If you’ve seen Elijah Berle’s video parts, you know he oozes a brilliant confidence in his raw skating style. If there’s any historical torch to pass along to a new generation of Santa Monica skaters, it damn well should be in the hands of Elijah. This Southern California native has come a long way since the days as a young buck picked up on Chocolate and slowly forming the crew Trunk Boyz; he’s matured immensely throughout his career and with that maturity came a shocking move (to the public) to Fucking Awesome, joining and meshing naturally with Sage, Sean, Nakel, Kevin and the crew. Although having sponsored Elijah for quite some time, Vans was well-paced in their initiative to finally give Elijah a Pro model; with the insane footage Elijah has put in over the years, it’s safe to say this signature shoe is well-deserved. From the bold and innovative WaffleControl technology, to the Vans Lux Liner and Duracap reinforcement, Vans’ R&D team wanted to make sure this shoe was outfitted with the best technology to deal with all the abuse Elijah would undertake through his skating. With the shoes in your hands, it’s immediately noticed that the soles of the shoes are much different than other shoes. Read on below to see how the Vans Berle Pro performed in our weartest over the few weeks.
The Berle Pro fits true to size.
Aside from the shoe’s canvas sidewalls, the whole shoe is layered with high quality premium suede. Moreover, the shoe’s upper area also features a rubber toecap that has an additional Duracap reinforcement embedded within. No stranger to Duracap technology, the durability of the shoe was just as imagined, excellent. We skated the shoe longer than ususal to showcase the advantage of the rubber toe. As seen in the pictures below even though the rubber toe shows wear, there is still a fresh suede piece. Upon first impression, there is a lot of stitching around the upper and toe area of the shoe, which is an obvious point of attack for flip tricks. However, after the test, the Ollie-hole area of the shoe wasn’t heavily affected and did not tear open. Aside from the obvious abrasion in the kickflip area, the durability of the Berle pro was quite good, with no huge holes. In addition, the pattern of the sole was quite durable, with no major blow-out spots.
Typically, especially in the most recent releases over the few years, the Vans Pro Skate line uses Ultracush HD technology for cushioning, which isn’t removable and stitched completely to the Waffle Control sole of the shoe. Just looking at the posterior heel of the Berle Pro, it’s unlike basic waffle soles in that it is a deeper fit, which locks the heel in to maximize both stable protection and impact cushioning. The posterior part of the shoe than flattens out to a more shallow fit towards the frontal part of the shoe, allowing for more boardfeel. Although the cushioning doesn’t have the Ultracush HD elements of softness, it does perform quite well for medium impact stairs and gaps, and protects the heel well.
As a low-cut cupsole shoe, the shoe’s posterior and sidewalls don’t have much additional support to maintain its structure, yet after 10 hours of skating, the shoe held up fine. The shoe’s overall shape and fit was perfect, it didn’t narrow out too much and also didn’t feel too wide. Looking from the soles of the feet, it is apparent that the shoe’s shape narrows a bit from the midfoot to the frontal part, but is essential as it locks in your feet better and optimizes the boardfeel of the shoe.
When it comes to boardfeel, the Berle Pro is designed with Vans’ newest Waffle Control technology. The structure of the sole of the shoe is simpler and a bit thinner, which helps immensely with the boardfeel for flip tricks. For those not used to skating shoes with rubber toe caps, it will take a bit of time getting used to during the initial stage, as the toe cap can be a bit slippery and takes time to break in. But once broken in, the additional toecap’s grip becomes exceptional and the grip for flip tricks is on point. When it comes to the grip of the sole, the designers also took their time to work on different patterns in the sole to enhance grip in multi-directional movements. One point worth mentioning is that the sole is also extremely flexible, which helps with boardfeel.
Some shoes right out of the box are extremely stiff, where you need to walk in them for about a week before using them to skate. But the Berle Pro feels like the shoe’s been broken into right of out of the box and is ready to skate. The interior of the shoe also uses Vans’ trademarked Lux-Liner technology, which is an internal sock-fit construction consisting of an elastic fabric stitched along the internal sidewalls that stretches from the tongue of the shoe to the tip of the shoe. This makes the fit more comfortable, but also holds the feet in place for flip tricks. The breathability of the shoe is average, since the only elements designed into the shoe are the two metal eyelets on the sidewalls and the canvas material used in most Vans Pro Skate models. When you skate, your feet will still become quite sweaty and the interior of the shoe becomes very humid after taking the shoes off. With that said, the shoe’s overall construction wasn’t affected much by the humidity as other shoes may have.
For a shoe that looks simple from it’s outward appearance, the Berle Pro is still packed with Vans pro Skate technology, including the newest Waffle Control technology. As a result, the Berle Pro is exceptional in boardfeel, grip and durability, but is sacrificed a bit on the cushioning and comfort of the shoe.