EMERICA The Tempster – Review and Skate Wear Test

This season’s newest vegan/animal-friendly offering from Emerica for spring of 2013 is finally here.

The new shoe is called “The Tempster,” and is designed by legendary vegan skateboarder, Ed Templeton. Ed has always been a driving force in skateboarding – a true individual and artist. He is also the vegan skater’s skater. Never quitting and never selling out his vegan beliefs for a higher-paying/selling leather pro-model shoe. For this alone, we should always support him, his shoes, and Emerica for putting them out. Emerica is in my own personal opinion, the last real core skate shoe brand we have left.

I got to skate these new shoes a few short times on the streets and for a full 3-hour session at the park. Here are my personal thoughts as a long-time skater and vegan shoe wearer. . . .

The Tempster - both colorways, both laces

The Emerica “The Tempster” is a classic-style,  simple, yet well-constructed skate shoe.

The shoes come in 2 colorways: black/grey and green/grey.


The green colorway has a kelly green toe and tongue with a lime-green patterned upper and back featuring Ed Templeton’s artwork. The green shoes are black inside, while the black colorway has this same pattern on the lime green, but only on the insides.

Green & GreyI decided to skate/wear test the black colorway first. I figured most skaters will be more interested in them because they aren’t as flashy and over the top as the green is, and knowing today’s type of skaters, the green won’t go with their outfits. What sarcasm?

Black & Grey

The shoes have minimal padding throughout but a thick 20 oz. canvas upper that will protect your feet better than the typical thinner canvas upper used in many vegan skate shoes. This thick 20 oz. canvas upper at first seems a bit stiff, but after a few days it softens up nicely.

It wears better than any canvas shoe I’ve ever used. Even though I’ve only had a few short skate sessions with them, they’re holding up well.

Wear Tested

The tongue is also made out of this tough 20 oz. lightly padded canvas, and features an Emerica & Toy Machine Transistor Sect logo label.

The vulcanized outsole is a bit thicker than a standard vulc shoe. The sole did feel stiff at first, but softened up after a few days. This vulc wrap does not have the standard extra rubber toe-cap wrap that vulc skate shoes are known for.  Instead, it has a single piece wrap all the way around, similar to the way the Emerica Laced cupsole does. This design choice may be one of The Tempster’s biggest downfalls for being a long-lasting skate shoe – time will tell. So far, the outsoles seem to be holding up well but in a few more weeks, I’m not so sure they will be – especially since I use Mob griptape.


The sole itself is super grippy, even above Vans waffle-grip, which is usually known for being the grippiest vulc sole.
It works, it’s tough and is a big improvement over some of the soles Emerica has come out with lately.

These shoes are light for such a thick, tough shoe. They’re lighter than the Emerica Reynolds Cruisers which seem to be a bit sole-heavy. Weight-wise, I’d compare them to that of a Vans Sk8-Hi, Half Cab or Nike Blazer.

They have metal eyelets, which do help with the wear and tear on the laces and also look good, too.

Green laces group

The Tempsters come with 2 pairs of laces with each colorway. One pair is stiffer and thicker, and one pair is the alternate color and is made out of a standard sport shoe lace material.

Grey laces group

I went with the tougher, thicker laces as I rip laces pretty fast. They seem to be holding together very well so far.


The shoes’ pink insoles are not too thick so you still have good board feel, but also not too thin that you’ll get the infamous “heel burn” after a long skating sesh. They’re very light, removable and feature Ed Templeton’s artwork – a nice touch even though you only see it when you take them off.

For those that prefer mid-top skate shoes, this mid-top falls right under the ankle bone so you have a decent amount of movement but still more support than a low-top.

The shoes’ heel-cup is not too thick, but enough to provide some light protection. The Emerica logo is embroidered on the sides of the heel.

Heel group

Something I found uncomfortable is that the top of the back of the shoe sort of digs into my achilles tendon. I seem to forget about it after a while, but extra padding here would have been nice here.

Shoe box group shot

The Tempster shoe box is very cool, with artwork and detailing by Ed Templeton. A nice added bonus that you can reuse for storing skate parts, art supplies, etc.

One of the hardest things a vegan skater struggles with today when purchasing/finding vegan skate shoes, is being able to try them on before you buy them. Most skate shops usually stock the more popular, everyday seller shoes above any good vegan alternatives, making it hard for us skaters that want a compassionate/animal friendly vegan skate shoe readily available. This is a big problem for a vegan skater because even within one brand, there can be differences with fit and sizing. As I found out for myself, the Emerica The Tempster shoes were no different.

My shoe size is usually a 10, but in most skate shoes I have to either go up to a 10.5 or sometimes down to a 9.5. As I couldn’t try these on beforehand, I ordered a 10.5 because the Etnies Jameson Eco 2’s and Emerica G-Codes both fit me perfect in 10.5. I figured all Sole Corp. shoes would fit the same – I was wrong. The 10.5’s were much too big, so I had to order size 10’s and hope for the best. This whole process of getting the right size shoes took a total of 3 1/2 weeks. Not many skaters want to wait almost a month to get the right shoes on their feet!

