Sunday, May 22, 2011

C1RCA Gallant review

I'm not sure how many of you are actually interested in the C1RCA Gallant review. I understand why most of you may be apprehensive towards believing in a brand like C1RCA. It's well know by Mall Grabbers and I know none of us want to be socially related to those skaters that have been skating because of it's MTV popularity.

But on the other hand, it's a shoe from one of the most technical, stylish and respected skater's in skating today. There are so many skateboarders that don't get enough recognition and maybe I'm coming from a east coast perspective, but this shoe has been entirely slept on by the skate community. Hopefully, this review will contribute to some "changes" as far as showing what C1RCA footwear has to offer. I've been skating the Gallant's for over 5 weeks because of it's great durability and performance but have generated 4 weeks of data on it's performance. As usual, it was skated 5 days a week for 1 hour a day.

C1RCA Gallant Details:
  • Low-Profile cupsole 
  • Fusion grip outsole rubber
  • C1RCA herringbone outsole 
  • Elastic centering tongue straps
  • EVA insole 

Sizing and Style:
Regardless of what the C1RCA site say's about the shoe, the Gallant is a vulcanized shoe. It's very thin, flexible, and the break-in process is practically non-existent. I personally love the look and feel of the shoe because the Gallant goes with any style you're trying to pull off, skinny or baggy pants, this shoe works with em' both. It's a double stitched suede toe piece with nubuck material underneath and feature's the fusion grip sole for your kickflip needs.

I found C1RCA's sizing a bit off. I'm a true size 11 and received a size 11 but would recommend getting at least a half size larger for a true fit with minimal space or a whole size larger so you'll have a comfortable fit with some space even with a thicker sock. It'll ultimately come down to what your preference is when skating. I did skate the Gallant's with socks but because of the tightness I felt around my toe I found myself skating with no socks and didn't mind the stinky feet; I just needed to skate enough to be able to judge the sizing correctly. For your information, the Gallant did stretch over time around the toe area considering the suede and nubuck materials and even though the shoe wasn't sized correctly by my standards, it was accommodating everywhere else.

Sizing: Get a half, if not, full size larger for the C1RCA Gallant.
Style Grading: 10

Comfort, Cushion and Support:
The Gallant has comfortably stiff sidewalls in the back of the shoe and gradually gets thinner towards the front. The back of the shoe is heavily reinforced with a heel liner and prevents your heel from coming out during skating and while trying tricks. Even those with a wider foot won't fall victim to spilling over and causing the shoe to go through more unwanted wear and tear.

The Gallant features comfortable padding throughout the tongue and collar of the shoe, and has exceptional padding even for a thin shoe but unfortunately has a very poor insole. The insole is a common EVA insole and provides the boardfeel of a slip-on. This is good for some and horrible for others. I actually used the Gallant to test and finish my insole review because of it's thin insole. Even though Game changers were picked as my preference, I found myself skating more in the Remind insoles for the later weeks of testing the Gallant. It fit the shoe much better and as a result had better arch support for me when skating. The shoe's outsole features no gel insert and no additional padding in the insole so had I skated the shoe as is, I most definitely would've rated it poorly.

I never really thought that changing one aspect of a shoe could turn it's performance from poor to perfect. If you think about it, the thinner your insole, the more weight goes into your outsole while performing tricks and as a result makes you dig into the outsole for grip rather than just grazing it's surface. I strongly recommend changing your insole when skating the C1RCA Gallant but by no means am I telling you to spend an extra $30 or $50 just to skate these shoes. Just grab an insole you enjoyed from a previous skate shoe and try skating these. My gradings below are true, if this shoe had a stronger and more resilient insole the shoe's performance will give you more bang for your buck.

