High Gear: Taking the Vans AV Rapidweld Pro Lite to the skate park
Summit Daily correspondent
Vans AV Rapidweld Pro Lite
In a nutshell: A new signature model lace-up low top from Vans pro Anthony Van Engelen, featuring high-end tech wrapped in classic styling
Weight: 15 ounces
Sizes: Men’s U.S. 6.5 to 13
Outer: Pro Vulc Lite with waffle tread
Upper: Durable suede and mesh, with a stitchless shell and reinforced Duracap toe box
Footbed: UltraCush padded sockliner
Find the shoe online at http://www.vans.com or at The Lumberyard in Breckenridge.
The Anthony Van Engelen Rapidweld Pro Lite from Vans is the techiest pair of skate shoes I’ve ever stepped into. Futuristic materials and innovative technology are married with classic style and comfort for a shoe that is not only durable, but also works and looks great.
I learned through the Vans website that AVE (as he is known throughout the skate world) credits his passion for skating to a six-month trip to Russia, where he was without skateboard during his formative teenage years. He returned home and, four years later in 1999, he turned pro for Alien Workshop at the age of 21. AVE began riding for Vans in 2005 and in 2009 was awarded best video part of the year by Transworld Skateboarding for his segment in “Mine Field,” the film from Alien Workshop that season. In 2015 he received the Skater of the Year award, thanks in part to his footage in the Vans movie “Propeller.”
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AVE is a powerhouse skateboarder and has shown durability with a long career. His pro shoe must be equally durable, but still infused with classic style — a blending of new and old with classic style and power.
“Duracap underlays, Rapidweld stitchless uppers and UltraCush HD sock liners to provide unrivaled durability for high impact performance,” reads the product page on the Vans website.
What does this mean?
Well, it means that Vans has taken the stitches out of the problem areas where most skateboard shoes wear out: the toe box and the outside edge of the foot. The shell of the shoe is constructed of a welded material that is lightweight and dense, sort of like a climbing shoe. On the shoe’s toe box and along the side where you flip your foot, you’ll find the company’s patented Duracap upper reinforcements. It looks like the toe got dipped at Dairy Queen.
Inside the shoe, the Luxliner inner glove feels like a thin mousepad under your foot. Under the shoe, the Vans pro Vulc Lite outsole is paired with the trademark waffle tread.
At the skate park
The shoe is incredibly good looking and comes in a few colors, including “blackout.” While it features new and fancy tech for a skate shoe, the downside is that they cost a pretty penny: about $80 to $90.
But…boy, are they pretty. They’re also supposed to resist wear and, therefore, last longer. It’s said they can get hot in much warmer climes, but I went to Westminster to skate in 85 degree temps and it was all good. Just know they are made of minimalist materials that don’t stretch or breathe very much, and if you have a wide foot, it might not be the shoe for you.
I’ve been skating these for two months thanks to Shawn G. at Vans Rockies, and so far I can say that, yes, they are an awesome skate shoe and have really held up. I don’t skate everyday, but I skate a lot, and though I don’t do a ton of flip tricks per se I always would wear down shoes in the toe box and along the foot from just ollie-ing.
When you skate a lot, you also tend to wear through the soles of the shoes, and in that way I don’t know that the AVE Rapidwelds are going to last any longer than traditional skate shoes. But, I bet I won’t blow out the toe before then.
If you’ve got a little coin to spend and want to turn some heads with the newest in skate shoe innovation, these shoes are your ticket. They’re incredibly light, incredibly durable and incredibly sharp looking — they just have a great feel. It is a treat to run the newest in skate shoe technology, especially since I’ve skated in such bulky shoes as the Muskas or the Osiris D3s of yesteryear.
More than shoes
Not only does AVE have a pro model shoe — there is an entire collection of outerwear for his spring line. Additional items include denim pants, a pair of walk shorts and a variety of tops. There’s also the AV Holser windbreaker, which has a water-resistant coating with microscopic pores (aka it breathes in the rain), among other tech features.
For more info on the AVE line, see http://www.vans.com. Thanks again to Shawn G. at Vans Rockies.
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