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Established in 1986 by Pierre Andre Senizergues, Etnies Skateboarding is owned and distributed by Sole Technologies, of which Senizergues also owns. Etnies Skateboarding Footwear was the first skateboarder-owned and operated global action sports company. Since its creation in 1986 Etnies Skateboarding has been the leader in the technological advances of skate shoes, forever changing the face of footwear. Pierre Andre Senizergues was a professional freestyle skateboarder of the 1980s and grew up skating in the suburbs of Paris. Eventually Senizergues would develop back problems and stop skating but he wanted to remain working in the skateboard industry. The household names of Etnies, Emerica, and Es Shoes all exist under the roof of Sole Technology and all come out of Senizergues's vision. Senizergues formed the idea for progressive skate shoes in Europe, bringing it to California in U.S., the skateboarding mecca. At first Etnies didn't take. He stuck it out and after borrowing massive amounts of money and diving into steep amounts of debt, Etnies exploded in the U.S. in 1994. Senizergues started designing shoes for a new generation of skaters in a lo-cut design. High tops were largely what were available at the time but skaters were looking to move in a new direction. He saw the lo-top as the up and coming design. The name Etnies Footwear came from Senizergues's history of skating in France.