Nora Vasconcellos is one of the most inspirational skateboarders out today. Period. When it comes to skateboarding, she has an incredible style that’s effortless and powerful, and a well rounded trick selection that not only shines through her memorable “Welcome” and “OJ Wheels” video parts, but also contributing to her first place title in the Vans Park Series World Championship.
But off the board, Nora has done so much to push the boundaries of skateboarding for women, giving confidence to a whole new generation of skaters, and reminding the world that skateboarding at its core, is to have fun. Not to mention, speaking out on mental health and showcasing her personal art as an outlet of self-expression has also inspired countless of skaters to find their own paths. The reason Nora’s skating and personality is so magnetic is because her outlook on skateboarding is simple: she says, “For me skateboarding is pure youth, it’s just an excuse to continue playing as I turn into an adult”. This is the purest form of inspiration for skateboarders worldwide and an incredible reminder of where it all started.
With that, after turning pro for adidas’ skateboarding team in 2017, Nora’s personality, aesthetic and technicality has been directed into the form of her very own signature pro model shoe, released last fall in 2022 along with a vintage apparel pack. The low-cut silhouette boasted a simple aesthetic that popped with unique vintage color ways; we got our hands on a pair and put her shoe to the test. Read on below to see how the adidas Nora performed in our wear test.
The adidas Nora fits true to size but is more on the slim-side, so consider going half size up.
In terms of durability, the adidas Nora has notable highlights starting with the most important areas, the mid-foot and forefoot area. On the upper, the main protection comes from the suede toe cap that wraps around starting in the critical Ollie-area and follows all around the forefoot. Throughout the 10 hour wear test this element proved to be very durable and showed almost no signs of wear except a bit of the stitching. The reason why this element stayed so untouched lays in the advanced sole construction. The Nora is a vulcanized model with a standard foxing tape all around the shoe but has an additional thick foxing tape around the toe area. All of these elements enhance the performance of the upper and ensures that it is well protected, resulting in excellent durability.The sole of the shoe features a very deep and coarse/flat thread pattern which also showed good durability.
However, the collar around the ankle showed signs of wear, but this was judged more from an aesthetic point of view, rather than a characteristic that affected the performance. This is a known challenge for skateboarding shoes and for the Nora, this was the most problematic area.
There are two design elements incorporated into the cushioning for the Adidas Nora. Firstly, there is a height difference between the heel and toe area. The toe area offers minimal cushioning and the heel area is a bit more raised due to the cushioning impact support. The second element is the EVA sockliner. Typically, this type of cushioning is effective when the EVA element has a certain thickness to absorb skate related impacts. However, the Nora’s insole and outsole are both quite thin in the forefoot, so the material between foot and board is reduced to a minimum. When put to the test, the shoe’s cushioning characteristics are average and can only handle medium impacts, especially since the heel of the cushioning felt too thin to support larger impacts.
The Nora is a slim fitting silhouette, which means the shoe is cut very close to the foot in all areas. The model offers a secure feeling in the toe-area, the midfoot as well as the heel area, which improves board contact without compromising stability.
As with most vulcanized models, a low profile shoe usually leads to good boardfeel. For the Nora, as seen in the half cut photo, there is minimal amount of material between board and foot, which means the feet can feel the board better. This was noticeable right out of the box and throughout the whole 10 hour wear test. Overall, the boardfeel of the Nora is great.
When it comes to grip, there is a drawback. The sole profile is very deep and but also has a coarse/flat thread pattern in the forefoot. The depth does increase the shoe’s flexibility which ensures a larger surface area sinks onto the griptape easily, but since the sole thread pattern was so coarse/flat, the grip felt only average for a vulcanized sole.
The comfort of a skateboard shoe is mainly influenced by its inner construction, weight and breathability. The inner construction of the Nora is well designed for a comfortable and clean fit. Additionally, the padding around the heel area adds to the comfort. However, the weight and breathability of the shoe do leave a negative impression after skating on a hot day. The shoe is rather heavy and does not leave much room for moisture to ventilate out of the shoe.
The stability is influenced by how the shoe is keeping its shape and also how the shoe hugs the foot. Both were positive features of the Nora, resulting in a good comfort. The material selection with suede, mesh, leather and a heel reinforcement is perceived very positively since it ensures the shoe’s shape and form. An awesome design detail is in the sole construction. Traditionally, the edge of a cupsole is characterized by a rounded out edge along the sole whereas a vulcanized sole has a sharper edge from the foxing tape. Adidas developed a vulcanized sole with a round edge that imitates the feeling of a cupsole which adds to the overall stability.
Nora’s first signature model from adidas is a fantastic inaugural low-profile skate shoe that has great durability, great boardfeel and strong stability due to the material selection and sole construction. However, the grip of the shoe and its weight were two small details that could be enhanced.