Designing Your Own Skate Shoe | HEAT CHECK with Ishod Wair
When it comes to skateboarding legends, Monster Energy-sponsored professional skater Ishod Wair is one of the greatest to set foot on a board. Last year, his status as a skateboarding GOAT earned him his own Nike SB sneaker.
When it comes to skateboarding legends, Monster Energy-sponsored professional skater Ishod Wair is one of the greatest to set foot on a board. Last year, his status as a skateboarding GOAT earned him his own Nike SB sneaker. For this edition of Monster Energy HEAT CHECK, Ishod sits down with “Two Js” Jaysee Lopez at Urban Necessities in Las Vegas over Sneaker Con Vegas weekend.
The pair had a lot to discuss, from past sneaker designs Ishod has done with Nike to the intensive process he went through to arrive at his signature SB design. The skater was incredibly hands-on throughout the two-year process, choosing elements that would make his skating even more efficient.
Perspective on the ultimate skate shoe is a valuable one from a guy who has spent nearly a decade as a pro for Real Skateboards, wowing audiences and the entire industry with his mind-blowing and gravity-defying tricks. The New Jersey native has a zest for life and making the most of every moment — both on his board and off — that shines through in everything he does, whether it’s competing, filming ads for Nike, or performing tricks over and over again to perfection for a Thrasher Magazine video feature.
Ishod’s full name is Ishod Kadal Baroody Wair. Ishod Kadal means “man of glory” and Baroody means “teacher,” and he has certainly lived up to both. Throughout his time in the skating world, Ishod has set himself apart in many different ways. He’s known for intensely long skate sessions, rarely repeating the same trick in a single session.
As he runs through a rapid-fire improvisation of combo tricks and deft skateboarding skill, Ishod demonstrates his penchant for bowls and transition skating even as his peers prefer to keep it horizontal. Full of dexterity and oozing sheer joy, to watch him skate is to see poetry in motion.
In 2013, Ishod won Thrasher’s Skater of the Year award. In 2019, he emerged victorious at X Games Norway with casual runs that exemplified his organic approach.
It was only natural that his high-performance boarding would catch the eye of shoe companies. After all, skateboarding and sneaker culture have gone hand-in-hand for years. It’s been quite the evolution, kicking off with surfers attaching wheels to their boards and gliding down the streets barefoot in the 50s. As the sport grew, skaters realized that they needed gear just as much as other athletes, and the skater shoe was born.
Skaters started rocking Vans and Chuck Taylors before Vision Street Wear introduced the more durable Suede Hi silhouette to the market, including a raised ankle collar and special “Ollie Patch” in their design. Airwalk, Vision, and Vans refined their designs, followed by new brands like Etnies, Duffs, Osiris, and DC Shoes.
Over time, skater culture has moved away from niche designs that were only good for athletic wear and into styles that perform well on a board and also look great while grabbing drinks with friends later.
The Nike SB, a retrofitted, low-cut basketball shoe, has become legendary in the world of skaters and sneaker heads alike, and Ishod has been riding for them his entire career. Previously, he released his own slimmed-down version of the Dunk SB Low and later teamed up with Magnus Walker for a Porsche-inspired Dunk SB Hi colorway.
If there’s anything that skater sneaker culture has proven, it’s that kicks can be both about performance and about swag. Ishod certainly had this top of mind with his Nike SB design. His goal was to have an amazing skate shoe that would be fashionable and, most of all, original.
One of the design features he discusses with Jaysee is having a gilly incorporated in the middle of the shoe for maximum support. This way, if the wearer wants their shoes loose, their foot is still securely strapped down. For those who break a lot of laces while skating, Ishod’s SB also has a second hidden set of lace loops.
With his signature Nike SB design, marathon sessions packed with sick tricks and a smile on his face, Ishod continues to keep everyone on their toes. We can’t wait to see what’s next from this world-class athlete!