Who is Tiago Lemos?
Before we get into the New Balance Numeric Tiago Lemos shoe itself, it is pertinent to give some background on Tiago Lemos and why he fully deserves this shoe and the recognition he has earned over the last few years. Tiago Lemos is a Brazilian professional skateboarder who is known for his mind-bending technical and powerful skateboarding. He has been on the scene quite a while, but really emerged as a major force in skateboarding in 2017 when he won the coveted “Trick of the year” award for his massive switch stance backside tailslide on the big ledge at MACBA in Barcelona, Spain. You can check out the clip from SLS below.
If you have not already seen it I imagine your perception of what we meant by the “big ledge” was completely different from the one in question. Let’s be honest, no one ever skates that ledge like that, definitely not on the high side, as in reality that is not a ledge, it is a wall!
As is the way in skateboarding, winning TOTY generates a lot of interest. Tiago spent a lot of time in the US after that, where he generated a huge amount of footage, this wasn’t to be the last crazy switch back tail by any means. Ultimately getting on Primitive Skateboards in late 2018, he found a home with a team of like-minded skateboarders that would inevitably push his skateboarding further and further. This was solidified in November 2019 when Tiago was given the last part in Primitives much anticipated “Encore” skate video.
The switch from DC to New Balance
As with TOTY, in skateboarding, there are a few things that tend to get you noticed and propel your career to new heights. In this case, it was a conveniently timed switch from long time footwear sponsor DC Shoes to relative newcomer New Balance Numeric, who have been quietly building their team and an awful lot of momentum over the last few years.
The New Tiago Lemos shoe is something we all expected with great anticipation since he joined the New Balance skateboard team last year. He had already had a signature shoe on DC so it was expected that we would see a shoe from him, we just didn’t expect them to turn it out so fast! Needless to say, they didn’t waste any time. In January of this year, we were already presented with samples of the first colourways of the Tiago Lemos shoe, code-named the 1010, and told that the release date would be the fall of the same year.
The New Balance Numeric 1010 by Tiago Lemos
It is no surprise that the New Balance Numeric Tiago Lemos 1010 is a technically orientated design, it suits Tiago down to the ground both in relation to his style of clothing and style of skateboarding. There are elements of 90s inspiration in the look and feel with a subtle tip of the cap to Guy Mariano’s Axion shoe in the white, blue and yellow colourway. The design itself is a cemented cup sole and a panelled upper design with mesh underlays that is literally packed full of technology. If we were to highlight a shoe that was at the forefront of current skate shoe design, the 1010 would definitely be on the shortlist.
We always imagined his signature skate shoe would encapsulate his larger than life, style and energy, below we look at the shoe in depth. Below we look at the shoe in depth.
Luckily New Balance have provided us with an awesome video that highlights these features, so before I talk about the shoe any further, have a watch of this short edit.
As you can see there is so much to talk about with this shoe, so I am going to break it down, let’s start with one of the most important parts of a shoe, the sole unit.
NDURANCE rubber outsole and FuelCell midsole
The crux of this shoe is performance and that is built from the bottom up. As with all of their skate shoes, the New Balance Numeric Tiago Lemos has a super grippy and durable outsole made from their exclusive NDurance rubber compound. This promotes grip and durability where you need it so that the shoe lasts and performs for longer even when put under heavy usage. While this makes for a quality touchpoint between your foot and your board, it is just the tip of the iceberg, it is what lies within that counts.
The midsole is actually seemingly unassuming. It has curvy lines and cutouts in the rubber that give a more dynamic look, but there isn’t the massive airbag that you see in a lot of technical skate shoes, like for example, the one on his signature shoe on DC. In my experience, there is often the perception that if the technology is not immediately visible on a skate shoe, then it is overlooked and often ignored. But the lack of visible air bubble certainly does not mean a lack of performance or function and that certainly isn’t the case with this shoe.
Hidden within the midsole is a brand new technology from New Balance called the “FuelCell” midsole. This is a high-rebound foam developed by the “New Balance Innovation Studio” that offers the highest energy return of any New Balance performance foam on the market today. What this means is that your feet will think you for wearing these shoes, especially if you are the kind of skater that is into drops and handrails, as this cushioning system with work wonders in increasing the impact protection on your heels.
The eggheads in the design department didn’t stop there, however, they snuck in an Ortholite sock liner (insole) as well, which means your feet pretty much owe you a pint!
FantomFit – A unique upper design
As noted earlier, the upper design is quite unique but definitely has some styling inspiration from the late ’90s that is fused with a New Balance design DNA. This features the iconic “N” logo on both the medial and lateral side and the curve of the toe cap that you will often see on New Balance running shoes such as the 574 and 598.
The panelling design allows for some interesting colour blocking and the mesh underlays offer up increased breathability on the vamp, tongue and side panels. However, it is again the not so visible features of this shoe that are the most compelling. More eggheading from the New Balance Numeric design team sees the introduction of what they are calling “PhantomFit” to the upper construction. The Phantom Fit is described in the supporting marketing pack as “a skeletally engineered upper that provides ultralight support and fit. Created by fusing thin materials with a no-sew process.”.
This, in English, is a sort of structured upper design made from “hot melt” panels rather than stitched fabric or leather that create a really comfortable fit around your foot. These are coupled with “zonal pods” (see above video) in the heel cup that works a lot like the GeoFit on the adidas Busenitz to hold your heel comfortably in place and reducing heel lift.
The shoe is finished with some really nice little details like the rubber tongue label with an embossed custom logo and the piping on the heel quarter.
In summary, this is definitely a skate shoe that has seen a lot of time and considered design put into it, which is amazing considering the timeline between Tiago getting on New Balance Numeric and how quickly they have managed to get the shoe to market. It is an excellent skateboard shoe and the culmination of everything the team behind the Numeric project has been working on these past few years, that is hopefully the shape of things to come.