Since we’ve dropped the review of Rowan’s signature pro model back in 2020, Rowan’s been chilling under the radar on social media, only popping up here and there with a few edits, appearing at events but then reminding us he’s one of the best street skaters with insane footage appearing in Baker, Supreme and Vans videos. When you look at the current state of social media skateboarding, it’s refreshing to see the other group of skaters that value putting in work for skate parts and videos as opposed to the cringey influencers who are constantly figuring out viral videos to earn validating engagement. Plus, when you’re backed by Vans, Supreme and Baker, it’s also reassuring to know that these brands share a similar outlook and are down to support the core element of skateboard marketing, which is getting clips. Rowan’s obviously doing the right thing, cause earlier in October, Vans released the second pro model shoe for Rowan, as well as an 11 minute edit called “Blurry” from the creative mind of Rowan and takes a peek into Rowan’s crew, adventures and hijinks from his travels. On top of that, Vans and Rowan also organized a baseball themed release party for the drop of his newest pro model, with all details covered including renting out a full on baseball stadium, a skate-able baseball bat obstacle, and some custom Rowan 2 baseball cleats. The newest Rowan 2 definitely features a more athletic “sporty” look, and we were excited on putting the new model to the test. Read on below to see how they performed.
The shoe fits true to size.
The sole and upper construction are the two main elements of a skateboard shoe’s durability. When it comes to the sole construction of the Rowan 2, the most noticeable element is the thick sidewall of the outsole. This is the key to achieve exceptional durability for a skate shoe, since it protects the upper from griptape contact. During our 10-hour test, the upper in the forefoot area was almost untouched. Since the sole’s sidewall had the most griptape contact, it showed the most wear in the kickflip-area.
The upper, despite a lot of stitching in the critical forefoot and midfoot areas that poise as potential flaws, was still well protected by the sole. Structurally, the shoe’s individual panels stayed together great. Vans even added their long proven DURACAP technology in the toe area, which is a reinforcement layer underneath the suede that enhances the durability and structural stability of the toecap. The Duracap element actually sneaks out of the blue toe panel on the very tip for the shoe.
When it came to areas on the upper that showed signs of wear, the heel collar area and the stitching of Vans wave were most impacted, however these were more aesthetic flaws. With that said, all in all, the durability of the Rowan 2 was exceptional.
Overall, the Vans Rowan 2 demonstrated an impressive cushioning performance. Vans further developed its ImpactWaffle technology (firstly introduced with the Zhaba), which is two bio-based EVA cushioning elements (VR3Cush) held together by an outsole (SickStick). The design team put a lot of thought into this sole construction. From the cross-sectional cut, you can see how the tech and cushioning were combined, with the the yellow EVA piece visible through the outsole in the heel area and the white EVA element visible in the arch. In our hour 10 wear test, it was very noticeable that the EVA elements provided a good cushioning feeling in the midfoot and heel area, while the outsole’s thickness contributed for an overall good impact protection.
The Vans Rowan 2 takes its design inspiration from court shoes. It has a clean and classic toe design, similar to a Half Cab, with the more technical design elements found in the midfoot and heel area. Upon first sight, the large sole construction makes the whole shoe appear bulky, but this is quite misleading. Looking downwards at the shoe, it has actually a sleek and thin midfoot and toe area. The silhouette is an absolute highlight of the Rowan 2, which shows a really great toe shape and responds extremely well to the board while providing a precise flick.
The sole’s thickness in the front, as well as the overall stability of a shoe, are essential for boardfeel. The thinner sole in the toe-area of the Rowan 2 helps create a solid board feel and the feet have a close connection with the board. However, the shoe needed some time being skated to showcase this. The sole construction felt stiff in the beginning and needed to develop flexibility but once reached, the shoe had a good boardfeel for a cupsole.
The sole has an advanced and newly developed thread pattern as well as a new rubber compound for advanced grip, which Vans calls SickStick. The grip of the shoe felt like a typical cupsole and is well balanced.
The Rowan 2 has ups and downs regarding the comfort. On the positive side, the padding does help your feet fit well to the shoe and a huge plus was that the shoe was really light. Vans also added tongue straps that keep the tongue in place. However, the straps were a bit long, so they wrinkled when stepping into the shoe and created pressure points. Also the heel collar height of the shoe was quite tricky to adjust to since the Rowan 2 sits between a low and mid-top. So the heel collar shape could be potentially a risky cut for some feet.
The stability is definitely an outstanding strength of the Rowan 2. The upper, with its multiple layer construction from toe to heel, maintained its structure over the 10-hour test. The thick sidewall of the sole strengthens the shoe even further. This created a very secure and safe feeling while skating. On the downside, they needed more time than usual to break in as a cupsole, so it is not a shoe that shows its full strength when skated right out of the box.
The second Vans Pro Model from Rowan Zorilla exceeded our expectations when it came to durability, stability and the toe shape for flicking tricks. The shoe could see some slight improvements when it came to comfort and did take a bit longer time to break in, but in the end it was worth it to unlock the shoe’s full potential.