A number of days ago, massive news was dropped – Ipath announced that they’re coming back.
The announcement was made through their FB page and their announcement has received an overwhelmingly positive reaction. This surprises us (but doesn’t), considering that most people don’t quite understand how Ipath ended up going under. As we recall, “The Other Ones” was originally an Ipath production and was set to come out, but once the higher ups at Timberland (their parent company at the time) noticed that the brand was going to see their unfortunate fate, they decided to pull the plug on the entire program. Rather than endure the dip in sales and hope for the best after the video dropped, they prematurely closed the doors on a great brand. From there, the entire Ipath team, or whatever remained of it, put in their own money towards editing and managed to put out the video themselves. If you haven’t seen it, please do, as it is such an underrated and incredible video. The soundtrack alone is noteworthy. In lieu of not being able to find the full video online, watch Ryan Lay’s part here and Ben’s part is here – both are must-watch material.
As we await Ipath’s next moves, a couple of things are obviously uncertain. No one knows exactly who bought the licensing back, we have no idea who will be on the team and, most importantly, we have no idea whether there is an actual fanbase to carry this once iconic brand. What we know for certain is they need a creditable team to make Ipath cool again. From our vantage point, the only reason a brand like eS could resurrect from the dead was because they had enough of a desired catalog in their arsenal. Unfortunately, the same can’t necessarily be said for Ipath. Sure, they have Cats & Grasshoppers, but aside from those two models that don’t have as much depth as, let’s say an Accel, there’s no hardcore demand for Ipath as their was for eS. No one has created an instagram page campaigning for Ipath to comeback. There’s no dedicated forum page yearning for Ipath’s return and in all honesty, is there room for another skate shoe brand when the preexisting ones are already having a hard time competing against the powers that be?
And when we mention Ipath needing a team, we don’t just mean “Johnny Hardflip” who can handle the next handrail in sight. They will need some team riders who actually embody Ipath’s message versus just putting on whoever is available/up for grabs. As true as that statement is, is there an actual professional/am skateboarder out there that actually embodies Ipath? The only one we can think of is Guru Khalsa, but otherwise it would appear that Ipath was only meant for the ’90s – early 2000’s.
Ipath’s overall aesthetic appealed to Rastas, Eco-friendly types, grassroots hippies and a few alternative thinkers. While there’s nothing wrong with any of those demographics/personalities, are there enough of them to support Ipath’s difficult uphill battle? It’s been proven that kids don’t necessarily care about the politics within skating as the older generation adhered to, so it’s hard to think they’d care about a brand with a message and morals, but that doesn’t mean Ipath shouldn’t try. For instance, if they can bring back a sustainable/functional story to skateboard footwear (since we are so wasteful with shoes compared to the general population), they’ll have a fighting chance. Essentially, they can pick up where Habitat Footwear left off, but if there wasn’t a market for them, will there be a market for Ipath?
If they were to take this approach, they could use materials and processes that last long but have a lower impact on the environment. It could be a double whammy for them, their story, and their appeal to modern skateboarders, but only time will tell…