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Review

Review: DC Nyjah 2

For each of our reviews we try to sift through the hype and give you our honest feedback on products before you shell out your hard earned cash on something you’ve never tried before. For this installment, we review the DC Nyjah 2.

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This shoe was released in 2014 and is Nyjah Huston’s second pro model with DC Shoes.

Overview

With Nyjah’s dominance of the contest circuit, it came as no surprise that his second pro model shoe had a bold, futuristic look reminiscent of the skate shoes of yesteryear. I was definitely was curious to see how these shoes skated with its Unilite outsole and athletic runner aesthetic (with the exception of the runner’s toe). A futuristic high durability thermo-mesh material also graced the upper panels giving an unconventional paneling in the shoe’s upper coupled with DC’s super suede durability. The sole is extremely grippy when new and and offers above average cushioning when coupled with the right aftermarket insoles. The ventilation in the shoe is also amazing, with probably the best air flow I’ve experienced in a skate shoe. Definitely going some way to starving off the dreaded stank foot during the summer months.

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Feel, flexibility, flick and stability

The Nyjah 2 has an extremely flexible sole, definitely sitting on the more flexy end of the cupsole spectrum. The ortholite insoles while comfortable, offer little in the way of any arch support and cushioning and pack out very quickly, requiring their replacement with aftermarket insoles almost immediately.

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The shape of the toebox as apparent in the photos lends itself excellently to kickflips, giving amazing flick, and the overall slimmer silhouette as is the norm in current skate shoes ensures that the shoe doesn’t feel in the least bit bulky. The lace placement is also sufficiently recessed into the shoe’s upper to stay out of the way from griptape damage. The toe wall is extremely thin so you really feel every flick of the board, which also means that the wear on the toe is somewhat rapid in both the toebox upper as well as toe bumper. You certainly won’t get much protection from a board landing on your toes.

The heel cup is moderately firm when new and softens quickly with wear, so there was some appreciable loss of  lateral stability in the ankle as the shoe continued to be skated.

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Score: 7/10

Breathability

As mentioned in the overview, the Nyjah 2 has amazing breathability, with airflow through perforations in the toe box keeping your feet extremely cool as the session progresses. Definitely one of the most breathable shoes I’ve skated.

Score: 9/10

Cushioning and impact absorption

The Nyjah 2 falls into that category of cupsoles that has pretty amazing flexibility in its sole. This flexibility being mainly attributable to the material of its outsole which is a combination of DC’s Unilite technology combined with a soft polyurethane outsole. The outsole still lasted an average amount of time before packing out completely, which was surprising given the soles’ extreme flexibility. Nevertheless, while the shoe is definitely pitched as one for jumping down big stuff, the cushioning is still not the most protective for the heavier stairset and handrail crowd, with some appreciable (but not complete) loss of the soles impact resilience occurring relatively early in its use (around the 5 hour mark). Bottom line, the Nyjah 2 is suited more to medium impact skating.

Score: 8/10

Durability

Wear pictures after 1o hours of skating.

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The Nyjah 2 had average durability overall, with the wear rate in the toebox at about what you’d expect given DC’s super suede combined with the moderately pointy toe silhouette. One aspect of the shoe that didn’t seem to hold up was surprisingly the sole, where portions of the ribbing in the region under the arch started to tear within the first 3 hours of skating (see picture above). This was unusual given it’s deliberate design, as you’d imagine that this would have been tested in the design stages. This might have been a one-off experience on the part of my pair but nevertheless took us by surprise. This unfortunately definitely detracted from the shoe’s performance, as the sole quickly developed uneven wear and added instability from the other portions of the sole that were now progressively coming loose. Another feature of the durability of the shoe that should be mentioned is that the seam between the super suede and thermo-mesh in the upper also seemed to be under a fair amount of stress and started to come apart towards the end of the 10 hour test mark.

Score: 6.5/10

 

Overall conclusions

The Nyjah 2 is a shoe with a bold design that strives to bring flexibility to the cupsole skate shoes while still offering impact protection for jumping down stuff. With moderate cushioning and the flat stock ortholite insole, this shoe is definitely more suited to medium impact skating. With the $110 MSRP, this shoe definitely sits on the more expensive end of the skate shoe spectrum. Probably not quite the shoe for those looking for an extremely durable, long-lasting skate shoe but there certainly will be a category of skaters looking for an extremely flexible cupsole that may find the Nyjah 2 appealing. – HK

 

 

 

 

 

Review

REVIEW: DVS Chico Brenes Nica

For each of our reviews we try to sift through the hype and give you our honest feedback on products before you shell out your hard earned cash on something you’ve never tried before. For this installment, we review the DVS Chico Brenes Nica shoe.

