It doesn’t take long for a skateboarder to hate on something. One minute, we’re enamored by an aesthetic, trend, or trick & moments later, we’re talking shit on it. Think tight pants, puffy shoes, varial kickflips, shoelace belts, etc.- you get the point.
So begins the hateful dialog for skateboarding’s attempt for “Casual Wear.” Wow, what a terrible assembly of words. No wonder it’s so easy to hate.
Fresh off of their latest release, The Flare, Lakai has found themselves with their back against the wall. They recently released an off-the-board model named The Evo and, within minutes of promoting it on social media, skateboarders were triggered. Screams of “Why are y’all trying to be like Nike?” & “Great, another skate shoe brand not making skate shoes” could be found throughout Evo-related posts. While this could be considered familiar territory for the ever-fighting skate shoe brand, it’s confusing to wonder where all the hate is coming from.
New skate shoe video release =”s love for months, right? No.
For any brand looking to establish themselves in new territory, it’ll forever be risky business. That goes for any company, but this especially holds true with Lakai. They’ve attempted to break into this market before with their 2012 release “The Muni”, but too few pre-orders kept that shoe from ever actually hitting the market – and not to sound ungrateful, that model looked a tidbit sexier than the Evo. Fast forward to 2017 and the pushback from consumers is bigger than ever but, unlike the Muni, the Evo is yours for the picking. The chance that Lakai has taken with the release of the Evo is rewarding enough for the brand, but more so for those who have tried them out. In fact, there’s an alarming amount of feedback regarding how amazing they are. Unlike standard skate shoes that rely on both performance reviews and brand/trend-hype, a chiller like the Evo is being celebrated with little to no marketing – meaning, they must actually be that good. I mean, no one lies about being comfortable.
Yes, this space has been occupied by larger brands for some time, but it’s worth noting when smaller brands take on such an enormous challenge, considering their lack of R&D in the unfamiliar territory, resources, and countless other obstacles. And the Flare isn’t the only skater-owned brand going all in on comfort. The newly appointed FP Footwear shoe brand is already teasing at a chiller release. With no name, information, or release date, this Yeezy-inspired outsole design will undoubtedly carry their comfortable FP technology and hopefully encourage both skaters and people who use their feet without a skateboard to purchase a pair.
As far as why you should welcome these alternative chillers to your feet, the answer lies in simply supporting a brand that you already love when you’re on the board. It’s not hard to understand skateboarders’ resistance to this change in counter-culture because, after all, skateboarding is more pop culture than it’s ever been before… but if skateboarding means that much to you AND your feet happen to be hurting all the time, there’s never been a more fitting time for this changing of the guard to happen.