Jenkem recently assisted in bringing State Footwear into mainstream skateboarding’s consciousness. In their interview with owner Kevin Furtado, who ran Dekline, Jenkem covered most of the bases we wanted more info on, leaving very few questions and an air of content transparency – something sorely lacking in today’s skateboarding footwear universe. The name and branding is almost too on-the-nose.
To boot, State’s riders are all cult heroes. Look any of them up and be blown away. Kevin knows how to pick ’em, and we’re hyped to see some of our faves outfitted by a company that seems right up their alley.
Since we’re a little more on the what and how end, it seemed only natural to fill in the blanks with some skate nerd shit. Here’s Kevin Furtado, furthering his status as perhaps skateboarding’s most transparent company owner.
On the vulc build: “The vulc we are producing is still a traditional vulcanized shoe; however, we are wrapping it and bonding it twice with the rubber foxing tape. A thin rubber layer wraps the upper prior to the outer foxing tape wrap, making for a stronger and more durable shoe.”
On a potential cupsole: “We have an outsole and cast already developed and done. We also have 3 different uppers for the sole. As of right now, I am really happy with the sole, but have not developed an upper that fits the brand yet. I am hoping we can get something that we are really happy with for next year. I hear people asking to see more cupsoles from brands, and I want us to be able to offer them, but they have to be right when we do.”
On canvas vs. suede options: “I like both and think you can do some cool treatments with canvas. Plus, some of the team like them. That said, I hear people asking for more suede and I want to make sure we have plenty of options for people who want either. Regardless of the material, all the shoes have a thin perforated rubber layer underneath the toe and ollie area that helps withstand the wear from griptape.”
On outsoles: “Being able to skate them right out the box was important. I think the best way to do that is not to use too hard of a rubber for the sole (or monitor the curing time, too), but I think the material used is the first line of defense in having a good sole. With regards to the pattern itself, the sole is a pretty traditional herringbone pattern. I feel that is a proven pattern that works great for skateboarding. Extra rubber is used in the heel and toe areas of the outsole to reduce wear caused by drag stops.”
On finding a good blend of cost-effective and durable: “I think the prices for the most part for skate footwear is pretty low. Shoes are really tough: no matter who you are, a $60 retail shoe is not a huge profit item. When you add in a team, travel, advertising, promos, employees, etc., there is not much left to work with. And that is the main reason I think lots of brands explore outside of skateboard channels to make up the margin with volume. But, we can see the long-term effect of that being dangerous, too. I feel it’s best to make a good product first and foremost.”
On tech features/functionality: “I think that depends on the actual execution versus the “marketing” that goes with it. I have seen some pretty suspect technical features from all kinds of brands. Some of it was just a marketing gimmick, but I do know there are legitimate benefits to certain features. I think it is always good when a technical feature is very transparent in its use; like an insole, or a fitted sock liner made of neoprene or something. Just something that you would feel and notice right away.”
Kevin’s not messing around. We’re always down for a startup brand, especially when done by someone who knows exactly what they want and respects skateboarding enough to make the best shoes they can for it.
It’s funny how a new company entering the skate shoe market with basic designs feels refreshing. Historically, most contenders come in guns blazing, with not only a new brand but very outside-the-norm designs with big changes to set their brand apart. Most of the time, that approach doesn’t work out too well. The market needs to be respected first, then expanded on. It’s rare for a company to get lucky with their timing or have the best team to back up their new take on skate shoes. Most of the time it’s not a brand finding their own voice – it’s a brand valuing being different over having/finding direction. State’s mission is very simple – providing a solid alternative in supporting a small company that you might relate better to. No wheel reinvention, just solid skate shoes.