Verdict from 100+ user reviews

12 reasons to buy

  • Several reviewers like the thick padding material on the tongue, collar, and the foam footbed that assures a snug fit and cozy interior.
  • Quite a lot of loyal Etnies fans say that the shoe feels great and comfortable for daily wear.
  • Numerous buyers of the low-top skate shoe are pleased that the design and feel of the footwear have not changed through the years.
  • A good number of skaters find them durable that the sneakers wear out first in the sole but not so much in the upper.
  • Some users appreciate the double stitching that assures of quality and durability of the low-top shoe.
  • A considerable number of skate shoe critics have high praises for the high-impact rebound of the STI or Sole Technology Institute Foam technology.
  • Some professional skaters noted the sneaker helped a lot in “preventing heel bruises.”
  • Many skateboarders are impressed with the technology used by Etnies that improved cushioning and impact protection compared to skate shoes from other brands.
  • Many serious skaters find this enduring footwear silhouette “highly capable of withstanding a heavy beating“ with the stitched 400 NBS rubber cup outsole.
  • The 400 NBS outsole has a steady grip with its tread patterns that has excellent grip, traction, and board feel.
  • A few customers buy these sneakers as their work shoes as they can last for years without wearing out.
  • A few users say the design has remarkable arch and ankle support.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Some skaters with wide feet complained that the tightness of the Etnies Kingpin caused a bit of discomfort around the upper toe.
  • A few users complained that the shoe needed more durability on the high-wear areas.
  • One commenter said that the stitching was removed while the glued on sole were detached from the upper after a few extreme jumps.

Bottom line

Durable sneakers whose fanbase has grown in the past two decades, the Etnies Kingpin has become a favorite among skaters and non-skaters alike because of its excellent durability, cushioning, flexibility, grip, and boardfeel. Affordability is also a factor why these $50 low-top kicks are among the bestselling models coming from the Etnies portfolio. If you are looking for a low-top skate-ready sneaker with a minimalist treatment that would last for months and years, the Kingpin might be a better choice.

Tip: see the best sneakers.

Good to know

A snug-fitting skate-ready sneaker, the Etnies Kingpin gives you enough comfort at the interior after a few days of break-in. The low-top skate shoe has a puffy tongue and thickly padded collar to keep everything in place while regular flat laces keep the foot on a lockdown. Sizes for this medium width skate shoe for men ranges from 5 to 15 with half-sizes for accurate fitting. Women should go 1.5 sizes lower than men’s sizes for equivalent sizes.

The all-black design of the Etnies Kingpin makes it a versatile sneaker to wear that is inspired by the chunky-looking and puffy tongue of the bestselling Etnies Fader. It doesn’t complicate your wardrobe and instead simplifies the overall look with its laid-back design. The puffy tongue and thick collars give them a bit of a character, but it’s pretty basic as most of its users view it as an everyday sneaker that can go with just about any casual clothing you want to wear.

Get that skilled skater look from its heydays in the 1980s to the 1990s by wearing comfy shorts and a loose shirt or a plain hoodie that is a clear proof that skatewear has already penetrated mainstream fashion with their relaxed fashion style. If you prefer not to skate for the day, the Etnies Kingpin is also great pairs to wear for hanging out as its minimalist look compliments any other clothing like slim fit denim or slightly tattered at the seams jeans paired with a statement or graphic tee. So whether you’re hanging out like a mob boss or a skater hitting the lanes, these low-top skate shoes are for keeps.

A long-running silhouette like the Etnies Kingpin that has been at the brand’s portfolio of shoes for several years means that it has excellent features that its loyal followers have been raving. Among its most remarkable features include a Sole technology Institute Foam cushioning footbed that is complemented by the puffy tongue and thick collars for a comfortable sneaker interior.

Also worth noting in this skate-ready model is the 400 NBS rubber cup outsole with exposed Ethylene Vinyl Acetate midsole for that bouncier feel, impact and shock protection, excellent grip and boardfeel,  and lightweight sole that are often praised by most of its wearers.   NBS testing method is used to determine the resistance of rubber by applying a downward force and with a high evaluation result means the sneaker has high abrasion resistance.

The Etnies Kingpin takes design inspirations from the bestselling Etnies Fader which has been in the portfolio of the brand since the company was founded in the 1980s. The footwear brand operates its headquarters at Lake Forest, California and owned by Sole Technology Inc.  Since it was established, the company has been releasing favorite skateboarding shoes and sponsoring professional skateboarders with their footwear.

Etnies was established in 1986 and owned by Pierre Andre Senizergues who took over then European brand after designing shoes like the Senix, Scam, Lo0Cut, and Low0Top Rap, among other models. Senizergues eventually helped introduce the company as a skateboarding shoe brand by founding Sole Technology Inc. in the United States.

As part of the Future Heritage collection, the Etnies Kingpin was released with a revamped look for the  Spring 2018 designs of the brand together with other classic models like the Etnies Fader, Etnies Cartel, Etnies Metal Mulisha Fader, Etnies Fader Vulc, Etnies The Scam, among different iconic silhouettes from the famous skate shoe brand.

famous skate shoe brand.

  • Herringbone pattern at the bottom assures extra grip and traction as it sticks effortlessly to the board during ollies and tricks.
  • Double stitching of the nubuck upper and the 400 NBS rubber adds to the durability of the sneaker.
  • The trademark Etnies logo is displayed using perforations on the side.
  • A TPR logo lace plate and neoprene tongue-centering straps keep the feet secured.
  • Etnies branding detail on the tongue, heel back, midsole, and bottom sole.
  • Some iterations of the Etnies Kingpin come in gum sole, black sole, white sole, while it is also offered in solid black, grey, and brown colorways.
  • Herringbone tread pattern at the bottom for enhanced grip and traction on the board and ground.
  • Star Wars star Hayden Christensen has been spotted wearing the Etnies Kingpin sneaker.


How Etnies Kingpin ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 6% sneakers
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Top 8% Etnies sneakers
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Top 5% low sneakers
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The current trend of Etnies Kingpin.
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Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny is a sports nut with a particular interest in football and running. He loves to watch sports as much as he loves to play. Danny was lead researcher on RunRepeat and The PFA’s report into Racial Bias in Football Commentary. His football and running research has been featured in The Guardian, BBC, New York Times and Washington Post.