Now that éS has had time to “return” to skateboarding, let’s rewind for a minute.
Back to the early 2000s, when éS reigned supreme, I was a total fanboy. éS was top of the food chain: their shoes were durable, technical and looked good. They had names like Koston and Burnquist and McCrank and Saari on them (and not too long before had Creager and Muska. The point is these dudes were heavy hitters). Menikmati was an entire video of ender-ender parts. The list of pros from any given year of their history reads like an all-star team. Not to mention they made top-tier technical skate shoes.
We don’t have to relive the details of the brand’s slow demise. Losing Paul Rodriguez and Koston hurt; as good as the rest of the team was, they lost their star power. The shoe game isn’t an easy business.
But there were glimmers of hope. Rumors started circulating and earlier this year we got to witness the rebirth of éS. Anticipation was high – who would they get on the team? What will they bring back, especially considering Nike, Adidas and New Balance had taken up so much space in the skate shoe industry?
And, we weren’t disappointed.
No. Wait, scratch that, I was disappointed.
If you haven’t been paying attention, éS has been releasing limited edition color packs: a red pack, a blue pack and a white pack, all including the same three models (which are, basically, already shoes made by other companies). They even gave one of them the same name as a previous model, the Accelerate.
No team. No video. No web clip. Nothing else. Three shoes, in four colors, marketed for Twitter’s “limited edition” attention span and sneakerheads’ fascination with scarcity.
I’ll give them credit where it’s due: it might not be a bad marketing plan. It’s forward thinking and probably sells more shoes, without a lot of other overhead costs. They can put their money into quality product rather than buying some jerk with a fancy kickflip a new Audi. The bummer is, they aren’t putting anything back into skateboarding. Yet.
I firmly am in the support-brands-by-skateboarders camp, but It’s hard to see how a brand without a team, selling limited-edition sneakers at limited-edition prices, is contributing to the skate ecosystem. I want to support a company that I’ve supported in the past, but I also want to know that company is supporting skateboarding in return.
Here’s an idea, éS: go grassroots.
Build a big flow team of hometown heroes. Hook up a kid who rides for every shop carrying the new éS. More kids will be hyped on the local dude than on so-and-so leaving DC or Lakai or whatever. I can attest: after Sierra Fellers won Tampa Am and put out that Circa part, every kid in Montana was backing his sponsors. I also remember being confused when éS went under, because so many kids in the DC area were buying Bobby Worrest’s shoes.
”Don’t risk watering down your incredible legacy and history with a series of quickstrikes”
Then maybe find one big name. Someone who is relevant beyond being this week’s YouTube flavor of the week, and slowly build. Find someone who is passionate and will champion the, for skateboarders, by skateboarders movement. And if you do want to continue with these limited edition drops, at least give us what we really want, The Accel.
éS’s comeback has been disappointing so far, but it doesn’t have to end that way. You made the mid / late 90s and early 2000s awesome. Educate the new generation, hell, release a short web clip showing what éS was, and what it is. Skateboarders want to see you succeed. Just don’t risk watering down your incredible legacy and history with a series of quickstrikes.
Your move, éS.