Bringing up skate shoe brands to a long-time boarder can be just as controversial as a bringing up religion or politics. You will find that many people, who wear the brand for sport, have picked a favourite and will determinedly stick by it no matter what. But consumers, either new to skating, or who just like the style of the clothing, repeatedly ask “which should I choose?” We invited experts in street and skate wear, 4 Seasons Store, to give us a rundown of each company and what styles are available to choose from.
First off let’s remind ourselves that the marketing employee’s at Etnies and DC have a tough crowd to please. Both companies started off designing technical shoes for skaters meeting the demands of the scene that began on the West Coast in America. However today, it is not just skaters that wear the brand, with the style becoming a bit of a fashion statement – much to many a boarder’s dismay.
According to We Connect Fashion, Street and skate wear has had a huge uprising with sales increasing from a half-billion-dollar industry to a $12 billion industry in just 5 years in the USA alone. Therefore these companies have to tread the fine line between being frozen out of the market by not catering for this new wave of customers. Or upsetting the people that got them to where they are today, the skate crowd, by not sticking to their roots and principles and “selling out.”
So with all that said let us take a look at the most recent releases from both companies:
The Marana is the latest offering from Etnies and the official shoe of pro-skater Ryan Sheckler. It was released a year early due to high demands for Etnies’ fans. The design is a modern upgrade of their classic skate shoe style. The description on the site reads: “It was carefully crafted, piece by piece, to endure skateboarding. Its fused-on injected rubber toe cap makes it super hard to wear through, the lightweight and impact-resistant STI Evolution™ Foam midsole doesn’t pack out enhancing the cushioning of the Polyurethane foot bed and the non-slip grip outsole’s thick herringbone tread with deep grooves just doesn’t wear down. Durability is an understatement. The Marana was born to skate and hold its own.”
The Etnies Dory is available in a multitude of colours and styles. Some of the features boast a thin padded tongue and collar,;double-stitched toe; a cork-lined Ortholite light-weight food bed and stitched cupsole construction. This shoe is made for quality and comfort. The shoe has no technical skate description on the official website (unlike the Marana style above which has plenty) and actually has a description stating that it is a “design that invokes the good time vibes of a nautical adventure–whether you’ve actually been on one or not.” It seems this shoe is mainly targeted at a style-conscious audience and perhaps more for casual use on those skate free days.
The newest addition to the SS14 DC range is the Wes Kremer and official shoe for the pro-skateboarder who worked closely with the company to make sure the design is perfect for skating. The sole of this shoe uses vulcanized construction for better board feel and sidewall grip, and the outsole uses an abrasion-resistant sticky rubber. DC’s trademarked recessed “pill pattern” graces the tread. It has gone through testing procedures to make sure the construction is at it’s ultimate for a great skate.
The Flash TX is another offering from the DC brand. It is a self-confessed “casual shoe” made from a textile material and is available in 14 different colours. We think it looks a little like Vans and DC had a love-child as it does not fit with the chunky DC shoes we have all got used to. However we do think it is great that DC are keeping up with the casual side of the market by launching shoes that are suitable to wear all day long.
Looking at the release of the newest collections. It is difficult to draw a conclusion on which company is creating the best shoes. Although fans may argue about which is the better brand, there does not seem to be a definite right or wrong answer here. Both Etnies and DC are quality brands with a huge range of shoes, in a similar price bracket. It seems that they have moved with the street wearup rise and brought out styles to keep both the dedicated skaters and the fashion pack content.
The bottom line is that the customer has to decide their preference on style and what the shoes will be mainly worn for. We say that whatever looks and feels best, is the right brand for you. After all, you are not going to perform very well at your Sunday afternoon skate session with uncomfortable tootsies – or maybe you are more likely to spend your Sunday walking around the shops.
Make sure you have your say by tweeting #etniesvsdc and state whether you are on #teametnies or #teamdc. Or let us know on our Facebook fan page which is your preferred brand.