If you know PIF, you know he likes to skate big stuff and to be able to do what he does on a regular basis, he needs shoes that can handle a fair share of abuse. After more than 5 years of skating exclusively with És shoes, one thing is sure: PIF is not about to try another shoe brand anytime soon.

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És Footwear, which is still among the most important shoe brands in the skate industry, is one of the last shoe companies that was originally created by skaters and for skaters. Much like PIF, the brand has had its ups and downs, until practically disappearing for a few years, but in both cases, it was only to come out stronger afterwards!

From his first contacts with the brand to his introduction to the Canadian team all the way to his favorite shoe model, Pierre-Yves Frappier talks about his favorite shoe brand: És footwear!

When were you first introduced to És?

I heard about the brand not long after I started skating in the late 90s, but I got really hooked when I saw Eric Mercier and Étienne Tanguay wearing És at the skatepark. These guys were the best skaters in Quebec at the time and they seemed to like these shoes a lot, especially the Accel model. I already loved the brand because my favorite local skaters wore them religiously.

The Menikmati video came out shortly after. That’s when I started to develop a real interest for the brand. The team was crazy, the shoe models were on point and the skate skills were through the roof! I was 15-16 years old at the time and was already dreaming that one day, I’d be riding for them.

Which part was your favorite in Menikmati?

The Arto Saari part was obviously my favorite, but I also really liked Rick McCrank’s. Besides having a crazy part, he's a Canadian!

If you were dreaming of riding for És 20 years ago, why we've never seen you with És on your feet until recently?

Because I got another opportunity with another shoes brand before I could try with És. I was young and this company offered me a lot of support so I accepted. I still loved És, but the brand was not what it once was at that time. Shortly after, the brand started to fade away. You could even say that És disappeared and reappeared around the same time as me.

What do you mean by "disappeared and reappeared"?

Well, the brand stopped making shoes for a few years, but I'm not sure why. I was also absent from the skate scene during that time because I was partying too much. That said, when I quit drinking and started skating again, És was coming back strong as well.

As soon as I started feeling confident on my board and doing tricks again, I knew I wanted to skate some És. Tyler Holm at Timebomb started to flow me shoes and then I went on a trip to Barcelona with the És Canada team. I skated a lot during this trip and was officially added to the Timebomb family! I'm happy to finally skate in the shoes I've always wanted to skate.

How long have you been riding for És now?

I've been on 5 years and I hope it won’t stop anytime soon. I seriously wish I’ll be able to skate És for the rest of my life.

What is your favorite És shoe?

The Accel Slim without a doubt! It's a smaller version of the legendary Accel shoe. The one Mercier and Tanguay were wearing back in the days, but revamped with a modern flavor. There are several És models that I really like, including other types of Accels like the Accel Plus, but my favorite is definitely the Accel Slim.

Why the Accel Slim? What is so special about this shoe?

I like the simplicity of the shoe. I also like the fact that for a small shoe, it offers incredible impact protection and a great boardfeel. The Accel Slims are made of suede most of the time and in my opinion, there is nothing better than this material for grip. És suede is also very durable. The sole is also just the way I like it. It has good grip and offers a good boardfeel, but is still stiff and strong, which helps a lot when skating big spots as it allows me to take the impact without hurting my feet. Finally, I like the look of the shoes when I look down and they come out really nice on footy.

What do you think of the current És international team compared to the old team?

The current team is sick! Really different from the Menikmati era, but the riders are just as talented. The guys seem to be more technical skaters, but are some of the best at it in the game. I think Kelly Hart has a lot to do with the new team. He is a member of the squad, but also the team manager and has managed to build a fire team that includes one of my all-time favorite skaters: Wade Desarmo. I also really like Tom Asta, he's probably one of the best tech skaters in the world right now. There’s Shmatty who also kills the tech skating game and manuals. I don't know if it's official, but I've heard that TJ Rogers is also going to be on the team soon, which I think would be a huge addition.

What’s your opinion about the fact that És is one of the last shoe brands that was created by skaters for skaters?

It feels good to see that other than the big corporations who run the skate shoes market like Nike or Adidas, there are still brands that specialize in skateboarding and nothing else. Nothing against these big brands, I think they make great shoes too, but I'm still really happy to be part of a brand that wasn't established by golf, basketball, soccer or any other sport that has nothing to do with skating. És shoes were created exclusively for skateboarding and still are today.

The real deal! Is there anything else you would like to add?

I would like to say thank you to everyone at És and at Timebomb for allowing me to skate the best shoes in the world. Thanks Garret Louie and Tyler Holm. Thanks to Kelly Hart for revamping the brand over the past few years and thanks to Don Brown and Pierre-André for creating the best shoes ever.