Runner Toe Rivals – Nike SB BA VS Emerica Westgate


Which one do you like better? The BA’s or the Westgate….?

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.


Nike SB Project BA – Summary Review

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.

Emerica Westgate G6 - Summary Review

Emerica Westgate G6 – Summary Review

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

Final Thought:
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.

If you get the Westgate’s, go with your True to Size fit.
If you go with the Project BA’s, go a Half Size Down.


  1. GuiriKnows!

    November 26, 2013 7:21pm


  2. Vince

    November 26, 2013 7:36pm

    I have a pair of G6 so I’ll go with the westgate.

  3. Phil Knight

    November 26, 2013 7:56pm

    WESTGATE WINS by far …my Nike product designers are fucking slipping and they need to stop weight lifting, golfing, and pussy ass tennis playing. And, they need to stop making shoes for retired people – that’s for new Balance.

  4. Hauns

    November 26, 2013 8:19pm

    Westgate all the way

  5. NP

    November 26, 2013 8:35pm

    My vote is the BA, I’ve had both, skated both, didn’t have any issues of having to break in the BA like you mentioned in the article. They were good to go IMO. Westgates got a hole in the first session and the leather heel stabilizer dug into my heel so badly I had to take a razor blade to it to relieve some of the tension. But, I like where both shoes are taking skate footwear.

  6. Arran Horton

    November 26, 2013 8:50pm

    From whats it looks like here, WESTGATE by far, boardfeel is essential and the westgates will probably last much longer than most other shoes anyway.

  7. Choderator

    November 26, 2013 9:00pm

    As a skateboarder I prefer to support true skateboarding brands. Emerica all the way baby! I picked up these Westgates and they feel AMAZING! I LOVE THEM! Especially against the stiff-like-a 2×4 Project BA. I’ve checked those out and they feel like crap compared to the Westgate. Plus the raised heel in the BA’s feel like they’d be more prone to ankle-rolling..

  8. James

    November 26, 2013 9:05pm

    i feel like people think just because they both have a runner toe, people think there the same but as RL said in this there very difrent


    November 26, 2013 9:07pm

    Westgates for suree!! Nike got that corporate bullshit going where as Emerica is based purely off skateboarding. Brian Anderson is sick but Emerica all day.

  10. Clang

    November 26, 2013 10:12pm

    I have been trying to figure out which one to buy but this settles it. Nike is corporate and emerica is raw so WESTGATE for sure

  11. Chris G

    November 27, 2013 12:01am

    I haven’t had luck with many nikes while skating, the half size thing, stickiness, stiffness. I like what emerica is doing with G6. I’m also a cheap bastard that misses accels. So ima go for westgates

  12. Aris

    November 27, 2013 12:19am

    Emerica ftw, sole tech is giong skateboarding footwear to next level shit without enslaving kids to make product in boats out of philipines so as to avoid taxes (like nike i.e.)

    • James

      November 27, 2013 4:14am

      i back emerica and westgate, but emerica isnt much better than nike when it comes to labor

  13. Yungshewdood

    November 27, 2013 12:27am

    Westgate. Haven’t skated the BA but it’s midsole looks too bulky for my tastes. I’d rather have a slimmer midsole with boardfeel then a thick midsole with impact protection.

  14. Joe Sud

    November 27, 2013 1:03am

    Westgate by a mile…the BA looks like a sad, pathetic attempt at last year’s G6

  15. ANDRES

    November 27, 2013 6:11am


  16. ukelele

    November 27, 2013 7:44am

    westgate for sure

  17. Chic

    November 27, 2013 9:04am

    I think BA is similar to P Rod VI? Anyway, I tried P Rod VI, it sucks

  18. James

    November 27, 2013 4:32pm

    for those of you wondering which running shoes BA was skating, thanks to me being a total skate nerd i remember they were some blue nike free run 2.0s, in the “down with ocd” article in the skateboard mag june 2012 issue briands doing a wallie and you can see there free runs

  19. Austin

    November 28, 2013 5:14am

    My vote is going for the Nikes. It looks more durable and, in my opinion, looks better.

