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MADE FOR SKATE

However, the legacy of the Stunter may lay in its ads, which pio- neered the high-tech, scientific angle for marketing skate shoes that would become popular again in the mid-1990s – you know, “scientifically advanced footwear” and “skate-specific technology” and all that. Another phenomenon mostly limited to England was the popular- ity of Pro-Keds “Park Plus” skate shoes by automobile tire corpo- ration Uniroyal. Pro Keds basically followed the formula of a plain canvas sneaker in the mode of the Vans deck shoes, although the grip and longevity of the Pro Keds’ soles fell short of the original. Nevertheless, Pro Keds were heavily marketed through magazines at the time under the slogan “The Skater’s Edge.” Dunlop also stepped in, maybe driven by skateboarders embracing their Green Flash shoes, who knows? In the late 1970s, Dunlop introduced their “Skateboard Superstars” – essentially Chuck Taylor’s with added ankle padding and rubber soles with a “suction cup” pattern reminiscent of Makaha Radials. Their launch coincided with another Chuck Taylor clone entering the British market, so-called “Speed Rites” by shoemakers Marbot from Essex. Over in France, Freestyle skateboarder Pierre André Senizergues was also experimenting with shoes in the lower price range: “I didn’t have a lot of money, so I would get shoes from a supermar- ket called ‘Monoprix’, which means one price. Then I would duct tape them and put super glue on to make them last longer.” IfYourShoesWon’tGrip,BringOuttheMonsterGriptape! Although these generic shoes posed an affordable option, they had serious performance issues: “Most of the shoes we used wouldn’t grip that well, so we used extra coarse griptape on our boards to make up for it. That kind of grip- tape was definitely deadly for your fingers, but it would make any shoe grip,” he laughs. “I also remember [US shoe company] Pony sponsoring a lot of skaters, so I always wanted a pair of Ponys, although they also fell apart quickly. I knew that if I ever made shoes one day, I’d find ways to make them last,” said Senizergues, who now owns Sole Technology, makers of Etnies, és and Emerica. 83

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