Tradition is usually found in more traditional sports, but Professional Skateboarder, Na-Kel Smith has once again teamed up with adidas to design, construct and release a new original Matchcourt shoe. This one is different than the past two. He started with a mid, then went to a high, and now adidas is releasing a low slip-on that can be worn while riding or chilling. The smooth suede top comes to blossom with a floral finish, while the rubber toe cap plays to both performance and style. We were fortunate enough to catch up with the young skating prodigy to talk about his latest collaboration.
Nice Kicks: Could you describe the design process on your latest collab?
Na-Kel Smith: I just think about it then I talk to my boy, Noah, over at adidas. I literally just make what I want to make or what I want to skate in or wear. I have things that I like and things I want to see so I guess that fuels my creative juices. But this is also the shit I used to do as a kid — draw on shoes and draw shoes up. Like, this is really my dream come true. This has been my dream since I was a little kid.
Nice Kicks: What made you go from one rose to three roses on the shoe?
Na-Kel Smith: Symmetry, probably. I don’t know, that’s just how I saw it. I kind of look at it like a tally. Some would say it’s six roses. I also skate for the brand with Three Stripes. So, I think everything just kind of finds their way to me. I’ve had so many different ideas about the shoe but mainly I like how it looks. It makes me feel comfortable.
Nice Kicks: Why did you decide to change it from a mid with laces to a low top slip-on?
Na-Kel Smith: I wanted to do something different. I don’t like skating mid top shoes all the time. I feel like I already released a shoe in both the mid and high. I never want to do the same shit. I stay in the boundaries of what I want and like, which could be anything because that’s how my brain works.
Nice Kicks: Where did the inspiration for the design come from?
Na-Kel Smith: Some loafers I couldn’t afford when I was younger, but now I don’t care about the other brands. I want to support my sponsors, my friends, and myself so why not make my rendition of it.
Nice Kicks: You’re only 22 years old, but yet you are crushing it in the skateboarding world. Where does that motivation come from and what advice would you give to young kids trying to make a name for themselves?
Na-Kel Smith: First off, thank you! I don’t really ever feel like I’m crushing it. I’m just trying to do me. Honestly, lately my motivation has been coming from things I’m doing outside of skateboarding. I have the feeling I used to have when I was younger while in school. I had other things to take care of then so when I skated, it was special. It was my pride and joy, my life, my everything. For a while, I kind of got sidetracked with skating being my whole life in terms of being my business as well as my pleasure. It kind of made me less productive and more pressured.
As far as advice for up and coming kids in the game, I’d tell them to start skating the streets. There are so many good skaters that never skate the streets and when I say skate the streets, I mean get off Instagram and really try some shit that’ll hurt a little. Let’s see some passion out there. That’s what excites me.
Nice Kicks: Your last shoe was a huge hit and sold out pretty quickly, what are you expecting from this shoe release?
Na-Kel Smith: Again, thank you! I’m not expecting anything. I got the opportunity to make another shoe that I like, that I can wear and that’s mine. I’m glad that anybody with similar tastes can have something they like if they like it! I never try to make everybody happy because then I’ll be a failure every time. I like to make something I like and if you like them? Sick. Shit, I don’t even want people to know they’re mine. I want people to just like the shoes.
Nice Kicks: The last time we interviewed you, we talked about the music you were listening to. You listed the likes of Solange, Travis Scott, Chief Keef, Frank Ocean, Lil Uzi Vert and Migos. What type of music are you listening to these days?
Na-Kel Smith: NA-KEL, $krilla Jones, Vince Staples, Outkast, Travis Scott, Saul Williams and Rihanna. My girl got me listening to SZA’s shit, too.
Nice Kicks: You’ve been making a name for yourself with adidas, what does this most recent collab mean to you?
Na-Kel Smith: Man, I’m just so excited I get to keep going! Thank you Skin, Jascha, Paul, Pete, everybody in Portland, everybody that works at an adidas store and everybody at the adidas NYC store! I had a moment there when I saw my shoes on the shelf. NOAH! Tyshawn Jones, FUCKING AWESOME! All of my sponsors. Mikey, Tyler, Vince and the rest of the PBW. The struggle, all that bullshit I’ve been going through on the daily makes me remember I’m not shit yet and keeps me working hard.
The Na-Kel Smith x adidas Matchcourt Slip releaeses at specialty adidas retailers in the U.S. and the adidas Skateboarding website starting July 1 for $70.