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Watch any of Elijah Berle’s video parts and it’s immediately apparent that the man possesses talent and style by the bucket load. Born and raised in Santa Monica, Elijah is the natural heir to the Dogtown throne. He spent his early days on Foundation, before moving over to Chocolate Skateboards where he was part of the Trunk Boyz crew, and featured in Pretty Sweet. Now he has found a home at Fucking Awesome, where he sits perfectly alongside the stellar roster that features the likes of Sage Elsseser, Gino Iannucci, and Tyshawn Jones.
Though Elijah has been a Vans team rider for a long time, this is his first pro model shoe. It would be frankly ridiculous to say that it wasn’t hard earned or well deserved on his part. The shoe features Vans innovative WaffeControl technology, alongside the Lux Liner and Duracap reinforcement. Vans ensured that this model would stand up to the daily abuse Elijah’s skateboarding would put it through. When you hold them in your hands the first thing you notice is how the soles differ from other Vans shoes, more on that later. Continue reading to see how the Vans Berle Pro performed when put through its paces by Weartested.
The Vans Berle Pro skate shoe fits true to size.
The majority of the Berle Pro is made up of high-quality premium suede, save for the canvas sidewalls. The shoes’ upper features a rubber toe cap which has additional Duracap reinforcement to aid with abrasion. We’re familiar with Vans’ Duracap technology and, as we expected, the durability of the shoe was excellent. Having done nearly 500 kickflips during the wear test the Duracap showed absolutely no sign of ripping or tearing. When looking at the shoe you’ll notice there’s a lot of stitching on the upper and toe of the shoe, a place where you may expect wear to be visible. After the test, however, we noticed no tearing around the ollie area, unlike on other shoes we’ve skated. Aside from the standard grip tape abrasion, the Berle Pro’s durability was pretty good, there were no big holes to speak of. The sole too was durable, with no major signs of blow out.
The majority of releases from Vans over the past few years have made use of their Ultracush HD technology to provide cushioning, this isn’t removable as it’s stitched to the Waffle Control sole. If you take a look at the heel of the Berle Pro you will see that it’s unlike other waffle soles as it has a somewhat deeper fit. This means the shoe locks in around the heel, giving you protection and cushioning from impact. The back of the shoe flattens out to a shallower fit at the front of the shoe, which gives you more board feel. The cushioning of the Berle Pro doesn’t quite match up to the Ultracush HD in terms of softness, but it still performs perfectly well for mid-level impact stairs or gaps, protecting your heels well.
The shoe is a low-cut cupsole, meaning that the back and sidewalls of the shoe don’t really have much in the way of support to maintain the integrity of the shoe. However, after ten hours of skating the shoe held up well. The shape and general fit are great, they don’t narrow too much, but equally, don’t feel overly wide. Where the shoe’s shape does narrow slightly, from the mid to the front, it helps keep your feet secure and gives good board feel.
Boardfeel and Grip
The Berle Pro features Vans’ latest Waffle Control technology. The sole of the shoe is a bit thinner than with other models, which aids board feel when performing flip tricks. If you aren’t used to a rubber toe cap the shoes may take a little bit of time to get used to. The toe cap takes a short while to break in, but once broken in the grip provided by the toe cap is excellent, particularly with flip tricks. In regards to the sole of the shoe, Vans has designed different patterns which improve grip when it comes to multi-directional movement. The sole is very flexible, which again aids with overall board feel.
Comfort & Stability
New shoes can be a bit stiff right away, you may find you need to break them by wearing them a while before you try to skate them. With the Berle Pro, this isn’t an issue, the shoe feels ready to skate as soon as you take it out of the box, which is always welcome. Inside the shoe you’ll find Vans’ Lux-Liner technology, this is essentially a sock liner which is stretchy and is stitched into the sidewalls inside the shoe. This helps to hold your foot in place when performing tricks and generally means your feet feel stable. The breathability of the shoe is the same as most other Vans models, with the two metal eyelets on the side of the shoe being the only aspects providing ventilation. This means your feet can become quite hot and sweaty, but it doesn’t really affect the construction or overall performance of the shoe.
The Berle Pro may look like quite a simple shoe on first impressions, but it benefits from a lot of Vans skateboarding technology, including that new Waffle Control we mentioned earlier. This means the shoe has excellent board feel, the grip is consistent, and the shoes are durable. The only slight drawback from this is that you lose a little bit of cushioning and overall comfort.
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