All photos: Mike Brindley
This week at London’s Nike Town, we were invited along to the launch of Paul Rodriguez’ tenth signature skate shoe with Nike – a distinct punctuation mark in the career of one of the most successful skateboarders ever.
According to the global sportswear goliath “Less than one per cent of Nike’s endorsed athletes have received a signature shoe.”, and the numbers of those who can claim to have had a full ten to their name can be counted on one hand. As the first skateboarder to have hit that landmark, P-Rod joins an elite list containing US basketball superstars like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, as well as Kevin Durant who’s KD 10s will also launch this summer.
At Nike Town’s ‘The Paul Rodriguez Show’, the man himself was joined by prolific skate photographer Atiba Jefferson and filmer Scuba Steve – who, as well as documenting some of P-Rod’s earliest steps into pro-skating, have become some of his long-term friends.
Together they discussed everything from Paul’s sponsor me tape in ’99 up to tour rituals with the Nike skateboarding team, of course making sure to highlight the progress of his pro models since the cameo-laden killer ad that launched his first shoe (see above).
Throughout, fortunately, P-Rod’s emphasis stayed thoroughly with his love of skateboarding. For all the questions from keen sneaker-heads, the end game for him has always remained to have something that feels great to skate in. So while he does discuss in depth which direction to go with Nike’s design team, fancy fabrics and new technology are of secondary importance in his mind – a fact reflected in the somewhat classic silhouette of the P-Rod Ten shoe.
‘Good suede, and a good, grippy rubber sole, that’s all you really need’ he states when talking about the understated Tenth-anniversary edition of his signature shoe. A refreshing sentiment for the skate-shoe purists after the recent influx of technical skate trainers, Paul’s 8th pro model included.
For us it also strikes as a small relief that, as skateboarding’s first entry into the Ten-Nike-Pro-Model hall of fame, the P-Rod Ten is a recognisable nod to the many skate shoes that predate even his illustrious career. While Paul hasn’t shied away from giving nods to basketball influences (even to the extent that he had the Jordan symbol on his 9th trainer), we’re glad to see a distinctively skateboarding shoe sitting alongside the hype-inducing technical basketball kicks that have claimed pride-of-place up until now.
Catch some shots from the London Paul Rodriguez Ten launch below. The shoes are officially available in the UK from the 1st of July.