While we all wait patiently for DNA’s intellectual lawsuit to be over with (in order to save Habitat), you can find that most of us are still relatively sad about the demise of AWS. The majority of skaters are still in disbelief about this devastating loss but there’s another sad departure in the air. AWS’ death is a big deal but let’s not have it overshadow Habitat Footwear’s disappearance. The footwear brand that never quite got its bearing has been confirmed as dead and will no longer be creating skate shoes. For those who gave their footwear a shot, it’s a disastrous hit to the heart. When talking to our readers about Habitat Footwear, one thing became blatantly clear: you either loved them or were completely uninterested in what they had to offer. So was the case with our Austyn shoe review. Before leaving the brand for HUF, Austyn Gillette released his debut pro model with Habitat Footwear. The rants were different depending on who you spoke to but we found the shoe to be a gleam of hope for Habitat’s bright future. Unfortunately, after his departure, there was no real spokesmen in place for their footwear division and as a result, it was the beginning of their untimely downhill.
In the spring of 2010, Habitat Footwear was introduced to the world. The longstanding hardgoods brand was embarking on a new endeavor and had no idea of what to expect from their community of skateboarders when introducing their footwear. Within every subgenre of skateboarding, every brand fills a niche and it’s unfortunate to think that Habitat Footwear never found theirs. While brands like Ipath chase the eco-friendly mainline consumer, Habitat was competing for that genre while still trying to gain the interest of a core skate demographic. The battle was uphill from the start, especially for those plentiful consumers that found the name to have little to no creative effort.
Regardless of your reasons for not participating in Habitat Footwear, they had a stellar team and a solid footwear designer behind them. Because of the over-saturation in skate footwear today, the job of a footwear designer is growing increasingly difficult with every season. Somehow Habitat Footwear, although extinct, managed to avoid distributing one-offs from every other major brand out there. They went out in style rather than making a Habitat Janoski or Half Cab ripoff and that alone merits respect.
Before closing up shop, Habitat Footwear was prepping their entire Spring 2015 catalog. Sadly, it didn’t all come together but was going to feature new models like the Brighton. It’s come to no surprise that trends are revolving and the Brighton model catered to this development. If the rubber toe comeback wasn’t as evident as it is, the side panel ollie bumper is not too far from behind. Gravis tried it with the Arto Mid but the only problem was its exterior. If you don’t make some sort of adjustment to the ollie bumper, you’re only going to look like a Vision Street Wear knockoff. Again, Habitat Footwear’s seamless design changed them from looking like another knockoff while creating some lines to make for a very distinct model. We’re wondering if any brand will look at this Brighton and pick it up. Probably not likely since we’re still waiting for this shoe to come out as well.
R.I.P. Habitat Footwear.