Ed Templeton Interview pt. 1

photo: Deanna Templeton

photo: Deanna Templeton

Mr. Fakie: So, the new shoe is about to come out. It’s your first shoe in about three years and you’re injured.

Ed Templeton: I don’t even know if they’re calling it a pro shoe. Are they?

MF: I don’t know. I think its a limited edition?

ET: I think so. I should know more about this. I’m really hands off with the brass tac’s kind of stuff over at Emerica. When they want me to design a shoe, I just kinda do it. I feel like it’s not a pro shoe. I don’t know what they’re titling it. I’m just down for whatever they want at this point. I’m forty years old and don’t really know what to expect. I realize I’m not pulling my weight as a pro. I’m kinda old and I’ve always been aware that this is how it works in skateboarding. I’ve been on both sides as a pro and a company owner. I try to tell my guys, “Look, you’re a marketing tool. It’s not cool but it’s what you are. When you’re not useful, it’s done.” And the same goes for me. I’ve been waiting for this from all my companies. As I age, I feel very fortunate to have stuck around for so long and done so much in the art world side, and that companies still Kind me useful to some extent.

MF: So it’s not going to be a hyped up G6-type release?

ET: (chuckling) Exactly. I don’t know. I’m just stoked to be involved with Emerica at this pointy. Is my name on it? Maybe I should go grab the sample… I’m on crutches so it’ll take a second. You can hear my old age! It’d be so cool if I fell right now. Fell during the interview.

So I have the sample here in front of me and I don’t think it has my name on it. It’s just clearly a Templeton shoe. I designed the box and all that stuff. I don’t think my name is really on it.

MF: Isn’t it a Tempster shoe?

ET: It may be called the Tempster, which is like giving me a pro shoe without paying me the pro shoe salary.

MF: The last shoe it looked like you designed was the Archer.

ET: Yeah, these shoes are sort of ‘designed by’ shoes now. I think that’s what they’re calling them. That’s what’s ridiculous because I should know but I don’t.

MF: So what have you been skating? You’ve got the sample. Can you get your feet into the shoes right now?

ET: Unfortunately the sample they gave me is a size 9. I’m a size 12. They don’t sample shoes at a size 12 because it’s sort of an anomaly and size 9 is an average. They get the samples and use them for product shoots and they want the samples to look as it would on a normal foot. A 12 distorts it, you know. So, unfortunately, I don’t get to ride the sample shoe. I only have one actually, just one side.

MF: Did they send you the side of the injured foot?

ET: Yeah, it’s the injured one so I can’t even put it on. It’s funny, now that I have this boot on, I could be rocking this if it was the left foot. I could be crutching around on the sample.

MF: It’s a bummer, dude. You can’t even try on your own shoe.

ET: Lately, when I’ve been skating, I’ve been riding older Emericas. They said, “Hey, you should wear some of the newer ones.” It’s because I get shoes and they stack up in my garage and I’ll be like, “Oh, this is a cool old shoe from a year ago.”

MF: So what shoes have you been riding?

ET: I forget the name of it. I can’t remember. I think I was wearing some shoe that was kind of like a high top. It was a Justin Regan shoe. They made a shoe for Justin Regan when he was the team manager before he left. I was riding that and that’s when Timothy from Emerica said, “You probably shouldn’t be riding that shoe. That guy works for Vans now.”

MF: Uh-oh.

ET: This is what I mean. I’m useless for all this skate stuff.

Emerica Tempster vegan skateboard shoe sneak peak

MF: What went into the design of these shoes? This is a high top. Do you like skating in high tops? Or was it just really what was out there and you just put the design to it in terms of graphics.

ET: Well, with this, in this phase of my pro career, I think they have shoes someone there designed and I come and do a treatment to it. There may be a situation where they made me something to start with and I get to mess with it and draw it out. In this case, it’s not same as what I had in the Templeton pro shoe. I design those myself. These later ones have been different. It’s a skate shoe and a lot of people have been using skate shoes as chilling shoes. I know Leo skates in the smallest dock shoes.

MF: That brings me to another question. I think both of us grew up skating those Airwalks that used to look like basketball shoes…

ET: The giant shoes that took a week to break in?

MF: Right. And then it was all about cup soles for a while. Then back to the basketball types, the multi-piece soles in the early 2000s. Now practically everything is vulcanized. A lot of them are super thin. Walk us through a little bit since you’ve been in the industry through all of the changes. What do you think is behind all that with the current trend?

ET: I think there’s two fronts. One is that vulcanized soles feel better. That’s one base point. The softness and the flexibility and the quick break in is so much better. I rode for Airwalk in the early 90s and it was terrible. It was giant shoes. If I had a friend with a scooter, I’d have him drive me around while I dragged the shoes on the ground to try to beat them up as much as I could because they were so plasticy and hard.

The second thing, I think, is just the style. It sadly take precedent over the function part. People just want to wear shoes that they’d be wearing anyway. Whereas the old shoes were big chunky skate shoes now shoes have morphed and i think it’s good, actually. I want to be able to wear my skate shoe out and not necessarily look like a skater. That’s gone full circle too. As a skater, you’d walk into a place, look at a kid and look for ollie holes and be like, “Oh, he skates.” Then when shoe companies became popular, it became ‘look for someone with Emericas on’. But now everybody wears everything. Nike and Adidas, huge mainstream companies, have totally taken over the shoe market. So everybody is wearing Nikes and you can’t tell who is a skater and who isn’t anymore.


