With style innovators like Dylan Rieder and Alex Olsen leading the pack, skateboarding as a whole is increasingly embracing fashion into its arts-driven culture. Always one to jump on the latest movement and help take it to the next level, Nike has recently released a series of Dri-Fit-enhanced garments specifically engineered for skateboarding. Excited by the idea of Dri-Fit clothing that doesn't look like it belongs on a football field, we snagged a fresh kit to test for a few days in the streets of NYC. Of the group the most notable is the recently released—and extremely well received—Levis collaboration 511 Skateboard Team Edition Jean, followed closely by the Killingsworth button-down.
By interweaving Vectran—a strong textile fiber used in reinforcing ropes, sailcloth and even NASA spacesuits—and Nike's Dri-Fit tech with American-made Cone Mills denim, the 511 Skateboarding Jean remains nearly indestructible while retaining all its classic subdued style. The slim—but not tight—skateboarding jean looks and fits just like its standard 511 cousin, differentiated only by a subtle vertical weave (presumably from the added fibers), a tiny Tiffany blue Swoosh on the rear leather patch and a similar tint on the underside of the denim.
We noticed the effects of the Dri-Fit technology after just a few minutes of pushing around the city. While the garment obviously can't absorb every bit of perspiration, the moisture-wicking fabric did do enough to make skating in jeans in NYC's appalling summer heat and humidity manageable, which is no small feat. With a bit of added stretch, the denim responded positively to constant movement while the Vectran kept the denim intact even after a few solid slams. With only 2,000 released worldwide, the Nike + Levi's 511 Skateboard Team Edition jean is a tough find, but one well worth the search. A few sizes are still available from DQM for $198.
Responding even more impressively to the aggressive heat was the Killingsworth shirt. Also featuring Dri-Fit tech, the long-sleeved shirt wicked moisture as promised, and wore even better than expected, offering more mobility and comfort than even a basic T-shirt might. Plus, much like the 511 jean, the understated button-down gives little indication of its intended use outside of a small Nike tab on the chest pocket. All in all it seems Nike hit the nail on the head with this blend of considered fashion and sport science tech. Look to Nike's newly launched SkateEveryDamnDay campaign website for more information and where to buy the Killingsworth Dri-Fit button down. It's worth noting the fit was slightly oversized, so we'd recommend going a size down.
For a closer look at the Dri-Fit enhanced apparel and testing see the slideshow.
Images by Graham Hiemstra