Shoe padding grading: 7
Stock Insole grading: 4
Overall shoe performance with a changed insole: 10

Week 3 Overview

Boardfeel and Grip:
The boardfeel is great with or without a changed insole. There isn't really much to say about it, it's what you'd expect from a vulcanized sole. Despite it's standard boardfeel, the outsole is what really sticks out with the Gallant. The outsole is a herringbone pattern but the depth and width of each section are where certain specifications set this fusion grip apart from what other companies are doing. Every company has used the herringbone pattern to the best of there abilities, some better than others, but C1RCA used the herringbone pattern the right way. The outsole is separated into 3 sections, excluding the C1RCA symbol, which has some padded technology placed carefully to prevent primo incidents directly in the center of the shoe. The first and the third are the same in thickness and strength, whereas the second tread pattern is much thicker in width. (photos above) This thickness is place solely around the footbed for comfortable landing and precision padding. The two lines across, separating each section on the upper half of the sole provide easy targeting when bending your foot and skating the shoe. These separations also contribute to having any harsh landings targeted directly into this thicker padded footbed area.

The fusion grip is something that should rightfully be recognized because of it's quality to keep up and have a leveled balance of life with the shoe. After all your skating is done, the shoe is more than likely going to wear out together instead of blowing out your shoe and still having an untouched outsole of grip or vice versa. When you're done skating the Gallant, you'll know that you got the best out of the suede material and the fusion grip outsole. They'll die together.

Boardfeel Grading: 10
Grip Grading: 8

Fusion Grip outsole from Week 1-5

The Gallant's durability speaks for itself. It held up great for 5 weeks and it's because of the low profile design. The concave of suede in front allows the sole to take most of the beating during ollies and kickflips. This prolongs the griptape from scratching any of the suede or nubuck material until the final weeks of the shoes demise or if you over tweak your ankle on any rare occasions. I tried to capture this feature the best that I could. (photos below) I realize that it all sounds like a crock of shit but it's true, at least for the way that I skate and I know my type of skating isn't anything special compared to the guys on the C1RCA team.

Suede Durability Grading: 10
Fusion Grip Grading: 9

Week 5 close-up

As I said in the introduction, I skated this shoe for 5 weeks and have 4 weeks of data. Basically, I had such a good time skating the Gallant and such a busy schedule as well, that the 4th week went undocumented and so the photo in place of the 4th week in the slideshow is really the 5th week. I just wanted to clear that up so no one gets confused during the slideshow.

This shoe surpassed my expectations, how is it that a shoe that lasts over a month isn't a best seller? This shoe has been out for over a year and I can honestly say that I hadn't ever seen the Gallant's up front until I received a pair. It's strange considering that I use to go into different skate shops on a bi-weekly basis to see what potential shoe could've been my premiere review. The durability, to my standards, are superb and I can imagine that it's going to hold up for at least another 2 weeks. Check out the slide show and tell us what you think. Did it hold up to your standards?

Overall, I thoroughly recommend this shoe. It's represents the kind of solid skating Ryan Gallant himself does and it's a great shoe. The suede holds up for what seems like forever and the rubber outsole is what keeps this shoe lasting as long as it does. Just change the insole once you get it but if you don't intend on jumping a 10 stair and you're light on your toes, by all means try out the stock insole. It'll more than likely work better for you then it did for me.

Ripped Laces take's the role of separating the good from the bad and even more ugly - at least we try to. So sure, I realize that the C1RCA brand doesn't have the following of the "Vans, slick hair and dickies" following in skateboarding today but that's even more reason to try these shoes. Fortunetly, if you're convinced by this review, you'll be in awe when you check them out but if you didn't read it you're just another clone.

A huge shoutout and thank you go out to Ken @ C1RCA for providing the Gallant's and making this review possible. Keep the good stuff up guys.

This is currently my alarm clock ringtone and it's scary waking up to a black man yelling at you but it gets the job done.

Video of the month for me right here. Short, sweet and shit you've never seen.


  1. who cares what shoe brand you wear, skateboarding is about going against trends, so if the trend is to not like circa, then i fuckin like those shits. fuck trends, fuck hipsters, and fuck blending in with the crowd. Skateboarding for life!

  2. Or you can think for yourself and buy what you like.

    Nice review!

  3. well i think shoes are what they are and no matter what kind the only thing that madders is i you like the shoes and if they are good for skating so just get what you wanna wear. SK8 FTW!