Es_Footwear_Return_Jenkem

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.

éS Team 2002 - Courtesy of éS Shoes

éS Team 2002 – Courtesy of éS Shoes

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.

PIERRE-ANDRE_SENIZERGUES_ES_redpack

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.

Comments

  1. sroljo

    May 26, 2014 5:53 am

    I also want them to succeed.
    I bought couple of new models and they are decent shoes, the Accelerates are modern thin cupsole shoe that skates good right out of box, and the Accelites are amazingly comfortable chillers, didn’t try the Accents. I would rather have Accels or Sal 23s or SLB mids .
    Shoe business is hard business. It was easy for them when they were on top of the world, but they lost focus in later years, they were just chasing trends. I understand that they can throw money right away on big team and big names.
    I think that they are trying to restart small and build up gradually.
    There are lots of people that have fond memories of awesome eS shoes but I also remember and fuck ups like original Accelerates bubbly soles and G2 loosing it properties and not doing anything for absorbing impacts . Defects are always possible, it happens even to huge shoe corporations but right now such a thing can brake you.
    eS need to focus on quality shoes, good quality suede and materials, build brand awareness (they have amazing legacy) and conduct good business practices.
    Oh and yeah, Accels are indeed coming back. I heard something about August.

    Reply
  2. Oliver

    May 26, 2014 1:15 pm

    Here’s the thing with accel, that shoe was awful post 2003. The tongue became huge. I would never buy that accel, give me the one Muska, Penny and later PJ Ladd wore.

    Reply
  3. éS

    May 27, 2014 6:07 am

    Great points Ian and on point with the plan! Giving back to skateboarding is everything éS is about and something we’ve always done… you’ll see more as we move forward. Bringing éS back, we didn’t want to jump in to the same complacent model of how all other brands are doing business… thinking differently is important and we knew we wouldn’t make everyone happy. THANKS to everyone who has worn éS … as skateboarders we truly appreciate it! Stay tuned!

    Reply
    • Martin

      June 8, 2014 8:25 am

      I hope you give us the pre 2003 Accel as it was when it became the legend it now is. Why you changed it in the first place is beyond me. Changing the Accel is to this day in my opinion a giant middle finger to the skate community and until the original lean, mean foreverlasting machine of a skateshoe is brought back (preferably in the same colourways as the first ones like black nubuck, the forever awesome light brown and those sick white leather ones.) i could not care less about És being back. Listen to the skaters instead of trying to be trendy. Please oh PLEASE listen to the skaters for once.

      Reply
  4. Steve

    May 27, 2014 11:13 am

    Been skateboarding for 14 years and now I’m working full time at a marketing company. I can attest that local marketing is everything and is usually the best way of generating sales for a brand. The idea that eS should market locally by hooking up guys on flow is solid. I remember iPath doing something similar a number of years ago and it working out really well (well enough for Timberland to see its value enough to buy it). Maybe you’re on to something Ian.

    Reply