The X Games continues its global expansion with X Games Barcelona on May 16–19. Spain’s second-largest city features some of the most famous street skating spots in the world and has been immortalized in numerous videos. So it is appropriate that the top street skaters will descend on Barcelona for the second stop in the Street League Skateboarding season. At the first Street League stop in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, Nyjah Huston’s victory kicked off his run for a fourth-straight overall title. The competition in Barcelona should be fierce, with Huston, Sean Malto, Torey Pudwill, and others gunning for the top spot. One thing is certain; none of the skaters will be riding barefoot. So take a look at The Shoes the 10 Best Skateboarders will be Wearing at the Barcelona X Games.
No. 10 - David Gonzalez
Shoe: Globe The Sabbath
Credentials: 10th place overall, Street League Skateboarding (2012); second place, Phoenix Am (2006)
Thrasher magazine’s 2012 Skater of the Year just got a new signature shoe, the Globe Sabbath. It’s an appropriate name for the pint-sized ripper who is about as heavy metal as it gets. Gonzalez goes big and he goes fast, which are probably the two most important things in skateboarding.
No. 9 - Mikey Taylor
Shoe: DC Mikey Taylor S
Credentials: Seventh place, Street League, X Games Foz do Iguaçu (2013); sixth place, Street League: New Jersey (2011)
If you were as good as Taylor, you’d smile all the time too. Part of the recent wave of heavy hitters added to the DC team, Taylor rides with a loose style that can make it easy to overlook just how gnarly his tricks are. While major contest success has eluded him, anyone who has seen Taylor’s recent Skateboarder magazine cover knows how impressive he is.
No. 8 - Shane O’Neill
Shoe: Nike Stefan Janoski
Credentials: First place, Street League: Las Vegas (2010); fourth place, street, Copenhagen Pro (2010)
Another technical wizard from the Nike SB ranks, O’Neill is one of those skaters that make you wonder if he knows something that everyone else doesn’t. He flicks off ridiculously complicated tricks with such ease that it takes a moment to realize O’Neill just landed something that had never been done before.
No. 7 - Chris Cole
Shoe: DC Cole S Lite
Credentials: Gold medalist, street, X Games (2006, ’07); first place, street, Copenhagen Pro (2012)
At 31 years old, Cole is the veteran of the Street League but that in no way stops him from laying it down. Cole is one of only two people to be named Thrasher magazine’s Skater of the Year twice. It seems fitting that the only other legend to do so is Cole’s DC teammate Danny Way.
No. 6 - Paul Rodriguez
Shoe: Nike SB P-Rod 6
Credentials: Gold medalist, street, X Games (2005, ‘09, ‘12);
The first skateboarder to get a signature shoe with the Swoosh, P-Rod has become one of the most recognizable names in skateboarding. As his fame has risen, Rodriguez’s skills have shot up right along with it. He is one of those skaters who you have to remind yourself that he is goofy because he skate switch so flawlessly.
No. 5 - Ryan Sheckler
Shoe: Etnies Marana
Credentials: Gold medalist, street, X Games (2008, ’10); silver medalist, street, X Games (2006, ‘12)
If you’re image of Sheckler is still as the weepy teenager from MTV’s Life of Ryan, you’ve missed out on a lot. Rocking his signature Marana’s, which are named for the street he lives on, Sheckler is skating at a level that most people can’t even fathom. He can dominate a contest and skate fans are frothing for his upcoming Plan B video part.
No. 4 - Chaz Ortiz
Shoe: Supra Hammer
Credentials: Fourth place overall, Street League Skateboarding (2012); second place, street, Tampa Pro (2012)
When Lil Wayne started his subbrand Spectre by Supra, he picked only one skater to be on the team and that was Ortiz. Tunechi got one of the best in the game. Ortiz, who will also be rocking Jim Greco’s Supra Hammer in Barcelona, is an accomplished contest skater who is able to stomp big tricks in clutch situations.
No. 3 - Torey Pudwill
Shoe: DVS Torey
Credentials: Bronze medalist, Street League Skateboarding, X Games Foz do Iguaçu (2013); third place, park, Tampa Pro (2011)
Since his first major part in DVS’s Skate More, the skate world has been aware of Pudwill’s technique. He skates with an incredibly smooth flow and has the kind of pop that makes other skaters jealous.
No. 2 - Sean Malto
Shoe: Nike Stefan Janoski
Credentials: Silver medalist, Street League Skateboarding, X Games Foz do Iguaçu (2013); Transworld Skateboarding Rookie of the Year (2009)
Malto is seen by many as the second coming of Eric Koston, an association that is only helped by the fact that both ride for Nike SB. With his part in Pretty Sweet, Malto balanced technical wizardry with effortless style. And his second-place performance at X Games Foz is a signal that more contest success is on the way.
No. 1 - Nyjah Huston
Shoe: DC Nyjah Huston
Credentials: Gold medalist, Street League Skateboarding, X Games Foz do Iguaçu (2013); three-time Street League overall champion (2010–12). Huston joined the DC team at the start of 2012 and is about to drop his first signature shoe with the brand. (The image above is a teaser that DC posted on May 7.) The scrawny kid who used to have dreads that were taller than him is now all grown up and one of the greatest skaters out right now.