The return of éS footwear with Don Brown
I wanted to start this article, "éS is back!" but it's rather awkward to begin a sentence with a lowercase letter. So while snoots and copy editors such as myself might not be rejoicing the resurrection of the iconic Sole Technology footwear brand, much of the skateboard community seems to be very excited about the announcement that came last week via the creation of an Instagram account with macro shots of a shoe and some design sketches. Not much has been said about product or a team yet, but one fellow already started a petition to get Ronnie Creager on the team again.
"We would all benefit from this," wrote Marcus Carillo. "I grew up like many of you did skating the Ronnie Creager pro models and the vary [sic] many shoe models that they developed throughout the years and who better to bring back than RONNIE CREAGER!!!!"
That's four exclamation points. Marcus is a vary, vary, vary, vary excited customer.
I reached out to Sole Tech's Don Brown to find out what gives. And since éS was regarded as a technical shoe brand, my first question was of a technical nature. "Is this a rebirth or a resurrection?" I asked. "If the latter, will there be a Lazarus signature model?"
"Let's call it the return," Don Brown said, "but not in full capacity. éS is still on creative retreat, we're just bringing back a few styles for the éS fans around the world. We recently released some éS shoes in Japan and they became the top selling shoes in all accounts. The love for éS is as strong as ever. Right now the focus is on product and we'll look in to the team as we go."
"But why resurrect a brand that died because -- I assume -- it wasn't performing very well?" I asked. "And why now when nearly everyone in a crowded industry is suffering and having trouble making their projected numbers?"
"It was really about focus," Don said in regards to éS's hiatus in 2011. "For Sole Technology, we had three footwear brands (Emerica, etnies, éS), but all the market wanted at the time was black and white, cheap, vulc shoes -- that's not what éS is about. éS is about design, quality products, and progression. The dynamics of the skate industry have changed dramatically in the past years and we feel that right now there's a revolution of the new generation getting sick of how stagnant and rigid things are for them. They want new exciting brands that cater to their needs and can keep up with the speed that they are progressing at. They are also sick of the large multi-billion dollar corporations that have come in and homogenized their world."
While the éS product has always been above par, and it will be exciting to see what the new line looks and rides like, it was the éS team that made the brand legendary. I, like Marcus, couldn't help wonder about what kind of a team they were going to be fielding for the upcoming skateboard season. "Are you going to put Ronnie Creager on the team?" I asked. "He just might be the key ingredient for a championship season."
"Right now, we're going to focus on producing great product and working closely with our skate retailers and their communities," Don replied. "We're not in a rush to put together a super star team. We'll hook up our friends and the new generation that are taking skateboarding to another level and take it from there. But since Sole Technology is one of the few 100% skater owned companies out there, we have a lot of pressure on Pierre [André], the owner, to make a comeback and take the trophy. He has a wicked triple flip to Primo that can win next year's game of SKATE."
"Are there any plans to make another Menikmati?" I asked, undeterred. "And if so, may I suggest you title it Menikmatwo?"
"That would be amazing to create another Menikmati," Don said. "Out the gates, though, we'll just focus on the meaning of menikmati, which in Indonesian means, 'to enjoy.' We want to focus on why we all got into skateboarding: for the love, the enjoyment, the creativity, and the fun. From the foundation of enjoyment I'm sure we'll have some fun film projects that will create the same kind of inspiration that Menikmati did."
The new collection from éS launches with a tight offering of three new models, each coming in a black or red style, that are "inspired from the original Accel that carries an aesthetic that is iconic and legendary." To learn more about the new line of éS footwear, visit esskateboarding.com.