A Quest For Quality: Diamond Footwear Preview
After plunging the world into certified Dunk-mania with a splash of ‘Tiffany’ back in 2005, Diamond Supply Co. cemented its place in the SB history books. In 2010, with the sweet taste of rubber-soled success lingering, design maestro Juston Tucker was recruited into the Diamond empire to launch the brand’s own line of signature footwear. The Quest Mid is the latest step in the brand’s premium evolution, with a sleek lightweight upper housing a neoprene inner bootie – a consummate union of comfort and style. We caught up with Tucker to find out where Diamond's footwear is headed.
How did you get your start in footwear design?
I started working in marketing at DVS in 2005 with a bunch of my friends. In 2007, the footwear director, Kelley Kikuta, asked me to help with the colourways for some slippers. A few months later, he moved on to greater opportunities and the new design director, Aaron Hoover, offered me a full time job as the SMU footwear designer. The short answer though? Right time, right place. I am forever grateful for the opportunities they both gave me.
You’ve been working with Nicky Diamonds for a number of years now. How did that partnership begin?
I first met Nick around 2008 when we worked on a DVS x Diamond Supply collaboration together for skater Jeron Wilson’s signature shoe. Then in 2010, when DVS was doing Diamond footwear as a licensing deal, I was the senior designer on the project. Over the years Nick has entrusted me with pretty much complete creative control over the footwear. But still to this day, I think the projects we work hand-in-hand on are the best ones.
The Quest Mid is a big change-up from the days of the ‘Tiffany’ Dunk SB. It’s the sort of shoe that wouldn’t look out of place on the streets – or cruising on a luxury yacht. What influenced the styling?
That’s a pretty amazing observation. [Laughs] I really wanted to create something original and different, something that would put our stamp on the footwear market. From the unique height, to the neoprene inner bootie and the engineered perforations on the toe and quarter, the Quest Mid is a true hybrid.
The quality of leather on the woven leather Quest Mid is seriously top shelf. Nice job.
We originally had designed the shoe with perforated suede in mind, but while in China sourcing materials at the market, I found this vender that had all sorts of woven leathers. I worked with them to achieve this native-inspired woven ‘sheep skin’ leather. The engineered perf Quest Mid was a general release, while the sheepskins were limited to 500 pairs.
Do we spy a sly Air Max 90 reference on the heel?
Yeah! With the Air Max 90 being one of Nick’s favourite shoes of all time, I’ve subtly paid homage to it in a number of our designs over the years.
Neoprene booties never get old in our books. What influenced its introduction into the design?
The original concept just had a traditional tongue with a gusset system, but as I worked through the design process the idea of a full neoprene bootie evolved.
You recently released Diamond Supply’s first true skate shoe in the Torey. What technical considerations have gone into the design of this silhouette?
We spent the latter part of 2015 strategising our entry into the skate market. One of Diamond's team riders, Torey Pudwill, wanted something different, so we designed him a more streamlined vulc shoe that featured subtle design details and our new ‘brilliant foam’ polyurethane insole.
What are your plans for the future?
Now that we’ve had more time to get on calendar, we are really trying to push the envelop of the modern skateboard shoe. The ‘All Day’- Brandon Biebel’s pro model – which releases later this year, is really the first step in the new direction we are taking the skate footwear. It offers a fully breathable knitted upper paired with a classic suede toe.