Just like Shane, his signature shoe brings together a low-key attitude and an almost obsessive eye for detail into something unexpected. We caught up with Shane recently to talk about the process of designing his shoe and how it feels to finally see your homies rocking it in the real world.
Nike SB: The Shane is all about simplicity. What is it about a simple-looking shoe that appeals to you both from a style and a skate perspective?
Shane O'Neill: The details of this shoe are what I’m most excited about. We were able to include everything needed in a skate shoe, while maintaining a simplistic look which appeals to me because I’ve always liked shoes that are simple with strong details that allow a lot to be done with them.
SB: How did the design process get started?
SO: The process started by identifying everything I believe is needed in a skate shoe. From the bottom of the sole to the height of the heel and every little detail in between. Once we’d figured out exactly what was going in the shoe for skating we then worked on the overall look and feel of the shoe.
SB: What were your main inspirations from a visual style perspective?
SO: David (Nickless, Nike SB shoe designer) did an incredible job at bringing my vision to life. He knew the importance of both the look and the feel of the shoe. From a visual perspective, my goal was to create a shoe that looks good with all types of clothing/colors/materials and sizes etc while maintaining amazing board feel and grip for skating.
SB: Talk to us about the fit of the shoe, what were some of your goals when it came to the fit of the Shane?
SO: With the fit, we used certain tongue straps to make them feel comfortable but not tight when you put them on even before lacing them up, I personally like when you don’t have to crank your laces to the max to feel as though your foot is stable in the shoe. With these tongue straps and the lacing system, I believe we achieved that.
SB: What’s the tale of the tape? What inspired the extra tape thickness, depth and structure?
SO: The tape is just a little taller than the average vulcanized shoe, I chose to do this because it also makes your foot feel more stable on the ground or board. Also while skating them I’ve found it takes longer for your grip tape to start reaching the material on the shoe because of the higher taping which lengthens the structure and duration of the shoe.
SB: The alternate lacing looks really dope in both configurations. Tell us a little bit about how that came about?
SO: The ghillie lacing system makes the shoe feel so comfortable around the top of your foot and I’ve yet to rip any laces while skating them, haha, having the option to lace them in two different configurations allows the shoe to look different and be more customizable for whatever you prefer.
SB: How was coming up to the Nike campus in Portland to work with the designers? Was it a trip to be working on your own signature shoe?
SO: The day I came up and heard this was happening is still such a trip to me. The fact that Nike believes in what I do and have supported me throughout my career is more than I could ever ask for so for this to also happen is just unreal. The process has been such a great and fun process that I hope others get to experience in the future! I saw a friend the other day wearing the shoes and it was such a good feeling. It’s an achievement I never thought I’d be able to achieve and I hope that if people try the shoe that it feels and works for them the way it feels and works for me.
Rayssa Leal grew up watching bootlegs of Shane O’Neill’s breakthrough 2009 "Debacle" part. Fast forward to 2021, they're skating together on the world stage.
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