Check back for pt. 2 and our First-Look skate review! To be continued…

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15 Responses to Ed Templeton Interview pt. 1

  1. B.E. says:

    “vulcanized soles feel better.”

    The hell they do!

  2. veganshawn says:

    After watching recent Ron Allen videos I don’t think Ed should discount his skating. Ron is 50 years old and still ripping, I hope Ed heals up soon and gets back out there ripping, less time in the art studio more time on the board 🙂

  3. veganna says:

    wtf? “Look, you’re a marketing tool. It’s not cool but it’s what you are. When you’re not useful, it’s done.” Kinda lame that he sees his skaters soleley as a marketing tool. Really dissapointed.

  4. Leif says:

    That’s a nice shoe!

  5. part 1 of the epic ed t interview.
    it’s nice to hear some history of skate shoes, it really puts into perspective how far skate shoes have come since the early 90’s. I too had a pair of hush puppy airwalks and although I never wore the soles out, I also never could feel my board. But back then you didn’t really have anything to compare that to, so “feeling” your board was a new concept.
    I don’t like super thin shoes, because of my feet and ankles. I like some support, a thick and comfy heel cup, and a soft pillow tongue.
    Emerica has always comes through with vegan and durable shoes.

    Stoked to read part 2 of this interview.

  6. GlassInTheGrass says:

    Super excited about these shoes. 1st time commenter here. Love your blog. It’s great to see a website devoted to the vegan skateboarder. Been anxiously waiting these shoes since you posted the sneak peek awhile back. Can’t wait til part 2 and to see a pic of the black colorway. In regards to veganna, I think he is just speaking in the context of the functionality of pro skateboarders in the eyes of the industry and what it takes to have a pro shoe out there. I doubt he “solely” views his skaters as marketing tools.

  7. Ed Tempelton says:

    Dear Veganna,

    I think that came off wrong. This interview was not edited, (Or proof read) it is apparently a verbatim translation from a phone conversation. So my humor and some of my thoughts are not as eloquently explained as they could have been had I been able to write the answers out, or proof the text before publication.

    Having said that,

    The brutal truth of the matter is that a pro skateboarder IS a marketing tool. They get paid from the “Marketing budget” of whatever company they ride for. It’s a reality. I have known this since I began, and been aware that at some point in time I will no longer be useful as a pro skater. The whole idea that a company would pay you to endorse their products implies that you are so good at skateboarding that people want to be you, they will buy products with your name or image on them because they identify with you so much. That does not last forever. So as harsh as it sounds, that’s the truth.

    I don’t hide the truth from my riders. I want to prepare them for the days AFTER skateboarding. It’s smart to think about what you will be doing in the second act of your life. Will you be a pro skater at age 50? Most likely not.

    So it’s a running joke of mine calling them marketing tools. It’s supposed to be funny. But perhaps it did not translate well.

    Having been a “Marketing tool” myself and now running a company, I clearly do not treat my riders as if they are merely that. But business is about money, and that has been the biggest conflict in my life since Toy Machine started in 1993, how to Market and sell the thing I love, skateboarding? It feels evil. That is why at Toy Machine we don’t take ourselves seriously, and all the advertising language is a comedic take on the folly of advertising.

    I hope this ads some nuance to that for you.


  8. xleox says:

    With regards to your referencing of Pro’s being ‘marketting tools’, can I just add that its your humour and honesty that has made Toy Machine so rad since day one. Throw in years of consistently sick rippers on the team, great videos with brilliant music, and original artwork adverts and graphics and the ‘Bloodsucking Company’ continues to keep loyal 36year old vegan pawns like me stoked.
    With any line of work its good to have a line of honest communication between the employer and their employees, and I suspect the Toy team appreciate you saying it straight. I know I would.
    Keep up the stokeage and rad vegan shoes!

    and thanks Mr Fakie for this great interview! Love the blog!!

  9. Josie M. says:


    I just want to acknowledge all that you’ve accomplished and the impact you have had in not only mine, but in other people’s lives. It’s nearly tangible.
    In the late 90’s, I was a true loyal pawn and you were my favorite skater. As a girl skateboarder, I would sometimes be ridiculed instead of appreciated for my skill. Your attention to not only the attractive side but the technical aspect of skater girls has kept me going. I skate to this day!
    In other aspects, your art and support for a vegan lifestyle has influenced me to take a look at what I do with my body and mind. Not to mention your relationship with Deanna is a testament to what relationships should be. That woman cares a whole lot about you and it’s clear you exact her love. What a beautiful thing.

    Can’t thank you enough,

  10. Jordan K. says:

    The interview was a fantastic read. I feel like Ed’s the kind of guy you can get into a conversation with and not notice hours going by. Definitely the kind of person I like to be around. Ed’s humor really shined through at some points of it, and even though i’m loyal to my 3 year old hsu’s, i’ll probably pick this shoe up whenever it comes out.

    Keep on being awesome Ed, and thanks for linking this great blog.


  11. Brent Washington says:

    Hello Mr. Ed.
    Love you artwork man. Im not gonna beat around the bush, Can i have a free pair of your new shoes line lol Get well soon my friend, waiting to see your artwork make its way to Atlanta so we can all appreciate it in all of it’s awesomeness!!

    Keep on Keeping on!!

    Brent W

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