Chances are you have already seen leaks from PS catalogue 2018 – if you are following any skating related pages on social media, photos of new skates were all over the place. These leaks, as everything taken out of context, created confusion and started rumors.
That’s why I’ve decided to go straight to the source and contacted Matthias and Jurgen from Powerslide. Being cool guys they are, they’ve agreed to send me some materials that shine more light on what is incoming. Of course, I cannot reveal all – truth is, what leaked is an early version of 2018 catalog and as in every such case, some things can change along the way. Good examples from the past are Star Wars themed Imperials and black-yellow Sway on Trimax frames – these skates never got past prototype stage, but were included in early draft of 2017 catalog. So, read along but keep in mind nothing is set in stone. As for the pictures – again, I have some, both from official sample photoshoots and from PS distributors meeting – but as they are not representative of final products, I’ve decided to not post them. Some are just placeholder drawings in vector graphics, I think this fact alone shows quite good that many things can be altered. So, if you have attention span greater than average millennial and “TL;DR” is not your attitude, read along!
GAWDS skates and souls
I’m sure most of you know that GAWDS is a brand managed by Franky. It released wheels, softgoods and now is diving in to the world of hardgoods. No doubt that Franky does have his own vision of brand – and even though I’m not a fan of aesthetics and vibes he is aiming to hit, USD is too restricted and streamlined for these concepts. So, now he does have opportunity to take his ideas further.
First GAWDS skate is Franky’s signature model and is, of course, inspired by sneaker culture like all his pro models – apart from largely forgotten Remz OS one, released after he left the brand.
This model is built with Powerslide tech, uses composite shell, sports different cuff and soulplate than his USD Carbon based pro-models. It also does have different fit. Don’t worry, USD Carbon and Carbon Free skates are not going anywhere. It is addition to lineup, not a replacement.
Soulplate is interesting part in these skates. It is CNC machined from UHMW material (most likely UHMW PE) and symmetrical in design, but with a twist. Two sides of this plate have different groove shapes. So you can choose from two different groove options right out of the box.
Because most mortals wear one soulplate faster than other, when time comes to switch, you can take them off, turn them 180 degrees and swap between boots, enjoying almost new bs groove. Of course, after this will wear, you’ll have to use the sides with different groove shape. But with traditional, non-symmetrical souls you wouldn’t even get to this this point. Of course, symmetrical soulplate is nothing new, really – but more options on the market to choose from, the better.
Souls have flat surface and extend over the boot a little, to provide additional protection. They are, of course, compatible with all flat-heeled boots. They should fit Adapt, Carbons, CJ and Trigger skates without any mods – but I’m sure creative types out there will put them on other boots, too.
Death and rebirth of Xsjado
Let’s make it clear – Xsjado is dead as a brand – farewell skate was for sure justified. If you haven’t been living under a rock for past two years, you know that literally nothing meaningful was happening around it.
Still, to this day, design remains unique and really strong point of the skates. I have a pair of Xsjados in PB setup and “frankendoop” skates composed from spare parts, and they definitely come in handy sometimes. It is basically the only one acceptable quality step-in skate on the market and it would be shame if Powerslide would cease production.
They know this, too – that’s why Xsjado skate was rolled under USD flag and now will simply be known as Shadow. Some great news for fans of the skates – Powerslide is working on improving the skate further, even more so than when they’ve introduced 2.0 version.
Cuffs (both 1.0 and 2.0 styles!) are reworked to be more solid, connection with soul/baseplate is more secure, ankle part redesigned, skates will be composed of less parts and lighter. There are some other surprises coming regarding Shadow and PS will reveal them in time. Stay tuned.
Resurrection of Salomon FSK skates.
A little background first, for people who weren’t in to fsk back when Salomon was in the game.
In early 2000’s, there was a drought of skates suitable for freeskating. Choice narrowed to Tecnica Twisters (which eventually evolved in to current Twisters and were heavily modded by skaters), some Roces skates which weren’t hugely popular and Salomon FSK line. Started in 2002 with Crossmax 1 model, these were first skates ever designed from ground-up with freeride in mind.
They were a benchmark for all other brands for years to follow and had unmatched quality of materials. Salomon FSK frames to this day are one of best UFS freeskating frames your money can buy. Foams used in liners were years ahead anything competition was offering. Skate had so efficient shock dampening system that very few models can even put up a fight. Salomon even equipped the skates with wheel wells in underside of the boot to keep balance lowest as possible. They were not cheap – especially later models – but definitely worth it.
