Each and every year the skateboarding world revolves, we’re continuously surprised with news of companies “entering” skateboarding. And as you may or may not of seen, Asics Skateboarding has entered the chat. Known for their high performing running shoes, Asics actually started off under the moniker, Onitsuka Tiger, in Kobe, Japan, making basketball shoes. If you’ve ever read the book Shoe Dog, you’d remember the early days of business for Nike was to sell Onitsuka Tiger running shoes in the USA.
Fast forward to today, its gone full circle where Asics has launched an official skateboarding program under the guidance and support of Kaspar van Lierop, who was originally at Nike running their Global Sports Marketing Skate program. They first started catching eyeballs with product seeding to skaters like Walker Ryan (who was wearing Nike for a while), but soon released “Total Actual Comfort”, a team video on Thrasher that announced their official squad including Gino Iannucci, Akwasi Owusu, Emile Laurent, Monica Torres, Shay Sandiford, and our all time favorite, Brent Atchley.
Around the same time, Asics also released a series of key visuals and ads around the team which drew unprecedented attention towards the brand. The team is incredible, but more importantly, the creative behind their visuals cemented their first step into the skate world. With this well-thought out rollout, there was no argument behind whether or not “Asics” was a core skate brand; everybody was anticipating what was next, and where they could hold the first pair of Asics Skateboarding shoes. Thankfully, we got our hands on a pair of the Vickka Pro’s and put the shoes to the test to see how their cornerstone product performed. Read on below.
The shoe fits true to size. As a reference, a size US10 is comparable to a size US 10 in Nike SB, eS, emerica and Etnies.
The Asics Gel-Vickka Pro, despite its simplistic appearance, has proven to be a durable model for several reasons, with the one-piece toebox being one of them. It doesn’t have any components that could come apart after ripping and the area doesn’t offer any other easy points of attack. In summary, no holes were observed on the front area of the upper, and even if they were to appear, the profile-cut picture revealed an additional reinforcement layer encircling the toe area, which provided extra support.
Another factor contributing to the shoes durability is the cupsole. While the side area of the sole may not be particularly high, the edges where the upper and sole connect remained intact in many areas. The kickflip area of the sole showed the most signs of wear, but overall, the sole has good durability. The wide and deep pattern on the bottom of the sole ensured that even after a 10-hour test, significant depth remained, even in high-wear regions.
The sole construction focuses more on boardfeel rather than impact dampening abilities. The thin, removable insole is only able to cushion smaller impacts and the additional thickness of the sole unit in the heel area is also limited when it comes to distributing and absorbing forces of impact. Overall – although it’s a cupsole – the Asics Gel-Vickka Pro is more suited for low-impact skating. After all, the good boardfeel comes at a price, which is less cushioning in this case.
The Asics Gel-Vickka Pro features a slim silhouette. This leads to a shoe that is cut very close to the foot in all areas. The clean and pointed shape of the shoe offered great flick and allows plenty of control while doing flip tricks. The suede also felt thicker than expected, which helped hold the rigidity of the shoe throughout the 10-hour test. Another plus, was the lack of creases and wrinkles in the suede.
The Asics Gel-Vickka Pro’s cupsole may not fully match the grip provided by vulcanized shoes. Still, the soft and flexible sole causes enough friction to anchor the feet securely. The grip benefits from the sole’s flexibility that adapts well to the concave, causing a maximum contact area between shoe and deck. All in all, the sole has a rather moderate grip.
The thin sole construction has a positive effect on the boardfeel and this was the biggest surprise. The sole unit doesn’t require any wear-in time; it is ready out of the box, which is due to the flexibility of the sole. The shoe enabled such a direct boardfeel for the feet, which is something we haven’t experienced much before. The minimal amount of material between the foot and deck in the front allows for exceptional boardfeel, especially for a cupsole. In conclusion, the Gel-Vickka Pro’s boardfeel can compete with most vulc soles and feels very unique in a great way.
The Asics Gel-Vickka Pro is a model that demonstrates using minimal padding doesn’t necessarily mean discomfort. The shoe is very light due to its minimalist design. The tongue-centering straps, along with good craftsmanship and flat stitching on the inside, contribute to a comfortable wear and skating experience. However, a drawback is the flat and thin removable insole. An improved design with a more ergonomic shape and noticeable arch support would be beneficial.
Cupsole models usually offer many advantages over vulcanized models, especially due to their support. This wasn’t one of the strengths of the Asics Gel-Vickka Pro, where the midfoot and forefoot upper felt too thin. What did shine however, was the heel support that featured a plastic reinforcement which helped create a supportive collar that offers a secure feeling. Overall, the shoe is comfortable but lacks support and stability.
Asics Skateboarding wowed us with their visuals, and one of their first skate shoes to come to market did not disappoint. The shoe has a unique feel, surprising us with the incredible boardfeel and durability. However, the comfort could be enhanced with a better sockliner, and the grip & stability could be improved. Overall, the shoe was exciting to skate in, and we’d recommend trying a pair on, just to see the board feel we’re raving on about.