Pro Choices August 1998

What features do you look for in a skate shoe?

Mike Vallely, Etnies

“I happen to be riding my new shoe; it’ll be out in August on Etnies. I went for three things on my shoe: I wanted it to be semi-affordable, durable, and … what was the other thing? Oh yeah, functional. It has an airsole all the way through, and a rubber toe that covers the ollie area and extends to the first lace eyelet. It’s top-quality rubber and looks good. I’ve blown out so many shoes that I know what’s important. I don’t wear socks, so my shoes don’t last – they get stinky – but they’d last a long time if I did. When I quit Airwalk I took a 1,000-dollar pay cut, and I wasn’t even fully on the Etnies team. So now I’m really stoked to be on Etnies and getting a shoe out. I’m proud of it.”

Rodney Mullen, Globe

“I ride my own model. The main things I was after were regular lacing and the rubber on the toe. My shoes would always grind through, and the rubber gives you extra grip for tricks like nollie 360 flips. I’ve had problems before with shoes being too wide or narrow, and luckily these soles were perfect – right in the middle. It has an air bag in the heel, but overall they’re a pretty simple design. I worked with a good designer, and we got it to where I wanted it.”

Brian Anderson, Axion

“I’ve been riding Axion for the last six months. I just like the fact that they’re put together really well. I like how the soles are half-soft and half-hard, and how they keep changing the designs. The insoles are cool with the little raised-up areas. And I’m a size thirteen, so it’s hard for me to get a shoe that fits good. There is no way I’m getting a model – I just turned pro a year ago. I have to pay some dues.”

Jaya Bonderov, Nike

“I ride Nikes. Actually, I ride all different styles. The ones made for skateboarding are all right, but I like the ones for tennis – they’re really grippy and the air bags are real – not plastic windows. Ever since I started riding Nikes, I haven’t gotten a heel bruise. They also have Zoom Air in the forefoot. I thought I’d be the last guy skating in Nikes, but they’re just good skate shoes.