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As the end of 2019 comes closer into sight, we’ve highlighted a variety of key footwear models which have stood out and made their mark on the year. From Nike and adidas to Vans, Converse and Stepney Workers Club, there has been an abundance of variety on offer with each brand developing their own focused performance features to better one another when it comes to impact support, boardfeel and style. Whilst experimental innovation appears to be the main focus, classic silhouettes which were revolutionary for their time continue to have their place and retain their timeless appeal with subtle reworks for comfort.
Appropriately named for its refined yet timeless appeal, the Nike SB Team Classic has been subject to continual improvements since its introduction. Developed as a staple, lightweight and flexible skate shoe, the inner sleeve bootie keeps the foot in place whilst the curved toe panel adds an elegant touch. A combination of suede, textile and leather for the uppers adds texture to the otherwise simple silhouette whilst also defining different sections and quintessential Swoosh branding. The selected outsole provides reliable traction and grip across all models whilst the gum rubber on the Nike SB Team Classic Shoes - Atmosphere Grey adds extra character having been made from recycled materials which results in a speckled effect. Arriving at the end of August, a Team Classic Premium designed in collaboration with pro rider Guy Mariano presented a more premium, refined take through the use of super clean white leather for the uppers and custom features that reference his Italian heritage.
Possibly the most widely recognised and most experimental skate shoe of them all, the Nike SB Janoski made its debut in 2009 and had a massive impact upon skaters and the industry. Remaining at the top of its game in both style and performance thanks to huge dedication to the design process from both the Nike SB team and pro rider Stefan Janoski himself, it’s no secret that Stefan pushed for the finer details when it came to his first release. 2019 marks ten years of collaboration and in celebration a Remastered Janoski footwear series was released including subtle but effective improvements that reflect a desire to use the least amount of material for an increased connection between the foot and board whilst also reflecting Janoski’s creative personality. Seeing the opportunity within the established silhouette, fabrics such as hairy suede, woven leather, jacquard canvas and brightly coloured suede have all been used to enhance Mid, Slip On and Mid Crafted Remastered editions in addition to branding applied using perforation and embroidery.
Presenting continuous progression within their footwear styles as a reflection of heritage and innovation, adidas have released a multitude of fresh models this year that break the barriers between aesthetic and performance-driven tech. Utilising their pro team which includes the likes of Dennis Busenitz, Lucas Puig, Na-Kel Smith and Tyshawn Jones, improvements suggested by key voices within the industry ensure authentic and improved practical performance features run throughout. A staple shoe suited to time spent both on and off the board, the adidas 3MC project celebrates communities, crews and collectives through different colour and print iterations across simple low-cut sturdy canvas uppers, whereas the 3ST.003 and 3ST.004 - which were launched a year apart - display a more futuristic, forward thinking aesthetic.
Dark tones seen on the Adidas Sabalo Shoes - Night Cargo / White / Black magnify key details which include textural inserts and layered segments that increase the durability of key areas, in addition to intriguing sidewall wraps inspired by fisheye photography which are a definitive feature. Not stopping there, the Sabalo made its debut in March through a cream Diego Nájera pro edition which has since been reworked in a variety of colours followed by an experimental Sabalo Slip On. For the most recent and distinctive iteration of the Sabalo, adidas has collaborated with Nájera once more to create a vibrant solar red, white and semi solar slime colourway for this years Rider Series.
With a supportive bounce midsole and shock-absorbent vulc-wrapped cupsole at its core, adidas recently unveiled their brand new Liberty Cup in three colourways with suede and mesh uppers and shaped ollie overlays which enhance the smooth shaped curves within the design. Looking to the rich culture of skateboarding and tennis during the ‘90s for inspiration, the frame is noticeably chunkier than conventional modern styles and presents an ongoing trend within fresh footwear releases that look to the heritage of skateboarding and combine them with the requirements and needs of modern day skaters. Establishing the 2019 Rider Series, British team rider Chewy Cannon opted for the Liberty Cup for his part within the project which sees monthly installments of personalised designs from selected pro skaters including Na-Kel Smith and Blondey McCoy.
