Etnies was established in 1986, first in France and then the U.S. Pierre Andre Senizergues and Don Brown handled everything for the brand from cold-calling shops to building relationships with future team riders. Both Pierre and Don had moved to California from overseas to pursue skating themselves so they had a great understanding of skateboarding culture and the industry at the time.
One of the distinct advantages Etnies had in the ‘80s was that the shoes were specifically designed for skating. Most skaters at the time were using basic sport shoes that lacked skate-specific features. In 1987 Etnies created the first pro model shoe in skateboarding for team rider, Nata Kaupas. As shoe trends migrated from high tops to low cuts in the ‘90’s Etnies pivoted to release the Sal 23 with direct input from Sal Barbier. The simplicity of this model resonated with street skaters at the time and the sideways ‘E’ logo that followed would further solidify Etnies place in skateboarding.
An overflowing team of talent and need to appeal to a more technical crowd led to the formation of eS footwear in 1995. After the original French shoe manufacturer threatened to sell Etnies, Pierre and Don pulled all their assets into Emerica in 1996 but would later purchase the Etnies license and keep all three brands with each appealing to a different segment of the market. Etnies remains privately owned and operated out of Lake Forest, CA.