Recently we sat down in the upstairs room of a quiet North London bar not far from Bay 66 to discuss shoes, skateboarding and other subjects with non other than Primitive Skateboards figurehead Paul Rodriguez. Half of the interview dropped a couple of months back and now, with the release of his new shoe, here is part two as well as a video clip from Austin Bristow combining both halves…
In March, Nike SB released your first pro shoe, the P-Rod 1, for the ten year anniversary of its original release. Was it your idea to bring that shoe back on the market?
Well I can’t take full credit for that. Fans have been mentioning that for so long, everywhere I go, Instagram if I post other shoes…always it was like ‘Bring back the 1, bring back the 1’. So I can’t take full responsibility for that at all, but it was definitely something I was asking about around two years ago and it made sense to do it on the ten year anniversary – we were so close, it made sense to wait a couple years longer.
Which has been your favourite model out of all of your pro shoes over the years? There’s also usually a cupsole and vulcanised version released of every model, which type of shoe do you prefer and why?
I’m a cupsole guy; I grew up in an era where we had big, heavy shoes. When I started skating was early ’97, so that was when the Koston 1 was out with the big air bubble, the Muska’s…and of course, although I never had a pair, the D3’s were big around that time. So I grew up in an era where it was big, puffy, fluffy shoes and I learnt to skate in those. When everything thinned out, it didn’t work with me ya know? My feet felt so vulnerable, I felt like I’d get heel bruises easier, I guess I was a little too early for that resurgence of Vulcanised shoes.
Where do you take most of your influence from when designing a new shoe?
Well every time is different – when the first shoe came out and we started designing it I was 19 years old, while with this new one, when I started designing it I was 29 and I’ll be 30 when it comes out. I was a kid all the way through to a man, and during each shoe I’m into different things, I want different things and I’m growing as a person. Influences can come from anywhere, but the one thing that stays the same is that I skateboard every day, religiously. It all comes from that, I need to be able to skate easily and enjoy myself, feel comfortable in them and not worry about any issues due to malfunctions of my idea.
Above photo: Chris Johnson
Apart from your signature range, which Nike models do you really like to skate in? What about when you’re not skating, SB or otherwise?
To be honest with you, I haven’t really skated any other models since the Dunks or since before I had a pro shoe, so I couldn’t really tell you any current ones. I used to love the Dunks before my shoes were out, then there were the Delta 4’s but I wasn’t that into them. It’s hard for me to switch from one model to another – when I find a shoe that I’m comfortable with and used to, it’s just that over and over again. Then when it comes time and they say ‘Alright, we gotta make another shoe’ I try and design it, get used to that one and then say ‘OK, just keep giving me these’.
Your ninth pro shoe for Nike SB launches this fall. With all the different footwear technology that has gone into your shoes (and SB in general) over the years, will this model will be something really different to anything else on the market. Can you give us any details about it please?
It is different but in a more subtle way, especially more than my last shoe. But it has got some classic things like the cupsole I mentioned that I like, suede for the material which is what I grew up skating. There’s still nothing better in my opinion, synthetic or whatever, that feels better than suede; it’s tried and true. But there is still a lot of new technology, you got the Jakarta stitching on the back. I’m sure I’m missing some technical, proper terms…but, ya know, up the front where there’s no stitching so it’s less easy to tear, I usually tear up shoes and laces pretty quick. I don’t even know what this is called, it’s almost a screen print up over the Jakarta. Where the ollies normally tend to rip the shoe here, it has a little more protection. You’ve got the single pods on the sole for more movement in the shoe, when you’re bending your toes and stuff – so even though it’s a cupsole and a little thicker it’s not necessarily more stiff, it’s still very flexible.