As a flat pedal rider, I have grown accustomed to the struggle of finding the perfect shoe for me. I’ve worn darn near every model of Five Ten, Specialized 2F0, Teva (when they existed), Giro, Vans, and even previous model Etnies.
Every flat pedal rider knows that overly hard rubber is a one-way ticket to bloody shins and curse words. With the exception of the recent Michelin-soled Camber and Culvert Mid, I’ve found that Etnies has historically struggled to find a rubber compound with the tackiness that a downhill or enduro style rider would appreciate. Would the Semenuk Pro’s join their Michelin soled brothers in the success camp, or would I be picking yet more scabs off my shins? Read on to find out.
The Semenuk Pro was designed in part by (you guessed it) Brandon Semenuk himself. It’s based on the Jameson Mid model but features a plethora of improvements that make it a better all-round shoe for gravity riders. The Semenuk Pro Features a breathable, padded tongue for air flow and comfort with a lace pocket to stow them safely, and full gussets to keep out dirt and rocks. The upper is Force Shield reinforced and treated with a Repel coating to keep water out, and a Thinsulate lining inside keeps a bit of heat in. A sturdy ankle shield keeps your ankles off the cranks and out of harm’s way. Underneath the foot are the Pedal Shank 1 to give a slight boost to the stiffness, with a Pro Foam 1 molded PU footbed providing the important comfort and cushion. With a robust design and durable materials, this shoe is designed to be a serious contender for aggressive mountain biking from downhill and freeride through to dirt jumping and even hardcore trail riding.
Sliding on my Semenuk Pros could be compared to sliding into a brand-new pair of socks, my favorite pair of jeans, or a sweater on a cold day. They feel cozy, comfortable, and just simply right. As with most Etnies shoes, the fit is on the slightly roomier side of average without requiring a size-down. The padded tongue and welcoming inner material make lacing up a joy rather than a chore. The shank provides plenty of support on the bike but doesn’t hinder walking around after a ride. On many occasions, I’ve found myself riding all day in my Semenuk Pro’s and then wearing them to the pub for a beer. They are down-right comfortable.
On the trail, the Semenuk Pros have the perfect amount of grip for me. The dig into the pedals on the steeps, while still allowing me to maneuver my feet slightly when setting up for the next berm or jump. I should note that some riders may not like the maneuverability of these shoes. They do not have the “locked to your pedals” feel of the Five Ten Impact Pro; a feeling I personally cannot stand, but that’s not to say they don’t latch on to a pedal pin. Knowing exactly where my feet are on the pedals is pertinent to my riding style and Etnies has nailed pedal feel with the Semenuk Pro, allowing you to feel the extremities of the platform without any discomfort from too much flex. On the longest and roughest descents, you may find yourself wishing for a slightly stiffer sole, but this will come down to personal preference and I didn’t suffer from any issues myself.
I’ve taken my Semenuk Pro’s on at least 100 rides, and they have yet to show any sign of significant wear. I’m sure some soap and water would bring them close to their original look, less a few pedal scars on the soles. The stitching is all still impressively intact, with no sign of the sole peeling or the lace eyelets warping. The soles have held up really well to the abuse of my Deity T-Mac Pins and I can’t see any sign that they might be unrideable anytime soon. Furthermore, the ankle guards are made of thick leather, and they do their job almost too well. I tend to ride with my feet nearly touching the cranks and am constantly rubbing off crank paint because of how durable the Etnies ankle guard is. On the other hand, without the ankle guard, I probably wouldn’t have much ankle left!
The Semenuk Pro was designed around performance, comfort, style, and durability. Quite frankly, Etnies has absolutely nailed it. These shoes have a great look, feel, and lifespan. The Semenuk Pro is the first Etnies shoe that I have worn for more than a week. In fact, I’ve been wearing these shoes for almost 9 months and I’m going to continue to wear them until they disintegrate.
Price: £85 /€110 /$134