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Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Etnies Bledsoe Mid ($70)

By Adam Salo
ESPN.com

Tyler Beldsoe's first pro model shoe from Etnies is a true original.

Etnies does a pretty good job of giving their riders what they want. For relatively new pro Tyler Bledsoe, the company looked to Bledsoe for just what he wanted in his first pro shoe. The result is a highly skate-able shoe that's stylish and original without too many bells and whistles mucking up the works.

WHAT IT IS:
Tyler Bledsoe's first pro shoe from Etnies is a mid-top with a vulcanized sole. The clean silhouette is complimented by a blind seam toe piece. While many midtops have significant bulk to their sides, the Bledsoe mid manages to maintain the slim feel of many low-top shoes while still providing a modicum of added ankle support. The Etnies signature STI foam footbed is comfortable and shock absorbent without compromising board feel. A unique lacing system with a toggle is part of the shoes design beneath the traditional laces. However, this toggle and added lace can be removed if you're not feeling it.

WHY IT RULES:
Another colorway of the Bledsoe Mid from Etnies.
Witness any of Bledsoe's stellar skating and you'll likely want to do anything to catch even a piece of his control. If these are the shoes Bledsoe's riding, they certainly can't be bad. I tested a pair of these bad boys myself and found the grippy sole to be on point and the narrow toe to be perfect for flick on kickflips. I wasn't too into the added lace system but it's easily removable. But you don't have to take my word for it ...

"The design of the shoe is pretty simple," says Bledsoe. "I've always liked really simple shoes. The Etnies designers helped out a lot; they had a lot of cool ideas so I pretty much just had to test the shoes and tell them what I liked and what I didn't like. They knew what kind of shoe I was into so that was helpful. I've always had trouble with my shoes slipping off, so I made sure that they had something that would keep the shoe on your foot real good. That's where the pull tie came from, which I had never seen before on a skate shoe, so I was really into it."

WHERE TO FIND IT:
You can find the Bledsoe Mids in most skate shops where Etnies are sold. You can even get some of the colorways direct from Etnies on their website here. Also be sure to check out reputable online skateshop destinations run by real skaters including Kinetic skateboarding and The Skatepark of Tampa.