News Update: Are Once Wack Brands Cool Again?

And your answer is...?

And your answer is…?

As we’re all well aware, skateboarding is in a strange state of affairs. In all categories, if you aren’t pushing your best effort forward, it doesn’t matter how “core” you are, your product simply won’t sell. Even truer, if you aren’t pushing the critical shoe design of skateboarding to another level, your shoes just aren’t going to sell well. Nike, DC, and Adidas are all doing fine, and smaller brands like HUF or Lakai have created an aesthetic that has guaranteed them a consumer base. Fallen and Emerica are constantly fighting for the rail chomper consumer, all while Vans will continue to reign- especially after the release of “Propeller”.

On the other side of the coin, there are some brands that have been dominating the mall store scene, only to find themselves in an uncomfortable corner demographic. It’s because of this position that these better known Wack brands are now having to reinventing their image to help keep a skate audience intrigued. You gotta respect that…#OrNah?

Etnies Marana E-Lite, coming this Fall ' 15.

Etnies Marana E-Lite, coming this Fall ‘ 15.

With the return of éS, and Emerica doing well with its core demographic, Etnies has had to push harder to stand out among the crowd. Think of them as the ugly sister in a trio of hot and seductive sisters. You’d almost be tempted to date her just to get closer to the other two, in hopes that an innocent trip to the bathroom could escalate into bumping into one of them getting out of the shower.

Etnies, compared to others featured in this article, have more lifestyle shoes that keep the lights on but hinder than from ever being welcomed by the core crowd. However, Etnies is now adding more skaters to their team, and if the push for different iterations of the Marana is any sign, they want to emphasize their presence in skateboarding. Julian Davidson, David Reyes, Nick Garcia, Jamie Tancowny (why couldn’t he stay on Emerica again?) and Chris Joslin are just some of the more recent additions to the team. Each skater successfully bring something different to the table and are now reinventing Etnies cookie cutter image and are replacing it with more of a skate rat aesthetic.

Pros: Solid team and great functional footwear
Cons: Skaters cannot condone a girl’s line w/ a skate shoe company. It just won’t happen :/
How They’re Cool Again: A solid team, along with good designs, can always make up for inconsistent marketing objectives and a large mall store presence.


The Transit from C1RCA is certainly a sign of good things to come.

The Transit from C1RCA is certainly a sign of good things to come.

If we’re being completely honest, C1RCA has not been a real threat in the skate shoe market for a while now. It’s difficult to think where their demise started but it certainly hasn’t been the same since their once iconic team all went their separate ways. As with our judgement with Etnies, a team is one way to sway the core demographic into embracing your product again. Even more important, a product that sticks out amongst the array of competition today certainly helps. Recently, as we’ve analyze their upcoming line, and it looks like they’re looking to stray from the blessing and curse of the one piece toe. Notable models like the “Transit” are beginning to turn consumers eyes back to C1RCA for its unique take on a deco stitched replacement. This raised alternative serves as an alternative and truth be told, looks better than a panel or stitched line. It’s this type of commitment that’ll get them back into the hearts of skater’s everywhere.

Pros: Attempting to find alternatives to the one piece toe / A true skate rat team
Cons: Mall presence is too strong
How They’re Cool Again: Taking an unconventional approach in skate shoe design, without going too overboard.


Supra Skateboarding's "Avex" model is bound to turn some heads, but for how long.

Supra Skateboarding’s “Avex” model is bound to turn some heads, but for how long.

Contradicting the approach of their Mall store comrades, it seems like Supra seems to be taking advantage of their mall store market- which is doing great (thank Bieber). In all businesses, you have to sell out (a bit) to keep the lights on, and then take said profit and funnel it into your core avenue. If that’s the case, then Supra is missing the mark as it seems that their skate program is getting the short end of the stick. To even keep a hold of their skateboarding fan base, they seem to release one or two well thought out models a year. Think of the Hammer, and now the Avex, which have been getting great reviews, but are ultimately alone in their popularity. It’s a shame because its clear that Supra has the resources to make great, and durable skate shoes and promote their team in a more productive light.