Unfortunately, after Salomon quit inline skating business, no one claimed rights to molds and they were lost. Until now – Powerslide somehow managed to secure the molds. They had them reworked, cleaned and decided to release the skates. Matthias also confirmed that larger sizes molds were destroyed and they had to build them from scratch.
I admit, at first I was surprised and couldn’t see the point of bringing these back from the dead when PS is having so many FSK/PB models already. But looking back, it was obvious choice – they are certainly fans of this design an even had their own line of skates that were modeled after Salomon FSK pattern – the Cell FSK (up to 2009) line.
Name of “new” model is Quantum and it is sporting USD flag. Why USD, and not Powerslide Urban? Well, this skate is UFS based and in fact does have useable soul space, which makes it more related to PB setups than, for example, Imperials. But hold your horses – the boot is shaped in a way that won’t really allow you to make a good looking and solid mod with proper aggressive soulplates.
Skate will come with Trimax frames but you can of course put any frameset beneath them. Also, boot will be equipped with aluminum heel plate which can be replaced if need arises. It serves similar purpose as in original Salomon FSK models – makes frame-boot connection stronger.
I was never a huge fan of originals – too soft for my taste – but they were no doubt quality skates. So if you want to get a softboot for freeskating with occasional grind mixed in, you’ll most likely love Quantum.
Yes, there are new Aeons
Powerslide will release limited edition of Aeon 60mm skates with colorways similar to ones of most iconic pro models of other skates, as a celebration of USD brand 20 years anniversary. Great thing for fans of the brand. While it’s cool, it’s just a paint job. For me, Aeon 80mm model steals the spotlight.
It’s the same unibody skate we all know, but now with frame to fit 80mm wheels. It is no longer what you would call an aggressive skate, but more of a freeskate/aggressive hybrid – PB setup, but with 4x80mm frame that comes with a groove, low center of gravity and of course, lightweight. Powerslide themselves are describing this model as “urban skate”.
Groove is small, but frames are tall – so if you want to make use of it, you need to go super low on your tricks anyway. If you can manage to pull off such sharp angle on ledge, wheel bite is not much of a problem – people were/are grinding on Kizer Advance, which is even taller and sports no groove at all.
This is a Swiss army knife of skates – something that was lost as market fractured in to models better suited for specialized styles. 4x80mm is perfect for commuting, learning basics, having a fitness ride. Higher frame will make wheel slides easier as you’ll be less likely to touch the ground with a soulplate. AEON 80 can also serve as introduction to aggressive inline, as it comes with a proper soul space. In my opinion, this is the most interesting skate of 2018 lineup – bursting with possibilities!
There is new hardboot with Trinity mounting
Its name is NEXT. Skate is built with 3×3 frames in mind – there are wheel wells in underside of the boot, to make setup even lower. However, it will be compatible with any Trinity frame and will be also sold in off-road option. It does have brilliantly invented toe protector/slider which is easy to replace. And you can lace it to the very top of the shell!
Powerslide, until now, was not in possession of a model which could sell Trinity mounting to the masses. This changes that – being a hardshell, pricepoint will be lower and fit issues will be less frequent than in one-piece boots. Looks like it can be a worthy successor to Imperial skate.
The deal with all these off-road skates
Where these two wheelers came from? PS positions two wheeled skates as a middle ground between 3×125 and 3×150 setups.
3x125m setup is lowest, giving superior control, but at the same time relatively short and agile. It is not rolling over obstacles and hard terrain as good as 150mm wheels, though.
3×150 is going over everything like a tank, rolls faster, but is also heavier, longer and higher – harder to control.
That’s where 2×150 frames came from. One of customers started to skate with only two wheels in 3×3 frame and PS tinkered with the concept further, as feedback was promising. Overall, 2×150 setup is lighter, more agile than 3×150 and provides similar roll over rough terrain. You won’t have the same grip though, and the skates will lose speed little faster than 3x125mm setup (basic physics!) – they will also be higher.
Two wheels also allowed to make simple and reliable suspension frame similar to previous “Shockliner” concept – it uses spring steel blades. If you fancy additional comfort while cruising in the forest, you know.
There is a ton of more fresh things coming
From reworked cores in racing wheels, 110mm Spinner wheels, reworked liners, more models in fitness range receiving Trinity frame system, new kids skates, to better protection equipment – you can clearly see that Powerslide are a bunch of busy people.
So, that’s it, end of this little wrap-up. There are many things I have not covered, including quad skates line, racing ones, new parts…
From what I can see, judging by movements of big companies, like k2, RB, PS and even smaller ones like Adapt – competition for our money will be even more fierce in 2018 than ever before. Especially when it comes down to 3×3 options and freeskates. Great time to be inline skater, for sure!!!
Thanks for the read!