Forgot About Those: Lakai SJ-3 x Chocolate

A classic skate shoe for those who remember. SJ-3’s from Lakai.

Holy shit, were these a hot commodity when they were released. Of Lakai’s many Chocolate collabs, this is debatably the strongest offering, and Scott Johnston didn’t fuck around when it came to ensuring the colorways of his shoes differed for those dedicated to his board sponsor.

The SJ-3 didn’t have too much allure on it’s own, aside from the strap (btw, would like to see more of that), but the reason we brought this shoe up was to highlight just how much difference colorways make.

When acknowledging how impressive the color placement was on SJ’s third model, it reminds us of shoes of today, such as Gilbert Crockett’s second pro model. Sure, the shoe in one solid color doesn’t do much, but when creativity takes over and blossoms onto different panels, the shoe’s allure increases drastically.

We’ve all fucked with our shoes at one point or another, spraypainting the midsole or Sharpieing the upper to better reflect our desired colors… or just to try something different. Chances are, you’ve had different colors of the same shoe at least once, so you know where we’re coming from. If executed properly in service to the model, a colorway can create an entirely different shoe, visually.

Point being, the standard colorways of the SJ-3 were pretty vanilla. Most of us paid the shoe little attention until we realized it’s potential when the Chocolate colorway was unveiled. Brown shoes were entering into their prime, and the Chocolate SJ-3 is one of the better examples of the era, and one of the few that went the way of the light tan (leather, no less). Pretty sure the “Chocolate” chunk on the strap is one of the most tasteful branding jobs done in the history of skate shoes, as well.

The SJ-4 black/green/yellow colorway was no joke, either. Depending on your taste, you may think we should have focused on that one instead, and you may be right. Mayyyybe…


  1. Oliver

    February 23, 2017 1:13pm

    The SJ-3 and also the Carroll 3 are still some of my favourite skate shoes to this day, not too chunky, fitted very well, nice toe box, well padded enough in the sole but still offered good board feel, lasted a while and looked good enough to chill in.

    The first SJ model was cool as well, I’d love to see a modernised version released.

    • Joel Weichbrodt

      February 23, 2017 1:27pm

      Agreed on all accounts. Love the Carroll 3. You may be seeing more of those models in the near future…

  2. I still wear swishy pants

    February 24, 2017 12:53pm

    Never liked the Lakai collabs with screen printed panels. Always reminded me of the DVS Revival Splat, yuck. But I really liked Scott Johnston’s pro models in stock color ways. His designs afterwards, not so much, because most of his stuff was just Vans’ silhouettes co opted with a Lakai logo. Might as well just get Vans. No doubt, simplicity is the key to designing a skate shoe for a reasonable price, but you still have to offer something unique. Then there was the classic Koston reissue, which he made a big deal about redesigning and all he did was add one blind seem and put it in the worst colors imaginable. Great skater, but I don’t support his design career.

  3. C

    February 26, 2017 1:42pm

    Had those sj3 choco, so good. Thanks for reminder. No cardboard sole !!!


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