Vegan Skate Blog has been more or less dormant the last few years. A new chapter started in my life as I geared up to open Switch and Signal Skatepark in my hometown, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Around the same time there was a serious decline in the vegan skate shoe options. It was so dismal that I couldn’t figure out a real review without offering tips on “Shoe-Gooing” the hell out of some canvas slip-ons. Well times they are a changing, and it’s time to jump start this old blog. (people still read blogs, right?) It’s also time to start highlighting what seems to be years in the making: solid vegan skate shoes with synthetic uppers!
Previously Vegan Skate Blog’s only consumer function was to bring brand awareness of who was offering vegan footwear. Also to poke the brands letting them know, vegan skateboarders are out there looking for shoes! So now Vegan Skate Blog is going to sell shoes, via Switch and Signal Skatepark.
Switch and Signal Skatepark, and the mission was heavily influenced by my writing and reporting on VSB. Early conversations and interviews with Skateistan co-founder Oliver Percovich, digging in to the industry and making friends with skateshop owners like Dan Askew of Escapist and Ben Jones of Kinetic (both fellow vegan skaters); This brought me to the inevitable cliff that I would jump off. Open an indoor skatepark and shop. Make it reflect values of inter-sectionalism, veganism, and social justice.
The 12,000sqft. park and shop exists in a former bowling alley. During the demolition of the bowling alley, nearly everything was recycled or repurposed. Thousands of yards of 2×4 that once supported the bowling lanes (most about 50-60 years old) were turned into the frames of ramps. The lanes were donated to Construction Junction, a local materials recycler. They turned them into tables, benches and other home furnishings.
The name Switch and Signal comes from Union Switch and Signal, that at one time made a massive amount of the (you guessed it) switches and signals for the rail road system. The grounds of Switch and Signal are only a few hundred feet from the door of the skatepark. I wanted to pay homage to a local icon and in the same instance Utah Philips, someone I consider somewhat of a posthumous spiritual mentor.
We’ve got a lot of ground to cover and some shoes to catch up. Sole Technology (és, Emerica, and Etnies) has been making a significant push for sustainable vegan options. The reboot of Fallen has some interesting looking stuff. New Balance has been making a push! Even Adidas came out with a very skateable vegan Samba!
Vegan Skate Blog will be linking to Switch and Signal Skatepark. We only sell vegan products at the park. No leather or suede shoes. So if you are thinking of getting a pair of vegan skate shoes, a board, wheels, anything skateboarding (and some rollerskating) please buy from Switch and Signal. You’re supporting a small shop that is making a commitment to only sell vegan products. Thats the way we keep this going.
Thanks for the years of following along and reading. If you make it to the park, we even have a 100% vegan cafe in the park! -Kerry