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On The Bookshelf: Made For Skate

Rowley XLT, Koston 4, TNT, Chief, Reynolds 3, DVS CT, the list goes on and on. Well, what probably sounds like a lot of gibberish to some is only a small fraction of the compadres that kept my feet safe day in day out on my trips down the city streets and to the local park, joined me jumping down stairs and handrails or enduring pool and miniramp sessions since I started skateboarding back in ‘01. It’s hard to describe why I still remember this so vividly, but let’s put it this way: My weapons of choice – the piles of broken wood and the mass of shredded footwear – had as much of a story to tell as it might’ve been this soft toy from your early childhood, the first football jersey that made its way under the Christmas tree or even the first band shirt you bought ages ago. There is an emotional value, a form of identification and dissociation that so often goes without saying.

‘The worn down soles, the frazzled laces. You made eye contact and exchanged a knowing nod or a quick what’s up. A little Fight Club moment at the corner store. You knew right away you were into the same thing, sharing the same daydreams of spots and tricks, the same victories and agonising defeats. You knew all that, just by looking at someone else’s feet.’  Dirk Vogel

And as much as the colourful graphic designs of skateboards developed as an art form that’s been constantly refined in the past 40-odd years, so does the evolution of skate apparel – particularly shoe design – hold a similar nostalgic appeal to people brought up with the subculture. A beautiful coffee-table book that offers a fascinating glimpse at the rich history of skate footwear is the hefty 400-page photography tome ‘Made For Skate’ and recently made its way into to my collection of print goodness.

Published by FauxAmi exhibitions, the former Skateboard Museum Stuttgart and Gingko Press back in 2009, the book’s designed in a chronological order and bristles with old ads, skate footage and tour snaps that recounts the rapid commercial development of an industry striving for innovation. From the simple styles of Airwalk, Vision and Vans, Wilson’s hilariously brief leap from tennis to skate shoes up to the times when vulcanized soles, air systems, shoe-goo and triple stitched toe pads became the new normal. You name it, it’s all in there.

Get your hands on it over here.

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