Tomorrow marks the official launch (although you may have seen them on shelves already) of Eric Koston's first signature shoe with Nike SB — the cryptically named "Nike SB Eric Koston 1." Since Nike was gracious enough to fly Complex out to Los Angeles for the official announcement/launch brouhaha a couple weeks ago (where the Nike Vault by Staples was fully Kostoned-out with everything from bobbleheads to signed snake-print basketballs), we figured it was prime time to share some of what we learned. So here's the answers to the best 10 questions you would have asked if you'd thought of them.
1) SO YOU'RE SOME KIND OF SKATE SHOE EXPERT NOW? Um, no — so is that your first question? OF COURSE NOT, ARE YOU STUPID OR SOMETHING? No. So is that... I SEE WHAT YOU'RE DOING. VERY CLEVER. SO WHAT'S TO EXPLAIN ANYWAY. LOOKS LIKE A ONE-PIECE BRUIN TO ME. THAT'S IT, RIGHT? Well, not really. You're familar with the "sleeper" concept with cars, right? YEAH. Well, that's what this is. A high-performance skate shoe that comes in a plain wrapper.
2) OK, LET'S SAY I BELIEVE YOU. WHERE'S THE TECH? Start with the insole. Instead of the Nike SB go-to Zoom Air, the Eric Koston 1 uses a thick Lunarlon one. Spreads the impact more evenly and gives you a more cushiony landing for your heel without compromising the board feel of the forefoot. "BOARD FEEL"? DID YOU JUST SAY "BOARD FEEL"? DID YOU SUBSCRIBE TO 'THRASHER' OR SOMETHING? No. Jerk. JUST KIDDING. WHY LUNARLON? Well, when Koston first got put on SB, he hit up the Nike Employee Store in Beaverton and copped a few pairs of Lunar Glides for chillaxin' purposes. He liked the feel so much that he wanted to find a way to translate it to skate. And here we are.
3) SO THEY PUT ALL THE EFFORT INTO THE CUSHIONING AND JUST THREW A PLAIN UPPER ON THERE? YAWN. Not quite. The Eric Koston 1 was built from the inside out to maximize both comfort — and prevent blow-off — and durability. Koston explained that while he could burn through some other shoes in just a day or two of hard skating, these were able to handle two weeks or more. It's just that the tech is hard to see. That "plain" upper is TPU-backed suede. The tongue is stitched in on the medial sides. And see the stitching? YEAH. Not only is it in out-of-the-way places, but they managed to stitch it so the stitches themselves are recessed into the upper. Your board will hit the suede before it rips out the stitching. SMART. Yep.
4) WHO DESIGNED THEM ANYWAY? Fella named Shawn Carboy. Before he started designing for Nike SB, he'd worked with Koston on his signature product with éS, so they already had a working relationship. A "WORKING RELATIONSHIP"? WHAT DID KOSTON ACTUALLY DO BESIDES POINT AT THINGS AND SAY "YEP"? Actually, Koston has been a sneakerhead — and, more specifically, a Nikehead — for years now. He had a lot to do with the design, and tried to incorporate elements of some of his favorite basketball shoes from the '80s and '90s. He was a huge fan of the Air Jordan 1, and you can see a little influence in the outsole pattern. He also wanted the colorblocking like it was on the outsole to be immediately recognizable.
5) WAS THIS THE FIRST THING KOSTON WORKED ON AT NIKE? Nope. They knew what they had when they signed him, and they immediately put him to work revising the Dunk SB. He also put a lot of work into the super-light Zoom FP, which he said was an attempt to essentially make a Presto skate shoe. Super light, super comfortable, but with much more durability.
6) OK, FINE. SO WHAT'S WITH THE KOBE THING? Koston is a rabid Laker fan, so the partnership made sense, especially now that they're teammates. KOSTON IS ON THE LAKERS? On Nike. OH. They met on the P-Rod "Today Was a Good Day" commercial shoot and finally got a chance to talk. Two shoes emerged from that — the super-limited one that sold at the Nike Vault, and a somewhat less-limited one that will drop a little later.
7) WHAT WAS UP WITH THE SUPER-LIMITED ONES? WEREN'T THEY $1,000 OR SOMETHING? Yeah, but they only sold 24 pairs and money went to charity. Plus, not only did you get the shoes, but they came in a working wooden humidor with golf balls and cigars. There were 72 pairs made — 24 sold at the Nike Vault in L.A., and 24 apiece for Koston and Kobe to do with what they will. Basically they were the Koston 1 sillo made up of all the materials from the Zoom Kobe VI, including the tongue and the external heel counter. WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER ONE? It's more of a regular Koston 1 with a reptile print upper, an oversprayed white Swoosh and Kobe details on the footbed and under the tongue. No release info on those yet. They're supposed to be limited too, but not THAT limited.
8) SO WHAT ABOUT THE ONES THAT DROP TOMORROW? Three versions — purple and yellow, black and grey, and our favorite — red and seafoam. They'll be available at all your usual Nike SB retailers. You can find a lot more photos here.
9) OK, COOL. WHEN WILL NIKE BE RELEASING THEIR VERSION OF KOSTON'S FIRST ÉS SHOE? LAKAI DID IT, RIGHT? Which is probably exactly why Nike won't. Don't count anything out, though.
10) THAT'S NOT REALLY AN ANSWER. And that wasn't really a question. But we're done.