As skateboarding becomes more popular among mainstream media, all companies are fighting for a bigger slice of the pie by creating a quicker turn around time. As with skate videos, the popularity of skateboarding has created an over saturation of sorts within any skateboarding category- the most recent being skate shoes. Shoe designs are either leaping forward or falling behind drastically, where no aesthetic or silhouette is any different from another. More and more we are seeing skate shoe siblings rather than individual designs. In other words, companies are releasing shoes that look so similar to one another that we’re often left wondering…which company is still creating original models? Not to say there isn’t room for recreations but at the very least, add some taste to it #plz. For instance, how often has the Vans Era been remade by other brands? Let’s not even open that discussion…we’ll be here all day.
The key for these brands are to inspired, improve, and to look forward for designs, not sideways to the competitor. Think of what Chris Cole said about his models in our latest Then and Now. At the very least, get inspired by the past. The following are shoes that have caused us to give their respective companies an eye roll, knowing that they’re just trying to up sales with an already popular model from another brand. Be that as it may, we’ll take into account what differentiates each one from another….or at least try to.
Nike SB Janoski:
This is the prototype for the comparisons we’re bringing up. Of course you can argue that this shoe isn’t an original design (it’s not) because much of its similarities are borrowed from Vans silhouettes. Regardless of the fact, we can’t deny the ripples its made because quite honestly, they’ve been endless. We’ve talked about how the Janoski has become the best selling skate shoe of all time and if you’re at a skatepark, you know you’ve seen at least
one 10 people skating a pair at any given time. Why is this? Is it because Stefan Janoski’s switch skating is smooth as fuck? Maybe. Is it because Asphalt Yacht Club is the future…not if it looks like this. More likely, its because it’s simply a good looking shoe. It’s simple and if you’ve skated a pair, you know that you’re going to sacrifice durability for some perfectly balanced boardfeel and flick. And now, in 2014, Nike is revitalizing their most popular skate staple and are giving it a runner model and the infamous cupsole treatment. We hear the foul cries of a generation brought up on this shoe after laying their eyes on these recreations but you’ve got to admit, at least Nike is pursuing other avenues of design and creativity instead of just playing it safe. Sorta.
Lakai, why?! This model is a blatant clone, down to the piping details. The difference lies in the less pointed shape and fairly lackluster design. Worse yet, many people are not fond of the shoes skateability, reporting the durability is less than great. Lakai has created some great models, like the immensely popular Griffin model, Alvarez model, and the soon to be smash hit (#2014Predictions) Owen slip on. So why does this model perform so poorly/even exist? More likely than not, its an attempt to ride the Janoski craze all the way to the bank…and it probably worked.
NB# Brighton 344:
Although the similarities here are not as distinct as they are with the Carlo, many have already labeled these shoes as the Janoski of NB#. These two shoes definitely share a similar silhouette and both happen to be vulcanized. The Brighton also has deco-stitching that mimics the piping lines on the Janoski’s #sus. On the brightside however, it seems like most skaters have been hyped on the functionality of these shoes (and their unhatable team), even if they aren’t completely backing the corporate side of NB#. It seems like New Balance Numeric gets a “get out of jail free” card, thanks to their execution in marketing and quality of this particular skate shoe. They even have a midtop version, so it’s pretty hard not to make the comparison.
Honorable Mention: DC Mikey Taylor S (Even if just for the piping detail…)
With more companies jumping on the rubber toe cap and runner toe craze, we can only hope that they’ll can continue to advance the shoe culture, and not just create clones in hopes of making a quick buck. Shoes like the Emerica Westgate, Nike SB Project BA and HUF Dylan Pro are all standout models of today that took a chance in the market, and we’re happy they did. What’ll be the next big craze? Sick airbags, a la Kalis’ Centric S model? #PrettyPlz #LetUsPray