Paying homage to the original design that made its debut in the early 2000’s through an all black colourway, the Vans Rowley Rapidweld Pro Shoes have returned twenty years after their first appearance. Designed in celebration and collaboration with Liverpudlian pro skater Geoff Rowley, prominent updates include the use of a seam-free technique that complements the streamlined silhouette. Signifying the founding year of Vans and the year of the first Rowley Rapidweld Pro Shoes, ‘66/99’ embossed numbers can be found on the back of the heel, whilst the signature side stripe remains in place on top of breathable mesh inserts. Whilst the Vans Authentic Pro remains at the core of each season, continual reworks and re-interpretations demonstrate how the brand has remained relevant throughout time.
Converse have looked to their rich design archive this year which is reflected through an array of CTAS 70’s Hi Archive Print Remixed Shoes built for everyday wear and decorated with original patterns from their history. Whilst they remain true to using key features and decorative details on their original canvas and rubber tennis style shoes, Converse have adapted and reinterpreted them for skateboarding as part of their CONS programme which includes the Converse Checkpoint Pro Ox Classic Suede model with a moulded PU Lunarlon sockliner encased by white rubber backed suede uppers adorned with bold habanero red coloured leather for signature branding. Additionally, a selection of designs such as the Jack Purcell Pro Op Ox Shoes and CTAS Pro Op Ox Shoes feature emphasised ollie patches coloured in opposing tones to the uppers to highlight their skate-orientated purpose.
For their take on a classic slip-on sneaker that reworks their established Dellow model, London based Stepney Workers Club have launched their new Lister silhouette for autumn/winter ‘19. Built with iconic S.W.C proportions and stylised branding, cotton drill canvas has been selected for a smooth and hard wearing surface to the deconstructed uppers whilst neat mesh inserts increase flexibility and aid entry on either side of the front. Neat contrasting top stitching emphasises the profile whilst a fold over label shows the brand’s handshake emblem which represents the values, liberal thinking and unity of traditional workers sports clubs - something the Stepney team continually draw influence from. Whilst each design has a familiar element to it, the real impact is within construction. Influenced by vintage ‘50s and ‘60s vulcanised footwear, the Dellow is an updated and exaggerated version of a simple canvas gym shoe made using authentic methods in selected factories. As one of the newest footwear brands at Flatspot, Stepney Workers Club offer staple everyday silhouettes which capture a feeling of timelessness through the use of no unnecessary detailing, simple aesthetics and quality materials.
Borrowing elements from streetwear culture and performance activewear, skate footwear is a true reflection of the times and has established its own community for style and performance. Continually blurring the lines between lifestyle and made for purpose, silhouettes are set to become progressively more prominent into next year with the use of combined fabrics - synthetic, natural and recycled. Keep your eyes peeled for brand new shapes introduced by Nike SB that look to non-sport designs and further developments within more conscious production.
View all Footwear at Flatspot.
Adidas Liberty Cup Shoes - Core Black / White / Gum4
Adidas Liberty Cup Shoes - White / Chalk White / Hi-Res Yellow
Adidas Liberty Cup Shoes - White / Gum4 / Gold Metallic
Adidas Sabalo Shoes - Night Cargo / White / Black
Adidas Sabalo 'Diego Najera' Shoes - Solar Red / White / Semi Solar Slime
Converse Checkpoint Pro Ox Classic Suede Shoes - Deep Emerald / White / White
Converse Checkpoint Pro Ox Classic Suede Shoes - White / Habanero Red / White
Nike SB Janoski Remastered Shoes - Black / White - Black - Gum Light Brown
Nike SB Janoski Slip On Remastered Shoes - Medium Olive / White - Medium Olive
Nike SB Team Classic Premium Shoes - White / Galactic Jade - Desert Ochre - White
Nike SB Team Classic Shoes - Atmosphere Grey / Atmosphere Grey
Nike SB Team Classic Shoes - Jade Horizon / Jade Horizon - Black
Stepney Workers Club Lister Canvas Shoes - Black
Stepney Workers Club Lister Canvas Shoes - Petrol
Vans Rowley Rapidweld Pro Shoes - Black / Black