10 YEARS OF JANOSKI’S

In one decade the Nike SB Janoski’s has gone from being an oddity just for skaters to becoming a classic. A sneaker that has taken the name of Stefan Janoski to a place that nobody expected.

Stan Smith, Chuck Taylor, Fred Perry or  Jack Purcell have something in common. The items created with their names have managed to have more repercussion than themselves. Does anyone know how many tournaments Stan Smith or Fred Perry won? Is it necessary to play badminton to own a pair of Jack Purcell’s? The latest big name to have been outshined by their own creation could also be the most creative and interdisciplinary out of all of them, Stefan Janoski.

Although originally his fame came from skate, that is only one of the tabs from his vital archive in which sculpture, painting, literature music or video animation appear. In 2009 Nike’s skate division only had a sneaker named after a person, the Paul Rodriguez’s, that had special editions with Futura or Jordan. And just in the opposite side were the Janoski’s, with a very different style, and a name that was barely even well-known by the greater public, with a concept of a skate that was closer to art. When a team of Nike designers approached Stefan Janoski to ask how his sneakers would look like, they knew they had to make something different.

In a moment in time in which skate sneakers searched for protection, Nike SB was surprised by Janoski’s petition, he wanted something that wouldn’t get in between the skate and the foot, avoiding any kind of technological pretension. When it came to the style, he was looking for something closer to a deck shoe in which you could skate in. In the ’90s, the skate sneakers’ technological fight reached a point in which it was usual to carry your sneakers in your backpack to wear after skating. Janoski wanted the complete opposite, something which you could skate in and have a drink later.

What looked like an easy job became a whole developmental process which would manage to double the time of that of a usual sneaker. Behind the apparent simplicity, the designer James Arizumi had to hide technology which would allow it to, for example, be worn without socks, just as Stefan would do. The sole changed with every prototype developed, with a vulcanised cupsole, the cushioning had to be hidden underneath the insole. To give it more structure, the side panels reached the sole, which was moulded to place the foot even closer to the skate. The pretension of creating a model with visible technology meant that innovations had to be developed in the process of making the sneaker.

Stefan Janoski’s Nike Zoom reached the stores just in a precise moment, just in time to be accepted only by a few people, starting a trend. A couple of years later, when the livelihood of the sneaker was supposed to be over, the true explosion of the Janoski’s started. Limited editions in skate stores, art galleries, artists like Michael Lau or Geoff McFetridge and even the godfather of streetwear himself, Hiroshi Fujiwara. Newer versions, high-top’s, with velcro, slip-on’s, air max, lunarlon or hyperfeel until reaching 200 different types.

The Nike Zoom Janoski celebrate its tenth anniversary by becoming a classic.