Call him the godfather of Supra. When the skate brand was just getting things together in ‘06, Chad Muska was its first pro rider - and he’s had a hand in designing the Skytop line of sneakers ever since.
The latest in the series of Skytops follow Chad’s outlandish way of looking at shoes. Going back to a high top, the first two versions on the sneaker will feature a removable collar.
“When images leaked of the Skytops with the collar on it, a lot of people were saying, ‘What’s going on?’” he said about the kicks that drop this Friday, Nov. 29. “It was like when a test model car is being shown and they wrap it all in black and you can see the silhouette of it, but you don’t know exactly what it is. We wanted to throw people for some kind of a loop.”
Here, Muska talks about the design process, helping build Supra from the ground up and why he wanted to, literally, put a black shroud over his kicks.
Interview by Gerald Flores (@ImGeraLd)
This is the fourth edition of the Skytop. How is this version different from others in the line?
It’s sort of a progression. If you look at the design of each one, there’s something that connects each one them together, but yet pushes them all in a different way. I think this stays to the idea of what the Skytop represents to me, and that’s creating something different that shocks people.
How do you decide when to make another version?
I’m always kind of ready. I have a million ideas in my head at all times, so I’m constantly presenting them to the company and talking about designs and everything. A lot of the timing and scheduling I leave up to them. I don’t have a specific formula for when it drops but we’re pretty much on the every couple year release at this point.
If we did it any sooner than every couple of years, it would be too soon. It’s the perfect amount of time for style to change, for new influences to come into play and for us to have enough time to conceptualize, manufacture the product and get it right.
Speaking of current styles, this Skytop resembles a certain sneaker that was hot on the market. What were your design inspirations for this latest version?
I’m not a person that says, ‘Let me take this shoe and that shoe and make something different out of it.’ Although, every shoe I’ve ever seen is embedded in my brain to some extent. Inspiration is around us at all times. The major way I draw my inspiration is through my travels and from my experience on a day to day in the streets. It can come from something as simple as architecture or a tree in nature.
How do you think the final product came out?
The easiest way to explain it would be high fashion meets an athletic shoe. You might be able to throw a suit on and get away with wearing them or throw on some shorts and skate at a playground.
What were the performance features you wanted this shoe to have?
A lot of people will look at this shoe and it’s not going to scream skateboarding to them. When I look at it, it does, because I see all the features, as far as an elongated toe to minimize flick areas where your foot rubs against the board. There’s not a lot seams in the toe area so you can get a feel for your board. The midsole is very padded and there’s tons of support in the way the heel arch wraps around the back of your heel and the sides.
So what was the point of the shroud? Was there a functional reason for it?
I was always interested in objects being able to transform and turn into something new. You can actually wear the removable collar in different ways on your shoe. If you wanted to, you could wrap it around the front of the shoe. It was just an idea to keep the tradition of what the Skytop represents and that’s to change and do something new. That’s something I’ve always wanted to do.
You’ve been with Supra since before the brand started. From an insider’s perspective, what’s changed since then?
It’s grown insanely. It was a meeting room with five people coming up with ideas, and to see it become what it is now has been amazing. Most of the ideas have been non-traditional, no doubt, but to see how they’ve been received of skateboarding and reach into the sneaker community is a great feeling.
Besides skate shoes, what else have you been working on lately?
I’m constantly creating and it’s applied to so many things in my life. It’s about getting ideas and manifesting them into reality. My main obsession has been art. I‘ve been creating a lot of art and focusing on that and that in turn has been inspiring my shoe designs. They really feed off of each other. Whatever I’m creating, all feed off of each other and lead to the next step.