Since signing with Nike, Eric Koston’s shoe releases come loaded with extra expectations. The unveiling of the Nike SB Eric Koston 3 Hyperfeel has been messageboard and comments section gold, with the polarizing design proving to be a deliberately divisive statement — particularly in an era where vulcanized rubber, suede and canvas is still shifting units. 

Some love the elevated Flyknit collar and others are baffled by it. Koston’s not too phased by the criticism. It certainly looks better on the foot, and being a shoe, that’s kind of the point. Feedback by everyone who skated it seems positive. Again, that was the intention. Like its predecessors, it’s another experiment in amplifying feel with the tools that Nike offers. 

Lest we forget, even in the éS era of Koston classics, Nike was a significant reference point. The Visible Air nods (from a time when, legend has it, Nike’s ten-year exclusivity on the window in the sole had come to a close), plus the Jordan homaging on the flowing lines of the K4 were executed with a real affection. That’s because Koston is really into shoes. 

At odds with an era when every Premiership player with expendable income and zero taste can amass a load of lurid studded and zippered hi-tops plus a stack of queue fodder and be labeled a “sneakerhead," Koston is a longtime connoisseur. Check the Berrics Footnotes video series to see a garage of glorious disarray, or his Epicly Later’d for a great anecdote about Mike York breaking his heart by drunkenly pissing in his Air Max 95s back in the day. 

You can see that obsession in the way he talks about his own models. He admits that he’d might have been a shoe designer if the skate thing hadn’t worked out and describes the process of creating a shoe with the detail and lingo of someone who has really, really paid attention to the creative process. 

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