First impressions

I’d been eyeing for Emerica shoes for a long while now. A big part of it was because I was looking for a thin cupsole shoe to try out. Usually I am a vulc shoe skater, so I was interested to see if these could match their boardfeel and skateability. The Emerica Leo Romero Laced immediately struck my eye as one of the more stylish skate shoes on the market. Another part was that I wanted to support a skater-owned company like Emerica. And what a stacked team they have!

Here are the specs for Emerica Romero Laced:

  • One-Piece Toe Cap
  • Tongue Stabilizing “Wings”
  • Triangle Tread
  • Low Profile Cup Sole Construction
  • Suede

Fit & Feel

Right off the bat I was really impressed by the insole which provided a great cushion and comfort. Looking down on the toe cap you can also see that these were meant for flip tricks in mind. The pointier toe box was virtually begging to be taken out to the park. The tongue locks your foot in nicely and the overall fit was snug enough to provide a secure fit throughout the shoe. Additionally, the tongue was thin enough to give a feel closer to a vulcanized shoe. These factors aside, the shoes did feel stiffer straight out of the box. Definitely needed a few sessions to really break in and get a good feel for them. These also fit true to size so feel free to purchase it in your standard sizing.

My biggest gripe was the uncomfortable heel of the shoe. These were the first skate shoes in about 15 years that gave me blisters. I had to put a few band-aids on my achilles tendon while breaking these in. Luckily this did not last for too long and I was able to skate comfortably within a week.

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At first, the Romeros caused blisters on my heels but after a few sessions they became comfortable.


The Emerica Romero Laced is described as a thin cupsole shoe that provides the best of both worlds – great boardfeel with better impact resistance and durability. I feel that this is a pretty accurate description of what you are going to get with these shoes. After the initial break-in period  you will be pleased to step on your board with these on. The grip on the Triangle Tread pattern is nearly on the same level as a vulcanized shoe while the overall design of the shoe is thin enough to feel light and agile. Speaking of which, I felt the Emerica Romero Laced were one of the lightest skate shoes that I have tested. This can be an added benefit for long days of skating with your friends.

The structural design of the shoe was very good for flip tricks. The toe box was high enough to make sure that you get good traction with the suede upper. Sometimes this can come at the expense of durability but this was not the case with the Emerica Romero Laced. More on that later.

Comfort & Cushioning

Initial discomfort aside, the shoes became comfortable after breaking them in. The insole was very soft and offered adequate cushioning for bigger gaps. The added shock protection also reduced fatigue throughout our skate sessions. This meant that I could skate longer without discomfort! I was also happy to notice that the insole padding seemed to hold up pretty nicely throughout the lifetime of the shoe.

For a cupsole, these shoes were relatively thin – and I am glad they are. I have never been a fan of bulky shoes. The Romero’s did not have too much of extra padding on the sides or the tongue. This results in a snug feel without having to worry about the padding wearing out as the shoes get more worn in. This often results in a weird fit where you need to tighten your laces too much. I’d say the cushioning on these were thin but not too much that they’d feel like skating on bare feet.

The Emerica Romero Laced were one of the lightest skate shoes that I have tested.


These shoes are durable! In fact, the upper was so durable that I blew a hole in the sole before really going through the suede. By no means does this indicate that the sole would wear out any faster than other shoes. In fact, the sole lasted the average amount that I get with other brands. I was very impressed with the quality of materials used in this shoe. The overall durability was pretty remarkable considering how much skating I did with these on. I do have to admit that I used a bit of shoe goo on the suede but that is what happens with every shoe I skate with. As far as durability goes, the biggest negative was ripping laces.


Incredibly light!

Durable upper

Comfortable insole

Locked-in feel of the elastic tongue straps

Impact protection

Thinner than most cupsoles

Looks awesome


Initial discomfort on the heel area

Laces rip easily

Takes a few sessions to break in

Still loses in board feel against vulcanized shoes

What to improve?

For a thin shoe the Romeros rank high in durability and cushioning. While it does not match the grip or board feel of a vulcanized shoe it is among the best what cupsoles can offer. Still, there are a few things that could be improved. First off, the heel counter could be more cushioned or redesigned to prevent discomfort. One way to do this would be to get rid of the rounded heel and have a U-shaped contour where the heel counter meets the achilles tendon. Secondly, the shoe could have been softer out of the box and it required a few sessions to really break in. One way to get more flexibility would be to add some deeper grooves into the outsole (like the Nike hyperfeel).

Lastly, the laces still kept ripping, which could have been avoided by hidden lace loops. This may not be up to everyones taste though.

The bottom line

The Emerica Romero Laced is a great alternative for skaters that are looking for a light, durable and grippy skate shoe. While it does not have the board feel of a vulcanized skate shoe it is as close as you can get for a cupsole. However, it does come with the added cushioning for bigger drops. Once broken in, it also provides comfort for the whole lifetime of the shoe.

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