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About the Skytop V

Interview with Supra’s head designer Adam Contreras

10 years after launching the first edition of this eccentric but pretty rad Chad Muska signature model, Supra now dropped the Skytop V. To introduce their latest footwear statement, the Hollywood-based brand sent the Skytops head designer Adam Contreras to Berlin. We attended, we asked, we listened. And partied pretty hard afterwards…

How did you become a shoe designer anyway?

I actually started packing boxes for 413, Angel´s [Cabada, founder of Supra] store in Hollywood. That turned out to be pretty boring soon obviously so I asked him if I couldn’t do anything more exciting. So I started to do colorways for certain Supra models and Josh Brubaker, Supra’s head designer back then, took me under his wing and really taught me everything. At the end I was lucky enough to make my way up.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

From other aspects of life basically. For some, shoes are everything for their entire life. It’s also my life, because that’s what I do everyday to make a living. But I don’t feel inspriered by other shoes that are already there. I like to take my inspiration from completely different objects that have actually nothing to do with it; from, let’s say a chair. I ask myself how can I reincorporate that specific design into a shoe. I bascially pick put ideas from everydays life things around. E.g. the new designs I’m doing right now are inspired by architecture from India. Everything’s there is a little exaggerated, I guess. Columns, even railings, e.g. To me it’s all filled with depth. That’s why shoes I design sometimes have four different layers.

"I’m totally aware of the fact that a lot of skaters will talk shit about this shoe. At least, that way saying that you can’t skate it. But as I said: You can."

Talking about the Skytop V, where did the ideas for that model came from?

The Skytop V was the first version I had my hands on and the first shoe I worked on together with Chad. And when we first started it was very running inspired. The more we got into it we were aware of the fact that we needed to make it skatable. So it’s basically coated mesh consisting of multiple layers, which means that it’s strong and you can definitely skate it. It might not look like you can, but – you can!

Where’s the impact of Chad here?

This just in: It’s very easy to work with Chad. We get along super well! It kinda happened that we both wrote on the same page. He really wanted a neoprene body. So we started building layers around it, as far as protection goes and the fact that it needs to be skatable. He knows about certain elements he wants on the shoe and my job is to help him realize how that's possible.

It was the first Skytop you were working on, so how did you feel about it as the design couldn’t be completely all yours?

There are definitely certain lines that are recognizable. So the challenge obviously was to take on an evolution. So I took a look at all the former elements of the previous Skytop versions and asked myself, how they might look like in the year 2020? So I just tried to go as far as possible – which will make my job really hard for the Skytop VI. [laughs]

What are your personal favorites anyway when it comes to shoes?

Good question,honestly, I like cleaner styles more. Still I kinda designed this shoe, so I obviously like it, too. And seriously? By the moment I put it on, it was different. No joke. Apart from that, change is always hard. And I’m totally aware of the fact that a lot of skaters will talk shit about this shoe. At least, that way saying that you can’t skate it. But as I said: You can. But that’s what the Skytop actually always wanted. Everyone thought it was crazy at first. But after a while it gets adapted, probably not the norm, but in a few years there’s gonna be some other crazy shit which will make this look more adaptable.

Like Airwalk back in the days, the D3 of Osiris..?

It’s a good point you brought up, as Chad also wanted to adopt elements of his former signature models from C1rca, or éS like these rubber pieces and all this crazy stuff and trying to refine them a little more.

Do you have any ideas for the Skytop VI?

For sure!

Do you have a hint for us?

Na, I can’t do that! [laughs] But there’s always a lot of conversation first. You won’t just start to draw straight away. And yeah, obviously Chad also comes up wth sketches that I later curate somehow. So we basically throw things back and forth.

We just mentioned that people might argue that the Skytop ain’t a shoe to skate in. What’d you reply?

Just try it.

But you have to put a certain amount of money in your hand first…

That’s true obviously. When you get a new pair of shoes you always have to break them in. There’s this kind of middle ground – not brand new, and not worn out. The perfect kinda time for the shoes. What people said though when they first tested those [Skytop V] right out of the box, that they were already in that middle ground, which was nice to hear. Still I know that it might be a tough shoe to just try. But I assure that a lot went into it to make it skatable. When you’re a kid you skate everyday and your shoes blow out easy. We took a lot to make sure that it’ll last a longer period. It’s value for your money, I guess.

What about the cushion?

Seriously Chad doesn’t go back to other shoes. This is what he wears. So that is kinda the evolution of the Skytop we were looking for. Even Lizard King is down. Especially as he’s one of those dudes actually wearing „normal“ shit. He once came to the office, tried them on and was like: „Holy shit, I’m walking on clouds!“ I guess that the Skytop V really took all aspects of all the former ones: Comfort, durability, look – everything.

Board feel?

It’s thin, and board feel was something Chad really wanted. So I assume we came up with a perfect balance of cushion and board feel. The final goal of the project for Chad and me was to create a futuristic appearing, good looking shoe that you can skate in.

Thank you very much for your time, Adam.

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