Then with Nick Tucker leaving for pro-flow status and still no official announcement for Chaz Ortiz (he’s still not on the team page), we’re confused by what Supra’s plans are for the future. We can only hope they’ll follow suit of brands like Etnies and C1rca and devote more time to their skate program. Especially with great talent already set in place.

Pros: Great team w/ resources set in place to dominate the skate market
Cons: They have lifestyle blinders on
How They’re Cool Again: With models like the Avex, Supra manages to sustain their skateboarding fan base but it’ll only last for so long.

Ultimately, what’s your take on these brands and can they work their way back into your heart/wallet?


  1. Fun Skateboards

    May 4, 2015 7:49am

    I think supra felt that they were disconnecting with the skate world and wanted to grasp back onto that culture, their roots. With new colorways on the Cuba (the slick slip on) and new shoes like the avex (eh..) and the axel (chyeah!) I feel like theyre slowly closing the gap between where theyre at on the fashion side of skateboarding and the ACTUAL hesher side of skating. Also, possible team handsome new-comers? #neveruncuff

  2. tom ratt

    May 4, 2015 7:50am

    What about vox? Or dvs? Fallen? Globe? I don’t think any of these companies are wack. They all have ups and downs. And They all had to sell out to kooks to make money. I love e’S but e’S should have stayed dead. New designs are weak. They should just start from their first 4 years of their original catalog minus the shoes they would get sued for. Etnies should release a Sal 23, they did in 04 and then in 08. Something alway is hot and then goes away. Ps where is new balance numeric these days? What the Fuck is up with puma? Did anyone call Alex Olson’s new skate company and leave a message? Free cherry videos? And where the Fuck is Larry Perkins and when can we start 60/40 Again?

    • sneakerhead of all shoes (not just jordans n nikes)

      May 4, 2015 8:07am

      i can’t answer all yo questions but thanks for keeping a legend like Larry Perkins alive. i can’t remember the first time i saw him on vid but it wasn’t the cris cole skate. maybe the credits Almost video or the credits of “the man who souled the world”

  3. Anderson

    May 4, 2015 8:31am

    Etnies isn’t a wack brand. If anything, it’s Emerica that’s the wack brand for a lack of consistently good models for quite a while until about the time the G6 as well as The Reynolds high and low were released (the “higher quality” period). The only thing keeping Es afloat is its storied catalog of revolutionary models, something I don’t see much in its releases after its 2011 closure.

  4. Johnny B

    May 4, 2015 2:38pm

    I Wish they would update shoes from their older line such as the Reynolds 1-3, mostly the 3, the Hsu, and any of spanky’s shoes because with an updated g6 sole they would all be top sellers.

    As of now, Emerica has gone with the cookie cutter approach by reinventing the laced at lease 3 different times. Also they need to bring back the shifter too!

  5. heelfliperic

    May 4, 2015 3:48pm

    Why pay $80+ for skate shoes if your local Ross has em for $20-$40 when Walmart Airspeeds just aren’t gonna cut it? Forget individual shoe brands, Ross is winning. What’s more “core” than people like me who can’t afford most skate shoe’s retail msrp prices at all? Who sand their grip and shoo goo their shoes switching em out 6 months at a time?

  6. Steve Hill

    May 4, 2015 4:47pm

    In other news, Osiris continues to be not cool at all.

  7. @isuckatskating

    May 4, 2015 5:08pm

    Osiris is long gone honestly, also Emerica has been being kind of wack lately. I’ve always liked Emerica ever since I started skating but now I’m more turned off by them than ever. The Figueroa is an okay addition no complaints. but right now they need a heavy hitter, I don’t think the Wino will carry them forever.

