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    SG x Nike SB: Checking out the Koston 2 Shoe

    4th April 2013

    “What do you know about skateboarding?”

    That was the question Nike posed to me last month.

    Hmm, well…my brother begged my parents for a skateboard in sixth grade and rode it for a week before he lost interest? …Tony Hawk’s video game is pretty fun? Nothing?!

    That backslide of knowledge is why, when the brand asked me to come out to Los Angeles and check out professional skateboarder Eric Koston’s new shoe, the Koston 2, I said, Yes. Absolutely. Let’s do this.

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    From time to time, I’ll hear from a reader who feels I’m ignoring his personal style. That I’m guilty of pushing “my” style on guys, and not encouraging them in the development of their own.

    Which, frankly, sucks to hear.

    While it’s true that I do think some clothes look good on every guy – straight leg dark denim jeans, chukka boots, and button down shirts that don’t billow all come to mind – I also understand that not every guy has, or wants, the same look.  And moreover, I think that’s a good thing!

    That’s why it was so cool to read everyone’s take on the personal style elevator speech; it really reinforced for me that every guy has a style spin all his own, and while I’m definitely in favor of that, maybe I’m not giving all of those different styles enough attention.

    So off I went to Los Angeles last week, in search of a crash course (no pun intended…okay, kind of intended) on skate culture and style for guys. As it turns out, the clothes have changed a lot from my middle school days, which, if you guys remember, I was totally into.

    Those clunky sneakers? Out. The baggy jeans falling off guys’ butts? Not anymore.

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    {L to R: footwear designer Shawn Carboy, Nike SB brand lead Mark Goldman, professional skateboarder Eric Koston}

    Leading the charge for a well-dressed skateboarder? Koston himself.

    Eric Koston, if you don’t know (I didn’t) is a legend in the sport. Literally. When I started asking around about him, everyone told me “He’s the Michael Jordan of skateboarding. “Meaning, this guy isn’t just good, he’s redefining the sport, and also, the way that sport is marketed to us, his adoring fans.

    How you know he’s legit? Check out his TV spot for the Koston 2. That thing is jam-packed with cameos from other Nike athletes. Most notably (for me at least)? One Mr. Tiger Woods, the most loved-then-hated-then-back-to-loved golfer of our time.

    And guess what? Koston loves golf too (Nike even made him a custom version of his skate shoe to wear on the links). Not what you’d necessarily think of from a professional skateboarder, right? He also loves wearing button-down shirts to skate in. And bright colors. And crazy patterns. And he was a really nice guy. And he chose to make the swoosh in his Nike shoe pink.

    If you think I’m not 100% on board with a professional athlete who likes to dress up and wants to make his signature shoe pink? Well, you’ve got another thing coming to you.

    When I asked him about the choice to splash his shoe with the traditionally feminine shade, Koston said:

    I wanted to do a bright color. Skateboarding can be a little boring with color. Like when the guys are all together and we all look down and we’re all wearing the same shoe. [Pink] stands out a little more, just pops a little more.”

    A guy who’s comfortable standing out with what he’s wearing? Sounds like a Style Girlfriend reader!

    On how he started wearing button-downs to skateboard:

    “Really it was because they’re kind of more breathable. When it’s dry, air flows through it, it feels comfortable and that’s where it came from. And you have a really nice oxford that I’ve had for a really long time and you wash it over and over again, and it’s super soft, so it’s kind of like a performance thing. It’s kind of funny when you think about it. It is lightweight, and it breathes pretty well. So yeah. And it kinda looked cool.”

    And yes, I will forever refer back to this whenever anyone complains about the comfort levels of a dress shirt. If Koston can do crazy skate tricks in a button down shirt, you can wear one to work from time to time.

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    {the man of the hour and me, at the Nike Montalbán in Los Angeles}

    When I asked Koston about his own personal style, he told me that he doesn’t take himself too seriously.

    “My friend was making fun of me because I was wearing, like, camo pants, pink shoes and a blue hat and he was like, “Your daughter’s not even here and she’s still somehow still picking out your clothes.”

    This, if you couldn’t tell by now, is a man who has fun with his wardrobe. I suppose anyone whose daily occupational hazards include broken bones, concussions, and road burn probably isn’t all that intimidated by the threat of mismatching colors, or prints and patterns that clash.

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    {Footwear designer Shawn Carboy with the Koston 2}

    So you dig the shoe. Cool, me too. But you don’t skate. Right, me neither.

    That’s why I asked Shawn Carboy, the Koston 2’s designer about if it’s a footwear faux pas to wear a shoe of a sport you don’t play. I told him I could absolutely see my readers wearing this new shoe as an alternative to their usual sneakers, but…can guys who don’t skate get away with this for just a regular walk-around shoe?

    “Sure,” he said. “I think it used to be that it was frowned upon, but not anymore. Now, it’s just, do what you want.” I mean, you should still probably know whose shoe it is in case some 15-year old comes up to you and starts talking about shredding (or whatever 15-year olds talk about these days), but otherwise, go for it.

    So there you have it. Stylish and egalitarian. This is definitely a sport I can get on board with (these skate puns just write themselves..)

    Tell me: What sport’s culture has influenced your personal style the most?

    All photos: Jeremy Pavia

    For pics from my trip to LA, check out my Instagram

    And if you want to read more about the shoe’s design and the sport itself, go check out John Kim’s Q&A with Koston over at SneakerNews, and Reggie Altema’s piece on Sneaker Report. Both are really informative and written by very cool guys I met on this trip (new friends!). Also, did you know there were so many websites dedicated just to sneakers? Me neither! Look at us learning stuff together.