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This shoe was released in 2014 and is Chocolate Skateboards’ Chico Brenes’ pro model.

Overview

Chico Brenes has been killin’ it on the board for so long, so it’s somewhat an understatement to say that I was hyped to slide my feet into a pair of Nica’s for testing. The Nica has a cupsole construction reminiscent of skate shoes past with a more traditional late ’90s-’00s design aesthetic but updated to the present day needs of modern skateboarding (read=slimmed down toebox but not too pointy). You get a durable suede upper, with a mesh tongue that offers breathability, an ortholite footbed, and a flex feel Herringbone thread patterned sole. The grey model’s sole also comes in sticky gum rubber, perfect for that all round grip, so you don’t get that unwanted slip. Just the right amount of grip, with no noticeable slip both on worn down grip tape and on smooth skate plaza surfaces (Stoner Plaza tested).

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Feel, flexibility and flick

The Nica has a moderately flexible sole, definitely in between the flexibility of a typical vulcanized shoe and the stiffer cupsoles on the market. The ortholite insoles are good to go straight out of the box, and definitely a step up from the usual stock insoles that a lot of models tend to come with nowadays.

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The flick on the toebox is excellent, and the mid-sized silhouette makes it pretty easy to get the perfect flick on those kickflips. Another plus is that the lace placement is pulled back enough to stay out of the way from most griptape damage from kickflips. One very interesting feature here is that the toe box is actually encased in a rubber shell that lines the inside of the shoe’s upper below the suede outer. This gives the toes a good amount of protection from 360 shoves gone wrong, and also adds to the shoe’s lifespan. This rubber toe box shell does take a little getting used to as it feels a little bit stiffer.

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I really liked that the heel cup is very sturdy, with sufficient rigidity through a hard thermoplastic insert in the heel that greatly reduces the chance of a rolled ankle due to a breakdown in the shoe’s structural integrity through prolonged use. There’s also a nice little touch with the heel loop and the little yellow peeking through the grey suede cutaway. Great attention to detail.

Score: 9/10

Breathability

One aspect of the Nica that might be improved is the breathability in the upper. While the breathable tongue is amazing, the rest of the upper could do with more ventilation holes, especially during the hot summer months. The shoe did heat up pretty quickly as each session progressed.

Score: 7/10

Cushioning and impact absorption

I generally prefer cupsoles, and given the choice, I typically skate cupsoles more often than vulcs. That being said, the Nica, while a cupsole, still has some of that vulc flexibility in its sole while not sacrificing too much of the support as often characterizes really thin cupsoles. Nevetheless, the outsole itself did seem to pack out a little quick (after about 10 hours of cumulative skating), and this could be due to the higher density rubber used (which offered better durability). It would have been nice to have a slightly softer outsole too, for better impact absorption, as the impact of each landing started to become more clearly felt at the 10 hour mark. But compared to typical vulcanized shoes, the Nica has a tremendous amount of cushioning and impact absorption characteristics. Bottom line, this isn’t the most cushioned cupsole on the market, but neither is it any where near the worst.

Score: 7.5/10

Durability

Wear pictures after 15 hours of skating.

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The Nica really excels in it’s durability. As mentioned earlier, the toe box has an underlying rubber shell below the suede surface and this adds considerably to the shoe’s lifespan. After breaking through the suede outer in the 5th hour, the underlying rubber/thermomesh layer takes up the slack and takes a long time to wear down. So this is a definite plus for all you kickflippers out there. This rubber layer will probably last a good 10 hours beyond the 15 hour mark, based on the current rate of wear. The outsole bumper is also of a slightly higher density rubber so it wore down gradually and well during the shoe’s life. The gum sole also held up excellently to griptape abuse, and was still plenty grippy even at the 15 hour mark.

Score: 9/10

Overall conclusions

The DVS Nica is a great all round shoe if you skate a lot of ledges and jump down smaller stair sets. The Nica has a relatively flexible sole, in between that of typical cupsoles and vulc offerings. With it’s fairly decent amount of cushioning, the Nica will probably hold up to the demands of smaller stair and rail chompers but the outsole does tend to pack out at around the 10 hour mark. The Nica really excels in the durability department with it’s rubber/thermomesh underlayer in the toebox (which also doubles as a protective shell for those errant boards landing on one’s toes). I really liked the gum sole from the grey colorway, which stayed plenty grippy through the 15 hour mark, and this was a HUGE plus in my book. Overall, this is a great shoe for the ledge aficionados and small stairset/drop crowd, and totally aligns with the kind of skateboarding Chico Brenes is known for. I give this shoe two thumbs up! -HK