This problem can be the biggest pain a vegan skater faces when getting new shoes – because all a skater really wants is to be able to walk into a store/shop, try the shoes on, walk around in them, see how they fit, maybe throw a deck down under them, and see how they feel. Vegans skaters seldom have this luxury that other skaters who choose to wear the more popular, non-vegan skate shoes do. I could go on with what is wrong in the skate shoe industry with non-vegan shoes being pushed more to skaters by being readily available in skate shops across the world above vegan shoes, but I will save that rant for another time.
In the meantime, read this article – SOLES WITHOUT SOULS

If you wear a certain size in thinner, vulc skate shoes (Era’s, Half Cabs, SK8-Hi’s, Old Skools, Slip Ons, Chukka’s, Chuck Taylors, etc.), you will most likely fit the same size in this new Emerica The Tempster model shoe. If you normally wear something with more padding inside, you will most likely have to go down a half-size to compensate for this shoe’s thinner, more classic-fit design. Shoes with less padding tend to fit more true to size than shoes with more padding throughout, especially on the tongue and with thicker insoles. There really is no “true to size” in today’s modern skate shoe world – they are all different, even within the same brand of shoes – so take caution with this.



On a scale of 1-10 here’s how I rate the new Emerica “The Tempster” shoes:

Durability – 7
I’m impressed with how well they seem to be holding up so far. There’s the usual wear and tear from griptape, but nothing drastic. The canvas upper is very strong. Other skate companies should take note, 20 oz. canvas works better! The sole and midsole are also both holding up well – especially for not having the extra rubber toe-cap piece.

Comfort, Support & Flexibility – 7
More comfortable than standard vulc shoes, I can wear these all day. The back of the shoe cutting into the achilles tendon can get irritating. The insoles are nice and light, but provide enough of the support you want in a skate shoe.
It will be interesting to see if Ed wears these shoes when he heals from his broken leg, that’ll say a lot about their comfort and support factors. Heal fast Ed, we miss you!

Boardfeel – 8
The Tempster shoes have a good amount of board-feel. Not quite Vans waffle-sole-thin so you can feel every grit of the griptape, but enough that you still know where your feet are within the concave of the deck.

Grip – 10
A lot of grip! There is almost too much grippiness. Sometimes I feel trapped, but that can be a good thing. Glue foot when using Mob grip!

Breathability – 6
They aren’t too bad for having a thick upper, but ventilation holes on the sides would have been a good idea. You do sweat in these shoes!

Shape & Fit – 7
A good shoe for skaters with wider feet – not narrow in the toe box like a lot of vulc shoes – your toes can breath and move around. The Tempsters have a very classic shape. Looking down from above, or from the side and there’s no mistaking – this is a skate shoe! The fit was larger and looser than Emerica’s more padded shoes, so use caution if buying these before trying them on.

Value – 6
These shoes retail for $69.99 with an average sale price of about $64.99. That’s alot of money for a canvas shoe! In my own personal opinion, simply-designed canvas skate shoes should never sell over $50. No animal died to make these shoes, so why are they this expensive? Maybe I just answered my own question. . . . It’d be like paying the same price for a veggies & condiment sandwich as you do for one with meat in it. I call this the Subway “Veggie Delite” syndrome – of shoes. It keeps happening more and more in the skate shoe industry and needs to change.

If these were made out of synthetic leather with rubber toe caps and extra padding, maybe I could see why these might be so expensive. But no vegan skater I know can afford to spend this much on shoes that they are going destroy faster than say – more “tech” ones. Contrary to popular belief, Shoe Goo shouldn’t always have to be the answer.There also should be an incentive to get more non-vegan skaters to purchase vegan shoes, and to stop supporting the use of leather and suede. A push to help save our animals, better our planet, and promote a more compassionate way to keep our feet on skateboards!

The skateboarding industry need less expensive, yet equally durable alternatives to all the high-priced pro-model leather shoes out there. An affordable, yet sustainable shoe that still wears as long as a leather/suede one would be doing just that. Sadly there aren’t many of these types of skate shoes out there. We need to fix this!

Overall – 7
The new Emerica The Tempster shoes are a welcome addition to the vegan skate shoe world. They have a good balance of classic styling, durability and comfort to outlast most other go-to shoes for vegan skaters. A bit pricey, but because of the thicker upper they should provide more wear-life than some other canvas vulc shoes. I do hope they stay in the Emerica line for a while and that skate shops start carrying them – not just the online stores.

