Quarter century of Airwalk.
This summer, Airwalk officially celebrates 25 years as one of the first board sports brands in existence. A number of seminal Airwalk shoes are primed to release over the next few months along with 25th anniversary themed products. We’ll have expanded coverage and interviews coming to CounterKicks as the festivities get rolling, but check out the full Airwalk press release below for an overview of where the brand has been and some of the athletes it has influenced from 1986 to present…
AIRWALK CELEBRATES 25 YEARS OF INDEPENDENT EXPRESSION AS INDUSTRY LEADING YOUTH LIFESTYLE BRAND
Commemorates Milestone with Limited Edition Product, Special Events
(Englewood, CO) June 15, 2011 – Airwalk, the iconic and global youth lifestyle brand, is celebrating 25 years this summer. To commemorate this landmark event, Airwalk has planned a season-long celebration filled with signature shoe reissues, events and digital initiatives that will give consumers access to Airwalk’s rich brand history.
Founded in 1986 at the request of a skateboarder and named for a trick invented by one of brand’s first pro athletes, Tony Hawk, Airwalk was one of the first board sports brands, inspired by and made for skaters. Airwalk brought a skater’s perspective to the design and development of the shoes, creating innovative solutions that offered comfort, durability and protection features to solve common issues skaters had at the time using regular sneakers. Twenty-five years later as the skateboarding market has grown into a huge and established business, Airwalk maintains a significant share of consumer loyalists with distribution in more than 100 countries across the globe.
“This year marks a tremendous milestone for Airwalk. Few brands in existence today are as intrinsically tied to the beginning of the board sports movement,” said Bruce Pettet, president and CEO of Collective Licensing International, parent company for Airwalk. “Airwalk is a globally recognized brand that has maintained an international reach for a quarter century – it is truly something to celebrate. We’re excited to share our storied past with fans across the world.”
Over the years, the brand has introduced some of the most cutting edge and identifiable designs in the board sports market. Styles including the Enigma, the Reflex, the One, the Jim, the Prototype 540 and the Outland collection quickly became ubiquitous in the marketplace. Airwalk pushed the envelope in footwear design, engaging its athletes’ point of view and consistently pushing boundaries in color, texture, technology and brand marketing. The brand took risks, balancing its spirit of irreverence with athlete input and highly functional product at a time when other brands played it safe. Today, it is these risks that have given the brand an unparalleled authenticity and established its place in youth culture history.
As Airwalk grew and evolved it expanded its reach into other disciplines outside skateboarding, developing products tailor-made for BMX and snowboarding. In fact, Airwalk was the first board sports company to introduce a snowboard-specific boot and BMX-specific shoe to the market. Airwalk continued to grow its product offering to include active and casual footwear, apparel, outerwear, hardgoods (including snowboards and bindings) and accessories. And as a result, by the mid-1990s, Airwalk was considered the sixth most influential brand worldwide and the third hottest shoe brand on the market, behind only Nike and Reebok.
In addition to product design, some of the biggest names and most influential athletes have been sponsored by Airwalk over the years, including skateboarders Jason Lee, Christian Hosoi, Eric Koston, Bucky Lasek, Andy Macdonald, Steve Berra, Andrew Reynolds, Geoff Rowley and Mike Vallely; snowboarders Jamie Lynn, Tina Basich, Shaun Palmer, Todd Richards, Romain DeMarchi, Shannon Dunn, and Devun Walsh; BMXers Dave Mirra, Matt Hoffman, Van Homan and the Foster brothers; and pro surfers Rob Machado and Tom Curren. From the beginning, Airwalk firmly believed in the value and importance of supporting the board sports community and its athletes. The brand attracted not only the top pros, but recruited the up-and-coming competitors and sponsored countless board sports contests across the world.
Traditionally, Airwalk’s advertising has always highlighted its professional team, a crew that today includes big hitters like pro skaters Macdonald, Tulio de Oliveira and Vallely, pro surfers Anastasia Ashley and Warren Metcalfe and FMX rider Ronnie Renner. The brand’s latest campaign is no exception to Airwalk’s athlete-steeped tradition, paying homage to Airwalk’s roots by documenting a journey down the West coast of North America. Shot in locations ranging from British Columbia, down the California coastline and on to Mexico, the campaign highlights Airwalk’s spirit of adventure and music. The new campaign communicates the multiple dimensions of the brand in an integrated and robust way; the authenticity is illustrated in the imagery, showcasing athletes in a visual, multi-image story. Vintage-looking film grains will be used to add texture to each shot and further demonstrate the nostalgia of the brand’s anniversary message. All new ads will feature Airwalk’s 25th anniversary tagline “25 years of Independent Expression” along with a newly designed 25th anniversary logo.
Beyond footwear and action sports, Airwalk has made significant contributions to the music industry. The brand has been tied to some of the most recognizable talent of the past quarter century, including the Beastie Boys, Bad Religion and NOFX. Airwalk has also focused support on the up-and-comers in the industry by creating the Unsigned Hero (USH) contest. For the past three years, Airwalk’s Unsigned Hero has staged an online viral competition between 10 unsigned bands where music fans determine the winner. Past winners The Monthlies (2008) and Audible Mainframe (2009) have performed at Austin’s famed SXSW music festival. In addition, for the second year in a row, Airwalk is the presenting sponsor for one of the biggest youth music tours in the country, the Fall 2011 AP Tour.
To celebrate the year’s milestone, Airwalk is reintroducing a staple of special products throughout the year, all available exclusively at www.Airwalk.com/shop. Look for limited edition re-issues of the Airwalk Enigma, the Reflex and the JIM including design collaborations with Vallely. Additionally, a special issue 25th anniversary skate deck will be released in July. The brand will also host a 25th anniversary themed giveaway contest on its social media channels later this summer and it has built a significant collection of seminal photographs, advertisements and athlete imagery from its history, all accessible via www.Airwalk.com. The celebration will culminate with a silver anniversary party in September in the brand’s birthplace, Southern California.