Sole Tech F/W 11

Earlier this week Sole Tech hosted the Active Team at a preview of their F/W 11 goods, where they showed off a number of cool product updates, new technologies, and market pushing fashions.

First up we got a tour of the new etnies gear, where we were particularly impressed with the Devine Calloway fashion line that included a great vintage-inspired camper coat and a very forward look baseball Henley. Ryan Sheckler’s new signature straight fit jean, coated with Sole Tech’s original STI REPEL hydrophobic technology, were likewise impressive. The jeans looked and felt just like raw denim, and our hosts blew us away when they dumped a cup of water on them only to have the water bead up and run off the denim as though it were GORE-TEX®. Etnies new duffle coat also really looked good, and exemplified etnies commitment to incorporating outside influences into their apparel line, while staying true to skating’s core.

The etnies footwear line was equally impressive, and saw the brand breaking boundaries with a new camel colorway in their popular Califas boot from the etnies Plus line, as well as the new Malto 2, which managed to incorporate boat shoe influences in a novel way—no small feet. The etnies girl’s line also killed it with a nice new purple, all-canvas version of the Caprice, and a new insulated, snap closure boot. Still, our favorite etnies shoe is the Barci (which we’ve been saying since the Bright Tradeshow in Berlin this January), which may be the perfect skate shoe with its thin cupsole, grippy suede, and classic looks.

Next up we got a peak at a couple of Sole Tech’s eco initiatives, where we saw new versions of the etnies eco Jameson 2, a vegan-friendly shoe with recycled rubber outsoles and insoles, and shoelaces made from plastic bottles. For every Jameson 2 sold etnies plants a tree in Costa Rica as part of their Buy a Shoe, Plant a Tree program.  We also got a look at shoes made with Sole Tech’s new STI FUSION process, the first major update to vulcanized shoe construction in almost one hundred years.  Unlike true vulcanized shoes, which are glued together with toxic glues and then oven baked, STI FUSION uses a PU foam to bond the uppers, mid-sole, and outsole of a shoe together, producing a thinner, lighter shoe with no C02-emmiting oven or noxious chemicals. We got to hold an Emerica Reynolds Cruiser prototype made with this new technology and can vouch that it was super light and incredibly flexible.

From here we moved onto the new Emerica product where Jerry Hsu’s new signature product blew us away, with a sick pair of rust-colored denim and a Hsu 2 shoe, which is the first to make STI FUSION available on the market. We also really dug Braydon Szafranski’s new SZA model (see this post’s thumbnail), inspired by his Las Vegas upbringing, and featuring a secret stash pocket for contraband. It’s not always easy to make a rock n’ roll skate shoe, but here Emerica and our favorite party wolf pro totally pulled it off.

We closed out our visit with a look at Altamont’s new F/W 12 apparel collection, and again, we were impressed. Altamont is one of the few big dog apparel companies that competes with boutique labels like Supreme and Huf in exploring the cutting edge of skate fashion, a truly commendable accomplishment. This season Altamont showed us a ringer tee straight from the 90s, an item we’ve been waiting years for a skate company to put out. They also showed a great pseudo-western blanket button front, that updates the drug rug and Navajo print trends, as well as some Sta-Prest-inspired Vato trouser with western details made for Sammy Baca. Top-notch stuff! Lastly we loved Altamont’s quilted flight jacket, designed for filmers or photographers sitting around in the cold waiting for skaters to finally bag that trick.

Thanks guys – great stuff!

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