Nike has officially unveiled its Olympic skate uniforms for the United States, France, and Brazil – and they're certainly catching some attention.
The footwear giant teamed up with ex-skateboarder and artist Piet Parra to deliver a colourful array of garments for both men and women ahead of the sport's Olympic debut this July. Piet's abstract approach is designed to pay homage to the individual styles and history of each country, while aiming to counteract the warm conditions expected in Tokyo this summer.
Sean Malto, who is in contention to represent the USA at the Games, was also directly consulted during the design process.
"Skating has been such an individual thing – it's all personal preference and your style, the clothing matches the style of your skating," Malto said of the uniform. "So having a uniform is different, but it's also cool, that it's now a bigger thing."
He's right, too. With a skateboarder's style so firmly rooted in what they wear, forcing specific apparel on the riders should make for some interesting scenes. Nyjah Huston rocking the same fit as Jamie Foy, for example, would be a sight to behold. While the designs themselves are head-turning to say the least – from the French jumpsuit to Brazil's skin-tight leggings – one particular comment from Nike seriously caught our eye.
The Swoosh is delivering footwear along with the uniforms. This was always expected, however it's been long believed that the skaters themselves could compete in whichever shoes they want. Jamie Foy, for example, would have no problem wearing his signature New Balance shoes when he's on the course – he'd just have to swap back into Nike once he's done.
Instead, it seems that the two Nike shoes in the uniform – the Bruin Zoom and Bruin React – have been designed for skateboarding.
"Obviously skaters like to feel their board, but there are some important pressure points in the arch of the foot where React will then perform," Nike said.
The shoes reportedly feature a suede upper part and a react foam sole covered in a zonal herringbone pattern to provide board traction – according to Nike, the footwear was made 'knowing athletes like to feel the board through their shoes while they move'.
What does this mean, then? We're not really sure. It sounds an awful lot like Nike is expecting the US, Brazilian and French Olympic skateboarding teams to wear Bruins during competition. I wonder how somebody like Felipe Gustavo, who skates for Adidas, feels about that one. We'll definitely be keeping a close eye on any developments there.
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