Nike SB: You’re a recent transplant to LA. How is that going?
Grant Taylor: It’s going good! Loving the weather here.
SB: How long have you been there?
GT: It’ll be a year in June.
SB: Nice! What prompted the move?
GT: We’ve got some pretty good friends that live here, and everytime we would come visit we’d get the itch and they’d go, “You could make it happen!” You know, hyping us up like that.
So, shortly after we had Coco, we decided to try it out. We rented a place for a year and liked it enough that we decided to stay a bit longer and got a house here.
SB: Did you just buy the house?
GT: Yeah, a couple months ago in Silver Lake.
SB: But before that you were in Georgia ever since you were a kid, right?
GT: Yeah, my wife and I are both from Atlanta and lived there our whole lives. It was exciting to try something new and move somewhere else.
SB: Has it been a trip to be away from everything familiar in Atlanta?
GT: Yeah, it was funny at first just getting a feel for things. But like I said, we’ve got a good group of friends out here and they’ll steer you in the right direction if you need something done or a place to go get your haircut or whatever. You just ask around and try new shit!
SB: That’s kinda the fun of moving somewhere new, right?
GT: Exactly. I definitely don’t miss living right next door to my dad!
SB: Speaking of your dad, now you’re a dad yourself. How old is Coco?
GT: She’s 14 months. The year flew by. Well, it did and it didn’t. It’s crazy. She’s awesome.
SB: I know your dad was pretty influential when it came to you and your relationship to skating. Are you thinking about that with regard to Coco? Are you going to get her on a skateboard?
GT: Yeah! We already have a little bit in the alley. She just kind of gets on her knees and I give her some pushes and she hangs on tight. She really enjoys it.
SB: She’s a natural?
GT: Yeah! I got her a board, actually. Every time I come home from skating, she always wants to grab my board. I’m always like, “Nah, it’s hella dirty!” So I set her up a house board that’s all new and clean -- no grip tape or anything -- so she can ride that in the house. Or try to anyway!
That’s how I grew up with it. Tons of boards around the house. They were just there if you wanted to have a cruise or whatever. So I feel like that’s how I want to be with her. If she wants to go skate, we’ll go skate. But not pressuring her or anything.
I think I was overly amped on skateboarding when I was a kid. Couldn’t get enough of it. So that definitely had something to do with my drive as a kid to be on the board all day. So, we’ll see where she wants to be with it. If she wants to go to the skate park and all that, let’s do it!
SB: For sure. It’s cool to have the option there and also that family tradition is pretty rad, to have a third generation of skateboarders.
GT: Yeah, I hadn’t even thought about her skating with her grandpa. That would be insane! Not many kids are skating with their grandparents.
SB: Not many at all! That’s super wild. She’ll also be part of the SB legacy! You’ve been on the team for a long time, right?
GT: Yeah, SB is coming up on their 20 year anniversary, right?
SB: Yeah, in 2022.
GT: I started riding for SB pretty early on. So it’s been like, what, 16 years of riding Nike?
SB: Was the Blazer the first shoe that you really got into from SB?
GT: In the early, early days, I think it was mostly just Dunks. I got “Best Dressed” in 7th grade. Had all the flyest Dunks! I had all the crazy shoes that people are spending thousands of dollars on now. Obviously, they’re all skated and long gone now.
After that, I got really hyped on the Bruins and the Janoskis.
SB: So, did you skate the Blazer much before you had a signature version of it?
GT: No, but they didn’t really have a Blazer Low. They had the Blazer High and I wore the fuck out of those, but the old Blazer Low was this weird design--super puffy tongue, really short toe, it was gnarly.
Their whole idea was that they wanted to bring back the Blazer Low with some of my input. It was a return of the Blazer Low and a way for me to put some spice on it and make it rad.
SB: What was the initial process like when you were working with SB on designing the Blazer GT?
