Supra is Latin for “above and beyond,” and when the brand launched the Skytop it achieved the mantra it was so appropriately named after. The super-hightop was originally released in 2007, but the shoe was top-five in 2008 after a co-sign from Jay Z. The sneaker took things back to a true hightop cut, and the vulcanized sole appealed to skaters. Chad Muska’s name didn’t hurt either. If you were deep into kicks in ’08 you grabbed these in at least a few colorways. The snakeskin joints with Tiffany/old-school Airwalk cues were extra dope.
The skateboarding line has been a staple in the sneaker community ever since, even though everyone thought the design team was crazy when they first started showing off their vision. Whether you were kicking and pushing down the block on your skateboard or wanted a new sneaker to step up your style game, Supra was everything. The signature line has come a long way in its fairly short existence—the Skytop has made a bigger impact than most shoes that have been selling for decades. We sat down with Supra founder Angel Cabada and Muska to discuss what the signature series has meant and how it came to fruition.
“I never have any expectation on things I create because that will take away from the creative process,” says Muska, first pro rider and co-designer of the Skytop. “I just put everything I have inside of me to come up with an object that I am proud of and believe in.”
Muska, Cabada, and designer Josh Brubaker never envisioned the Skytop to takeover sneaker culture the way it did in 2008, which made the rollout that much sweeter. It was before blogs created mass hysteria around releases and Instagram dictated what was cool; things took a little longer to resonate, but if and when they did it was for all the right reasons. Maybe it’s the fact that three laidback guys who just loved skate culture wanted to do something unique and have fun in the process.
The inspiration was simple, as the trio was focused on creating something “by them, for them” so they had the dopest shoes to skate in—making money was just an added bonus.
To us, it’s skate function with a fashion twist more than anything,and a collaboration effort between Josh, Chad and myself.
“To us, it’s skate function with a fashion twist more than anything, and a collaboration effort between Josh, Chad and myself,” says Cabada. “Comfort and style, we all want to look fresh on a board or on the red carpet. It starts with your imagination, then you sketch, go back and forth with likeminded people that you value opinions from, and then you execute.”
The shoe resembled the retro basketball shoes from the early ’90s, but Muska said it was simply performance related for his sport.
“Although basketball shoes have influenced my designs over the years,” he says, “I think that I would say that I was creating a skateboarding ‘performance’ shoe that channeled high fashion. Skateboarding and basketball have similar use and needs from a shoe, but the upper is completely inspired by skateboarding and how it would react while riding a board.”
When the shoe released in 2007 it was well-received by skate enthusiasts, and in 2008 it started gaining major notoriety from sneaker and men’s style publications—even considered one of the best shoes of the year by many. The guys at Supra never pushed their product onto anyone, and in 2009 the model organically started showing up on everyone’s feet from Lil Wayne at the BET Awards to Kanye West and Jay Z. Having the kicks pop up so often made it one of the most searched brands and replicated looks.
“We never went after anybody in the beginning to wear our product,” says Muska, “so we could not help who was buying and wearing our product. I remember when somebody called me and was like, ‘Kanye just bought a pair of Skytops from Supreme in L.A.’ and I couldn’t believe it. This was a few months before they actually started to really gain momentum and it sort of snowballed after that. Then Jay Z ended up in a few things rocking them and the rest is history.”