    • muskajee

      May 5, 2015 7:02am

      Yeah i agree. I’ve been a fan of every Reynolds shoe since the first but found the last
      one kinda boring. The Figgy shoe? Cmeeern, how many more shoes like that do we need?
      And that Heritic reissue was a major disappointment, didn’t even really look like the OG one,
      just take the same design and make it slimmer and watch em fly out the door.

  8. Diego

    May 4, 2015 6:06pm

    I don’t thin etnies team is the best thing about the brand the etnies Marana is the best shoes right now they are not so expensive, they last more than a normal shoe and feel great, also they released them in vulc for that extra board feel, so etnies is growing because of his shoes and well the team help too haha

  9. AdamGGG

    May 4, 2015 8:34pm

    Not that they’re wack, but I think Dekline is killing the game right now. I never cared for them up until these last few years. Losing Blake Carpenter was a bummer, but the addition of James Hardy definitely made up for it.I think they finally found their niche in the market. I would love to see someone like JT Aultz, Clint Walker, Garrett Hill (although I think he’s doing something with Filament) or anyone else not in the Tum Yeto department on their squad.

    New Balance Numeric is coming back strong. I think they took a minute to work on their designs and colorways with their riders. I like what they’re doing. Officially adding Jack Curtin and Ryan Gallant is what they need! Gallant and Ladd back together since DC would be sick. I think they could really hold down a heavy east coast/Boston area market.

    Fun Skateboards up top had a good comment for Supra. I’m hoping they will add some “Team Handsome” guys and create some slick shoes for that market, but unfortunately I don’t think it’ll happen anytime soon. Chaz Ortiz deserves way better. Very talented skateboarder, he deserves an actual shoe brand that WANTS him. Unlike Nike and Supra that seem to be toying with him and flowing him some shoes. If eS gets their shit together with a team, I think Chaz would look good in some accels.

  10. Gavin McLeod

    May 4, 2015 9:23pm

    I feel like all the big brands like Nike, Cons and Adidas have all been able to settle down and find their place in the market. All of the core brands seem to be very confused both with the models they are releasing and the way they brand themselves.

  11. dr.g

    May 5, 2015 11:11am

    circa needs to bring back some early 2000 like models. cm 901 like clones would be sick.

  12. Willie

    May 9, 2015 4:10pm

    Do they sell The Avex at the mall? I wanted to buy the Hammer last year but the skate shops had stopped carrying Supra and none of the mall stores stocked the Hammer.

  13. jasminder

    May 10, 2015 11:10pm

    honestly almost every emerica shoe after the “higher quality” shit started sucked ass compared to the g code, hsu, reynolds 3, etc

  14. jasminder

    May 10, 2015 11:10pm

    honestly almost every emerica shoe after the “higher quality” shit started sucked ass compared to the g code, hsu, reynolds 3, etc were prime

  15. Rhonne

    May 26, 2015 6:42am

    If c1rca could upgrade there team, and maybe do what eś did and bring back the accels slims but with the first appleyards and slim them out. Give to give the brand some back bone, then maybe they’ll come back. As for entries and and supra, meh. They’ll have a chance if we stop buying Nike, and Adidas.

  16. JF

    June 7, 2015 1:57am

    There is a need for a skater-owned shoe company congregate, that would make this world take a step further.
    And therefore to get majors out.

  17. Daniel H

    November 29, 2015 2:05pm

    I know they weren’t mentioned on either side of the fence but I only skate Globe. I have been for a really long time. The mahalo (mark appleyard pro model) is perfect for me. Plus Louie has a super cool classy looking shoe that I haven’t skated yet. I also Love David’s and Chris’ models. I really hope they don’t go under because of big brands taking over the market. I also find it ridiculous that ‘wack’ brands are wack because they are sold in malls. In that case Nike and adidas are the most wack crap possible. When I see people skating those brands I can’t help but think ‘jocks’ the people who use to call me skater fag before skating became cool.

  18. n1cola5garceau

    May 8, 2016 3:52am

    Circa needs to bring the Tre s

  19. Davie Dick

    April 15, 2017 4:06am

    mmmm smart girls <3


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