Anyone who has known me for the last 20+ years knows that I’m loyal to one thing; éS footwear and the Accel. Aside from a brief scare between 2012 and 2014, éS has been my only choice for shoes. Since their return, éS has paid homage to the classic style, functionality, and tech in their catalog, while also releasing a few limited throwbacks in the mix.
After success with the etnies Sal 23, éS Footwear was imagined by Pierre-André Senizergues as he joined forces with Don Brown over 25 years ago. Retiring while being recognized as a World Champion freestyle skateboarder, Pierre-André left his hometown outside of Paris for California.
etnies released their first skate film High 5 in 1995 and Pierre-André saw the potential of the new crew coming up. The video highlighted the talent witnessed first hand from the likes of Koston, Penny, Muska, and so many others.
With the help of Sal Barbier moving over from etnies, Pierre-André launched éS in 1995, created to be a more aesthetic and sophisticated branch of etnies focused on the streets. The Accel, the Sal 23, and the SLB became staples of the skate community. Pierre-André gained full rights and created Sole Tech. Like all youngins in the late ’90s, the folks weren’t exactly excited to spend their hard-earned dollars on expensive (or any) shoes we’d destroy in a week. Sheep, Simple, and Duffs were my introduction to a stylish, functional skate shoe on a budget. Once realizing éS offered better comfort, functionality, and…of course, the aesthetics, I never looked back. Don’t recall ever riding in an original pair of Sal 23s or SLBs, but can’t forget the first kickflip in an Accel.
Then Koston 1 and the Muska were released around the same time Ambush opened the doors in a small strip mall in Kennesaw, GA, in ’97. The Koston 1 immediately became legendary and a must-have for advanced skate shoe tech. It was one of the first skateboard-specific shoes to include the air pocket that would become popular in the era. It provided heel and toe protection that wasn’t on the market before. The Muska brought a completely different offering to the mix and had monumental release hype. The accent aigu éS badge toe protector and stash pocket quickly became a must on skaters’ want list. This badge can be easily noticed in the Swift.
In 1998 éS came out with the Koston 2. After skating nothing but fat tongue, flat sole shoes, the Koston 2 originally felt like a running shoe. With the ultra low toe profile and large heel cushion, it first felt like skating in high heels. Turns out it was very technical. I wondered what it’s rerelease would mean to the upcoming ripper. This would also be the year of the Creager, the SLB 98, and the Vector. The following year the Burnquist and Symbol were released.
At the turn of the millennium, éS releases Menikmati and the Koston 3. Based on the Jordan 12, the Koston 3 was widely adopted by many as their first choice to chomp on it. The éS influence and style was adopted by what would become the next generation of skate legends from Arto to McCrank, and also introduced P-Rod to the world.
Then the Sparta and Tribo were offered for the first time. Recently rereleased, they sparked nostalgia, as they were in stock and gone immediately. éS also recently released the Evant as a tribute to the Koston 3. They also flew out the door.
After finally releasing a Penny shoe and reissuing a new, more technical Koston 1, the EK-01, a clear changing of the guard, was on the horizon. For their 10-year anniversary, éS brought a simple, yet advanced technical shoe in the Accelerate. A young 10-year-old Nyjah Huston started making noise and would go on to win Tampa Am. I was there and seeing this in person was eye-opening. Recognizing the talent, éS and Scuba Steve swooped in to make Nyjah part of the éS family. Because my technical ability severely lacked compared to my love for skateboarding, I’ve always been the “filmer” of the crew. People like Danny Minnick (Genie of the Lamp) and Josh Stewart (Static series) inspired a raw filming style I tried to emulate. When éS honored Scuba with his very own Accel with a filmer logo it was an absolute must-have.
The years that would follow are ones my generation would rather forget. The current state we are in bring back the ominous feeling of those days. But skaters have a different attitude about falling, constantly scanning our landscape imagining how or what we could do to make it skateable, dodging security, and persisting until the bolts are stomped on the roll out. As Rodney Mullen eloquently put it, “falling becomes normal, and picking yourself up again is normal. The resilience skaters have is uncommon in regular life.” éS has become a heritage brand that has always represented the true grit of skateboarding. Big brands have a leg up and do sometimes offer advancements to the skate community others can not, but the next time you’re looking for a shoe to do that perfect flip, the Accel has been tested and proven to bring it. Support Your Local Skate Community!