Forgot About Those: The éS Theory Models

éS ad, 2006

éS ad, 2006

Justin Eldridge, he of the Yeah Right!/Hot Chocolate out-of-nowhere banger parts, had himself one of the better shoe runs with éS in the mid-late ’00s. Percentage-wise, not many folks have as solid of a track record of pro model shoes as JE.

éS, perhaps more so than any other skate shoe company besides maybe Emerica or Osiris, took the vulc explosion of the mid-’00s seriously enough to ensure their shoes didn’t utterly demolish the feet that wore them. Never ones to shy away from new technology, éS was (and is) always looking for the best way to serve boardfeel while maintaining comfort and support, and it showed. The STI foam that found its way into models like the Accel’s vulcanized sister was a far cry from the barely-existent padding that came in most of the mid-range vulc models other companies offered. If you got some éS shoes, you knew you were theory 1.5

The initial Theory was a slim vulc of the near-mid variety – fairly standard fare at that point in time – with a lot of feel, a little support and more durability than expected. The all-burgundy one was a personal fave, and we’re glad the colorways eventually went to all one color. Opting to go against the grain of the day, the Theory 1.5 was a true mid with a strap across the middle of the lace area, carving itself a nice niche spot in the somewhat basic heavy-on-the-vulc offerings of that period in time.

Not unlike the Wes Kremer DC run of the last few years, éS took their initial Justin Eldridge pro model idea and improved upon it every couple years, landing firmly on what may have been the strongest offering of the latter end of their initial run as a company. In perhaps their greatest achievement in finding the balance between support and feel, éS straight up removed the midsole from the Theory 2.0, Eldridge’s “third” pro model.

The Theory 2.0, our personal favorite of the 3

The Theory 2.0, our personal favorite of the 3

With the midsole gone, éS had room to insert a nice, thick insole and widen the toe a tad. No midsole meant instant flex, and a skateable-out-of-the-box shoe never hurts anyone’s feelings. The 2.0 was certainly a bit bulkier than some vulcs, but the comfort and feel combo still hasn’t been matched in a legit vulc offering (according to me). Depending on how tightly laced one preferred their shoes, there was a slight Half Cab look from above, and we love that shit.

Plus, there was a stash pocket in the middle of the tongue. Y’know, if you really don’t want anyone finding your change.


  1. Ethan

    July 6, 2016 2:54am

    Aw man, such a great shoe!
    I remember being really bummed retiring my pair. The off-center tag on the tongue of the 1st run lows and apparently the Theory 2.0’s was a really cool detail that felt good to see when looking down at the feet.

    • Joel Weichbrodt

      July 7, 2016 6:20pm

      Funny how a tiny detail like that can change the whole look.

  2. Dav

    July 6, 2016 4:52am

    Don’t forget that especial video (possibly most underrated video of 00s). But you guys must be joking about emerica Vulcs from that time. The soles went completely bald in two skates and if they hadn’t completely seperated from the upper they were worn thru to the insole within a week

    • Ripped Laces Staff

      July 6, 2016 9:23pm

      True, soon true re: balding of the sole, but their uppers were insanely too good to pass up on. The Reynolds 3 had everyone by the balls despite a shitty sole.

    • Joel Weichbrodt

      July 7, 2016 8:43am

      That Emerica/Osiris note was in reference to cushioning. Emerica soles were particularly short-lived during that period, unfortunately. From my memory, most mid-range vulcs lost whatever cushioning was there initially pretty quick with flattening insoles and such (sorry DVS, you were the worst with this). éS was one of the few that made use of a supportive insole, even if some feel was lost.

  3. tomisrad

    July 7, 2016 7:51pm

    I used to skate the Etnies RVM a lot around the time of the Theory run. They too had the G2 injected in the midsole and I had the same problem with soles going flat after 2 or 3 sessions. Must have been a sole tech thing. The uppers were banging though. I would imagine the Theory and 1.5 skated similar with the short toe, mid top and G2 and always loved the off center tongue. Good read, gone but not forgotten!

    • Joel Weichbrodt

      July 9, 2016 5:57pm

      Thanks, Tom. I think we can all agree that we’re glad insole technology has drastically improved.

  4. fryanblores

    July 8, 2016 1:18am

    In case anyone cares, I have an all white pair of all white leather ones in a very small size 6. Available for copping for the young’ns.


    July 19, 2016 11:44pm

    I skated the 2.0 and they took a little while to break in, It had like three layers of rubber around the toe. It also had poor breathability but the shoe skated amazing. It had the DTTF insole which performed really well, wish they would bring it back. Under the insole they had this like thin cardboard layer I guess to help keep the shoe in shape for people to walk around with them, It skated way better when you peel the layer off. I still have them but they smell really bad from walking around in winter 2013.


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