First off… It’s “Fig-uh-row-uh” not “Fig-wear-uh”.
Rightly so, Sabbath-loving handrail destroyer Justin “Figgy” Figueroa is the latest member of the Emerica family to receive a pro model shoe. In similar fashion to Colin Provost with the Reynolds Cruiser and Leo Romero with the Laced, rather than start from scratch, Figgy has chosen to rework one of his favorite Emerica models into his signature shoe.
In his own words:
“I like the basic less-is-more style. I’m not trying to change the game. I’m trying to go with what works. I feel like when I look down, certain shoes are better for certain tricks. In my shoe, the toe just makes you want to kickflip. I look down and it makes me hyped to skate in. I’m addicted!”
Whereas the old saying goes “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”, this is more like providing a nice finish…
Sizing, Support & Comfort
I love slip-on skate shoes. I’ll have sessions where I feel like I’m spending as much time tying bits of laces back together as I do skating at the rate I burn through them. With the Figgy, you have the option to wear the shoe as a slip-on or they can be laced up. Initially trying on the shoe without laces, I honestly thought that these are about as close as a skate shoe can possibly be to reaching the comfort level of your favorite pair of slippers.
Obviously, the assumption coupled with this is that in turn, stability and support are sacrificed. However, this isn’t the case at all. The inner of the shoe features an ‘Internal Fit System’ and the Figgy is the first Emerica shoe to feature this technology. Leading inside from the one piece toe cap; the switch from suede to the soft yet elasticated material provides something to nestle your foot. It keeps the tongue centered but doesn’t cause any overheating even because of this extra layer. All around, the shoe fits true to size. They’re tight fitting, though ‘snug’ sums up the feel far better once worn-in. At a glance, the inspiration from the Emerica classic ‘The Laced’ is obvious, as is the similarity to Leo Romero’s current pro model which was also heavily inspired by that shoe. However, a key difference aside from the inner technology between them, is that Figgy’s shoe is an all around slimmer model with a narrow toe and is intended for the multifunctional balance between slip-on and laced shoe. Whereas the Leo is more forgiving for a wider foot, whilst also providing a narrow toe – marginally more so than the Figueroa.
Sizing: True to size. Its a little tight but very comfortable and once broken in the comfort increases. The internal liner doesn’t ever feel like it’s restricting.
Support – 10. I’m yet to find a slimmed down skate shoe that can prove to be this supportive. The cupsole is sturdy and can take impact without restricting boardfeel. The insole is also very cushioning while the Internal Fit System helps keep your foot well in place. The heel lock is also fantastic. Despite a problem that occurred (see Final Thoughts) I’m still giving this a 10 as it only affected the heel lock of the heel I had an obvious injury with.
Comfort: 9. Good god, this shoe is comfy, the inner liner and insole make your foot like it’s being hugged but not restricted. The only downside is the stitching where the liner meets the heel can rub slightly.
Boardfeel & Grip
At first glance, you probably get the ‘cup sole with vulc boardfeel’ vibe from Figgy’s shoe. While not a completely accurate description, it does seem like Emerica’s intention. However, largely in part to Figgy himself being a stair and handrail jumper, a bit more cushion was needed in this instance of cup/vulc crossover. Regardless, it’s a slimmed down cupsole for the sake of board feel. Figgy’s intention with his shoe was so you can put on and just go kickflip instantaneous. While flexible enough straight out the box, (even in vulcs I’d normally give it half an hour, minimum…) the sole does feel thick and protective rather than just a thin cupsole to get the afformentioned vulcanized boardfeel. The closest likeness to this feeling is that of a brand new vulc shoe with a couple of extra millimeters between the board and insole.
Thankfully though, this does not sacrifice a great amount of boardfeel, the shoe just feels sturdy enough that if you were to spend an hour jumping down a reasonable sized gap you could happily go back to sessioning your favorite ledge without your feet feeling defeated. Moving on from the outsole, the insole is simply amazing; never have I skated an insole that was so noticeably comfortable and spongy. A main reason for not losing boardfeel despite the reasonably thick outsole is because the insole is built directly from it and if therefore difficult to remove from the shoe – not that you’d want to. While I’d normally become accustomed to however an insole feels after a few sessions and basically stop noticing it; the spongy and almost bouncy nature of the shoe’s insole allows for your feet to comfortably sink probably a millimetre lower while wearing them and this comfort aspect never goes missing. It has a great effect on both boardfeel and comfort.
From out the box (left) to twenty hours (right). I think it’s obvious that the six and twelve hour photos are pointless here. Boardfeel, grip and durability; the Figgy’s outsole is rad.
While not rock solid, the sole’s grip is still fairly hard yet not to the point where your feet will just slide off. When first walking in the shoes – though on my local TF’s almost marble like floor should probably be mentioned here – I was slightly worried the soles would slip. Mistaken I was, as contrasting with the tradition of alllowing boardfeel via soft rubber wearing in to provide excellent grip – the hard sole of the Figgy allows for you to position your feet with ease and without causing any excessive abrasion and friction between sole and grip, therefore not wearing it down as much.
To summarize, the Figgy has a thick and sturdy outsole which coupled an amazingly cushioning inner sole which allows for great comfort and boardfeel. The grip takes a little getting used to but though thick, is still a pleasant feeling that would even appeal to the most die hard of vulcanised sole fans
Boardfeel: 10. I might sound like I’m being pretty generous but even as someone so accustomed to skating Vulcanized shoes, I loved the boardfeel of the Figgy. I’d say it’s unique but having looked at the Leo’s, the construction looks very similar so it’s definitely unique for Emerica as a brand. Due to people’s opinions on ‘good’ boardfeel being so subjective, this is hard to describe. It isn’t a ‘cupsole with vulc boardfeel’ – its a cupsole with interesting boardfeel. What I said above about resembling a brand new vulc few with an extra millimetre or so is the best way I can describe it. However the sole doesn’t wear in anywhere near as drastically and retained the same consistent feel.
