Exclusive Interview: Breaking Down Lucas Puig’s Latest Signature Model
The archduke of French skating, Lucas Puig, is equal parts technique and class! So, it should be no surprise that his third signature model for adidas Skateboarding mirrors that high quality. To herald the esteemed skater’s near-decade dominance with the brand, a joint endeavour between adidas Skateboarding, Palace Skateboards, and Lucas dropped back in May.
Now, his most considered and skate-ready silhouette to-date is ready to be shared with the wider skate community, sans (most of) the Palace branding. Drawing reference from adidas’ terrace culture, and luxury fashion, this signature is the embodiment of elegance. Prominent features include plush gold branding, contrasting waved detailing on the tread, rich nubuck, and a high-grade EVA midsole.
While it also comes equipped with a moulded adiprene sockliner and rugged adituff toe box, it’s hard to look past the Palace signature P logo that’s been plastered all over the tongue! Elsewhere, the aggressive tooling on the heel, from a distance, resembles a Tri-Ferg!
To accompany this Saturday’s release, we grabbed some time with the individuals that helped to bring this vision to life: Lucas Puig, Lev Tanju from Palace Skateboards, and Scott Johnston, the Senior Footwear Design Director at adidas Skateboarding.
Chaperoning the release is a three-minute skate clip filmed in Puig’s hometown of Biarritz, France. According to the adidas skate team, Puig took just 10 days to film the part.
Real Skaters Know
Lucas understood exactly what he needed under his feet for his Switch Backside Tailslides. He said, ‘Skate shoes get used up so fast! Especially if you’re skating every day. At the same time, I don’t want to skate something like the D3, because I don’t have any board feeling! For me, that’s what it’s all about. It needs to be grippy and durable, because I flip my board... a lot! We were heavily inspired by fashion sneakers and other skate classics. Ultimately, I just want to make the best shoe to skate in’.
Considering the tight comradery within the skate community, Lucas was more hyped than anyone to see other skaters and friends wear-testing his product. He said, ‘It’s always so cool to see your favourite skaters repping your shoe! I’ve already seen some of the adidas team like Felipe, Miles and Lil dre... it’s so good to see how the shoe can function. I can’t wait to see the Gonz skating them. He’s the baddest!’
The PUIG was built for any skater, but Lucas left us with one final note: ‘As long as you’re not a racist, you can wear it!’
The Palace Influence with Lev Tanju
Despite the PUIG already receiving its inaugural release via the Palace doors, Lev Tanju and Gareth Skewis were entangled in the entire process. Was it a happy coincidence that the heel tooling resembles a Tri-Ferg, or was the PUIG developed with a specific nod to the brand? We’ll let Lev explain.
‘It’s the first time we have ever done something like this. We wanted to make an iconic shoe. It needed to be super Puig and super Palace. Scott Johnston was great to work with, and merged all of our visions with his creative talents. I really like that you can tell what they are from far away. That was in my head the whole time we were working on them.’
No Chunk Zone
According to Lev, ‘It’s really interesting hearing someone that is that good at skating, explaining what they want out of a shoe. I’m sure Lucas can sellotape two baguettes to his feet and still skate better than most people, but it was really important to Gareth and I, that what he needed in a shoe was what he got. It was the most important detail. I feel like pro skaters shoes sometimes get a bit Dave Mayhew, and you just get what’s on the table from the design team. Which is fair enough! They are the design team. Most skaters would shit their pants to have a shoe sell like Dave’s. But I suppose having the relationship with skaters and communication makes things more special, real and honest. The shoe’s last shape seemed to be the big thing for Lucas, and he was just super amped on it, so we kind of worked around that.’
Third Time’s The Charm
Construction-wise, the PUIG is vastly superior to his first two signatures. Why was a cupsole super appealing to Puig’s skating? And how would this affect the board feel? And what about that lacing system – in particular, the metal eyelets and protected rope laces? It’s pretty rare to have a highly functioning rope lace set-up on a skate shoe. According to adidas Skateboarding’s Design Director, Scott Johnston, ‘The goal for PUIG was to create something functional for skateboarding, but also to incorporate Lucas’ personal style and aesthetic into the footwear. We’re really thankful to have partners that were all open to such an authentic and real-time design process. Some days we met in the office or cross-continent, and others, we simply shared feedback across a group chat. The work between the brand, Lucas, and Lev Tanju and Gareth Skewis from Palace, has been one of the most creative and honest partnerships to date.’
‘In the early stages, Lucas was wearing the Gonz Aloha Super and loving that board feel. So we started there and built up. We spent a great deal of time focusing on the outsole to build more than your average one-piece cupsole, but something that will come across almost high fashion meets terrace. At first, we considered the lacing system to be exclusive for the Palace version, thinking it was a bit fashion-forward for the regular skate shoe consumer. But in the sampling and testing process, we felt it was just too big a part of the design, and it skated so well. This shoe was built through the highest level of collaboration between all three parties: Lucas, adidas Skateboarding, and Palace. Gareth and Lev have so much love for Lucas, and branding PUIG with their logo was basically their respectful leave behind.’