Tuesday, November 30, 2010
eS "First Blood" Shoe Review
With all the newest shoes and shoe companies dropping as of late, I took a moment to step back and reevaluate what shoe I wanted to skate more than I wanted to review. Bobby Worrest has been one of my favorite skaters for a long time, actually since this video dropped. I also wanted to take a trip back to review a shoe or two that have been released long before Ripped Laces ever came along and started ruining my life. With that said reviewing the eS "First Bloods" was fairly easy, I kept a strict schedule of skating every other day for atleast 1 - 2 hours. Needless to say, my knee hurts and I haven't been this sore since I was 16 but nontheless it was the best and only way to skate this shoe.
This had to be one of the most true to size shoes I've skated in a long time. No small pockets of empty space in this shoe or any annoying heel slipping while walking. With a comfortable slip-on feel, which is credited to the elastic tongue centering straps, the First Bloods give you a snug feeling all around.
Comfort, Cushion and Support:
The eS "First Blood" is Bobby Worrest's first pro model (like you didn't know that already) and have features that eS are tapping into for the first time. This shoe specifically is the first of its kind in the eS catalog to have an extended, stretched (beak like) toe cap and rather unique shape. The shape is narrow but doesn't sacrifice comfort, especially for those with larger feet. I've skated Vans Chucka lows and loved them but after the day was done the side of my pinky would have blisters on it. The First Bloods have a larger footbed for the ball of the foot and in comparision to a Chucka low toe cap, rather than fabric going straight across the shoe, the eS First Bloods have a rubber cup material laying underneth suede for space, breathablity and durability. This allows for higher comfort level and less sweat on your feet when skating.
For the first 3 days the First Bloods felt heavy on my feet, they weighed in at 1 pound 10 ounces. Needless to say the breaking-in process wasn't easy but after the fourth day the shoe comes around. I only had to tie the shoes once and I could just slide them on and go skate. With STI providing the techonology for eS, Etnies & Emerica, one could expect the good old traditional features, all of this is added and yet tweaked with the First Blood. This shoe has a thin padded tongue and collar for comfort thats not too distracting when skating, so no need for tugging of the tongue or any readjusting. A staple of STI is the molded PU footbed and System G2 heel cushioning gel insert, these two features alone provide added support and comfort.
Boardfeel and Grip:
With a straight forward approach from eS designing the shoe, it took me a while to figure out why the shoe felt so heavy. After playing around with other eS models in skate shops, I realized that the Vulcanized Gum rubber sole was suprisingly heavy. This sole is commonly used with most STI shoes and has a much deeper Herring bone tread pattern for added grip.
The First Bloods start gaining some great boardfeel while losing some grip. I never had a problem with the grip, it wasn't ever overwhelming or less than par but it just burns out a little sooner than most shoes. I could only speculate that this is why the First Bloods sole is so heavy, with so much rubber making the tread/grip marks deeper, the grip lasts longer but adds weight to the shoe substancially.
This shoe can last approximately 4 to 6 weeks depending on how much you skate. The rubber cup material laying underneth the suede/toe cap area stretches the life expectancy remarkably. Another noticeable feature in this shoe is probably the most slept on. eS avoided unneccessary technology to prevent abrasion on the laces, simply put they're just higher up on the shoe. As said earlier, the grip is great but the constancy of the herringbone tread pattern is ultimately what causes the rubber sole to burn out.
This shoe has been one of my favorite reviews so far, I don't whether it was because the shoe was simply yet stratigically put together or what, but the eS First Blood are in my Top 5 favorite skate shoes. My skating was consistant, they're super comfortable and in the era of $80 to $100 skate shoes you really can't go wrong with these.
Grading: 1 thru 10
Grip Durability: 6.5
Overall Durability: 9