skateboarder na-kel smith has dropped his first signature colourway shoe with adidas
We caught up with the 22-year-old pro skater to talk about the adidas skate team, his favourite shoes and thoughts on posers.
At 22-years-old, adidas pro-skateboarder Na-Kel Smith is killing it. The rising skate talent has become a prominent figure across music, fashion and art contributing a major part to the brands recent full-length skate film Away Days and joining Earl Sweatshirt on tour as his hypeman. Now he's releasing a limited-edition signature colourway shoe with adidas. Inspired the classic 1975 Nizza, one of Na-Kel's first trainer obsessions, the Matchcourt Mid has been redesigned and engineered for skateboarding and features the iconic three stripes in shades of blue. We had a chat with Na-Kel about the adidas skate team, what kick-started his skate career and his thoughts on posers.
What's it like being part of the adidas skate team?
I've been with adidas just coming up to three years now. It feels like home, I'm really happy and proud to be part of the team. I like talking to design, choosing the colour way for the shoe and all that stuff was cool. I'm pretty tight with Tyshawn Jones who's also on the adidas team, he's like my little bro. Jake Donnelly too, I was skated for Real and Fucking Awesome before adidas. My first trip was with Jake, at the time he was like my big brother. He taught me the ropes.
How does it feel to have your first adidas collaboration?
It's life changing, amazing, a dream come true. If you think about every good word or phrase, something that's positive and exciting - that's how I feel about this.
How and when did you first start skating?
Oh man, I got my first skateboard when I was really really young. I started skating in elementary school, because I was getting the bus by myself. I used to skate all the time outside of my house, so my mum was always like "take your skateboard" so I could get around faster and avoid all the bullshit. It was just me and the skateboard on the road, wherever I wanted to get, no matter what.
What shoe were you obsessed with when you began skating?
I used to buy Nizzas' on eBay, they were the trainers which led to the Matchcourt shoe. The Gonz slip-on too.
What do you think about fashion and skateboarding in 2016? It seems like skate culture has become a thing of its own, do you get annoyed with posers?
Hell yeah, every day of my life. Everybody loves skateboarding, until somebody's skateboarding on their property, or making too much noise. Then it turns into "you can't play here, we're about to call the cops". They love the style but they don't love the lifestyle. It's hard. People can wear as many skate clothes as they want but they're not gonna be able to say they drove themselves crazy because of a skateboard. I drove myself crazy because of a skateboard. Period. There are certain ways that I think, that I do things, certain ways that I see a whole entire world that people don't see. I don't care how many extra large, oversized sweaters you wear, it's just not the same. It's cool that skateboard companies are making money though. Palace and Supreme are making money because of fashion. I'll always support them getting money, because it's a hard industry to make it in. Skateboarding wasn't cool at one point and now it's making its way up the ranks, but I don't care. If skating turned back into being trash, it's not going to stop me from skating.
You've been on tour with Earl Sweatshirt and popped up on a few Odd Future releases. Do you think skateboarding has influenced your interest in music?
A lot of people know me because I was around a skateboard. Skating pushes you in the world, its not like video games; you can't sit in the house and skate. You can't close yourself up and skate, I get to go outside and meet a lot of people. I want to start making music more frequently. I'm always chasing the dream. I like pushing myself in everything and trying to do things to the best that I can.
What advice would you give to young skaters?
Just keep skating, don't worry about all the other shit. Keep doing you and being the person that you are, whether that's good or bad, honestly. Don't let anybody steer you off your path, if you know what you want to do, just do it and do it with your whole heart and soul. Don't listen to anybody, there are times when you don't even believe in yourself but you know that deep down, it's going to work. Follow your gut feeling, believe in yourself and make your talent undeniable to the people that don't care. People don't care unless you make them care.
The Na-kel Smith Matchcourt Mid is available online and from select retailers starting 1 July.
Text Lula Ososki