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INTERVIEW: Eric Koston Breaks Down the Nike Koston 2

Eric Koston's latest shoe with Nike releases today, rendering his popular first signature obsolete due to the vast improvements critical to any skateboarder's performance.

These updates have fixed the issues that skaters had with his first shoe concerning ventilation, durability, protection and fit. His first shoe with the brand couldn't ultimately hold up to the wear and tear a daily skater demands out of the typical suede shoe. The impact protection was at its best only out of the box before the insole flattened out and the outsole quickly wore down. Another point of complaint was that the Koston 1 was too loose-fitting.

These issues have been resolved this time around, thanks to Koston and Nike SB designer Shawn Carboy. Inspired by Koston's love of golf, the saddle shoe look resembles a traditional golf shoe with an Oxford construction, but that's where the similarities end. The Koston 2 is a top notch skate shoe featuring a super snug fit with an enhanced insole and outsole. Last week during an exclusive event at Nike's Montalban Theater in Hollywood, CA, Koston explained how his second shoe paid homage to Lunarlon technology, resolved the issues from the first shoe, and most important, shared his favorite aspects of skating in the Koston 2 .

Interview by Reggie Altema (@HaitianReggie)

Lunarlon cushioning was used primarily in running shoes before you implemented it in your first Nike skate shoe. Lunarlon has trademark ridges that are found on the sidewalls of the shoe's outsoles. On your first shoe you refused to have ridges on your cupsole but this time around you have ridges on your cupsole, so what exactly happened there?
My original concept is what you saw on all the running shoes and it looks cool on the running shoes, but I know what skaters like and skaters don't like that. But I think it actually looks cool, so a cupsole with ridges was the initial mental image I had. A [traditional] cup sole is clean and the sidewalls are clean. Working with Carboy, with regards to Lunarlon he told me, “I'm going to throw some of these ridges on it in a real subtle touch as sort of a nod to it.” When he drew it up I was hyped. We're still clinging to Lunarlon so I kind of owe it to the technology that I give it a subtle hint.  I was baffled by the ridges initially and in my mind the only way I could ever have ridges on my cupsole is the way they are on my second shoe. So thank you to Lunarlon.

“…When it comes to technology, we don't want to be so in-your-face about it. I just want people to try it and feel the difference.”

The Lunarlon insole in your last shoe was responsive initially, but not for long. How did you make it more functional and durable for your second shoe?
We made it a little firmer so it's a little more responsive. Guys were saying it was a little too soft, so I wanted to take out some of the feel and make it better. It's a little more contoured because I kind of have high arches so I deal with heel bruises a lot. With that in mind we made it a little more contoured and anatomical to most people's feet. We gave it a little more arch support and made it rounder in the heel. Most heels are shaped like a ball and most skate shoes' insoles are just flat. When your heel is supported by something flat that's what causes pain. If your heel can be supported on all sides it helps to better alleviate any sort of pain.

In your opinion what are the three aspects of your shoe that help you skate better?
Well the sock liner is definitely one because it's more form-fitting and a little more responsive, so it's been working out great for me. Secondly I'd say the inner booty because we strived for that feel with the 1 but this one actually is an inner booty where the lining becomes one with the tongue. The booty is completely built into the shoe which is great because that way it provides a snug fit. We still have tongue functionality for guys who want to rock the tongue out too and the tongue is attached to both sides unlike my last shoe. Finally there's the heel counter which helps when your foot crashes during impact, so your shoe stays on your foot. That's what they use a heel counter for in running because when the shoe slides up and down it causes blisters. Your foot crashes when you run and it also does when you're skating.

It sounds strange to have an inner booty and an internal heel counter. Why didn't you put the heel counter on the outside like a running shoe?
We played around with it and we decided to wrap it in suede on the inside so we could keep that classic saddle look. We didn't want to throw the tech in your face. We figured we'll just hide it inside and keep that kind of classic look happening on the outside. The thinking was that it'll still have all these features but everything is really internal.

The heel counter's function is something skaters will enjoy because they know their shoes won't come flying off during a bad landing. At the beginning of the design process was it a priority to develop the heel counter and then work your way into developing the inner booty?
No, the booty was more for the fit. That's where we started— with the booty first and worked around that. When it comes to technology, we don't want to be so in-your-face about it. I just want people to try it and feel the difference.

One of the differences you can feel immediately is with the tread. What improvements did you make to it?
It still has a sort of circular pattern. We did that on the 1 and it worked well. We just modified it a bit. The grooves on these shoes are deeper, which is the best way to explain it. They're hitting flex points, which we determined are the flex points in your foot. To achieve this we made the tread a little thicker. The tread kind of rises up into the sidewall to give you great arch support. We made it rise to better back up the Lunarlon inside.

Reggie Altema is a Haitian writer from New Jersey who grew up obsessed with music and skateboarding but despised east coast winters, so the former Fat Beats New York employee escaped to Los Angeles where he could skate all year round. When he’s not out walking his pitbulls, he listens to Bebop and contributes to ESPN Skateboarding and Sneaker Report.

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