We’ve previously talked about the new Helix skate shoe shoe from etnies. But we still want to know: how does the shoe perform on a skateboard? Therefore, I grabbed a pair of the Helix and skated them in multiple sessions for a total of 20 hours. Spoiler: the Helix might just become your next favourite skate shoe!
Sizing & Comfort
When it comes to size, the Helix will make pretty much anybody happy. Neither too narrow nor too wide, most feet will definitely enjoy their stay. The shoes felt very comfortable right from the beginning. The padding on the tongue and collar is generous and the molded heel inserts perfectly stabilise your foot in the shoe, giving you a snug and secure fit.
Optically, the connected and flat insole seemed to be far from comfortable but together with the foam midsole, you can expect a comfortable soft feeling while walking, especially in the front area of your feet. Another highlight: the shoe is incredibly lightweight!
In order to see how the Helix performs right from the start, I skated it straight out of the box. The cupsole seemed to be rather hard but the flex grooves do their work to make the Helix quite flexible. The first session went by without any trouble.
Sole drawback: the heel stabiliser is super stiff and you might end up with a blister skating these right away. So you’d better lace these bad boys up real tight!
Boardfeel & Grip
To be honest, I had my doubts that the Helix offers enough boardfeel. Foam midsole? Sounds like too much space between feet and the board. But I was taught better because you can feel your board pretty good. Merely in the heel area, the sole was a little bit too thick for me, which gave me a hard time doing Heelflips. But you can get used to it easily. Anyway, speaking of the sole: awesome grip! Behind the mysterious 400NBS is a really grippy material that you will especially enjoy when catching your flip tricks.
The downsides of the boardfeel issue are compensated by the Helix through its good impact absorption. Thanks to the foam midsole, you can jump down a couple of stair sets without regrets and walk away without sacrificing your cartilage. If you’re into rather technical skating, the sole might be a little bit too thick for you.
Impression after five hours of skating
After the first sessions, the Helix had made a very solid impression. The initial signs of wear started to appear on the outer side of the cupsole. While the suede toe cap was just a bit roughed up, the Ollie area wasn’t bothered at all by a fresh sheet of MOB Grip. Only the etnies logo on the heel lost some detail.
Impression after ten hours of skating
After skating the Helix for roughly ten hours and countless Kickflips, a tiny perforation developed on the toe cap. The Ollie area still looked brand new, which has to be the result of a quite nifty arrangement of the upper. This seems to prevent the polyurethane from getting in touch with the grip tape until a certain degree of abrasion of the suede. The outsoles’ tread only showed little signs of wear. Loss of grip was no issue at all.
Impression after twenty hours of skating
I skated the Helix ten more hours and compared to me, the shoe showed only a few signs of exhaustion. In some locations, I had finally defeated the toe caps’ suede, only to find out that there’s another layer of material followed by the polyurethane-vamp. Wow! It is also remarkable that it took about 15 hours to rip one of the laces (Usually a matter of the first sessions when it comes to me). The outsole stayed grippy the whole time, while the tread pattern was still in good shape.
The etnies Helix is a cleverly designed, new model that impresses with its many features. The only drawbacks of the shoe are the boardfeel issue and the stiff heel inserts. All in all, I would say the Helix is a top all-around skate shoe. Innovation successfully realised!
• Impact absorption
• Risk of blisters