Interview: Tom Knox on the New Balance 440
To celebrate the release of the signature White / Sea Salt / Turquoise / Red New Balance Numeric 440, we caught up with Tom Knox to talk about release and how it all came together.
Flatspot: Hi Tom, how’re you doing?
Tom Knox: I'm well thanks! Just in London at the moment, the weather has been incredible this summer so I've just been making the most of it. Skating loads, BBQing and hanging with my kids.
F: The first memory I have of you is from the ‘Day in the city’ London clip, you were super young. It feels like you’ve been on the scene for some time, how has your skating and the scene changed over the years?
TK: Haha yeah that was a while ago. I guess the main difference in the scene now from then is the change in quality of skateparks. When I was a kid the skateparks in London were mostly shit or a massive trek to get to. Now kids have access to pretty good parks so the scenes are based in those same places. I met the crew I skated with by going to the city, skating street and meeting up which was a lot of fun. Most those childhood spots we skated have been capped or built over which is a shame. The city itself is jut changing a lot. I still see kids out on the weekend in the city though which is nice, keeping it alive!
F: The Atlantic Drift series has really blown up, could you tell us the story behind the project?
TK: Thrasher basically hit up Jake to film a series, with the freedom for him to do what he wanted based around me and the crew. It's been a really fun project to work on, so nice to get to travel around with your mates and do what you want to a certain extent. The episodes always seem to get a really good response, Jake always smashes it.
F: When should we be expecting the next instalment and can you drop any hints on where it’ll be?
TK: The next one out is Hawaii and will be out soon. After that is unknown, I'm sure the boys will figure out somewhere amazing to go.
F: How did the British lads find skating/filming out in the states? It’s definitely a contrast with UK skating isn’t it?
TK: Not really, the major difference is the last couple trips in the States we've been driving a van which changes the pace and feel, but that's been such a laugh. Although I did crash it in Vegas. As for skating it always kind of feels the same, I guess as a crew we skate together a lot so it's all quite comfortable.
F: Last bit on AD - Who’d win at hippy jump SKATE?
TK: Haha that's a hard one. I'd have to go with Sylvain, I feel like he has so many hidden gems up his sleeve. But if Mike threw a few flips and 540's in who knows.
F: So you’ve just released a new shoe with New Balance, we’re all really stoked on it - super good colourway and the 440 looks great. Could you tell us a little bit behind it, how come you picked the 440 for your shoe? And what’s the story behind this Patagonia jacket for inspiration?
TK: Thanks you for the support! Yeah I'm hyped on how it came out. I always have wanted to do a white leather shoe, just love the way they look, but obviously wanted to make it a little different. The 440 feels like a bit of a sporty shoe which I think fits the colourway well. When they asked me if I wanted to do a colourway with that shoe I was stoked, it's a really good feeling shoe.
There were a few inspirations. I always had wanted it to be white and red, I wanted to use the London Underground colours but the blue looked a little obvious. I searched some old underground colours and their were some sick ones, including one with teal. I have a Patagonia jacket too that I wear every winter, it's a ski jacket so keeps me nice and snug through the cold. I've always been attracted to that colour, we put that on that on the shoe and it just looked right.
F: How did you find it working with New Balance? Did you manage to get stuck in with the design process?
TK: It was so easy, well the shoe already existed but not in leather. That was the part I was a bit unsure about how it would come out. But the first samples I skated in were amazing from the start. Then it was just a little back and forth to get the colours in the places I felt necessary. Although it's mostly a white shoe, I feel the colours really pop out
F: With New Balance being such a major player with running shoes, often incorporating new tech, did they throw any of this stuff into the NM440TOM?
TK: Well all the shoes already have loads of technology imbedded so that was all sorted. I only skate cup soles, which can sometimes feel a little chunky but the 440's have are more slender but still have the protection of an NB cup sole which is great. I need that for my feet haha, I can jump in these shoes without my feet hurting which is always good.
F: Have you been skating your shoe prior to release? Is there some kind of rule that you can’t be seen wearing it out or something?
TK: No not at all. Every pair I've got my hands on I've skated, I designed a shoe I wanted to skate in so for sure I'm going to as much as I can.
F: What other interests do you have outside of skateboarding? I noticed you designed the insert for your shoe, are you into making your own art?
TK: No I actually don't, it's always something I've wanted to do and at some point I'm sure I will. I play a lot of music, guitar, harmonica and a couple other instruments. I'm really into that so it keeps me occupied.
The insert just came from an idea I had, I just thought having a classic English street underneath your foot when skating looks sick and is also fitting to my background
F: Thanks a lot for chatting with us Tom, what can we expect to see from you?
TK: Just more skating! Im filming a part and also doing Atlantic Drift stuff so I'm keeping busy.