GT: It was crazy. They pitched the idea to me, to give them my thoughts on the updated Blazer, and I was like, “Hell yeah!” So I was very involved in the slimmed down version of what the old one was. I told them that I liked the last of the Bruin, so they took that and pieced together what became the GT Blazer.
I remember adding the elastic strap that connects to the tongue and keeps your foot tight in the shoe. That was one of my favorite features because if your laces start blowing out, your shoe’s not going to go flying off, so that was crucial.
Also there are five stars on the shoe -- two on the outside and three on the inside. That represents Little Five Points in Atlanta which is the neighborhood I’m from and where my dad’s skate shop, Stratosphere, is.
SB: Tight. So that was in 2014. Now, six years later, you’ve got the Pro update to the Blazer GT. Let’s talk features. I know the high tape has been big news for a lot of shoes. Was that something you requested?
GT: Honestly, I’ve been requesting it for a long time now. That was one of the only things about the shoe that I really felt could use a change. It can sometimes be really thin up by the toe, especially when you start wearing the shoe down. So way before high tape shoes were on the market, I was asking for it. So when they approached with the new outsole on the shoe I was like, “Holy shit, this is what I’ve been dreaming of!” It definitely adds a lot of durability to the shoe.
SB: Have you put some pairs through their paces already?
GT: Yeah, I really like them. I got these green and white Lows that I’ve been skating. It came together pretty good.
SB: What other features did you add to the Pro?
GT: We did a heavy canvas in the back with suede up front. I really like the association of heavy duty materials like that canvas on the shoe. It does really well. It’s cool to have two materials on there from the get go so we can mess around with them. Things like leather in the back or all suede keep the door open on all the materials that Nike has to offer. Not to mention, at some point, you could also mess around with colors which would be pretty badass.
Speaking of colors, tell us about the stripes on the insole.
I was thinking about how you’ve got your El Camino or your Chevelle, which is the regular Blazer. So the Pro, the updated version, is kinda like the Super Sport. A pro version of what’s already on the market. I’m a big fan of El Caminos in general, so I was getting inspiration from the Super Sport logo and thought it looked pretty rad. It’s the Pro model -- it’s got a little more beef, a little more muscle.
SB: Do you have an El Camino?
GT: I don’t. I’ve been wanting to get one though! Might have to sell the bus and get an El Camino. My wife wants me to get rid of that thing so bad -- it’s just sitting around in Atlanta.
An El Camino would be a pretty “LA” kind of ride.
Yeah, I bet there are some good ones out here. California vintage cars are usually so clean. I gotta get on the market and get one to match the shoe. I sent in the colors for the shoe and even those were from an El Camino I really liked and I was just like, “Does this mean I need to buy an El Camino now?”
SB: I think it does! You gotta get one.
GT: Might have to.
SB: So I heard you were skating a pool tomorrow?
GT: Yeah, I’m gonna go out and try my luck again at this pool. It’s a new pool so you kinda have to just check it out and get used to it. Then by the time you’ve got your bearings you’re just getting cooked in the sun and don’t have enough energy to complete the mission. Hopefully tomorrow we can get out there and get it done.
SB: How’s lockdown been treating you?
GT: Pretty good. We got the new house so we’ve been super focused on moving and getting settled in. We moved in March, around the whole time it was getting crazy. Plus we’re just trying to keep Coco busy. She’s all crazy and running around now.
SB: Are you able to keep up with her?
GT: Yeah, she’s fast, but I’m faster.
SB: How’s the house, any big remodels you have to do?
GT: We tried our luck at painting a little bit, but other than that, it was all good to go. I feel like everyone’s doing house projects now though. All the stuff you’ve been putting off...time to take a swing at it.
SB: Absolutely. What’s up next for you once it’s over and we can get back out of lockdown?
GT: Well, hopefully we can get the van back fired up. I know Scuba’s itching to get back out there, so I’d love to get the crew and the van and hit the road!
The updated Blazer Pro GT adds a bunch of improvements crafted with Grant himself to make his signature version of the classic SB Blazer even tougher.