Dallas Stokes updates us on Van Grack with a look at an in-progress sample.
I’m very happy to say that the response to the last Van Grack blog has been overwhelming!!! People have given input on the shoe and the only thing that people really have been consistent on is that the logo is much too plain. The second pullover arrived and I’m excited but there is a few issues that I have had.
First up, when I finally got the sample I noticed that it was not as sleek as I would have wanted. This is because the last which is the skeleton of the shoe was a casual shoe shape. I realized I needed a shape that was more form fitting, sleek and sexy so I went with the last shape I have used in the past on my Protege shoes. This last has been NBA and WNBA tested and approved so I feel as though it will be a better look and fit. By doing this the shoe will not only fit better but look better and have a shape similar to shoes like the Jordan Fly Wade or adidas adiZero Rose. I’m just really not a fan of clunky looking clown toe shoes that are not skate. I also realized that my lug idea which I had on the outsole side wall (the side of the rubber) on the outsole can cause a problem we call delimitation. This basically means that the way it was built can cause the rubber to rip from the midsole (the soft part of the bottom) if someone steps on your foot while headed to the basket. Me and Uda decided to make it flush so that we can solve that problem. Besides that it just needs to be a cleaner look.
The next issue we had was the support shank or lack thereof… The factory did not put my support shank in the sample shoe so I’m a little upset because even though I know they will I was hoping to put my foot in and feel as safe as a new born baby. Support is very important in every product I do. I’m not convinced that a lot of gimmicks out there work but I do believe that shoes with basic principals such as good EVA compounds, properly placed materials, and good shanks form a solid shoe. Carbon fiber always works best because of its properties however most companies go with a good 3.5mm piece of plastic sandwiched between the EVA foam and strobel board (the thing under the sock liner of your shoe).
One thing that was really cool was seeing my trademarked name in the heel insert of the shoe!!! Now it’s not there because I feel that my basketball career was equal to that of greats like M.J., LeBron, Kobe, or Al Harrington (except for on NBA2K where I got many rings) but more because I’m putting my two entire decades worth of love and footwear industry experience into this collection. I want to create a product line that is solid and interesting. A line that gives back all the things I loved about shoes when I was growing up. The Vangrack line has many different looks but the thing I love the most is our collaboration series which will take outside entities and merge with us to give you some cool products. This particular part of the line is mine and I grew up during the Reebok, Nike and Jordan era so I remember what it was like to smell and touch leather and not plastics or synthetics on every shoe. I just want something you can pick up and say, “I’ma ball in these after about a month when they get a little dirty.” Not knocking all the new light technology but damn… I weigh 167lbs!!! I may need to be quick on my feet but I’d rather have 18′s on a Hummer in winter over 23′s any day!!! I think what we have forgotten in the race to be so technical is that support and style is very important also!!! I’ve played ball in old Jordans, adidas, etc., and hardly ever got hurt, then tried some of this new stuff and felt like my foot was in a water bottle. There was no spontaneity, just like my foot was being told what to do and not what I want it to do. Leathers are pretty cool because for me it’s like a second skin.
Dallas Stokes is a 20-year footwear industry veteran. His current shoe design projects include BALL’N, Protege, Sean John, Rim Rocka, Van Grack, Militia Project, and The Dallas Stokes Collection. Read his interviews here and here.
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