  20. Adrian

    November 29, 2013 4:30pm


  21. William

    December 1, 2013 12:58am

    I’ve tried both but haven’t skated in either. Not sure what the fuss is with the Westgate. Yes, it has a runner toe, but that’s about it. The heel padding is no thicker than the G6 and might even be thinner than the Reynolds. It’s just another thin modern cupsole. (As an aside, I’ve been wearing old Rowley XLTs while house painting and the BALL of the foot has more foam than any of these Emericas have in the heel).

    Not that I’m hating on Emerica; I’m currently skating the Reynolds Low which is a quality shoe BUT I’ve added my own insoles to because the included ones are crap.

    I’d argue the BA is more of a true throwback shoe (although again I don’t get the fuss
    – Rodney and Daewon “flicked” just fine in 90’s moon boots). The BA feels comfy BUT the upper around the ankle and heel feels incredibly chintzy. I did like the older, bulkier Nike models like the Angus and I’d like to try the BA eventually but not for $95. Those of us with bad bad knees and heels need more padding than glorified Vulc soles.

  22. santiago alvarez

    December 2, 2013 12:57am

    mi voto va para las westegates g6

  23. Tim

    December 2, 2013 3:57am

    Westgates. Skated both. BA are not bad but the westgate blows it away

  24. Adam S.

    December 4, 2013 12:28am

    After watching probably hours worth of video reviews for both shoes, I went with the BA’s. Copped ’em on cyber Monday for $75. I wouldn’t have bought either of the two if I would have been paying full price though.

  25. SC

    December 13, 2013 1:51am

    I’ve skated other Emericas in the past and had really bad experiences, they fall to pieces so quickly! So without having tried either of them, I would have to say the BA is better; it looks better, and Nike just makes superior product. If only they weren’t so damn expensive!! 125$ shhhhh

  26. Mark

    December 16, 2013 2:16pm

    Is the BA’s toe box as narrow as the Koston 2’s?

  27. Jose

    December 31, 2013 4:19am

    Well I have had a pair of the g6 Herman’s & they were horrible I honestly hated them they were not comfy after a week of skating the suede went Down really fast & got Ollie hole after the 3rd week that’s how long they lasted & honestly any shoe can be broken in if you microwave each shoe one by one for 1:00-1:30 seconds & honestly I find the BAs more comfy that’s just my opinion honestly I love emerica & what sole tech does but I feel this whole G6 technology they are trying to use doesn’t work for me honestly they only emericas I like skating are Reynolds cruisers & the Emerica laced

  28. SC

    January 5, 2014 7:00pm

    I just got the BA, it’s the best shoe I’ve skated since the Koston K7 from eS!! nice and cushiony, nice boardfeel

  29. jbs

    January 15, 2014 9:25pm

    Both suck but id back emerica over nike all day cause there a real skateboard brand and nike is the wal-mart of skateboarding. They look both like running shows. Infact, I dunno whats up with nikes new “look” cause a lot of their new shoes look like running shoes (janoski air and oneshots are so lame). I get that SOME 90s trends are kinda coming back (buckets hat, slightly baggy pants) but i dont think huge shoes, running shoes, or extremely baggy pants will ever look good again in skating.

  30. Tyler Nakamura

    April 4, 2014 8:11am

    Team Emerica dawg. Fuck yo nikes

  31. Tyler Dombrowski

    April 5, 2014 10:58pm

    Jose, you sir, have surpassed us in all matters of life, I’ve never heard of microwaving shoes hahaha. I’m gonna vote for Emerica bc I don’t like outsiders (stubborn ftw) but Jose does have a good point regarding the cushioning- although I haven’t skated the Westgate, I want my System G2 back! When you weigh 200 pounds even doing a boneless on flat ground can give you insane bruises! I’m all for trying new things but what I really want is a durable, comfy, awesome impact protection shoe with excellent boardfeel. No excuses. We have the technology to do it, and it shouldn’t cost us $80. The problem with foams is they ALL compress eventually, no matter how good you say it is or whatever test you run on it.

  32. Matthew

    April 11, 2014 8:07am

    Westgate for sure!

  33. Don Mattingly

    June 25, 2014 2:21am

    I’m skating the Westgates right now, and I’m quite pleased. The runner toe on the Westgate is a bit wider than the Project BA and reminiscent of one of my favorite shoes – the DC Lynx. I’m a huge fan of BA, but the shoe I’m gonna stick with is the Westgate.


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