An argument that I have heard for many years now is that Nike SB has fallen from grace. Supposedly the sneakers lack creativity and are over exposed. While I somewhat agree that the line is now over exposed, I strongly disagree that they lack creativity. I believe the line is just as creative now as it was when it first started. In fact I find the most creative have come from recent releases in blue and gold boxes. The best example of this is the Nike SB Skunks.
The first time I saw pictures of these online my mind was blown. First off, because of the subject matter, i.e. marijuana. I’m not going to delve into a discussion of whether or not Nike should be marketing products that condone drug use, but I will say that I’m glad they weren’t afraid to release such a controversial shoe. It gives Nike some street cred in my opinion, something that it failed previously by not releasing the Freddy’s or Heaven’s Gate (inspired by the Windrunner’s). This is what I like about the SB line, that it allows Nike to release sneakers in limited numbers without having to take a hit in case they don’t sell well. Not fearing poor sales numbers, they can be as creative and daring as they want with their releases.
The Skunks were created by Todd Bratrud, an artist who has worked with Nike SB before on such releases as the Send Help’s, Brain Wreck’s, Cigar’s, and Cheech and Chong’s (among others). I am a huge fan of his work, and I especially love the illustration he did on the insole (a skunk that is wasted). The sneaker uses suede, and has been treated so that the suede seems beat-up to create an effect of a dried cannabis flower (trichome, i.e. hairs). All this detail into this sneaker really takes it to a whole new level for sneaker design.
Other features worth mentioning about the Skunks are the hidden pockets in the inside of the tongue (which I assume are for holding your change? lol), and the colour combinations. The placement of colours really exemplifies Todd’s artistic eye for colour placements. It’s one of the reasons why I can look at this sneaker for hours and still be blown away with how awesome it looks. I’m definitely happy that I own this sneaker, and I hope to see more releases from Todd in the future.