In this industry, there’s a bunch of skaters who have hit their peak early on and have slowly burnt out over time. But then there’s a handful of pros who get better over time and it feels like they age like fine wine. Kevin Long, or “Spanky”, is the epitome of that type of skater. It also makes sense with his impressive track record of sponsors; Spanky was on the original City Stars team skating with heavy hitters like P-Rod, Mikey Taylor, Devine Calloway and Javier Nunez, before becoming one of the integral members of the Baker Skateboards family and also moving into the early Emerica Mansion skating with legends like Heath Kirchart, Andrew Reynolds, Jeff Greco and Bryan Herman. He’s always seemingly looked younger than he was, but during the height of Baker 3 and This is Skateboarding, it seemed like he was an old soul who was born to ride a skateboard, and the finishing touch of the Baker/Emerica family roster. After two years of joining the Emerica team in 2003, Spanky was given his first pro model shoe, the KSL 1. Since then, Spanky has continuously come out with new generations of the “KSL” and also new silhouettes such as the “Situation”, all of which have been upgraded with the newest Emerica patented technology for modern day skating. Fast forward to now, Spanky is still on an unforgiving rampage, with Baker dropping a solo Spanky “Horses” part, and Emerica releasing the all new Emerica KSL G6 silhouette. Luckily, we got our hands on a pair, and but these bad boys to the test!
The Emerica KSL G6 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 KSL is made out of a combination of suede and synthetic materials. The synthetic material enhanced the structural stability of the shoe and the suede attributed to the flick and durability of the shoe. The material of the first material layer in the forefoot was suede and overall, held up very well. The double-stitched suede piece around the toe kept its place during our 10 hour wear test, but the stitching ripped quickly. 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 shoe’s thick outsole side areas helped to protect the toe area and the durability was good. All in all, the KSL has an overall solid durability with the most wear concentrated in the toe area.
The KSL G6’s cushioning performance is one of the highlights of the model, with Emerica’s G6 cushioning featured in the name of the shoe. The polyurethane cushioning material is poured into the cupsole, which creates a sole construction out of a thin outsole, G6 cushioning foam and a sockliner. The cushioning is designed slightly thinner in the front to provide boardfeel while the thicker layer in the heel protects against bruises. Not only that, it’s combined with a removable insole that adds a certain dampening effect. As a result, the KSL G6 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 KSL G6 is interesting. The model has a slightly wide cut in the toe area, but offers closer contact within the midfoot section and the heel area, which improves board contact without compromising stability. The model has a nice ankle height, which offers a secure feeling for those who dread the random ankle rolls during a session. The shape of the toe area, and the suede material, provides a great flick, and in combination with the leather material, the shoe kept its high performing shape over the 10 hour test. The shape can be recommended for people with wider feet especially in the toe area and ankle area.
Boardfeel and grip were two weaknesses of this newly released Emerica model. Even-though the outsole was very thin, there was still some material between the board and foot, which made the overall boardfeel feel very indirect and soft. With regards to the grip, the rubber composite used held up well during our 10 hour wear test but the grip feels weaker than most and not very sticky. In all, the shoe’s boardfeel doesn’t feel very direct to the board and not as grippy as we typically like.
The most important features for a comfortable skate shoe includes weight, ventilation and a well-crafted inner shoe area. The Emerica KSL G6 is lightweight and the inner area was designed very well to allow a nice fit to the feet. The breathability of the shoe was adequate; just enough, but no bells or whistles. The combination of suede and synthetic upper materials has its strength when it comes to stability. 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 not only makes the shoe extremely comfortable to wear, but also secures 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. 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 KSL G6 is a clean looking shoe that features a well balanced design highlighted by the high performing durability and comfort/stability. The shoe also excels with its cushioning, which was a personal highlight. With that said, the boardfeel and grip in the forefoot section could be further improved, and the extra space within the toe area was quite noticeable.