Kader Sylla Is adidas Skateboarding's Next Superstar
At only 19 years old, pro skater Kader Sylla has already risen to the top of the skate world's food chain. Since turning pro for Andrew Reynolds' Baker Skateboards at 16, Sylla has garnered a wealth of sponsorships from Supreme to Spitfire and Stance, dropped hammers in memorable video parts – Baker 4 and Candyland come to mind – and, at the tail end of 2020, he became a member of the adidas Skateboarding team. Sylla recently added another feather to his cap when his first adidas signature colourway, the Superstar ADV Kader, was released, and he sat down with SF to talk about what he looks for from a skate shoe, his adidas Skateboarding teammates and more!
What’s your personal history with the Superstar?
The first time I ever wore a pair was in late 2020 just, before I officially got on the adidas Skateboarding team. When I was younger I’d play soccer almost every day after school, and back then I had a pair of Sambas that I used for both skating and soccer. Since those were perfect for both activities, I didn’t have a reason to try another adidas shoe – so I didn't really get put on to the Superstar until recently!
Having your own signature colourway at 19, when most people haven’t even really started their career (whatever they’re doing) yet is wild! How does that feel?
Insane, man. I’ve always dreamt of getting a pro model colourway of any kind and for it to be with adidas Skateboarding makes me extremely excited for my future.
Have you gotten used to having your name on the side of your shoes, or is it still surreal?
100% still surreal.
Tyshawn Jones, your friend and adidas Skateboarding/Supreme teammate has his own signature model. Did you talk to him through the process of working on your signature Superstar colorway, or draw any inspiration from his journey?
Not really, to be honest. I tried to see if I could [design my shoe] on my own because I like being creative and working directly with the designers. Tyshawn definitely inspires me to try and create as many shoes as I can though!
What do you look for from a skate shoe performance-wise, and how does the Superstar fulfil those needs?
First and foremost, board control is one of the most important features of a skate shoe. Preferably, it can be a feature on a shoe with a sleek, not-too-bulky design. Second, a good toe cap is key. I feel like I haven't missed my flick since I started skating in Superstars, so that's definitely a plus.
How important is it for your signature colourway to strike a balance between performance and looks?
That balance was my number one priority with this shoe. If I'm not riding in something that looks as good as it feels then I don’t really feel comfortable, literally or figuratively.
What was the most enjoyable part of the design process, and what's your favourite feature on your signature Superstar colourway?
The best part of designing the shoe was knowing that I’m going to have a pro model shoe with one of the most influential sneaker companies out there – and that'll always be in my portfolio of accomplishments.
What’s the best thing about being a part of team adidas?
From what I’ve seen and the people I’ve been with this year, I couldn’t really see myself being happier with the choice I made to join the adidas Skateboarding team. They really treat me like a family, from flying my friends and me out of the country to letting me come to the HQ and being so involved with the designers. I couldn’t ask for more and I thank everyone at adidas and on the skate team for backing me!