Behind the Brand: Etnies Shoes

Behind the Brand: Etnies Shoes

Tour De France [Complete Guide] Reading Behind the Brand: Etnies Shoes 13 minutes

etnies (stylized with a lower case 'e') was founded in 1986 and has been a pioneer in the action sports industry ever since. The brand is known for its innovative products, cutting-edge designs, and commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of its customers and employees.

etnies’ mission is to make shoes that not only look good, but also feel good and perform well. The company’s goal is to provide the best possible experience for its customers, whether they’re skateboarding, BMXing, or just hanging out.

etnies is more than just a shoe company; it’s a lifestyle brand that represents everything action sports. From its humble beginnings in Orange County, California, Etnies has grown into an international company with a presence in over 70 countries.

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The etnies Origin Story

Former professional skateboarder Pierre André Sénizergues is credited with the success of the Etnies brand (stylised as etnies), following the end of his professional skateboarding career in 1986. Although he did not technically start the company, he joined shortly after the inception, started etnies America and is currently still CEO of the brand.

CEO of etnies

Sénizergues was born in 1963 just outside Paris, France. He moved to California in 1985 to pursue his dream of skateboarding and build upon the 12 French titles and 5 European Championships he won. This dream, however, was short lived and Sénizergues ended up sleeping in his car and running skate demos on the Venice boardwalk to make ends meat. That was until Steve Rocco (then Team Manager at Sims) spotted him and offered him a spot on the Sims Skateboard team.

At that very same time back in France, fashion footwear company Rautureau Apple had launched a line of skateboard shoes under the 'Etnics' brand name - a nod to the lifestyle of skateboarders. The name, however, was too similar to another shoe brand 'Etonic' so was forced to change and etnies was born.

A year later in '87, etnies signed their first pro skateboarder Natas Kaupas, and the Natas shoe was launched. Several skate stores were apparently 'too scared' to carry the shoe due to the fact that Natas backwards spelled Satan.

It was in 1988 that Sénizergues commenced design work on his first pro shoe for etnies, the Senix. He obsessed over the obvious gap in the market of a shoe that was both durable and functional, and launched this to great reception. Just a year later, in 1989, Sénizergues retired from professional skateboarding and started to distribute etnies in the US market under etnies USA. This was subsequently the first skateboard shoe brand to be owned by a pro skater.

It wasn't all smooth sailing from here however. Sénizergues knew very little about business and in 1990 the action sports industry hit a recession in the US, leading to 80% of the brands first shipment being cancelled. By 1991 it started to bounce back and Pierre hired Don Brown, a fellow pro skater, to take care of marketing, sales and shipping, leading to etnies advertising in popular magazines like Transworld and Thrasher.

Thrasher Magazine - February 1991

From here Pierre wanted to branch out, so he cut a licensing deal with Rautureau Apple to allow him to design his own shoes under the etnies US brand, leading to the creation of some of the most iconic skate shoes on the market, including the Lo-Cut, Low-Top Rap, Intercity and Scam shoe models.

By the mid 90's etnies was selling millions of shoes and sponsoring some of the best skateboarders in the world, including a 7 year old Ryan Sheckler! Accoridng to Jenkem, pros like Koston and Janoski were making up to $100k per quarter on royalties alone.

Following this success Sénizergues purchased the full rights to the brand from Rautureau Apple in 1996 and launched additional brands including éS, Emerica, Altamont and ThirtyTwo (a snowboarding brand) under the Sole Technology Inc. Umbrella. They moved headquarters to Lake Forest, California and now Sole Tech distribute to 70+ countries and are the leading privately-held action sports footwear and apparel company in the world.

The brand is very environmentally forward, having planted over 2 million trees under their 'Every Shoe Plants a Tree' initiative. They also donated free shoes to homeless shoe recipients in Los Angeles in 2012 as part of an Easter Shoe Drive, where two thousand pairs were given away.

Outside of manufacturing, etnies also opened the largest public skatepark in the state of California: a 62,000+ square feet park in Lake Forest, Ca.


5 Best etnies Shoes

Now we have the history, let's get back to the shoes. Here are our favorite etnies shoes:

1. The Fader


This shoe is perfect for skaters who need a durable yet stylish option. It features a double-stitched toe area and a vulcanized sole for added durability, while the thin profile makes it perfect for doing tricks.



✅ Extra cushion in mid-sole

❌ Perhaps a little chunky for us

✅ Double stiched tie area is great for durability with flip tricks

❌ Very wide

✅ Classic 90's styling

❌ Less responsive than other shoes


2. The Joslin


Another great option for skaters, the Joslin is a pro model skate shoe designed by Chris Joslin himself. It's a low-profile shoe with a reinforced toe area and a vulcanized sole with a Michelin tread pattern, Pro Foam 1 insole and a heel wrap for extra support. These are perfect for both street and park skating.



✅ Slimmer, low profile

❌ None?

✅ Michelin rubber sole gives extra grip

✅ Extra heel support


3. The Lo-Cut


The Lo-Cut is a classic etnies shoe. the silhouette that comes to mind when we think 'etnies'. It's been around for years. It's a simple, low-top design with a vulcanized sole and sti evolution foam outer, making it ideal for casual wear or skateboarding.



✅ It's the classic etnies

❌ Too much padding in tongue for us

✅ Visually different from other skate shoes styling

❌ Grip on sole could be better

✅ Hella comfy

❌ Sizing needs fixing (too big)


4. The Scout


The Scout is Etnies' answer to the popular Vans Era model. It's a mid-top shoe with a double-stitched toe area and a vulcanized sole, making it perfect for those who need a little extra support around the ankles. Honestly, we don't love it to skate in as it's a little less durible than some of the others in their lineup, but we love the silouhette for day to day use. Plus they're hella comfy.



