It’s a bold move to start a brand new skate shoe company in this current marketplace. Finding the right designers, material sourcing, distribution and figuring out the “marketing” needed to stick out among the corporate giants almost seems a challenge not worth tackling. Countless smaller skater owned brands have tried over the years, with a large amount of them fading out, and the skater owned OG shoe brands that we’ve grown up wearing are still fighting for their market share in this shoe war. But then there’s Pontus Alv, the brainchild behind Polar Skate Co, who has somehow effortlessly packaged the art of raw skating into a clean aesthetic that has gripped skaters around the world, and even leaked into the premium streetwear channels. Now, Last Resort AB is the newest offering from Pontus and his long-time friend, skateboarder and creative director Sami Tolppi; a new footwear brand with the vision of creating incredible skate shoes with an “intention to detail” for skateboarders around the world. The Last Resort AB team is small, but undeniably impactful; the roster includes Polar Skate Co.’s Nick Rios, Frog Skateboard’s Chris Milic (“Mango” from the Slap One In A Million Days) and finally, Ludwig Hakansson, a “renaissance” man who’s a bricklayer by profession, but also skater, painter, loafer & blazer enthusiast. Last Resort AB is a testament to the true defiant nature of skateboarding; in a time where Core vs. Corporate seems to be a topic that will fade out to the latter; Pontus and his team have stepped up to present their take on a last resort. Let’s take a look into how the Last Resort AB’s VM001 Hi silhouette performed in our wear test.
The shoe fits lightly bigger so we recommend to go half a size down.
The clean-cut design of the VM001 Hi silhouette is the true highlight of the shoe’s overall durability, but don’t mistake simplicity as a weakness. Last Resort AB has added a bunch of details and features to further improve the shoe’s performance and lifespan. The most notable feature of the shoe is the one piece upper made out of a high quality and very thick suede which did not show any signs of wear after our 10 hour test, except for typical lights spots on black suede where the griptape contact is the strongest. The seam connecting the upper with the suede eyelet reinforcement element ripped, but since the suede was thicker than usual, both elements stayed in shape. The VM001 Hi features a very stable vulcanized construction. The sole is protecting the upper from abrasion and is actually the most noticeable area with signs of wear. Nevertheless, the height of the sole and the foxing tape helped to withstand all 10 hours of skating and the shoe would had plenty of life left in it. The eyelets for the laces are also positioned higher up and closer to each other, minimizing the surface area of contact, which helped protect the laces extremely well. Overall the durability of the VM001 Hi is very good.
The cushioning abilities of the Last Resort AB VM001 model are average. The sole itself is very thin, which decreases its cushioning abilities. The picture of the shoe’s profile shows an insole that is higher in the heel and lower in the toe area. This slightly thicker molded PU insole is made out of two foam hardnesses which creates a nice step-in feeling, but even so, those habitual 10 stair skaters will still be left without much protection.
Shape is an important design element for the VM001. The shoe is very slim, tight and functionally designed to increase durability and protect the laces. When first worn, the shoe feels quite flexible, and after 2-3 sessions, the construction breaks in more softly and adapts really well to the foot. The most impressive characteristic of the shoe was that it kept its shape the whole time due to the high quality material choices. The heel and midfoot area run parallel and the shape starts narrowing in the toe area to end in a nice pointy toebox.
Since the shoe features basic cushioning qualities, the boardfeel is excellent. Last Resort AB emphasized a lot on the sole pattern design, with the pattern is running rather wide to avoid small stones getting stuck in the sole, but also featuring a finer sole pattern in the area where grip is most needed. The sole throughout the whole toebox and frontal area is really thin, which leads to great contact with the board. Grip did not decrease throughout our 10-hr test and performed very well with a lot of life left in them for future sessions. Boardfeel of the shoe was good; the thin insole flattens out much more in the first third of the shoe and the midsole itself is fairly thin, which provided for a responsive board feel for the feet.
The VM001 Hi satisfies when it comes to stability. Since the shoe is slim and high cut, it fits to your foot very well. The shoe doesn’t have too many elements of support, but because it is slim fit and the strength of the materials, it hugs the foot closely and leaves a very secure feeling. Although the shoe becomes softer over time, it does maintain its structural strength throughout the whole time skating as it was designed with a stable construction in mind. The heel is rather soft, but the material choice for the heel construction grips the ankle, preventing a slippage feeling.
The Last Resort AB VM001 HI features premium quality materials and stands out with its impressive durability, boardfeel and grip, solidifying its status as one of the top vulcanized skateboard shoes on the market. The only flaw noticed were the shoe’s cushioning features, but then again, who’s really out there skating El Toro every session?