Editor’s Note:I don’t mind that pretty much 100% of all skate shoe companies refuse to engage in anything but street and vert. It’s their money to spend on whatever they wish, marketing wise. While it would have been great to have a nice big skate shoe company take space in the mag, it never came to fruition. And I am sure as heck not holding my breath now! If I look back on the past 20 years, I’d say Vans has probably done the most to promote different types of skateboarding. They threw down $800,000 for the Dogtown film. Can you imagine if Nike had sponsored a freeriding event or two? Doubtful that will ever happen. Skate shoe companies still wield a mighty powerful stick in the industry and any variance from the mean will not be tolerated. It’s pretty much street, transition or vert…and don’t even try and think of creating a downhill shoe!
And then along comes a nice email from the folks at Simple Shoes. As my friend Kilwag pointed out (over at Skate and Annoy), Simple created this chart and didn’t even include themselves. That’s quite amazing and on top of this, Aurelija, their publicist wrote such a nice email, that I truly couldn’t resist posting something. So, in the spirit of Simple, I present this blog post. Keeping an open mind is paramount. Thanks Simple. I hope you sell a ton of shoes and if you want to spread the message in CW Mag, I’d be down. From the original Chuck Taylors of the ‘20s to modern sneakers, the crossover between fashion and skateboarding created a uniquely recognizable style. People were quick to capitalize on the youth trend, but it always kept its rebellious core. Adopting everything from surfing, early boarders would ride their glorified box carts bare foot. Early shredding tended to take place below the ankles (in the form of bloodied feet). It took a while before fashion and tech were refined. With the arrival of the first skate shoe in 1965 (thanks, Randolph Rubber), the stage was set for clever manufacturers, professional sponsorships and merchandisers to fund the brave new world. From vulcanized rubber to the ever-changing shape of hi-tops, skate fashion was one of those rare instances where young people were given a voice. Companies listened and made products that worked. Every sneaker is like a time capsule. Shoes of the ‘60s copied basketball style. The ‘80s saw chunkier, padded sneakers make a break with the past. The present day has a slimmer, more confident shoe design—popular with boarders and non-boarders alike. Charting the story from humble shoe to cultural icon, this interactive map should paint a clearer picture of the skate scene.