In all honesty, shoe collaborations come at such a saturated rate these days that they could begin to lose a bit of their allure. The days of anticipating a shoe release aren’t what they used to be; that was until I got word of the new Lakai X Jenkem shoe.
The purveyors of smut, satire and skating rearrange the industry standard as they normally do on their publication, but this time in shoe form. While putting a hidden zipper on the tongue of a shoe isn’t the newest idea, it symbolizes the publication’s savvy as skate shoe connoisseurs. Either that, or sneaky drug smuggling bandits. We reached out to Jenkem’s EIC, Ian Michna, to get the full story behind skateboarding’s
sexiest most contraband-friendly skate shoe.
Okay, Ian, how the hell did this collab come about?
Back at the end of 2014, Kelly Bird approached us from Lakai to see if we might be down to do some sort of collab. Of course, growing up on Girl and still knowing every damn line of Yeah Right etched into my subconscious and Fully Flared being… well, Fully Flared, it was a no brainer to be down.
Considering the timeframe, this was before Scott Johnston’s departure from Lakai, right?
Yeah, Kelly connected me with Scott Johnston, who was designing at the time along with Jeff Mikut and we threw around some different ideas.
How did you guys end up going with the MJ Mid?
I always wanted to do a mid-top shoe, even though they don’t sell as well, because up until that point mid-tops were all I really skated. I’ve always been paranoid about protecting my ankles, and since I already was in touch with Marc Johnson and did that interview with him, everyone agreed that a MJ Mid silhouette would be a good fit.
And what about the colorway and overall design? It’s been awhile since I’ve seen oiled suede on a skate shoe…
I wanted to do something special than just another predictable colorway. I wanted it to be a shoe you could almost double as a boot and a dress shoe, which is why we went with the oiled suede across the board, and then this cool Cordura material for the ankle protection and tongue which has good breathability and also looked good with the suede. Plus, I had always been a fan of Muska’s stash pocket in his old Circas, so Jeff Mikut designed a really deep secret pocket to add to both shoe tongues. He also added a little side bag for the zipper to fit into so when you skate the zipper isn’t digging into your ankle but snug on the side of the tongue.
It sounds like a lot more work went into this than just throwing your logo on it and calling it a day. How was the design process? Was Lakai hesitant on any of your ideas considering how renowned Jenkem is for taking risks?
No, not at all. Lakai pretty much gave us full creative control of the shoe. They just send us the AI files to fool around with, and I would just stop by my friends house and we’d drink a couple of beers and mess around on photoshop clicking different areas and trying different colors. There were a lot of people that helped and chipped in feedback, including your EIC [Editor-In-Chief], Jeremy Lugo, over the process.
Most people don’t really know how long it takes for one of these collabs to happen. Can you tell us how long it took you to get this off the ground and in stores?
I didn’t realize that it would take roughly a year and a half for it to come out, and so much could change between then and now, but am really happy with how it turned out and that it’s a shoe I would legit skate in, and then go to the club and try to get laid in.
Any luck on that end?
Well, it is skateboarding’s most sex friendly shoe…[laughs]
Find the Lakai MJ Mid X Jenkem shoe at your local skate shop.