Sole Technology Timeline


French fashion footwear company Rautureau Apple launches a line of skateboard shoes called etnics, derived from the word "ethnic" and named after the lifestyle of skateboarders, who often travel about in small tribes and create their own subculture. Since the name etnics is too similar to another shoe brand called Etonic, it is quickly changed to etnies.


etnies inks a contract with pro skateboarder Natas Kaupas and releases the first-ever pro skate shoe, the Natas, in Europe.


World Champion freestyle skateboarder Pierre André Senizergues joins etnies and designs his first pro model skate shoe, the Senix.


Pierre retires from pro skateboarding and begins distributing etnies in the United States. etnies USA, the first skateboard shoe brand owned and directed by a pro skateboarder, is born. With Pierre’s lack of business experience and the competition’s established footwear distribution, the challenges facing etnies USA are huge.


The U.S. economy in general--and the action sports industry in particular--are in a recession. etnies USA’s debts are increasing. The first shipment of European-designed etnies shoes from Korea is delivered three months late and 80% of the orders are cancelled. Pierre works day and night to ensure the survival of the brand.

After starting off as the most technically advanced skate shoe brand, etnies releases simpler, ’70s-influenced designs made of all suede like the Rap high-top and the new Senix mid-top. Shoe heights start to come down.

The Natas shoe is released in the U.S.

Pro street skater Sal Barbier joins etnies.


Pierre hires fellow pro skateboarder Don Brown to help take care of marketing, sales, shipping and the team.

etnies begins to advertise in U.S. skate magazines like TransWorld Skateboarding.


Pierre strikes a licensing deal with Rautureau Apple and begins designing etnies in the U.S.

The bright red Rap high-top gains wide recognition when Sal Barbier wears it in Plan B's Questionable video.


Skaters want low-tops, but companies are still producing high-tops. Many skaters either wear Adidas or Puma low-tops or cut down regular high-tops into low-tops. In response, etnies releases the Lo-Cut, low-cut Rap and Intercity shoes.

etnies is the first skate shoe brand to advertise in 411 video magazine, securing an ad in the first issue.


After a lull in the early-’90s, skateboarding starts to grow again and the U.S. skate shoe boom begins. etnies USA changes its name to etnies America and the newly-structured company is ready for expansion.

etnies releases Sal Barbier’s first pro model skate shoe, the Sal 23.

Pierre helps DC start production of their first run of shoes.


etnies opens a Europe Office in Basel, Switzerland to support European skateboarding. Pierre hires his old friend and former pro skateboarder Reudi Matter to run it.

etnies releases its first-ever skate video, High 5, a short 14-minute teaser featuring some of the top skaters of the day; and launches its BMX team with pro rider Mike "Rooftop" Escamilla.

Pierre launches éS Footwear to fill the need for a new type of skate shoe, a brand that pushes the limits of advanced footwear design and caters to the demands of the core, technical skateboarder. The name éS is derived from the first and last letter of etnies. Sal Barbier and his Sal 23 model are moved from etnies to éS to help start off the new brand. The Accel becomes the best-selling shoe in éS history and remains the flagship shoe of the brand to this day.

Pierre notices a lack of technically-advanced snowboarding boots on the market and launches ThirtyTwo.

Rautureau Apple is bought by a European shoe conglomerate, which is in turn acquired by an American company.


Unsure of how his etnies America licensing agreement will be affected, Pierre launches Emerica, short for etnies America. All etnies shoes sold in Fall 1995 are shipped as Emerica shoes in Spring 1996.

Emerica is recognized as a more raw, simple and straight-ahead skate shoe brand than etnies.

Rautureau Apple puts the etnies brand up for sale. Nike, among others, expresses interest, but Pierre gains the full rights.

The etnies Surf team is launched.

Pierre creates Sole Technology, Inc. to be the parent company of the etnies, éS, Emerica and ThirtyTwo brands.

Sole Technology is named Rookie Manufacturer of the Year by Action Sports Retailer magazine.


Sole Technology launches Sheep shoes, aimed at the low price market. In sharp contrast to the overall serious tone in the skateboarding industry, Sheep portrays a more fun, playful image.

The etnies Moto-X and etnies Snow teams are launched.

Emerica releases its first-ever video, Yellow, a loose, 30-minute collection of footage with a definite homemade feel.

Pierre hires professional shoe designers so he can focus on brand growth.


Sole Technology donates 10,000 pairs of shoes valued at a half million dollars to Los Angeles area homeless people (which turns into an annual event) through the Los Angeles Mission, and also donates money and volunteers to the California AIDS Ride bicycle event.

Due to importing costs, Sheep prices are really not as cheap as originally intended, so the brand is discontinued.


Sole Technology moves factory production from Korea to China.

Sole Technology designs a new, much larger office / warehouse space at 20161 Windrow Drive in Lake Forest, California and moves into its new home. An innovative, two-story automated shipping system is designed by Sole Technology and featured in MicroSoft advertising.

The etnies Girl brand and the etnies Music team are launched.

etnies releases the Fielder, the first-ever sandal with an air system.

Pierre wins the Entrepreneur of the Year award in Orange County.


