10 Pro Skate Shoes to Look Forward to This Year

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Today's pro skate models are better than ever, thanks to innovative materials and a more productive relationship between skater and shoe designer than ever before. Whether the pro models of today are a product of a skateboarder's specific requests or just a company slapping an athlete's name on their latest and greatest, there is a healthy offering of fresh releases this year that you have to consider. These are 10 Pro Skate Shoes to Look Forward to This Year.

Reggie Altema is a Haitian writer from New Jersey who grew up obsessed with music and skateboarding but despised east coast winters, so the former 

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No. 10 - Globe Mahalo

Mark Appleyard is an easy-going guy who skates tough and his new shoe on Globe, the Mahalo, reflects this idea perfectly. Sporting a classic look we've all seen before but with a few minor aesthetic adjustments, the Mahalo won't rip up as quickly as you're thinking it will. Just make sure you're skating the suede/canvas version and instead of the all canvas one. That's because the all canvas edition is better for walks on the beach, not performance. The canvas/suede combination is built to handle intense sessions and the vulcanized S-Trac outsole keeps its grip while withstanding aggressive pushes. Globe doesn't make insoles, they make shockbeds which are specifically engineered to absorb rebounds when you're jumping down big stairsets.



No. 9 - Axion Mijo

Although it was released during the last quarter of 2012, the Mijo, Manny Santiago's first pro shoe, is the star of Axion's Spring 2013 line. Aesthetically influenced by a Michael Jordan model, it's made to accommodate Santiago's love of tech and rail street skating. There's a durable one piece toe and a padded tongue to go along with an EVA insole containing a gel heel cushion. They skate great, and you can ask Santiago yourself, he's friendly enough to give you an honest answer.



No. 8 - adidas Silas Pro II

You could tell Silas Baxter Neal's first Adidas pro model was influenced by his love of hiking, and while that may have killed your faith in its ability to perform and probably deterred you from purchasing it, you truly missed out. In this case however style and athleticism are at the forefront. The one-piece toe cap looks good and also skates better than shoes with stitched paneling. The GEOFIT collar provides stability, and the adiPRENE heel cushioning give you protecting from heel bruises. The vulc sole is nice, as are the recessed eyelets, and while these are becoming common Adidas innovations, the only thing you may find odd is that the tongue is attached only to one side -- the side closest to your pinky toe.


No. 7 - Etnies Gilman Cairo Foster Pro Model

Over the years the Sole Tech Institute (STI) has remained a skate shoe stalwart because they've kept up with the changing times. However the Gilman, Cairo Foster's  newest shoe from Etnies, is another instance where STI blazed their own path. Here they've succeeded in creating something that won't break on you and also won't impede your performance. Sure it resembles a moccasin from the shape of the toe box, but have you seen how they put it together? It was nicely done with suede on the outside of the toe cap, and breathable canvas just above it. The thin padded tongue and collar give it a nice fit and the cupsole features Etnies' classic stitched construction to further support the DTTF Pro 2 insole which emphasizes boardfeel.



No. 6 - Supra Greco Hammer

Jim Greco is the kind of person you want to have a signature model, because you know it will endure the neck-breaking pace at which he skates. For his fifth time around he went the rugged, yet clean route with the Hammer, which coincidentally nails the concept of vulcanization and cupsole coexisting. On Supra's website he said, "I really wanted that fusion of vulcanized and cup sole because I like the feel of the vulc, but I like the impact absorbing features of the cup sole." That's why the toe area is narrower than the heel which features a lightweight, molded SUPRAFOAM midsole similar to the last edition of the Muska Skytop.



No. 5 - HUF Joey Pepper Pro

I think "simple yet effective" is an accurate description of Joey Pepper's first Huf pro model. Simple because at first glance it looks like a nice tennis shoe made by a department store yachting brand -- something you wouldn't readily associate with skateboarding. But upon further examination durable construction becomes apparent. It features a vulc sole with a triple wrapped toecap. Good luck breaking through that. The ollie area is beefy and the toe area looks like it could take a good hammering. Actually it can as the heel, ollie area and toe cap all feature Huf's Extra Durable suede. There's also a padded cuff for your ankle and amidst all of this toughness there's that nice woven nylon ribbon on the side panel along with Pepper's deer logos on the tongue and insole.



No. 4 - Vans Geoff Rowley Pro

Almost 15 years ago in 1999, Vans and Pro skater Geoff Rowley released this performance-based low top which was made to survive the hardest, rawest days of skating. Call it silly, but up until that point vulcanized skate shoes had never been manufactured to actually sustain the rigors of skateboarding, so naturally this shoe became very popular. As good as it was back then, today's Rowley Pro is remarkably better.  The fit is greatly improved because of a sockliner that molds to your feet and durability won't be an issue thanks to PRO VULC construction -- Vans preferred manufacturing method. What they like to do is combine molded polyurethane footbeds with ImpactSorb gel heel pads, so that there's extra cushioning in the heel without minimizing board feel. Plus the grip's always good with Vans' patented original Waffle outsole.



No. 3 - DC Mike Mo S

Mike Mo Capaldi's first shoe since joining DC is a marvel. Capaldi had this shoe designed to last, and that's coming from someone who skates his shoes until they no longer work, so they'll work for you. DC's newest unilite technology from their running shoes caught Capaldi's eye, so he had it incorporated here. That's why it's so lightweight. It also has a bootie for a better fit. There's mesh on the tongue which also comes from DC's running shoes, but the real reason it's there is for breathability and because Capaldi who's an NBA fan said it reminded him of basketball. There's also no stitches or paneling in the toe box or ollie area because he doesn't like his shoes to rip. The coolest thing may be the "X" on the bottom of the sole which is DC's way of making it more flexible.



No. 2 - Emerica Reynolds 4

The Reynolds 4 is stunningly clean and showcases Emerica's dedication to producing better footwear. The Herman G6 made its mark at the end of 2012 for its sleek design and useful underlying technical framework. In the same respect  Reynolds' shoe is somewhat similar. One solid upper panel covers the toe and ollie area for durability and performance. The collar has 3M's reflective material for visibility. The upper looks like a combination of the Reynolds 3 and Emerica's Brandon Westgate pro model, but it features a maximum airflow tongue and sidewall for improved ventilation through Emerica's Medial Mesh "Cold Air Intake" system. Basically layers of perforated mesh and foam help keep your feet supported and cool. In addition to that there's a new internal fore-foot support system that stabilizes your foot even more than normal. The cupsole is complex yet functional. The Herman G6 has the sole split into three parts that separately fit together: a G6 foam on top, a lightweight foam in the middle and a gum rubber outsole on the bottom. The Reynolds 4 has the G6 foam between the upper and the cupsole which is made of the lightweight stabilizing foam that's attached to the outsole. Not having a gum rubber outsole probably made the shoe lighter. The triangle tread of the outsole is Emerica's grippiest and longest-lasting sole yet. There's even a solid heel tread panel to prevent the effects of heel drag and ultimately help the shoes last longer.



No. 1 - Nike Koston 2

Eric Koston's second shoe on Nike may have a dressier look than his first one or even most shoes on the market right now, but it's made to get down and dirty. Sure it looks like a Golf shoe minus the spikes, but Koston would never make a shoe he couldn't skate in. The eyelets are very narrow because they keep the laces from ripping. The fit comes from Nike's LunarGlide and LunarEclipse running shoes, which are some of Koston's favorite shoes of all-time. The interior has a bootie with a heel counter that wraps around your foot, thus securing your heel, and the sole is a cupsole with an improved Lunarlon sockliner.


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