It’s always refreshing to see a new silhouette get released by a skate shoe company, and even more so when it’s from a core brand that holds a special place in our hearts, like Emerica. We’ve been reviewing Emerica’s skate shoes for over ten years now, and we’ve seen the company’s team, products, and shoes designs progress in a path that doesn’t follow the market norm. They may take some aesthetic influences from the world outside of skateboarding, but they’ll always adapt the specifications of the shoe to ensure that its premium skate quality as their brand moniker states, MADE FOR SKATEBOARDING. Recently, Emerica released their new Gamma shoe, which features a clean retro aesthetic and equipped to handle skateboarding’s grit. When we first saw the shoe in a clip released by Emerica featuring Julian Davidson, the clean aesthetic paired with a black upper/gum sole instantly drew us in and we needed to get a pair to see how long the silhouette would hold up after skating. Read on below to see how Emerica’s newest model performed in our 10 hour weartest.
The Emerica Gamma fits true to size.
The three main areas to evaluate the durability of a skate shoe include the toe area, the mid foot area, and the outsole. The Gamma colorway we tested out was made of synthetic leather around the toe area. This enhanced the structural stability of the shoe, but the durability of the first material layer in the forefoot was only average. The double-stitched wrap around the toe cap kept its place during our weartest, but the stitching ripped quickly and the first layer was noticeably worn down. With that said, there is a rubber underlay beneath and once the first layer was ripped, there was another rubber layer and leather layer that reinforced the shoe’s durability and lifespan. The midfoot area of the shoe didn’t show too much signs of wear, and even seams that connect the two pieces together did not rip. Lastly, the third point of reference when evaluating the durability of a shoe, is the shoe’s outsole. After our weartest, the side areas of the outsole helped protect the toe area and the durability was very good. All in all, the Gamma has an overall average durability with the most wear concentrated within the toe area.
The Gamma’s cushioning performance was good, mainly due to its Formula G full length EVA foam cushioning layer. The cushioning was designed thinner in the front to provide enough boardfeel while the thicker layer in the heel protects against bruises. It is combined with a removable insole that adds a certain dampening effect. As a result, the Gamma can be recommended not only for low impact skating but also for tougher landings as it manages to cushion bails quite successfully.
The shape and silhouette of the Gamma is a highlight. The shoe is designed to have a clean cut from heel to toe. The model has a slightly wide cut in the toe area, but offers closer contact midfoot section and the heel area, which improves board contact without compromising stability. The clean toe area provides great flick and in combination with the leather material the shoe to keep its shape over the 10 hour test.
Boardfeel and grip are two additional strengths of this newly released Emerica model. The thinner forefoot area and sockliner in the first third of the shoe create a close connection between foot and board. As shown in the cross sectional cut, the sole is thin in the front and quite thick in the last third, the balance between cushioning and direct contact to the board was designed very well. With regards to the grip, the rubber composite used held up well during our weartest and provided a good abrasive flick. The sole of the shoe features a flexible sole tread pattern. This was a highlight since no blowout spots appeared and the grip of the sole proved to hold it down during the test.
The most important features for a comfortable skate shoe includes weight, ventilation and a well-crafted inner shoe area. The Emerica Gamma is lightweight and the inner area is was designed very well to allow a nice fit to the feet. The breathability of the shoe was adequate, enough but no bells or whistles. The white leather upper material has its strength when it comes to stability and but wasn’t as flexible from the start. Overall, the stability is good and well balanced, ensuring a secure feeling on and off the board. The heel area is stiff and the padding makes the shoe extremely comfortable and also helps secure the heel when skating. The midfoot area keeps the foot in place and prevents any horizontal movements within the shoe. The upper material did not stretch out at all during the test. This means the sidewalls won’t get flexible and lose their shape, and the stability of the shoe should maintain its full potential over the whole lifespan of the shoe. The only disadvantage we noticed was within the forefoot area, where the shoe felt quite roomy and the material did not come that close to the toes.
The Emerica Gamma is a clean looking shoe that features a well balanced design highlight between cushioning and boardfeel. The shoe also excels with its grip and shape, which was a personal highlight. With that said, the durability in the forefoot could be further improved, and the extra space within the toe area was quite noticeable.