The past decade we’ve been blessed to witness an incredible boom in the number of female skateboarders around the world. At the forefront of this new generation, is none other than Lizzie Armanto, who has been steadily climbing to the top and solidifying herself as one of the best in the game. Growing up in Santa Monica, the epicenter of skateboarding culture, Lizzie has been skating vert and ripping bowls, with an impressive track record among the world’s biggest skate competitions including the World Cup of Skateboarding, X-Games and Van Doren Invitationals. This talent caught the eyes of Tony Hawk, who took her under his wing and put her on the Birdhouse team, and from then on, Lizzie has become pro them, as well as Vans, Bones Wheels, and even Monster Energy. Not to mention, Lizzie represented Finland at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games competing in the Women’s Park on the biggest global stage in the world. With all those accomplishments, a pro model shoe was far overdue. Luckily, the team behind the wheel at Vans were already preparing, and in March they finally released all new signature silhouette, The Lizzie. The high-top shoe’s specs were completely designed with Lizzie’s input, and reflected Lizzie’s drive for sustainable practices, with materials such as suede, organic cotton and biobased foam designed to reduced carbon footprint. It’s always exciting when a shoe company releases a completely new silhouette, and even more exciting for us here at Weartested to dig deep for performance specs, when the shoe looks extremely clean, simple and sleek. We got our hands on a pair of the new Lizzie’s; read on below to see how the shoe performed during our 10-hour weartest.
The Vans Lizzie fits true to size.
The Vans Lizzie has some notable highlights with regards to the durability. The most important area of a skate shoe starts right after the midfoot section, where most flick/griptape abrasion happens. In this high-wear area, the Lizzie performs very well. For the toe area upper material, Vans uses a thick suede material, and underneath the layer of suede is a toe cap that serves as second protection layer, called a 3D embossed Duracap toe. Throughout the 10 hour wear test the whole toe area performed excellent. Not to mention, the seams in this area did not rip much and all pieces of the shoe remained intact. Another element that increased the shoe’s durability was found within the sole construction. Although the foxing tape was thinner and lower compared to the classic Vans models, it still performed well, with great flick and also minimizing the shoe’s bulkiness in the toe area. The Lizzie has a new micro-waffle tread sole pattern which showed good durability and stands close to the performance of the traditional waffle pattern. Two major flaws to point out would be the textile materials in the midfoot area (which has a 3D Duracap Sidestripe) as well as the seams on the lace panel, which both showed high signs of wear during out 10 hour test. They are not as critical for the durability of the shoe, but the sudden wear and tear does make the shoe look run down very quickly.
For the Lizzie, Vans uses EcoCush. It is an updated version of their proven PopCush technology. EcoCush is basically using the sockliner as the main cushioning element and compared to other Vans models using this construction, the Lizzie has a lower-profile sockliner made out a bio-based PU (70% bio-based). Based on this cushioning construction, it is possible to achieve both, good boardfeel and cushioning abilities in one sole construction. A task that has almost been impossible to perfect. With this shoe, the reduced thickness of the sockliner is not noticeable and the shoe can cushion relatively tough landings. The high-top construction also helps by creating a secure feeling around the ankle. All in all, the Lizzie has good cushioning characteristics.
The shape of the Lizzie is based on a SK8 High, but features a slimmer and cleaner design, noticeable especially when you’re looking down on the shoe. Vans described Lizzie’s fit as a Lock-In Fit for which they used a new unisex last, ensuring a snug range of fits for both men and women’s feet. The last shape has a huge influence on the shape and fit of a shoe. When wearing the Lizzie, it is really noticeable that the upper feels closer to the feet and snug around the foot and ankle. Since the heel/ankle area runs fairly slim, the shoes continues parallel from heel to midfoot and ends in a pointy toe tip. A reason for that is the aforementioned lower profile sidewall foxing tape which helps make the upper in the toe area more dominantly visible.
Vans is known for having the best grip in the game so there are high expectations when it comes to boardfeel and grip for the Lizzie, especially when considering the three major adjustments to the classic waffle sole. Firstly, the sole of the Lizzie has deeper flexibility grooves than normal models. Secondly, the outsole and sockliner seem to be thinner compared to the Vans classic series. Thirdly, the model has an adjusted sole pattern called micro-waffle and a rubber compound called Sick-Stick. The Lizzie takes one to two sessions to break in, before providing the full capacity of the boardfeel. Once the full flexibility is given, the grooves, in combination with the thin forefoot area, create a well balanced boardfeel. The grip feels finer and weaker compared to the big waffle pattern found in most classic models, but since our expectations were already quite high, the grip of the Lizzie is solid.
When it comes to the comfort of the shoe, the Vans Lizzie is measured against weight, ventilation and its well-crafted inner shoe area. The shoe is lightweight compared to other Vans models but there are also lighter shoes in comparison on the market. One drawback was that ventilation features were not considered at all, which is especially problematic with a midfoot model. With that said, positive was that the inner area was very well crafted with minor overlapping seams; this decreased the risk of pressure points. The tongue was also locked-in with a tongue strap, helping to keep it in position.
The stability of the shoe was adequate and well balanced, ensuring a secure feeling on and off the board while maintaining boardfeel. The heel area feels secure due to the midfoot construction and an additional outer heel counter. Also, the overall shoe did not stretch out during our 10-hour test and held its rigidity extremely well, especially for a high-top model. It is worth mentioning that these two elements that help retain the shoe’s exceptional stability, do cause the Lizzie to feel a bit stiff in the first two sessions before fully breaking in.
The Vans Lizzie found an impressive balance of good cushioning and great stability/support, without sacrificing boardfeel. A huge plus was the shoe’s slim design, advanced fit and reduced design of the foxing tape. The shoe does need some time to break in, there are areas where the durability is prone to high abrasion and there aren’t features of combat ventilation. But with that said, the Vans Lizzie is an impressive new silhouette with technical features situated across what may be the next modern classic.