At only 25 years old, it seems that Aurelien’s name has been imprinted in our memories for quite some time, especially with his style of technical impact skating and bursting onto the scene at a similar time as Chris Joslin. Hailing from Lyon, Aurelien grew up in the skate friendly city influenced heavily by the iconic Flip Sorry video and hometown filmer of the video, French Fred. Without a doubt, seeing and hearing the greats like Tom Penny, Arto Saari, Ali Boulala, Geoff Rowley, Mark Appleyard and Bastien Salabanzi destroy local spots had a profound impact on Aurelien and ultimately set a high standard of skateboarding that Aurelien wanted to supersede. Fast forward to twenty years later, Aurelien’s “go big or get wrecked” hard flips, ghetto birds and late flips thrown down huge gaps and sets has caught the internet by storm and paved way for a new generation of big impact skaters.
Furthermore, Aurelien’s consistency has also propelled him into the roster of the world’s best contest skaters; he’s consistently been at the forefront of all major international contests, from Street League to the Olympics. Here we are now, holding a pair of his Etnies pro model shoes. It feels like things have come full circle for Aurelien, making waves across the global scene and finally coming back home to the French shoe brand started by Pierre Andre Senizergues. Skater owned and operated, Etnies is a perfect fit for Aurelien and only one year after joining the heavy squad of rippers, Aurelien has been presented a well-deserved pro model shoe. We put his new shoe to the test; congrats to Aurelien, and check out the review below!
The shoe fits true to size.
Overall, the Etnies Aurelien has solid durability. Kicking things off, the forefoot upper construction is critical, and features several material overlays. There is a main suede panel made which has a hidden toe cap underneath it and a triple stitched suede element on top of it. The advantage is that once the first layer is ripped, there is another two layers underneath it to serve as a reinforcement and second line of defense. In our 10 hour test, the first panel started to rip in the Ollie- and Kickflip-area within the first three sessions. The panel stayed together, however, the area it is attached to was quite risky. Next to the upper, the cupsole on the side and the heel collar showed also clear signs of wear. The sole, however, which proved to offer excellent durability, did not show any major signs of wear.
The Etnies Aurelien features a cupsole that provides a thicker area both in the heel and midfoot areas, but eventually tapers off to allow more boardfeel in the front, where the toe area is thinner. Additionally, the shoe includes a STI Performance Level 1 insole, which enhances the overall cushioning of the shoe. After skating the shoes for 10 hours, the Aurelien can be recommended not only for low impact skating but also for tougher landings as it manages to cushion bails quite successfully. All in all, the shoe finds an impressive balance between good cushioning and boardfeel.
Aurelien and Etnies released a really classic and clean cupsole model silhouette. The shoe is not bulky at all but still reminiscent of 90’s skate shoes and it features everything needed for modern skateboarding. The shoe is well padded in the heel; the midfoot and forefoot areas are quite thin but remain stable due to the material combination of leather with suede, as well as the panel overlays. From a bird’s eye view the shoe looks sleek, which is felt once worn out of the box.
The boardfeel of the Etnies Aurelien is the absolute highlight of the shoe. Right out the box, the shoe’s boardfeel took about 1 hour to break in, and soon after the boardfeel adapted more to the concave of the board. The Etnies designer helped to improve the shoe’s flexibility by making the outsole really thin and keeping a thinner insole forefoot flex area. As for grip, the rubber outsole performed good; no blowout spots appeared in our 10-hour wear test.
For comfort, the shoe is very light and the tongue straps help ensure the tongue stays in place. The padded tounge and collar lining helps to protect the foot and ensure a stable fit. The Etnies Aurelien boasts several shoe construction elements that work together to create a highly stable foothold. One of the key highlights of the shoe is its stability in the midfoot and heel areas. The high heel collar stabilizes the ankle and heel, while the lateral sidewalls feature leather material, where the “E” is stitched on, to help maintain the shoe’s structure during our 10-hour test. The snug fit of the shoe is the result of the padding which is added in all the right areas, and helps support the stable fit.
All in all, Aurelien’s debut Pro Model for Etnies shines with its exceptional balance of boardfeel and cushioning, topped off with very good stability. With that, the durability of the upper could be slightly improved. All in all, it is a perfect shoe to pay tribute to Etnies’ heritage and reflected the evolution of Aurelien’s skating in this day and age.