There aren’t many grounds on which to compare skateboarding with football. Although games of kickabout are played in school yards and back streets by young kids around the world without the burden of expensive equipment, and much the same can be said about pickup sessions at the local skate park, football – the world’s most popular sport – is far less insular and more universal than skateboarding.

But for this latest release, Eric Koston and the Nike SB team have managed to draw from both worlds, creating something that is cohesive in its stylish functionality.

The Nike Hyperfeel Koston 3 is aimed at keeping wearers on top of their game, starting with a key part of any skate session; the warm-up. The latest in Eric Koston’s line of signature Nike SB sneakers borrows from Nike Football, more specifically the Magista’s specially designed ankle collar.

We spoke to Koston himself to find out more.

Talk about your warm-up routine, what tricks are involved?

A lot of times my warm-up is flatground, no matter what type of spot you’re at, there’s always a flat spot there. So lots of flip tricks, the basic stuff like kickflips, heelflips, tre-flip, frontside flip, backside flip, fakie flip, fakie heelflip; running through a series of those. Those will get the blood flowing. I still do regular stretches. But the warm-up is like stretching for my board.

Does the Hyperfeel Koston 3 cater to a specific style?

No, it’s all styles. I didn’t try to make a shoe that is for one specific genre of skating, I want it to work well for anybody.

Did you have any initial doubts about integrating the ankle collar into an article of skate footwear?

No, because the original concept did have a bootie, but it wasn’t Flyknit. First we were thinking about using neoprene, which to me – it gets really hot, it’s feels a little bit bulkier, it doesn’t feel so streamlined and lightweight, it gets hot and sweaty, a little bit stinky. But the collar has been part of the concept since day one.

Do you have an idea of how many samples you went through over the two-year design process?

The collar was integrated from the very first sample, and I went through about five or six samples.

What other obstacles did you encounter during the design process?

There were fit issues, and my focus was that this shoe have a glove-like fit. There were a few things aesthetically, minor tweaks, a few millimeters here or there. Also with the tooling, we played with the flex grooves, other little details. Little things kept coming up as it evolved from sample to sample, it’s the fine details that do matter, but that people might not think about. The fit was the main struggle, to make sure that it absolutely fit like a glove.

Do you predict the Hyperfeel Koston 3 could be adopted into fashion and worn by non-skaters?

We will see. Do I think it can? Yeah. But I didn’t have that outcome in mind when making the shoe, I made it to perform really well. But given the way it looks, it could cross over. The Janoski is worn by all: plenty of people that don’t skate, and plenty of people that do skate because it’s a great skate shoe. I think with anything skating, someone from the fashion side will latch on to it.

Would you say this is the most progressive SB shoe to date?

I would say so, yeah. As far as the innovation side, I can’t think of a shoe that has taken this long to design, that involved the same challenges. It was fun doing it, I don’t know if any other innovative skate shoe has had so much work put into it, by such a big team of people. So yeah, I’m going to go ahead and claim it.

Can you recall any past SB models that you considered really game changing?

The Nike Zoom E-Cue comes to mind. It was very early 2000s, I remember seeing that, it was different looking but I thought it was really cool. Initially I thought it was ugly, then seeing it later and thinking it wasn’t that ugly, then even later I started thinking it was kind of cool looking. I started to appreciate how it was built, over time seeing guys skating in it, it started sinking in. That thing was indestructible.

As much as this is a game-changing shoe, you retained suede for the construction. Why is suede so important for skate shoes?

Suede is so reliable. It’s the reaction that you’re familiar with when you skate in a suede shoe. I know the feeling so well, for decades. It’s a tough thing to replace. Nike has tried, and there are some other textiles that can work, but suede is really hard to beat.

Is there any relevance to the color story for this first release?

The blue and yellow one is actually based on the first pair of Nikes I ever owned, when I was maybe four or five. It was a waffle trainer, very simple, nylon upper with the waffle tread. It was blue with a yellow Swoosh, and we took inspiration from that colorway. For the white one, I just wanted a white shoe. I’ve always liked all-white shoes, I have forever. If you go back and look at old footage, I wear all-white skate shoes a lot. It’s a staple for me.

In case you missed it, watch Koston finesse some of his finest moves in the latest episode of Nike SB Chronicles.

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Vancouver-born, Berlin-based writer with a steady hand on the keyboard.

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