Interview: Shane O’Neill’s Signature Shoe Is Just as Tech as He Is!
Throughout his career, many have said that Shane O’Neill is in a league of his own. And it turns out they were right! Shane is now the first Australian Nike athlete to have their name adorn signature Nike slips, which is an achievement that crowns 17 years of dedication to Nike SB. His signature shoe, aptly named ‘The Shane’, is a very skate-able alternative to the current skate offerings. It is simple, and simply beautiful.
A proud Melbournian, Shane decided to return to the land down under to host a celebration of the release and a new video part, The Extra Bit, filmed by Kevin Perez. To help him mark the occasion, his friends Sean Malto, Scuba Steve, Yuto Horigome, and more tagged along!
We sat down with the tech-wizard before the event to talk about the release of ‘The Shane’, its details, and the new video.
Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us. You’ve had an incredible career with Nike since 2003, and now you’re the first Australian Nike athlete to land your own shoe with the brand. Congratulations! How does that feel?
It’s insane! Definitely something I didn’t think would be possible. There’s been so many great athletes here, and a lot of superstars have come out of Australia. In skateboarding, it’s a dream that you hope to achieve if you’ve gone pro, sometimes even before. It’s an achievement that I’m super proud of.
How did this collaboration come about?
I had a signature Stefan Janoski in late 2017. After that, the opportunity came up. It was something that I was always trying to make happen with Nike.
Tonight we’re celebrating the launch of ‘The Shane’ and your video part The Extra Bit. How long were you working on the video?
I was filming for just over a year, but unfortunately had a few injuries last year so the majority of the video was filmed in the last four months. It’s the part of skating that I most enjoy. Getting to work with friends and work on videos to produce our own thing. Make it what we want it to be. So, I’m really excited for that to come out.
Growing up, I was doing a lot of videos. But then when I turned pro, I got the opportunity to go into Street League. If I hadn’t done well, I probably would’ve just stuck to filming parts, and probably wouldn’t be going in any big contests. But the format worked out in my favour, and it was just something that my type of skating suits.
How many versions of ‘The Shane’ did it take before you nailed it?
First, we just had to figure out what was needed for skating in the shoe, and then the look came after that. There were so many designs of what the shoe was going to look like. I can’t remember the exact amount, but it definitely took a little bit to land where it landed.
What design specifics of ‘The Shane’ are you really proud of?
For me, it’s about the simplicity of the shoe. It maintains everything that’s needed for skating. We figured out everything that was lacking in other skate shoes, like the height of the heel, the grippiness of the sole, and the tongue straps. Then tried our best to keep it looking as simplistic as possible.
‘The Shane’ has such a great price point. Was it important to have something attainable for a younger generation of skaters?
Yeah, because growing up it’s hard to be able to afford shoes. You’re skating on grip tape, its basically sandpaper, and ruins shoes quickly. I think shoes have been a little higher priced in more recent years, and I just wanted to have my shoe at a more affordable price point for someone that is looking to skate. Or someone that wants something to just chill in without having to drop a couple of hundred dollars. It was a big thing for me. I want people to be able to afford what they need to skate in.
We’ve heard you might’ve actually seen some kids skating in it?
Yeah. It’s only been out for a little bit, and at every park I’ve been to and all the spots in Australia there’s been kids that’ve had them on. Which is awesome.
You touched on filming with your friends. How important is it to share your journey with them?
For me, personally, it’s everything. I’ve been skating and filming with the same people my whole life. Just having that dynamic is what helps me enjoy everything that’s going on. Sometimes things get a little hectic. But to have friends to go on a trip with, or go filming, is what helps.
The SB community is one of the most passionate out there. What was their reaction?
It’s been quite good so far. There’s only been a few things before the video comes out tonight. It’s me skating in the shoe and really showing what the shoe does, I guess you could say. Their reception has been really positive towards me, and everything that I’ve been messaged has been positive.
How does it feel to go into 2020 skating your own shoe?
Yeah, it is obviously huge! It’s a popular sport right now. It’s getting bigger and bigger. And there are a lot more new fresh faces to skating. So, it’s cool to be able to start the year off having the shoe drop. With all the things that are going on, it’s pretty surreal.
Australian skateboarding seems to be in a really good place right now. Does it excite you to see more Aussies in the spotlight?
For sure, there’s a whole group of the Aussie SB kids, and they’re all insane! They were all in a video called Medley from Nike. There’s been a lot of great skaters coming out of Australia, but I’ve never seen a whole group of them quite like this. And they’re all the same age, and doing the same things. It’s all really cool, and it’s happening elsewhere too. It’s not just SB, there are a lot of great skaters coming out of Australia. That’s really cool to see that.
How do you see the skate industry evolving?
It’s evolving with the number of people that are getting into skating. Obviously there’s some big things happening, and it’s kind of changing and evolving in that way, but the base of the industry will stay the same. It’s up to people to use skating how they want. There’s so many different ways now. There’s Instagram influencers, skaters that are trying to become pro, and those that just skate for fun. With so many different people, and so many different opinions and goals, it’s always evolving. It’s really hard to say where it’s going to go.
If, for some reason, you’ve made it this far without watching Shane’s new part, The Extra Bit, we strongly suggest you scroll back to the top and press play!