Grip: 10. Look at the photos. The tread stayed and they were never slippery. The only part that seemed to have worn down after twenty hours was the tiny Emerica logo.
Durability & Flick
While the thin cupsole has been making it’s way onto skate shop shelves, the majority have taken influence from their vulcanized brethren with the addition of ‘fake’ toe bumper to add to both the authenticity and durability. The Figgy does not have said ‘bumper’ and it’s simply because it doesn’t need it. Though, visually the area that would be the ‘toe bumper’ of the shoe is marked accordingly, it is a little odd to get used. However I believe this is more down to being used to visually seeing where you’re tricks create grooves in your outsole at a fast rate and as these grooves/hotspots wear in, your flip tricks will feel like a more natural extension of your foot.
If I’ve rambled too much here think of doing a crooked grind on new trucks as opposed to a pair that have a crook-groove almost down to the axle – which locks in better?
The Figueroa’s toe box after five (left) and ten hours (right).
Regardless of this, the part of the sole that makes contact with your grip is never slippery but responsive and provides a smooth motion. Though ‘glide’ probably isn’t something you want to hear in regards to a shoe’s grip, you’ll be able to smoothly flick and flip your board with ease and control. Grooves will develop where you do Ollies and kickflips but at a far slower rate than you are probably accustomed to (if you’ve been skating vulcs). However, due to the ease of maneuverability for flick with the Figgy’s toe, this absence just proves how long lasting the rubber is.
The classic use of a one piece toe cap prevents any stitching blow outs and as the side panel bulges out very slightly when your foot is in place (thanks the the inner sockliner) any damage that would affect the stiching where the side panel/toe meet is reffered to the side panel. Finally, the suede Emerica are using on this shoe seriously knows how to take a beating. It feels tougher than all of the other shoes I’ve skated, ever, and that isn’t an exaggeration. It manages to perform so well without causing any flexibility issues and as it roughs up, feels more like it has been fighting against your griptape rather than just wearing down.
Durability – 10. The suede is tough, which probably aids to the support too. The most obvious hotspot from the above photo does dimple in slightly as suede usually does when wearing in. However, it doesn’t feel like it’s going through anytime soon. Considered dropping a point down because I actually have no idea how long this suede will hold up and feel I’d have to skate the shoe for another twenty hours to se much longer it’s got left in it. May try and keep you posted on that…maybe.
Flick – 9. If you hadn’t guessed by now, the Figueroa is fucking rad. The shoe doesn’t just ‘make you want to kickflip’ – it welcomes you to. Loosing a point only because the main toe area could have benefitted further from a slight tread/grip of sorts which would have just increased the durability even more. I shouldn’t really be complaining though as it’s already that good. As mentioned earlier, its a bit weird adjusting to the toe as your grip wont scrape the flicking area as vigorously as a vulc shoe would receive. It flicks nicely and with ease, though never to point where you’re just sliding off.
At $60 you certainly can’t argue with the price of this shoe. With some of Emerica’s catalogue dropping as low as $55 for durable, suede skate shoes; they are breaking the connotations linked to the phrase ‘price point’ and upping their game without upping their price tag. Their proclamation of ‘Higher Quality’ definitely isn’t bullshit either. Emerica aren’t pushing ‘premium’ product for an excessive price. They’re delivering on their promises and releasing something to suit any skateboarder that will perform and last without leaving a hole in your wallet or your sock.
The only downside I found to this shoe was that in the middle of breaking them in the shoe loosened up just enough that the smoother lycra liner of the Internal Fit System would create a lack of friction and the shoe to start slip off when pushing – though this occurred only in sessions that ensued between the seven to ten hour marks. Strangely, the heel lock of my front foot was perfect and I’m guessing this is down the shape of my right heel very slightly differing from my left due to an injury at the time. Causing the initially tight fit forcing my foot out the shoe as I pushed. However, as a few more hours went past the shoe became accustomed to the shape of my foot and lacing them up a little tighter rather than skating them as slip-ons negated this issue. Though friends of mine that own this shoe haven’t encountered this issue, I think it can completely be attributed to my heel injury at the time. The stitching where liner meets the shoes heel could also rub slightly but again this was only an issue I found with my pushing foot.
It’s obvious to think that the Figgy may cause some overheating due its dual layer construction however, thanks to a few strategically placed air holes as far from any grip contact points as possible and it’s thin nature, this also doesn’t become a problem. I found it pretty rad they managed kept my feet toasty when skating around the local outdoor and street spots as light faded on a freezing cold February evening.
Also, though a ‘thin’ shoe in nature, the support of the Figueroa matches that of its bulky Emerica predecessors of days gone by. Basically, the Figgy is a tech yet simple and stylish shoe with its slim profile distracting away from the supportive technology inside the shoe. If you want a shoe that you can definitely justify the price of, with quality and construction that’d be worth paying extra for, be thankful there are brands like Emerica that ignore this and just provide what is needed right now. High quality footwear, by skateboarders, for skateboarders. Stay Gold motherfuckers.
Review by Farran Golding.
Keep up to date with the Welcome Skate Store blog for something coming up with Figgy very soon…