DISSECTING THE NEW HEAD-TURNING 3ST KICKS.
Words by Oliver Pelling. Photos by Dave Chami. Video by Neihana Tonkin.
Thursday, April 5th, 290 Macaulay Road, North Melbourne. It’s 8pm and many of the city’s best and brightest young skateboarding stars are navigating some jump ramps inside a big warehouse that goes by the name of ‘The Third Day’.
Usually ‘Melbourne’s latest open-air bar and food destination’, this evening The Third Day has turned itself into a makeshift skatepark, care of adidas Skateboarding.
Mitch Morrison flicks his kicks in good use on a lofty frontside flip.
On closer inspection, this warehouse looks like a setup from the first Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. More pixels though. And fewer rocket airs. But there is still much happening in the way of skateboarding trickery. Suddenly, adidas team rider Tom Snape blasts an immaculate switch heel over a barrel. The crowd bursts into rapturous applause. Grown men weep. At least three people consider giving up skateboarding on the spot. adidas stocks go up 27 per cent.
But why are all of these skateboarders gathered here? Where are all the usual food trucks? And perhaps more puzzlingly, why are all of these people wearing the same shoes?
There’s only one logical answer, of course: adidas has released a new shoe. And this event is designed to help propel that new shoe into the social fabric of the skateboarding community. And I am here to help facilitate that propulsion by writing about the shoe. In fact, that is literally only half the story because adidas has released not one, but two new shoes.
Let’s get down to (shoe) business
These two new shoes, part of the ‘adidas 3ST Family’ are the result (according to adidas.com) of a “workshop process – an ongoing platform for progression through open-source collaboration.” These shoes are about “disrupting and redefining” skate shoes. These shoes are serious shoes.
The two shoes in question have been named the 3ST.001 and the 3ST.002. This naming formula raises many questions:
- What does 3ST stand for?
- Does it stand for ‘3-sided trousers’?
- Or does it stand for 3 stripes?
- I think it’s the last one.
- Does this mean there will eventually be more than 100 3ST shoes?
What’s a “workshop process”?
I didn’t know, so I turned on the internet to find out. According to Scott Johnston, who I think we can all agree is the senior footwear designer at adidas Skateboarding, it means pivotal members of the adidas Skateboarding team – chiefly Nakel Smith, Miles Silvas and Tyshawn Jones – gave their feedback on the shoe at various points of the design process. They said: “this is great” or “this is shit”, and the design of the shoes evolved in line with what they wanted from it. This is important, says Johnston, to the ‘storytelling’ of the shoe. Sweet.
What do these shoes mean for the future of our precious skateboarding culture?
Well, the 3ST.001 is, thankfully, a very great shoe indeed. From an aesthetic point of view (and let’s not be dicks, aesthetic is practically all we care about when it comes to shoes), it ticks multiple boxes.
It has a clean, slim silhouette. It has that v. nice ‘Adituff’ suede. It has that comfortable and trendy elastic socky stuff around the ankle (official name: ‘inner knit sock’). There’s an internal TPU cage (same stuff they use in basketball shoes) that supports sideways foot movement. There’s a crazy grippy sole with ‘Geoflex tread’. Actually, here is a real quote from adidas team rider Kayle Lawson:
“They’re so damn grippy!”
There’s this TORSION® thing, which makes the shoes more flexible and responsive. Or something.
And then there’s the 3ST.002. Now, it’s no secret that skateboarders are fucking children when it comes to dealing with change. And this shoe, Slam readers, is the epitome of change. It is a great leap forward in skate shoe design. It is a shoe and a sock at the same time. And it’s going to turn heads.
So yes, it looks v. different on first glance. But it’s literally a clean slip-on silhouette with a mid-high inner sock. If anything, this cleanliness makes them plenty versatile. You can dress them up, you can dress them down, you can dress them in the middle. You could wear them to class, to the discotheque, to your nan’s funeral, to a rave in a cave, or to the skateboarding park. They’re basically a shoe for any occasion. Also, Nakel Smith likes these shoes, so the kids are going to love them anyway.
In a market where everyone else is making Janoski, Cons Hi-Top, and ’90s Kalis rip-offs, the 3ST.001 and 3ST.002 are, in this writer’s humble opinion, a nice change of pace. It was getting a bit fucking boring there for a minute.
Pick up a pair of the 3ST.001 or the 3ST.002 at select skate shops or here online.
More imagery from the event:
Brad Saunders holds steady on a front crooks.
Ralph Rottura talks shop.
LP Nuku with a delightful kickflip.
Justice Reid switch backside flip!
Woody Butwilosky back tail.
Oh yeah, Mappy was there!
Tawa Hayes and Phil Marshall.
Literal dissection of the 3ST.001.
Classic Mitch Morrison tré.
Disclaimer: the exceptionally professional journalist who wrote this article did not receive any free shoes or any monetary compensation from adidas in exchange for writing this article.