HUF prides itself on having one of the most stylish teams in skateboarding. Each rider has a unique style and character, much like the traits of Keith Hufnagel himself, who personally selects all the riders. One such rider is their powerful assassin Brad Cromer who has ridden for HUF pretty much since the start. Brad has been around the block, having been part of Rasa Libre Skateboards some years ago. Rasa Libre was part of Deluxe, so when it sadly fell by the wayside he made a seamless transition over to the newly created Krooked Skateboards.
Brad has consistently put out clean, powerful skateboarding that has stood the test of time, to the point where he is certainly worthy of a pro shoe. His latest, the HUF Cromer 2, was released back in February and is a great testimony to his particular style of clean, simple and effective skateboarding.
Read on to see how the Cromer 2 stood up to the lengthy wear test.
The HUF Cromer 2 fits a little small, so it’s best to go with a size or a half-size up than you would normally wear.
We found the HUF Cromer 2 to be very durable for a vulcanized skate shoe. The toebox and frontal area are free from any seams or stitched panels, and it’s constructed with thick suede leather. This is the first, and major, area of any real wear on a skate shoe. So to be free of any construct methods that could harm the durability of the shoe is refreshing in a skateboard shoe. Even the seam that connects the lace section with the frontal piece is well positioned so that it has zero contact with the griptape. Given these design techniques, we found no ollie holes or other signs of any major abrasion. The Vulc outsole, however, did show signs of wear but only on the first layer.
Under the first suede layer, there is an additional rubber layer for further protection and durability. This hugely increases the lifespan of the skate shoe, even if the suede does wear out, or a hole forms. The lace eyelets are positioned slightly higher and closer together, which minimises any contact surface area to the board and protects the laces from blowing out.
This is not a major feature to the Cromer 2, with the cushioning best described as average. The sole unit of the shoe is quite thin, making any cushioning minimal to start with. As you can see from the side-on profile picture of the shoe it has a slightly higher heel when compared to the toe area. The moulded TPU insole is of a decent thickness and does improve the cushioning, but it’s not for jumping down more than 6 to 8 stairs, board feel is made more of a priority here.
The shape of the Cromer 2 is a strong design element, it comes as a very slim silhouette, which is possibly why it fits a little small. The frontal toebox starts slim and can appear pointy as the shoe gets slightly wider towards the middle. It’s pretty soft and flexible right out of the box and after a few sessions it breaks-in well and adapts to your foot. What was very impressive was how the HUF Cromer 2 kept its shape throughout the duration of the test. Overall we’d say the Cromer 2 is more suited to people with slimmer feet.
BOARDFEEL AND GRIP
Since the cushioning is somewhat minimal the board feel offered by the Cromer 2 is excellent. The front end of the sole unit is quite thin so there is plenty of board feel around your toes. The grip did not decrease at all during our test, which lasted for 10 hours of skateboarding, so this is very good. HUF uses a technology they call Infinity Rubber for their sole, which we found to be just as effective as the grip and feel of a Vans vulcanised skate shoe. Additionally, the sole pattern gives an even distribution of grip and we found it to be very grippy, sometimes too much grip at times. The grooved tread design, complete with HUF logos, offers great flexibility and quickly moulds to the concave and shape of your skateboard.
COMFORT AND STABILITY
Since the Cromer 2 has a low, slim construction, we found that it fits the foot well once it’s worn in. This naturally gives good comfort and stability, although the shoe does not have many elements of support, purely relying on the snug and secure fit. It softens up quite a bit after 5 to 6 hours of use, which brings additional comfort whilst retaining good stability. There’s also a white leather version of the HUF Cromer 2, which will offer slightly more stability and durability but this could come with decreased comfort. Being such a slim fit it could, unfortunately, give blisters, but this really depends on the shape of your foot.
In regards to comfort, we’d say the Cromer 2 performs averagely. When it comes to breathability we’d also say it is average, owing to the limited features devoted to ventilation. The weight and step-in feeling are satisfactory, so it’s up to you to balance what you want when it comes to comfort and stability.
The HUF Cromer 2 is a simple, cleanly designed shoe that excels when it comes to durability and, we’d say, even surpasses industry standards. Boardfeel and grip are the major strengths of the shoe. The average amount of cushioning and comfort are weaknesses that we think could be improved.
If the slim design lends itself to the shape of your foot, and the general clean lines of the shoe are to your liking, then the HUF Cromer 2 could well be the skate shoe you are looking for. Bear in mind it’s perhaps not best suited to jumping down big steps, gaps or rails, but again, that comes down to what sort of punishment your feet can take. It’s best described as a shoe suited to the skateboarding style of Brad Cromer, so if you happen to skate like him you’re in business.
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