Addressing State Footwear With Christian Maalouf

Christian Maalouf For State Footwear

Christian Maalouf For State Footwear.

Whenever skateboarding introduces a new brand, most think of the product and what it has to offer. When thinking of State Footwear, it’s hard to question the product when led by industry veteran, Kevin Furtado. His impressive years of shoe design and branding leave little doubt in the air for those who are familiar with his work. The only question left to think about is the team…

How did it come together? Is everyone on it for the same reasons? What are their ambitions with the direction of the brand? These are the many questions we couldn’t help but think about when talking to some of the gentlemen on the newly formed State Footwear program. Put these aforementioned thoughts to rest with some insight from a growing favorite, Christian Maalouf.

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When did you start getting flowed shoes, and when did you land fully on WKND?
I’ve been flow guy for a while before State. Some shop flow and then Gravis until it ended, and Adidas until January when I decided to ride for State. I think I was fully on WKND from the get go, maybe not since it’s inception but since before the first batch of boards.

Did Adidas (or any other companies that may have been sponsoring you) send you on trips or pay you photo incentive?
Unfortunately not. But if any of y’all wanna send me some back pay, I’ll gladly cash your checks.

When you jumped on a flowgram, did you do it under the assumption that you’d be getting a box and photo incentive at most, or did you have plans to try and make your way onto a team? 
I never thought I was a contender to be fully on Adidas until I started filming tricks for the Away Days video. They didn’t tell me I was getting on or anything but I felt like they started to shine a light on me a bit more until I left, which made leaving particularly difficult for me.

Ollie over rail at Mt Washington | Photo: Pep Kim

Ollie over rail at Mt Washington | Photo: Pep Kim

Wait, so you were supposed to have tricks, or potentially a full part in Away Days? Where’s that footage now?
No full part, I just had a few things filmed that they said they were working into Away Days. Not to sure where the footage is now but it’s all good.

What ultimately kept you from staying?
Me.

Interesting… WKND has a good following, but some consider it pretty under the radar. Do you think if you were on a bigger board company, Adidas would be more willing to put you on the team?
I’m pretty sure WKND is a juggernaut not to be reckoned with. Having said that, we aren’t or at least weren’t a superstar company at that time. But I wouldn’t say it has anything to do with that, more likely it’s to do with the caliber of skateboarder that I am or am not.

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Well, your caliber is just fine. What enticed you about the State program?
Not being on a superstar company. Riding for a brand that is willing to work as hard to make it as I am, but without selling a bunch of lies, and bullshit. I kinda dig that not every shmohawk is gonna be wearing our shoes and that we really want skateboarders to have them for skateboarding in.

Has the over-saturation of corporate brands had that kind of effect on you? Like, to the point where you’re sick of seeing skaters and maybe teammates alike wearing shoes that everyone wears?
I just know that you used to be able to pick a skateboarder out of a line up, now it’s anyone’s guess as to who actually skates or not. At least the skate shops have a chance to thrive though.

What would you say the perks of riding for a smaller, skater-owned shoe company are?
Only calling one guy is kinda nice, not getting lost in an email pool or hearing different things from different mouths. Everything is straightforward and honestly, it makes me feel more true to skateboarding.

Did you know anyone else on the team before you started riding for State?
Yeah, Jon [Nguyen] I had met a few times randomly but was probably super weird because I’m a big fan. Ben [Gore] somehow, I don’t know when, became my brutal step-brother that is set on either crushing me as a human or building me into a real man [laughs]. Kevin [Coakley] is my spiritual guru and annual psychiatrist (Brixton trips). Jordan [Sanchez], I’ve only just met but I like him a lot.

Kickflip | Photo: Brent Odonnell

Kickflip | Photo: Brent Odonnell

Design-wise, what do you anticipate from State?
Shoes that I will proudly skate in. Clean lines, solid color palettes.

Would you have ridden for Dekline, had the opportunity arisen?
Actually, when Gravis ended I got flowed some Dekline’s from my buddy who did sales there and I was pretty stoked on the shoes. The team and atmosphere was not really my cup of tea though. It only lasted for maybe ten pairs of shoes and then I called my friend who was becoming team manager at Adidas, and he hooked me up.

What merit does State have beyond acting as a pushback against corporate companies and/or a focus on a So-Cal centric industry?
It is what it is, in a good way. I’ve had a long day man, [laughs] you really want me to think that hard?

Okay, okay- fair. Finally, who’s one guy you’d rescue from the flow vortex for a spot on State?
Dolan Stearns is one of my best friends and I love skating with him and how he skates. He would be my pick, however he belongs on Converse- they’re a perfect match. David Clark would be sick.


Intro by Jeremy Lugo
Interview by Andrew Murrell
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