Rip it up
When it comes to footwear, legendary skateboarder Eric Koston knows his stuff, having been designing shoes for the past two decades. Next to their board, a skater’s shoes are key to performance: comfy yet sturdy, cushioned yet not too bulky, it’s an essential formula to avoid snapped bones and twisted ligaments.
As he tells us here, Koston’s latest project comes in the form of a collaboration between Nike SB and Danish brand Soulland. The collection, titled FRI.day (‘FRI’ in Danish means free), is inspired by Copenhagen nightlife and features two versions of the Eric Koston pro model shoe for Nike SB, the Zoom Eric Koston QS and the Hyperfeel Koston 3 (made with a sock style fit and featuring the latest Nike technology: a Flynit collar and Hyperfeel construction). Seven pieces of apparel will also be available, from an Oxford long sleeve shirt to the nylon Cope Coaches Jacket.
Koston and Soulland creative director and co-founder Silas Adler have been busy traveling around Europe, skating and promoting the collaboration. We tracked the pair down in Paris where they spoke about the project and delved into a slice of skate nostalgia.
Evan Goodfellow: You’ve been designing shoes for close to twenty years, what is your process?
Eric Koston: The first thing is trying to figure out something different from the last but to also incorporate the good parts of the previous shoes. Working with Nike, there are innovations in different shoes that I’ve been inspired by and have been able to take on when I’m designing.
[interview interrupted by a man asking to take a photo with Eric and Silas]
EK: Oh damn, that guy just slammed, that guy just there in the shirt…wow!
EG: [Laughs] I am sure you get offered to do a lot of collaborations with brands, what made Soulland unique?
EK: Silas’ skateboarding background, for sure. The fact that he is a skateboarder himself.
Silas Adler: Is it not because of the blue drinks?
EK: No, not the blue drinks, it was the skateboarding connection. I just knew, knowing what you said, what you knew. The design process wasn’t challenging or difficult, I was already in to what Silas was doing. It was the skateboarding connection, because of that, I was quite open to the design concepts and ideas. It was very organic.
“When I grew up in the ’90s, you would buy a board to represent the skater you were into at that time, now, all of a sudden every skate shop can make their own boards.”
FRI.day: behind the scenes
EG: You left your long time board sponsor, and the last I heard was you were riding for WKND and Skate Mental in the meantime. Do you have any news about future plans for a board company?
EK: There is something coming soon and it is no secret. Myself and Guy Mariano are working on something that will be the next chapter in our lives and careers in skateboarding. We’ll see what happens from there…
EG: Skateboarding has changed a lot in the past five years with more boutique board companies. Do guys think that is the future of skateboarding?
EK: A change is coming, I wouldn’t necessarily call them ‘boutique’, but for sure I can see there is a change and I hope people are willing to accept that.
SA: When I grew up in the ’90s, you would buy a board to represent the skater you were into at that time, now, all of a sudden every skate shop can make their own boards. Then you had a big board company, and the smaller skate shops making the boards in the same factories.
FRI.day: behind the scenes
EG: Guy Mariano was mentioned as being in your next project. I’m so hyped seeing his name, he’s one of the older pro skateboarders yet he is still producing so much.
SA: He seems to be someone who pushes himself with tricks, you are part of the first generation of street skaters and have kept such a crazy level of skill. Is he someone who helps you push yourself?
EK: He was younger than me when I first saw him in the Powell Peralta video, seeing that was super groundbreaking. These guys from the city in LA, when I was in the suburbs, was eye opening. It wasn’t about turning pro or winning a contest, being around a lot of those guys, it pushed you. It made you think that something could happen.
EG: I am curious what direction you guys think skateboarding will head to next?
EK: There is a lot of kids nowadays understanding the history of skateboarding – now that there is a history. People gravitate towards styles from different eras and I sometimes wonder, how a kid so young can skate like someone from the ’80s. It’s still evolving, but I do see a lot of inspiration in what is happening now, with what has happened in the past. There is almost a different skill level than from the past, like Ville [Wester], he’s another guy that has a bag of tricks from what, late ’80s into the ’90s style.
SA: The Copenhagen kids in the FRI.day video, Hugo [Boserup] & Ville [Wester], they are examples of kids who are really young but understand the history before them. When I grew up we only understood what was happening in skateboarding at that moment.
EK: The future is taking inspiration from the past and reinventing it.
SA: I saw a guy that had Ronnie Creager ‘99 outfit on. With the cargo pants a little rolled up, white tee – straight up Ronnie Creager. Now skateboarding is old enough to have retros.
FRI.day is now available here.
FRI.day: behind the scenes
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