One of the most well-respected pro skaters in the biz, Stefan Janoski finally got his own long-overdue shoe with Nike SB. In keeping with his relaxed, nonchalant skate style, the Zoom Janoski is a clean, comfortable and functional shoe.
Nike's second signature model, it's a marked departure from their first—a Paul Rodriguez shoe which is more beefy and athletic-looking, again following P-Rod's skate style. Instead, Janoski's minimalist version is one you could wear skating or just walking around. The upper takes a line from the classic Nike SB Blazer but a leather lining lends more durability. Leather laces also mean you won't chew through them after a few kick flips, a vulcanized outsole keeps the look clean, makes for great grip and the Zoom Air bag cushions and protects the heel. In addition, at Stefan's request, the shoe's initial release will come with a limited-edition cork sockliner.
To get more insight into the design process, we caught up with SB's footwear designer James Arizumi, to take a look at some sketches and ask him a few questions about the design process.
So, why Stefan Janoski?
The deal with Stefan is that he's got such a lax skate style and it's on the opposite end of the spectrum from P-Rod. By bringing him into the fold with the pro series shoes, it allows us to broaden our horizons and takes SB to a different place with skate shoes. This shoe wouldn't exist without him because it's not something that we would normally do and kind of takes us out of our comfort zone.
Where do you start when designing a signature shoe?
Stefan's been on the Nike Skate team for a bit now and we know his skate style so we started with that. He also sent us stuff and images that he liked—cars, clothes, shoes, music, drinks... From that style guide of sorts, we knew the aesthetic we were going for.
I should add that for Stefan, from the very beginning it was all about fit and how it holds up for skating. He didn't really care about ankle protection because those sorts of injuries and abrasion are just unavoidable. He also wanted a lot of flexibility. Taking all this into account, I started to sketch out some ideas with him. After we get something that looked good, we'd move on to the sample process. I've found that athletes respond better when they have a physical sample in their hands. He didn't like the first one at all! Stefan is hard to please but that's a good thing.
Continue reading and see more images after the jump.