Drawing inspiration from both running and soccer shoes, pro skateboarder Eric Koston announced his first signature model for NikeSB last week. The result has the durability, performance and looks of a skate shoe, but with comfort and technical specs usually reserved for traditional sports.
Koston, who had design experience from working on both Nike's Dunk Pro SB and Zoom FP, found himself turning to Lunars and Glides to cushion his feet when he wasn't skating. Taking cues from the comfort of those shoes, along with the glove-like fit of the Nike Presto, the goal was to integrate those features into an outer that could withstand the pavement. Simple enough in theory, what it took to get there was a little more involved.
To get the lightweight comfort of the Lunar, the Koston 1 is the first shoe in the Nike Action family to use the recent innovation of Lunar foam. Putting it in both the sockliner and midsole makes for a light shoe with full-foot cushion that translates into heavy impact protection—without a loss of board feel. Another cushion for toe crunch helps with high impact from jumping down stairs or slams, and a mono tongue (as well as an overall minimization of seams) alleviates pressure points around toe ligament.
In spite of the cushy interior, the new kicks have a tough exterior that can hold up to even Koston's pro moves. A lack of seams and superior durability of the TPU-reinforced suede upper makes the shoe last longer and less susceptible to immediate toe blow-outs. Where the icon claims he used to go through a pair every four or five days, his model lasts him weeks—long enough to even get an ollie hole, which he hadn't done since he was a kid.
Sealing the deal, a neoprene collar lends uniform ankle comfort and "Lo Ride" construction gives the stability of cupsole construction with the board feel of a full vulcanized sole. The Koston 1s hit stores 1 July 2011 in three colorways, as well as a limited release of Nike SB Eric Koston Premium, a collaboration with Kobe Bryant that features an embossed suede and a snakeskin pattern upper inspired by the Kobe VI basketball shoe.