Stevie Perez really came onto the scene in a time when standout parts from full videos truly excited the skaters around the world. In 2012, the highly anticipated Pretty Sweet video from Girl and Chocolate dropped, and Stevie’s part opened up right after Chocolate’s OG’s Kenny Anderson, Gino Iannucci, Daniel Castillo, Christ Roberts and Justin Eldrige’s group part ended. In a way, this was Chocolate’s tight knit day one crew giving their new LA native amateur, Stevie Perez, a stamp of approval. From then on, Stevie was the young blood on Chocolate’s squad captivating the crowds at demos, and slowly on the path to building his legacy. To cement his hard work over the years, Lakai released the Flaco, a slim low-top vulcanized silhouette that bore Stevie’s name on the tongue in 2016. Since then, Stevie has taken his smooth style on to trips around the world with the GX1000 crew, re-defining his role as a street skateboarder among skateboarding’s rawest, gnarliest and fastest skate crew through the lens of the VX1000. As the skating got gnarlier, Lakai instantly revamped the simple Flaco 1 silhouette with more technology to withstand Stevie’s street skating. The Flaco 2 was released this year in March, and features a co-bound suede upper, an advanced PARA-MOUNT dual-density outsole and their patented Delux-Liner sockliner. The Flaco 2 is jam-packed with technical details designed to combat and prolong the lifespan of the shoe with Stevie’s wear and tear capabilities in mind. Read on below to see how the Flaco 2 performed in our weartest.
The Lakai Flaco 2 fits true to size.
With main contact points for durability in mind, the Lakai Flaco 2 features two suede upper panels for the toe and lateral area of the shoe. The edge of the toe panel is fixed to the lateral suede side panel with double stitching, but in a critical area of abuse. However, after our 10 hour test, the shoe showed only abrasion on the vulcanized sole and the stitchings between the two suede panels were still completely intact with no ripping. The suede panel is not only thick, but made of high quality, which significantly improves the durability. Under the suede itself is an additional support element to even further improve durability and provide a second line of defense when the suede has a hole. The lateral side panel part going towards the heel of the shoe is made of canvas, which will usually reduce the durability performance of the shoe. However, the designers at Lakai took care of this problem by shifting the side panel’s seams as far back on the shoe so that the griptape has almost no possibility to get in contact with the canvas. A notoriously vulnerable spot along the upper eyelets of the shoe has shown sign of wear during the test. To sum it up, the durability of the Flaco 2 can be evaluated as good because the areas that showed wear from our 10-hour test are not the most critical parts.
Lakai modernized their vulcanized sole, and patented it as PARA-MOUNT outsole technology which utilizes dual density cushioning to absorb high impacts. Though the crafted midsole construction has the goal of adding cushioning especially in the heel area, the feeling of the sole construction is a bit too direct to the feet, offering only average cushioning. The sole can absorb regular impacts from flatground and medium sized gaps with no problem. It is a vulcanized sole with typical vulcanized cushioning but has the advantages of a cupsole with regards to the support of the foot. The DELUX-LITE sockliner is made out of a foam to improve cushioning, fit and comfort. The insole has a solid thickness with the aim of offering a softer feeling of cushioning for the heel. Overall, the cushioning of the shoe was average.
The shape of the Lakai Flaco 2 is a classic and slim silhouette. As a result, the shoe is cut very close to the foot in all areas. The model offers a enough space in the toe-area, the midfoot section, as well as the heel area, which improves board contact without compromising stability.
Lakai’s sole construction can be described as a classic vulcanization. The PARA-MOUNT outsole technology has average cushioning but offers a great boardfeel for the feet. The thin sole in the toe area leads to a very minimal amount of material between board and foot, which makes the boardfeel incredible. The hex-tread design aims to offer a greater flexibility for increased board feel and maximum grip; due to the sole’s flexibility the shoes adapts very well to the concave of the board and as the sole is pressed onto the griptape, the grip of the shoe performs extremely well.
When it comes down to comfort, the slim silhouette of the shoe provides a solid foothold. When worn and skated, the foot feels quite secure and is hugged tightly by the shoe due to two elastic strips that hold the tongue in place. With that said, the Flaco 2 keeps its form extremely well, which upholds the great workmanship put into this Lakai model. Unfortunately, breathability of the shoe is not that stellar. Even though cushioning wasn’t fully focused on, the vulcanized construction lives up to a solid feel of stability. The arch in the middle part of the shoe is reinforced for additional support which helps to make the shoe feels stable.
The classic silhouette of the Lakai Flaco 2 excels with its durability, grip and also boardfeel. It’s only minor flaws are its average cushioning and breathability.