Stacey Peralta and Tony Alva x Vans

When Vans started making shoes in the 1960s, its output was squarely focused on making deck shoes. Within a decade, though, it had established itself as one of the most popular brands with skateboarders; they were initially attracted to the sticky soles and tough canvas uppers. Vans quickly recognized this new market and, in 1976, capitalized on its skate appeal. Stacy Peralta and Tony Alva both skated for the Z-Boys team and were 19 when they first worked with Vans. The duo were recruited to design the first-ever skate shoe, adding a padded collar to the classic Vans boat shoe. The design was named the #95, before being renamed the Vans Era. As well as creating a template for skate footwear – and skateboarder collaborations – the Vans Era continues to sell in huge numbers to this day.

Louis Vuitton x Lucien Clarke

Louis Vuitton’s blockbuster Supreme collaboration in 2017 was the first time the luxury fashion house dabbled in anything related to skateboarding. The release played a significant role in driving LVMH revenues up by 13% that year, while also creating new eras of hype for each brand (according to Lyst, searches for Louis Vuitton rose by 75% and for Supreme by 89% in the month after its release). In 2020, under the creative directorship of the late Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton developed its skate focus and announced Lucien Clarke, a London-based skater for Palace, as its first ever pro skater. This coincided with a new signature shoe, showing how skateboarding was now taken seriously by the luxury fashion industry.

Blondey McCoy x Adidas

By the time Blondey McCoy released his first Adidas collaboration in 2019, he had already established himself as the poster boy of London’s skate scene. His rise as a skater began with Palace, with whom he was affiliated from his early teens until 2019. Blondey’s skateboarding career helped catapult him into a wide range of other roles. Today, he’s an artist who has worked with the likes of Gilbert & George and Damien Hirst; he also runs his own label, Thames, and is signed to Kate Moss’ modeling agency. Brand Blondey has proven immensely successful: his Instagram following has risen to over 300,000 and he has fronted campaigns for Berluti, Prada and Burberry.

Stefan Janoski x Nike

The success of Stefan Janoski’s long-running Nike collaboration lies in the fact that, for many people, the shoe is better known than the skater. The first Janoski launched in 2009, becoming the first ever Nike skate silhouette designed from scratch. Known for its simple design, the Janoski has become a global hit on and off the board since its launch. In the 15 years since Stefan Janoski’s first shoe was launched, Nike has released more than 1,500 different variations of the Janoski and the silhouette has been the subject of collaborations with Fragment Design, Geoff McFetridge and more. It is now estimated that the Janoski has become one of Nike’s top 100 selling shoes (the only skateboarding shoe in the mix), with some models now selling for three times their original price.

Rob Dyrdek x DC

Rob Dyrdek’s long running skateboarding career – he gained his first sponsorship aged 11, before turning pro at 16 – has been the foundation of multidisciplinary success. A key part of his evolution is his work with DC shoes, which ran from 1995 until 2016, and saw Rob release 29 signature models. His relationship with the company went much further – at one point he had design input on more than a third of the company’s entire footwear output. Eventually, Rob negotiated a royalty deal for every release he played a role in, taking a slight cut of the majority of pairs that DC sold. Speaking in 2021, Rob attributed his post-skateboarding success entirely to his work with DC. His net worth, drawn from his skateboarding, television and investment careers, is estimated at north of $100 million. 

Mark Gonzales x Supreme

Mark Gonzales is one the most influential skaters of all time and used this legacy, and his long-time work with New York’s Supreme, to pivot into an art career. In many ways, his collaborations with the likes of Supreme, Adidas and Retrosuperfuture act as the platform for his artistic work. Much of his output features his ‘Schmoo’ motif and he’s participated in exhibitions across the world while his paintings, sculptures and, obviously, skateboards sell for thousands of dollars.

Cara-Beth Burnside x Vans

Women’s skateboarding has been often overlooked, and the first signature shoe for a female skater only arrived in 1994. That skater was Cara-Beth Burnside, who was also the first woman to appear on the cover of Thrasher a decade earlier. Her work with Vans was a landmark moment for skateboarding as a sport, and it paid dividends for Burnside and Vans. By the turn of the millennium, the Vans CB, as it was dubbed, was selling more than 150,000 units annually. As well as the income and prominence that working with Vans gave her, it also provided a platform for her to lead the charge for women’s involvement in skateboarding, culminating in the launch of the Action Sports Alliance in 2005 and, eventually, equal pay for champions at the X Games.

Sal Barbier x Off-White

It was Virgil Abloh who recruited Lucien Clarke to Louis Vuitton and it was the same designer who brought legendary skater Sal Barbier to Off-White. The collaboration, which was released after Virgil’s death, built on Sal’s long-standing design career, including his early 1990s Etnies collaboration which was described by The Berrics as ‘one of the most iconic skate shoes of all time’. The 1980s-inspired collection with Off-White reinforced skateboarding’s new luxury appeal, as well as Sal’s own evolution from streetskate innovator to respected designer. The collaboration also introduced Sal’s company – SL Barbier – to a new audience for its skateboards and limited-edition designs.

Alexis Sablone x Converse

While Cara-Beth Burnside was the first female skater to get her own shoe, it wasn’t until the late 2010s that more followed. Only the third to have a signature release, Alexis Sablone joined team Converse in 2019 and released her One Star Pro later that year. Her signature shoe came 22 years after she had started skateboarding and coincided with skateboarding’s inclusion at the 2020 Olympic Games (Alexis was on the US street team). The Olympics helped to increase visibility of women in skateboarding, with 40% of new skateboarders now women. Alexis’s rise also personifies the change. In her early career, prize money – including three X-Games gold medals – was used to fund her MIT architecture degree. Now, Sablone is a professional skateboarder, an Olympian and a Converse collaborator.

Yuto Horigome x Seiko

As well as the crossover with luxury fashion, skateboarders are beginning to flex their muscles in the watch industry, including Japanese prodigy Yuto Horigome. Perhaps best known for being the first person to ever win an Olympic gold in skateboarding, Yuto has been working with Seiko since 2021. At 24, the Tokyo-born skater is on the cusp of global stardom. With a highly-anticipated Nike SB collaboration on the way, an Instagram following that has surpassed 2 million and almost 30 million views on TikTok, Yuto is the poster boy for a new era of skateboarding.

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