✅ Zero waste foam sole

❌ Sizing seem smaller than other etnies shoes

✅ Enhanced heel pad helps with wear for supernated feet

❌ Not the most ideal for skating in

✅ Super comfy


5. The Jameson


The Jameson is Etnies' flagship shoe and one of the most popular skate shoes on the market. Pro's like Andy Anderson rock these. It's a low-top shoe with a vulcanized sole and a clean, simple design that makes it perfect for any skating situation.



✅ Best looking in the etnies lineup

❌ Go half a size up vs regular sizing (runs narrow)

✅ Comfy for long periods of skating

❌ Some complaints of durability

✅ Andy Anderson rocks these

❌ Tongue could be more padded



[Need a popsicle skateboard?]

Fun Fact: Etnies was the first shoe brand to make a proper skate video.

Back in '95 etnies was way ahead of the game, becoming the first shoe company to make a skate video. High 5 features a whole bunch of skateboarding ledgends from Tom Penny, to Eric Koston, to Jamie Thomas, but it was really the soundtrack that made it. Thankfully it's now been uploaded to YouTube, for your viewing pleasure...


If you're looking for a comfortable, stylish shoe that will hold up well to wear and tear, Etnies could be a good choice. The company makes a wide range of shoes for both men and women, so you're sure to find something that suits your taste. Etnies shoes are also generally very affordable, so you won't have to break the bank to get a pair.

We found Etnies shoes tend to run small, so be sure to order a size up if you're between sizes. Overall, we would recommend to try on a pair in person before you buy to make sure they're a comfortable fit.

No - Etnies and éS are two different companies. Etnies is a skateboarding footwear and apparel brand that was founded in 1986. éS was born in 1995 to deliver the best performing skate shoes with maximum comfort. They are both owned by parent company, Sole Technology Inc., which was also founded by Pierre André Senizergues.

So while Etnies and éS are technically two different companies, they are now both part of the same larger entity that focuses 'solely' on shoes (no pun intended). This means that if you're looking for high-quality skateboard shoes, you can't go wrong with either Etnies or éS.

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The brand's original name was actually Etnics, derived from the word "ethnic," a nod to the skateboarding sub-culture. However the brand re-named to Etnies after Etonic footwear felt the name was too close and sent a cease and desist letter.

Etnies was most popular in the early 2000s as a skateboarding shoe brand.

The company started out selling shoes in Europe, but eventually expanded to the United States. In 2001, they sponsored the first ever Etnies Skatepark of Lyon, which was the largest skatepark in Europe at the time.

Etnies shoes are known for their durability and style, and have been worn by many professional skateboarders over the years. Some of the most popular Etnies shoes include the Joslin, the RCT, and the Marana.

In recent years, Etnies has expanded its product line to include clothing and accessories, as well as shoes for other sports such as BMX, surfing, and motocross. The company is also involved in many charitable initiatives, including supporting anti-bullying programs and environmental causes.

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Some other brands that are similar to Etnies include Sole Technology Inc. brands eS and Emerica as well as Vans, DC Shoes, and Nike SB. These brands all offer shoes and apparel that appeal to skateboarders and snowboarders. Etnies is unique in that it is one of the only brands that is owned by a professional skateboarder. This gives the brand a level of authenticity that is hard to find with other brands.

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There is no definitive answer to the question of what is the best Etnies shoe. However, some key factors to consider when making a decision include the intended use of the shoe, your budget, and personal preferences.

If you are looking for an Etnies shoe for casual wear, then the Lo-Cut model might be a good option. This shoe features a simple design and is available in a variety of colors. For those on a tighter budget, the Fader model offers similar style at a more affordable price point.

If you need an Etnies shoe for skating or other activities that require more support and protection, then models such as the Jameson 2 Eco or the Dory might be better choices. These shoes feature more robust construction and higher levels of padding and support.

Ultimately, the best Etnies shoe for you is the one that meets your needs and preferences in terms of function, fit, and style. Be sure to try on a few different models before making your final decision to ensure you get the perfect shoe for you.

[Have you tried these skateboarding grinds?]

In addition to their products being worn by some of the world's top skateboarders, Etnies are also known for their commitment to social responsibility and environmental sustainability.

Some benefits of Etnies include:

1. Skateboarding-specific design – Etnies were one of the first brands to produce skateboarding shoes that were specifically designed for the sport. This means that their shoes offer features and benefits that are tailored to the needs of skateboarders, such as increased traction and durability.

2. High-quality construction – Etnies shoes are made with high-quality materials and construction methods in order to provide skateboarders with footwear that will withstand the rigors of the sport.

3. Commitment to social responsibility – Etnies is a company that is committed to giving back to the community and making a positive impact on society. They have developed programs that support environmental sustainability and social justice initiatives, such as their tree-planting projects where they plant a new tree for each pair of shoes purchased..

4. Stylish designs – Etnies offers a wide range of stylish and trendy shoe designs that are popular among skateboarders and fashion-conscious consumers alike.

5. Affordable prices – Etnies provides its products at a variety of price points that are affordable for most consumers.

Etnies is a brand that offers a variety of benefits for skateboarders and fashion-conscious consumers alike. Their commitment to social responsibility and environmental sustainability, along with their stylish designs and high-quality construction, make them a brand worth considering when purchasing skateboarding shoes.

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The opinions and views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of Stoked Ride Shop. The author makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this work and specifically disclaims any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. The author shall not be liable for any damages, including, but not limited to, direct, indirect, incidental, punitive, special, consequential, or exemplary damages, even if Stoked Ride Shop has been advised of the possibility of such damages. Ride at your own risk and within your own limits.

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