If you are a skateboarder you probably rock through shoes faster than the band Kiss rocks through face makeup, so getting the right shoe for your specific need is critical. There are all kinds of radical footwear out there that cater to skateboarders and provide the synapse you need to connect you to your shredstick. Some dudes, like the always-radical Ethan Lau, even skate without shoes—and I have even heard that he footbrakes barefoot! That kind of craziness aside, most of us do wear shoes and are looking for a pair that best suits us. You may be familiar and partial to the Vans classic style that so many love, or are inspired by Rob Dyrdek and DC shoes, others get stoked on the connection they get from a fresh pair of I-path sneakers. Heck, I have bombed hills in a pair of Sanuk Sidewalk Surfers—which weren’t ideal for the shred, but at the time that’s what I had to work with—somehow I was able to pull it off. Ha ha! No matter your shoe preference, you probably put at least some thought into what your feet are wearing while you’re skateboarding. Shoes have been a passion of mine since high school and I believe I have finally found the right ones after 7 years of trying all different shapes and styles.
Many different shoe styles exist out there for many different types of people—you have everything from lumberjack boots to tangerine aqua socks. People choose shoes based on style because they have an image they like to associate with. Cocktail-dress swaggin’ ladies choose high-ass stilettos that are hot pink. Some Bro might wear a pair of Toms shoes so as to communicate to other people that he’s totally hip and cares about people without proper footwear. As you can imagine, the varied style preferences are limitless.
Add into the mix functionality and utility and you’ll find all sorts of reasons why people buy particular shoes. The specific shoe functionality varies from person to person and task to task, but it is clear that, for many, foot protection and comfort are critical criteria. Construction workers need their boots to be sturdy—usually flat bottomed and heavy duty soled. They want a steel toe to make sure they don’t break their digits when they drop a cinder block on them. Surfers don’t want to get sand trapped between their piggies so they wear sandals to let their dogs run wild. As you know, such functional reasons for wearing shoes are endless in combination.
Like most things in life, the decision for obtaining the raddest shoes possible is not simply a case of black & white. Many individuals choose shoes on category of functionality and then go on to select based on style. For instance, skateboarders choose “skate shoes” for the most part based on the need for a grippy, flate sole; solid lightweight and durable upper; and general comfort. A skater’s decision is then further focused by style choices—for instance: “Fresh” or “Hesh”? Some say you can tell a lot about someone by the car they drive; Well, I can tell a lot about someone by the shoes they wear.
My personal footwear journey has led me to the Reebok Omnilite Pump. I was first turned on to them from my friend Josh. He told me all about how he had been skating in a pair of basketball shoes for two years and that they were still useable without crazy gaping holes and stitching rips, that so often happen to cloth skate shoes. Also, around that time I was watching a video from one of the first Maryhill Freerides and saw the big awesome basketball shoes that G-Mac and Louis Pilloni were wearing at the time. I immediately connected with this style of shoe. So, like any good man on a budget, I roamed the internet in search of the best deal on some basketball shoes. Looking at all different styles and colorways, I found a range of products I liked. In the end I found my match: the Reebok Pump. The Omnilite Pump is everything I want in a shoe – lightweight, durable, thick soled, flat bottom, and they have their namesake feature of a pumpable tongue that tightens your shoes to a perfect fit. I ended up buying the all-white ones first. They were not only a crowd stopper, but pavement slayers as well. Another reason I bought the all-white Pumps was because they are crazy photogenic. As I am now getting into the phase of my skateboarding career where I have the privilege of having photos in magazines, I appreciate the eye-catching power of The Pump.
Now it’s time for you to go out there, in our wild world of adventure, and find the perfect pair for you. I say, be inspired by style and functionality—get some shoes that represent you personally—put some thought into the process. In the end, your shoes may help you define your particular swagger, they can definitely protect your feet and help you feel more confident while shredding, and they may also get a head turn, or two. Pump it!