5 Sneakers That Defined Early-2000s Skateboarding
The imminent release of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 has hit us with a welcome wave of nostalgia. For many, the early 2000s gave birth to our love of skateboarding and, in many cases, sneakers. An era of tiny wheels and ginormous shoes, 2000–05 is a cherished period for skaters and sneakerheads alike. The seed was planted for the rise of the Nike SB juggernaut, while other brands – some flourishing, others forgotten – also introduced a new wave of inventive and influential footwear to the sneakersphere.
Bust out your baggiest denim! Here’s a look back at the storied sneakers that defined early-2000s skateboarding.
Globe began shaking up the skate industry in the late-90s, thanks largely to signing the legendary Rodney Mullen. While Mullen was undoubtedly the biggest name on the Globe team, it was fellow pro Chet Thomas that can lay claim to being the headliner when it came to the signature sneakers.
The initial Chet Thomas ‘CT’ signatures attracted plenty of attention, but as Roman numerals ascended, so did the size. In 2000, the chunk-a-fied CT-IV took collar padding and all-around bulk to never-before-seen levels in the Globe lineup - and skaters couldn’t get enough of it. The no-tongue neoprene sockliner and Nitrocel 4 sole with PU air combined to deliver one of the most comfortable skate shoes on the market – definitely not the lightest, though! Not that anyone cared during the time.
DC Shoes Stevie Williams Pro
Stevie Williams’ move to DC Shoes in 2000 was big news, and his first signature with the brand remains one of the best-selling skate shoes ever. Sure, it packed all the standard oversized features, but it also brought to the market a basketball/90s hip hop inspiration, which was decidedly lacking at the time.
DC were a force during the period, with the uber-popular Kalis OG also dropping around the same time. However, the distinctive Allen-Iverson-inspired aesthetic that Stevie delivered was the stuff of legend.
Vans Rowley Pro
It wasn’t all about the chunk, with Geoff Rowley’s famed Vans signature a bona fide skatepark staple during the early-2000s. Despite releasing in 1999, the Rowley Pro remained a go-to for skaters throughout the era, especially for those that preferred the slimmer profile and, of course, the classic Vans waffle sole feel.
‘It skated better than anything out there at that time,’ says Rowley, who’s still going over 20 years on.
‘I could feel the difference! I skated better and progressed a lot during that period in my career. That process also gave me the confidence in my heart to push for the right product. I did, Vans listened, and it worked.’
You can’t reminisce on early-2000s skate shoes without mentioning the Osiris D3. The 2001 version encapsulates everything great and gaudy about the era, with more airbags than most automobiles, in-your-face reflective and technical materials, ‘ollie-proof’ reinforcements, and gargantuan lace loops.
The ‘dad shoe’ mania that recently swept the sneakersphere brought the silhouette back into the limelight, albeit briefly. However, the silhouette doesn’t need hype to justify its cult status – just ask Fred Durst…
Nike SB Dunk Low
No one could’ve predicted the way Nike Skateboarding would transcend the skate scene to shape contemporary sneaker culture as we know it. SB’s rise under the late Sandy Bodecker started back in 2001, powered by an OG rider team of Gino Iannucci, Richard Mulder, Reese Forbes and Danny Supa.
The quartet were skater’s skaters, with personalities and styles that resonated with those at skateboarding’s core. For the launch of the SB Dunk Low Pro in 2002, they all received their own colourway, with the ‘Colors By’ series planting the seed for Nike SB’s ascension to the zenith of skateboarding and sneaker culture.
With Zoom technology, revamped sole and laces and, of course, the puffy tongue, the SB Dunk Low Pro remains a favourite among skaters today – the ones who manage to get a pair anyways.
Want to further embrace the grind? Check out our deep dive into skate shoe technology.