(Click to enlarge. Thanks to Alex Dymond for the mags from which the scans come from.)
The gratuitous air bubble is an oft-overlooked entry on the “Worst Trends in Skateboarding” list.
It’s easy to get nostalgic for classic shoes from the past. We have fond recollections of the éS Koston 1s (one of the few times the air bubble “worked”) and the Lakai Staple (even if our memories tend to slim their bulky construction down a bit), but forget that they had to co-exist with some of the ugliest shoes known to man. More often than not, the prototypical late-90s / early-2000s moon boot began with an air bubble. The Osiris D3 was the most notorious of the bunch, but there are other equally hideous offenders that we tend to forget about.
This infographic is from a 2001 issue of Stance, which was Transworld’s short-lived shot at a “lifestyle” magazine a la Complex. It accompanies an article that breaks down Jordan Brand’s use of air bubbles in basketball shoes, and is meant to illustrate how “air technology” made its way into skateboarding.
Today, it provides an overview of just how insane the average skate shoe looked back then, not to mention clues as to why half of these companies aren’t around anymore. It worked for the Koston 1 and Reynolds 1, but it didn’t work for a whole lot of others. People don’t come to terms with the absurdity of most trends until long after they pass, so there’s nothing wrong with us admitting we were psyched on a few of these back when they came out.
Thank God there are kids comfortable with jumping down 15 sets in Old Skools and Janoskis nowadays, right? Without them, people would still think that air bubble has a reason to exist. Shout out to the Dunk / Jordan 1, the Half-Cab, and the Chuck Taylor.