David Gonzalez is from Colombia and despite growing up poor he managed to get a board sponsor in the US when he was around 12. His footage caught the eye of Geoff Rowley, who put him on Flip Skateboards. So before his 13th birthday, having only been skating for three years, he was riding for one of the world's best board companies. A decade later in 2012 he suffered an ankle injury that required surgery, and once he became healthy again he began filming "Possessed to Skate," a video part that can only be described as insane, baffling and mind-blowing. It earned him Thrasher's Skater of the Year award for 2012. The funny thing about Gonzalez is that although he supports his family back in Colombia, and lives comfortably in the US, he'll still skate his shoes with holes in them. This is coming from a guy who is on his second pro shoe for Globe, called the Sabbath. So it's clear he has access to as many pairs as he needs, but he'll still skate his shoes until they disintegrate. David explained to Sneaker Report the reason he doesn't switch to a new pair of shoes more often, what performance elements of the Sabbath are most important, and why he no longer skates in high tops.
Interview by Reggie Altema
How do you go about designing shoes?
The first shoe I designed was my first shoe on Globe, the Heathen. For that one I decided to copy other shoes. I shot photos of all the shoes that I liked and I said, "I want a little bit of this and a little bit of that," and it all came together. For my new shoe the Sabbath, I wanted it to be really simple because the last one had too much going on. This one is really clean.
The Sabbath has no stitching on it at all. Why did you design it that way?
I feel like the shoe is more comfortable to skate when there's not all this stuff on it. It's easier to do kickflips and ollies. That's the reason I designed this one to be more clean and simple.
Talk about why you like vulc soles.
Just because I jump down stuff when I street skate and I also skate a lot of pools so when you're high up in the air getting ready to land, you need to protect your feet. When you're skating big rails or stairs it's really good for that.
You have a coating on the lacelets and the heel that is eye-catching. Does it protect your laces and is it good for heelflips?
It's cool because it still makes the shoe look like a skate shoe, but not only skaters would buy it, regular people would too, so that's why I used this material. It protects your laces, but I'm not going to lie to you and say your laces are never going to break. Yes, I'm sure it is good for heelflips, but I don't do heelflips, so it wasn't designed for heelflips.
Tell us something about the shoe that we don't know.
The insoles have one of my tattoos on them. I got a tattoo of a skull with two knives around it and that's been printed on the insoles.
How long does a pair of shoes last you?
Every pair that I have I will skate until I have holes on the sides, so about 20 days. I'm talking about over 30 kickflips a day, skating non-stop, bombing hills -- that's what I mean by skating all the time. A regular guy or a normal kid it should last you between two to five months. The way I position my feet for kickflips I use the whole board, so my shoes really get ripped up.
What do you like about the insoles and for what kind of skating is this shoe made for?
The insoles really protect your heels. If you like jumping down stuff, you'll like these shoes. It's not a heavy shoe either, it's super light. You don't want your body to feel heavy and you don't want heavy shoes either. You want really light shoes so they're easy to skate. These shoes are great for kickflips and tre flips.
Is there going to be a high top version of this shoe?
No, not this time. I stopped skating high tops after I hurt my ankle and had ankle surgery because they hurt. That's just my own opinion. High top shoes max out your hot pocket a lot. So I stopped using them because of my hot pocket [The result of a hard landing that creates extra pressure on the soles of your feet or ankles creating a hot sensation]. For me they hurt my ankles when I'm street skating. They hurt my ankles more than low tops. Lately I've been street skating a lot. For transition high tops are good, but for street they're not that good. My first shoe had a high top version, and I was originally going to to make one for the Sabbath, but like I said I stopped skating high tops because they hurt. That's from [my own experience] with them.