Pierre reorganizes the Sole Technology R&D Department with a new crop of top-level Product Managers.

etnies Snow and Kids shoes are launched.

éS Footwear releases it first full-length video, Menikmati.


Pierre starts planning another brand-new Sole Technology building with the concept of skateboarding movement incorporated in the design. Building space at Sole Technology has increased eight times in four years.

After the September 11 terrorist attacks, Sole Technology organizes a World Trade Center Benefit in Brooklyn, New York, for which skateboarders raise over $35,000. Pierre donates an additional $15,000 out of his own pocket.

Sole Technology opens its first etnies:exs outlet store in Barstow, California.

The Emerica team moves into the Emerica Mansion--a nine-bedroom spread in the Hollywood Hills--for a year to brainstorm filming missions for their upcoming blockbuster video, This is Skateboarding.


Sole Technology opens a South China Office to improve quality, technology and production capacity; and a New York Office / Showroom to support East Coast skateboarding.

The etnies Plus Collection, a line of limited-edition shoes featuring special fabrics and colorways aimed at the fashion boutique market, is launched.

etnies sponsors the This is Me art show world tour and releases its first-ever BMX video, Forward.


Sole Technology designs and partially finances the etnies Skatepark of Lake Forest, one of the largest concrete skateparks in the United States; moves into its newly-completed R&D Building, which wins several architectural awards; and opens a Los Angeles Showroom.

Sole Technology debuts the Sole Technology Institute and STI Lab. The world's first and only research facility dedicated to the study of the biomechanics of skateboarding and other action sports, the STI Lab creates new shoe tech features that help reduce injuries and increase performance.

etnies launches its Skatepark BBQ Tour of Southern California and hosts Deanna Templeton's Family Album photo show, featuring etnies employees, in its New York showroom.

éS Footwear launches its first-ever éS Game of SKATE flatground contest at the Action Sports Retailer trade show in Long Beach, California. Appropriately, éS team riders Eric Koston and Paul Rodriguez battle it out for the top spot, and P-Rod happily takes home the $10,000 first place prize.

Emerica releases it first full-length video, This is Skateboarding, and donates over 200 pairs of shoes to inner city kids at two Seattle, Washington schools in the name of Experience Hendrix, the company representing the legacy of Jimi Hendrix, in exchange for the use of a Hendrix song during Andrew Reynolds' part in This Is Skateboarding.


Sole Technology hires its first-ever Chief Operating Officer, Paul Migaki, from Nike, as well as its first-ever Brand Marketing Managers, Eladio Correa for etnies, Patrice Fernandez (succeeded by Julie Shumaker) for etnies Girl, Craig Metzger (succeeded by Matt Sharkey) for éS, Justin Regan (succeeded by Timothy Nickloff) for Emerica and Brian Cook for ThirtyTwo.

Sole Technology launches the first annual Go Skateboarding Day on June 21, an unofficial global holiday encouraging everyone, everywhere to go skateboarding; and holds its first annual Holiday Festival to donate 500 pairs of free shoes to needy Orange County kids.

etnies launches its first-ever online store, and the first annual Goofy vs. Regular (GvR) contest at the etnies Skatepark of Lake Forest.

Emerica launches its first annual groundbreaking Wild in the Streets event, releases its Kids in Emerica tour DVD and holds the first in an ongoing series of Design-a-Tee Web contests.


Sole Technology promotes green technology by installing rooftop solar panels to power its R&D Building.

etnies launches the E-Collection, an exclusive line of upscale skate-inspired shoes for the stylish consumer; and the Stereo collaboration with Jason Lee and Chris Pastras.

éS Footwear celebrates its 10 Year Anniversary.

Emerica pioneers Heath's Harley Tour, the first-ever skateboard tour on motorcycles.


Sole Technology consolidates all of its warehouse operations under one roof at its new gigantic Distribution Center in Fontana, California.

Sole Technology launches Altamont Apparel with longtime Emerica pro Andrew Reynolds. Justin Regan is named the Brand Marketing Manager.

etnies celebrates its 20 Year Anniversary with three massive parties throughout the year in New York, Paris and Lake Forest.

Emerica celebrates its 10 Year Anniversary and launches its first annual Wild Ride, the first-ever skateboard tour that invites kids to ride along.


Sole Technology steps up its commitment to green initiatives by hiring Environmental Affairs Manager Roian Atwood, the first-ever in the action sports industry.

etnies releases its first-ever pro model motocross shoe, the Twitch.

éS Footwear releases a promo video called éSpecial!, and etnies BMX releases its second full-length video, Grounded.

Heath Kirchart launches the Emerica Gear team.

Emerica launches a brand-new web site complete with its own social network.


Sole Technology continues to go green with water-free urinals, energy-efficient lights, and hand dryers in some of its restrooms to reduce paper waste.

etnies is the title sponsor of the first-ever Maloof Money Cup, the most widely respected street contest in ages.

Team Regular wins the tie-breaking fifth and final year of GvR.

The éS team embarks on their first-ever proper tour of the whole United States called the You, éS, Eh? Tour.

Emerica presents the world's longest commercial of all time, called Kevin All Day and Night Long, a 24-hour film by Donny Miller.

For Further Exploration:

etnies Timeline

éS Timeline

Emerica Timeline