Any version of the Accel obviously doesn’t really need a weartest. Chances are you’ve probably skated a pair or two (or twenty) and have a pretty solid understanding of your tastes in relation to this particular model and its varying reinventions since 1995. That said, sometimes it’s good and fun to reexamine a classic, albeit a newer take on a newer take. Very few skate shoes bring with them the elongated and star-studded history the Accel does, but how does it compare now vs. then?
With the rebirth of éS came not only a re-release of the famed Accel, but a modernized version in the Accel Slim. We’ve found it best to always maintain a healthy skepticism of re-worked classics, but we were so impressed with the “Warmth Pack” Accel Slim Mid that we decided to see how the low version stood up to the brutal flick of our editor. Also, that black/white colorway from years past is still fire.
Being that it’s full-blown rain season in this weartest’s location, we opted for a more weather-friendly 5 hour test period; enough to get a pretty good idea. As always, a fresh sheet of grip was applied to a new board for maximum skateability, and a healthy variety of tricks went down for well-rounded wear on our test subject – at least, as much as 5 hours of parking garage-hopping allows.
Due to the fleece lining, I opted for a half size bigger than usual to make up for the extra interior, however small of a space it took up. This worked out surprisingly well for the first 3 or so hours, but that half inch became slightly more noticeable after that. I recommend staying true to your usual size, although the extra 1/2 size had little overall affect – a little lace tightening and I was good. The Accel Slim runs wider than some of the more “lifestyle”-oriented brands and models; if you’re used to CONS, Nike or HUF, this aspect may take some adjustment. The fit is truer to a typical Lakai or Vans shoe – a little wider. I’m a 9 length with a 10 width (typically), and these in a 10 over my usual 9.5 compromise have been just fine.
Short Answer: True to size
Impressive. It’s rare to skate such a bendable and soft cupsole that doesn’t also translate to weak in the support department. Solid without sacrificing feel – more or less exactly how the shoe should work in theory. The STI insole functions well, saving my feet from primo pain but, to be fair, I didn’t jump off anything big. I put it definitely beneath your Blazer or your Manchester type of shoe, but more than any vulc short of maybe the HUF Galaxy. It’s pretty nice to have that much support with so much bend. Basically skates like a bulked-up vulc while being a true cupsole.
These shoes were made to flick. I don’t know about you, but any version of the Accel brings to mind flip tricks and techier street shit. In recalling parts like P.J. Ladd in Wonderful, Horrible Life combined with the recent proponents of the Slim (namely Tom Asta, Wade D and Kelly Hart), I found myself doing a lot of tricks that rarely come out anymore.
The way the Accel wears has something of a historical significance to me. I love the way the stitching slowly comes out of the outsole and how every pair I’ve ever skated gets the same kickflip slit right in the center of the toe then toward the outside. This weartest didn’t quite get there, but I’m pretty hyped for that toecap to split and look down at one of the few times in skateboarding where wrecking something I’m skating actually feels sicker than when it’s in better shape.
White rubber with a fresh sheet of grip is almost too grippy. The layman version of this is rubber gets its color from carbon. The lighter-colored (like white) the rubber, the softer it will typically be and vice-versa. While a higher carbon count will be more durable, it’ll be almost certainly harder, and éS wasn’t messing around with the white sole/black midsole tooling. This combination is more likely than not the reason for the aforementioned fantastic combination of support and bend – super-soft, grippy sole, super hard midsole.
The adjustment to so much grip made for quite a few botched landing mishaps that most likely would have been otherwise recoverable, but after an hour or so things went fine. This is my only personal complaint, but admittedly I find myself skating boards until they die and don’t deal with new grip nearly as often as you probably do. Definitely the grippiest cupsole I’ve skated since maybe the Lakai Guy Mariano XLK with the white sole. Boardfeel is excellent, most likely due to the appropriately thin STI insole.
The fleece lining and partially waterproofed suede kept my feet right where they needed to be, temperature-wise, without roasting or sweating me out and isn’t at all noticeable when on my feet. The small perforated side panel is all the ventilation required, and I’m half tempted to save the remaining wear of these shoes for summer, just to test out how warm they get in the heat, if at all. I won’t make it that long, but it’s the thought that counts.
The marriage of a classic skate shoe, a modernized silhouette, a clean and techy model without any frivolous bells and whistles and a little extra protection from the elements finds little to complain about. Due to the slimmed vamp, lace wear is minimized while the standard model is more susceptible. The transition from the last few pairs in a row of vulc models was quick and painless; right out of the box, these feel comfortable to skate in within a few minutes. It’s just a solid all-around shoe. No particularly new technology here, just what has been proven time and again to work.
These are definitely grippier than you’re used to, even if you lean toward the softest Vans. If you prefer your shoes on the techier/less feel end, that adjustment will undoubtedly take a few hours, as will the adjustment to a different shoe after. Aside from that, if you prefer your shoes without toe stitching that eventually gets wrecked (as is the direction most shoes have gone over the last few years), there’s that to consider. I tend to not put ollie holes in shoes like most do (for a reason I can’t determine; look at that pic above – looks like I didn’t do one ollie and I probably did 300), so I can’t speak to that aspect, but again, if you don’t like seeing stitching ripped out, there’s a lot of it in the ollie area. The amount of bend may also be a throwoff, depending entirely on personal preference. The insole is glued down, making a potential replacement trickier.
If you’ve never experienced the Accel in any of its man splendid forms, they come highly recommended. Clearly, there’s plenty more wear to be had on these shoes and I’m about ready to head back out and get that kickflip slit. On a side note, I wouldn’t mind the Accel Plus (the one with the strap) to make a comeback in Slim form. Just sayin’.