SUPRA’s Skytop line has, through the years, become one of the most celebrated sneaker lines in sport casual footwear. Dually a performance sneaker as well as a casual/lifestyle shoe, Skytop has become a kind of pseudo-brand under the SUPRA name, and with the new Skytop IV, there’s plenty to celebrate.
Combining elements of its skateboarding roots and purpose with basketball design, amidst trends of exotic-looking product, the SUPRA Skytop IV is a beauty. Specifically in its red suede Holiday edition, the Skytop IV first impresses with its materials. The aforementioned suede is truly smooth and has a soft, short nap that wears seemingly as well as it appears and feels.
(The full photo gallery of the Skytop IV is available here.)
Expounding on the suede upper is the wrap, riveted in specific eyelets on the shoe that allows for a something of a “Star Wars” aerial vehicle. Though not advised for skate wear, it gives the shoe a very distinct look in the streets and at the club.
The suede isn’t the only thing that makes the shoe so spiffy. There’s the high density SUPRAFOAM, both in the midsole and in the insole, which wears firmly and supportively, as well as softly in movement. Also, the clear, high-durometer outsole rubber makes for a reliable platform that should hold to all the skids and scuffs on the concrete.
Even with all of the visual amenities of the Skytop IV, the comfort is the biggest asset of the shoe. Simply put, the shoe is very strong in comfort – I can’t think of a high-top skate shoe that really has been this comfortable, and that’s including any of the classic models that actually were basketball shoes in their former lives. The Skytop IV shows that it’s certainly made for weight-bearing performance, specifically like what you’d expect in skating.
The shoe has a broken feel from the very first steps and supports weight really well – there’s no sense that the shoe will at all bottom out or give up under the stress of your body weight, which is one of the most underrated qualities of a shoe’s worth. There’s great ground feel, and it sits low and flat – if you would happen to need more support for your arch, the insole is removable, so you can get something that’s more for your foot shape. The Skytop IV is very stable, given its sole construction with the highly-contoured foam heel counter, faux vulcanized midsole, and strong outsole. The toebox is all in one piece and still maintains very, very good flexion (in addition to a clean look). The shoe as a whole fits just right, it’s neither too big nor too small and it’s a plush shoe from the inside.
In theory, the Skytop IV doesn’t have any real weaknesses from a performance standpoint, but the aesthetic nature of the shoe is the aspect of the product where issues lie.
One issue with the suede Holiday version of the Skytop IV is that the large suede wrap is not guaranteed to stay affixed to the shoe. The rivets don’t stay on well, and it’s not easy to know whether they will stay on the shoe, regardless of how tightly the rivets are screwed in. You don’t get any replacement rivets, so if you do lose any, you have to write SUPRA to get them. A big reason to get the Skytop IV is because of the attractive look of the wrap, so the potential issue of not being able to wear the shoe with the wrap, carefree, is a downer and a potential deterrent.
The other issue with the Skytop isn’t so much a weakness of the shoe itself, but just based in the high-quality nature of the shoe itself – it’s a luxury sneaker made with luxury materials, and the Skytop IV is so lush in its form, it may dissuade you from wearing the shoe for its initial purpose – skating. Chad Muska, the shoe’s visionary, has said that the Skytop IV is a great shoe to have multiple pair of – one for skating, and another for chilling, but if you really, really want to skate and still maintain the high-quality look of the shoe, those two activities are virtually mutually exclusive. However, if you don’t care about the look so much, or perhaps you don’t skate, you won’t have that issue, but diehard skater Skytop fans will have to make that hard decision.
In any case, SUPRA’s very best is seen in the Skytop IV and no place else.
For more information on the Skytop IV, go to suprafootwear.com.