Personally, I like these shoes, they feel familiar while still feeling new and fresh – but like all of the vegan shoes I skate in, I see room for improvement. In skate shoes, it’s hard to have one without the other when it comes to design, comfort, and durability. I’d like the shoes to be more flexible, but then it’d be hard to make them out of the thick 20 oz. canvas that they’re made of. Better board-feel would be good, but the insole and outsole does seem to have a good balance of comfort and support while keeping them decently lightweight – for a thick type, canvas vulc shoe. The lack of the extra front toe wrap/bumper on the outsoles could cost them wear-life on your board before the rest of the shoe catches up.
Time will tell. I’ll try to post updated pictures once I have fully worn these shoes out.

Thanks to Henry here at VeganKicks.com for asking me to do this review/wear test, and to Emerica for making and providing these shoes and always keeping an option in each season’s drop for us vegan skaters! Emerica is and always has been – real skateboarding – never change that!

Go buy these animal-friendly vegan shoes and skate them for yourself, have fun!

– JBones

Stay tuned for more of my vegan skate shoe wear tests/reviews right here on VeganKicks.com!


Emerica “The Tempster” shoes available here –

EMERICA website –

Kinetic Skateboarding –

Plus Skate Shop –





I have actually made a breakthrough with the shoes.
As the son of a seamster I have a vast knowledge and ability to take matters into my own hands w/ sewing etc.
It was extensive work, but hopefully Emerica will understand that the changes I’ve made are needed for this shoe.
I have constructed special padding around the heels and ankle, padded the tongue and added lace loops, it is all glued and sewn in and looks and feels great. I also added lace eyelets to keep the tongue in place.

I have improved the shoes comfort and skate stability by about 75% by doing all of this.  It was a long painstaking process, but it was needed to keep these shoes on my feet.

(I contacted Emerica to show them my ideas of what I’ve done 2 months ago but still haven’t heard back from them yet.  I don’t think they are putting much stock into vulc shoe changes anyways as it looks they are moving forward with a whole new lineup of primarily cupsoles for 2014).

Here are some pics of what I’ve done –

9 2 3 5

9 thoughts on “EMERICA The Tempster – Review and Skate Wear Test”

  1. I’m one of the owners of Kinetic Skateboarding and I just wanted to say thanks for linking us in your article and for the awesome shoe review. I’ve been vegan for a long time and a skateboarder even longer. So I know how hard it is to find good animal friendly shoes to shred in. I always try to get as many of the Vegan shoes as I can in the shop. If anyone out there need suggestions on Vegan skate shoes feel free to contact me benkinetic@gmail.com.

  2. Thanks alot Ben, I only wanted to put links to skate shops that are carrying The Tempster shoes in my article, but sadly there aren’t many. But I’m so glad you are one of the only shops carrying them, thank you for that bro, you’re awesome! I’ve been a long time vegan as well as a skater even longer just like you. I really feel the skate shoe world is lacking in the vegan shoe dept. for good reviews, in depth articles and quite frankly good vegan skate shoes – good affordable vegan skate shoes that is. So my goal is to fill that void and be the one that will change that. I want to review/wear test as many options as I can. Honest reviews. My goal in all of that will be to not only push more vegan and non leather skate shoes to vegan skaters like us, but really to the non vegan skaters as well. Skateboarding can be such a wasteful, unsustainable, and uncompassionate industry that a lot of people lose focus of the larger picture. Especially when some companies are trying to do better and to help, but skaters just look over that because of the corporate takeovers in skateboarding of what is cool, what is selling and what they want to be sold that makes the most profit. Sole Corp is really the only one I see trying to do better for our planet. With Etnies “Buy A Shoe, Plant a Tree” program, and always having good vegan skate options on Emerica’s line, but the prices are still quite high for the vegan skater on a budget. Vegan shoe prices are high for just about any skater for that matter. I really only want to support true, core skate brands these days, because it is them I want to see succeed, them I want to see win, but I am willing to do reviews on all the vegan shoes I can get, all our options. If you have some shoes you’d like to see reviewed please let me know. Thanks again bro. – JBones

  3. I have these shoes and also had an issue with the the back part chaffing my achilles tendon, I put some gel pads that are made for use in hockey skates on that part of the shoe and it’s helped out nicely

  4. i could not get past the digging of in of my achilles tendon also. it was brutal . i had cuts on both ankles. please tell us more about these gel pads .

  5. I have actually made a breakthrough with the shoes.
    As the son of a seamster I have a vast knowledge and ability to take matters into my own hands w/ sewing etc.
    It was extensive work, but hopefully Emerica will understand that the changes I’ve made are needed for this shoe to last.
    I have constructed special padding around the heels and ankle, padded the tongue and added lace loops, it is all sewn in and looks and feels great. I have improved the shoe by about 75% by doing this. It was a long painstaking process, but it was needed to keep these shoes on my feet.
    I will be posting pics soon.
    (I contacted Emerica to show them my ideas of what i’ve done but still haven’t heard back from them yet).

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