    • Bob

      I was a skater from around 87-early 89. The big style brands back then were Vision Street Wear and Stussy. I still see Stussy products in the malls, but I havent seen Vision Street Wear since then. I had The Vision high top all black skate sneakers, and a t-shirt. I never had any Stussy. Also Nike Jordans were big with skaters then too. And of course Airwalk and Vans. As far as wearing skate sneaks even if you dont skate, well, everybody wears Vans now, so yeah..

      BTW- Megan , you should’ve been in NYC in late 80′s and went down to Brooklyn Banks.. you would’ve died and went to heaven with all the skater boys. Youtube it :)

    • average joe

      The pink is cool, but i really like that grey on white.

      To answer your question, I think golf style of the 50′s and 60′s has really influenced my current style. It’s the last bastion of “mad men” style before menswear trended towards overly baggy in the late 90′s early 2000′s.

    • redsa6729

      Definitely skateboarding. I grew up in California and moved to Texas for college and it was a way to stay connected to my roots no matter how my style changed over time. In my personal style elevator speech I mentioned mixing in elements of skate with a more grown up style. That means Vans, web belts, and the occasional not too loud graphic tee with the straight leg dark denim and button ups that actually fit. Think a toned down version of Pharrell.

      Btw: Koston was my favorite skater and I’m REALLY jealous right now Megan.

    • Moe

      Basketball for sure. My style almost followed along accordingly; I wore unflattering baggy clothes [Allen Iverson] but slowly upgraded to a more mature clothing style once basketball adopted the dress code. Now a lot of my style icons are right from basketball [Wade, Lebron, Kobe, Russel Westbrook].

    • http://www.facebook.com/bryan.lynch1 Bryan B-ry Lynch

      Okay, so first off, I don’t know who bummed you out by telling you that you force us to take the style you give us… but don’t listen to them. It is up to you (the teacher in this case) to gift us with the knowledge of fashion, and it is up to us (the students here) to take that information and put it towards our own individual lives. For example; I love that you post things about Oxford shirts and chukkas for spring. It just so happens, I despise button down shirts (I’m learning to get over my hatred though), I come from the alternative side of clothing. Meaning Studs, spikes, exposed zippers, Tripp pants, and wristbands. But I’m looking to reinvent myself for the upcoming college semester so I subscribed to your blog. Quite frankly, I’m not going to find a fashion blog out there that will cater specifically to my needs, but through your tips and advice I can learn how to apply the content of your posts to my personal fashion needs.
      With that out, I’ll actually answer the question… it took long enough though, huh? I’d say the skater style definitely influenced how I dressed myself. More-so a couple years back when I was in high school, considering now it’s just graphic tees and tennis sneakers. But I’m looking to better this clothing funk I’ve gotten myself into with your help, so, style on :]

      • http://www.facebook.com/bryan.lynch1 Bryan B-ry Lynch

        Everyone else is slinging brand names around and I figured my actual answer wasn’t quite enough so here are some brand names form me. Vans… a lot of Vans. Especially whenever they had a nice Rowley suede shoe out, like those Rowley Specials I bought back in Junior year. Hot Topic too, and not that namby-pamby Justin Bieber thing that they are now… I’m talking back when the store was alternative-based. Dark wash denim everywhere, Tripp pants hanging up on multiple racks, spiked wristbands and chokers all over the place. The Hot Topic that drove out all of the preppy kids rather than gently invited them inside with promises of Nicki Minaj tees and One Direction garbage.
        I also believed I donned a black beanie… not sure whatever became of it, but I know I wore it on those terrible hair days.

    • Kiel

      I really like “signature” athletic stuff. Especially retro. I am huge on Adidas Rod Laver shoes. However, I am the least athletic person I know. I’m more of an artsy type of guy. So for me, it helps me be a part of an aesthetic, iconic culture that I don’t otherwise participate in.

      • average joe

        “know thyself” Accomplished.

    • Michael Fitchko

      Skateboarding and Soccer. Grew up when the X-Games were blowing up, almost impossible to not be influenced by skateboarding back then. Soccer is a weird one, but it developed my “idgaf how much of my leg you can see” mentality. Works well with the above-the-knee boardshorts I live in April – September.

    • Adam Wyatt

      I love the look of the Koston 2′s. They look like a great casual sneaker more than a skater shoe.

      Basketball had a really big influence on me growing up in the 90′s with Fresh Prince of Bel-Air look. Baggy jeans, baggy shorts, and big puffy sports jackets were the norm. (the 90′s may have been one of the worst fashion decades in the past century, come to think about it)

      Spending a lot of the time near the beach, surfing had a big influence in my style with the bright colors and relaxed outfits.

    • Guest

      Boarding for sure, both skate and surf. When I was a teenager I had a lot of Volcom and Quicksilver. I’ve left a lot of that behind, but since then I’ve incorporated some baseball into my wardrobe: http://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12458635

      • Enrique Ollero

        Whoa, sorry for that. My browser got all buggy for a minute.

    • Enrique Ollero

      Boarding, both skate and surf. When I was a teenager I had a lot of Volcom and Quicksilver. I’ve since moved away from that, but managed to work some baseball into my wardrobe:

    • Aaron Trent

      I don’t draw much style influence from sports but there’s a bit sprinkled in there. I’ve had a Euro-mullet before (and yes, it looked trashy, in good way) which was and is a common thing in European Pro Cycling. The only real remnant is that I still wear black socks that come half-way to my calf and slip-on Vans when I wear shorts. The socks are a SoCal bike racing thing and the shoes throw back to the old surf/skate culture.

    • Kawika

      Funny, I underwrite mortgages at a bank and I wore my skate shoes to walk to work the other day. I actually had to wear my Nikes to work for a month because I destroyed my foot skating, and my manager laughed when she asked and I explained why i was limping around in sneakers and not oxfords.

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