Halo Effect — The Oral History of the First Hundred Dollar Skate Shoe

Collages by Requiem For A Screen

There’s no shortage of talk about a deck’s notorious resistance to inflation. But what about shoes? While something like a Lebron in 2019 is substantially more expensive than a Jordan in 1999, skate shoes have hovered around the same average $70-80 price tag for the better part of two decades, even as skateboarding itself has grown and adapted to new trends, technologies, and customers. Meanwhile, every fashion house in Europe has been raking in the money these past few years, pushing puffy sneakers reminiscent of old skate shoes.

We tracked down the principal figures behind the first three-figure skate shoe, released in 1997, and got their story on what was as much of an anomaly as it was a watershed moment for skateboarding as a cultural phenomenon, and style of footwear design. (Keep in mind that, adjusted for inflation, $100 in 1997 is the equivalent of $156 in 2019.)

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What was the skate shoe landscape like at the start of the nineties?

Don Brown, Chief Brand Strategist at Sole Tech: Airwalk, Vans and Simple were the only other shoe brands. They had become so mainstream and rigid — and there was a dip in the economy, so they scrambled to get sales wherever they could. Pierre [Andre Senizegues, founder of Sole Technology] was doing the distribution for Etnies at the time, bringing it over from France. When skateboarding crashed, vert and freestyle were pretty much eliminated. There was a whole generation of upstarts, like Rocco and them, and everyone in skateboarding rode for Etnies at some point.

Chad Muska: There were a hundred riders on Etnies, or something crazy like that. Even that High Five video had so many people in it. The shoe industry then was like, “Oh, this company is going to give you free shoes. Maybe there’s a chance you get paid.” It was so secondary to boards. There were early pro shoes, like the Half Cab, the Natas, and the SLB, but I think the real start of the skateboard shoe industry being serious was when they began making videos.

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The Only 5050 Kickflip That Ever Mattered

es le dome

Even in 2015, there’s a commemorative éS block at Le Dome. It honors the millions of dollars in skate tourism the company brought to France these past fifteen years.

It seems like after every trip to Europe, the first order of business back at the QS office is to reconcile with Menik Mati. While every critical adult skate nerd writes it off, that video really planted the childhood seed for our European travel bug. Some kids wanted to go to California and skate a schoolyard; we wanted to go to Bercy.

Is there a spot on earth where one of the best tricks done on it was legitimately a 5050 kickflip? Maybe a curb in front of some 12-year-old’s house in Alaska? Noseslide shuv-its, willy grinds, varial flips up until just recently, 5050 kickflips — all of these tricks begin getting phased out halfway through high school. They’re kid tricks. “I’ve never done a flip-out trick — well, besides a 5050 kickflip — but that doesn’t count.”

So could you believe that a 5050 kickflip ranks as a peak achievement at one of the most iconic spots in all European #sk8 #fantasy? (Lord knows why, not like any of us can skate anything besides the three stairs there…)

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Count Music

ny keenan

Thanks mom, thanks dad… ♬

If this guy seriously 5050ed up the Rockaway Rail

Not sure the Cellski song from Stevie’s world renown “Nut Grab” commercial is in any way appropriate music supervision for Dylan Reider, but that’s what the dudes at Muckmouth chose for the “non embarrassing” edit of his new Calvin Klein Huf commercial. It’s just all the skate tricks from the part, which is cool.

Imagine if they reedited it to “Latch” though? #lol #jk #jokez #notno. Anyway, Diamond Days #74. Yaje still rips. (“There was a long silence, then that one dude, the one with the beard, was like ‘Do you even have one single traditional flash tattoo?'”)

Illegal incentives at the Federal Reserve, etc. in Video Blog #212 from Johnny Wilson.

The “Summer Trip to New York” clips are finally starting to roll in! Some French guys skate around the city and one of them darkslides Black Hubba.

Someone compiled all of the footage Brian Wenning and Anthony Pappalardo have stacked since fading out of skateboarding’s focal spotlight in the 2010s. It’s weird. Never a bad time to reminisce over this one though.

Chris Nieratko interviews Stevie Williams about Love Park at Love Park.

A new clip from the Beerics crew, which features a solid batch of Governor Gall footage from Shorty’s. P.S. Here’s his turtorial on how to sorta Bondo cracks.

The Baker/Deathwish team v.s. D7. Anyone who has taken visiting skaters around to spots in New York can attest to the fact that many talented / seasoned pros have stepped away from D7 after seeing how rugged it was up close. These guys killed it.

Black Dave and Elijah Cole daily warm-ups in Harlem.

Whether or not there is space in modern skateboarding for a resurrected éS Accel remains to be seen (i.e. fond childhood memories of summers spent in Lakai Staples will immediately be tainted once you see the bulkiness that shoe in person today), but until then, SMLTalk list-iscized the 10 best moments in Accel history.

#TRENDWATCH2017 = Natas spin kickflip outs. Wow.

Stuff that never gets old: Watching Javier Sarmiento skate MACBA.

Ice cream trucks? That’s what y’all are upset about now?

Quote of the Week:

billy quote

Count music, built my own lane of hip-hop…”