a astronomical part of why the shoe feels good to skate and without it, the Westgate’s start to feel like any other one piece toe shoe on the market (which might be a good or bad thing depending on how you skate). They have that vulc-cupsole feel that everyone loves and it complements the shoe perfectly.
|Nike SB Project ba||emerica westgate g6|
|Lunarlon Midsole – 12.6oz||G6 foam midsole – 13oz|
|Cupsole board feel||More board feel compared to the BA’s|
|Takes approx. 5-7 days to break-in||Skate-able out of the box|
|Toe is slightly taller and rounder||Narrow toe causes the runner-toe to wear instantly|
|Herringbone outsole w/ flex grooves||Tri-Angle outsole w/ flex grooves|
|Impressive arch support & a slightly heighten heel||Completely leveled height throughout the shoe, minimal arch support|
If you made it this far into the article, you’re a true skate shoe nerd. Just wanted to solidify that for you. Especially if you’re that interested in the performance of either of these shoes, but that just makes you a concerned consumer. Good shit. You’re either incredibly cheap, really smart or a fan of this type of stuff. Either way, good stuff.
Back to the article.
Clearly, either shoe has its benefits. They’re both pushing skate footwear into a positive direction and are challenging designers to get creative. We can confirm this: both shoes do reflect their price. The BA’s are $5 more and with that comes the benefit of skating a shoe that might outlast the Westgate. The negative side of that: you’ll probably be too fucking old by the time they feel okay to skate. Sorry to pound that point again and again but they really do take forever to break-in. Looks like vulc footwear has made us impatient. Then again, for those extra $5, you know that you’ve invested into a shoe that you can wear around for awhile while you wear away at another shoe. It’s really a toss up between both shoes. The Westgate’s are instantly comfortable, skate-able and one of the better balances in board feel. Ultimately, it comes down to what you’re skating. This VS article is going to be the peoples vote. Comment below as to which one sounds better and/or skates better if you’ve already tried either shoe and that should determine the winner.