Lakai: one of the coolest brands of the 2000s
We started to forget the skate brands that made the skate scene in the 2000s. The modern information field is being conquered by corporations and personal brands (this means, for example, Instagram accounts of riders, which, in principle, no one sponsors, but tens of thousands of skaters and not only watch their “techno hot”). But the old-timers / pioneers / apostles of the formation of the skateboard industry have their own entertaining stories of founding and development.
In this article, we want to touch on the history of the Lakai Limited Footwear brand and tell about their main product – skateboarding shoes. In one year, Lakai was able to completely revolutionize the game of the industry and sink into the hearts of many riders around the planet.
Lakai brand history
The key persons of the beginning of the formation of the brand were (and remain to this day) 2 people:
- Rick Howard (Rick Howard);
- Mike Carroll (Mike Carroll).
The guys wanted to do their bit in the skateboarding industry (namely skate shoes), rather than knock out sponsorships from existing shoe companies.
In April 1999, Rick Howard was given the idea that he could make his own company. After discussing the idea with Mike, it was decided to partner with Podium Distribution to launch Lakai Limited Footwear.
Already in August of the same year, the first team rider, Cairo Foster, appears in the company (despite the fact that the company does not yet have its own product). Andy Mueller was hired to create the famous brand logo under the pseudonym “Flare”. Everything is spinning, spinning, and by May 2000, the first batch of the company’s sneakers, consisting of models, arrives on store shelves:
Shoes straight from Los Angeles, which came out under the slogan: “From skaters, for skaters” – got its share of the hype at the time.
After a successful start, the brand began to grow and develop. From the names of the riders who came / left the team, one could judge that Lakai Limited Footwear is a very cool brand. Until 2007 (a fateful year for this company) the following names could be found in the team:
- Brandon Biebel
- Scott Johnston
- Danny Garcia
- Marc Johnson
- Cairo Foster
- Lucas Puig
- JB Gillet
- Guy Mariano
- Jesus Fernandez
- Nick Jensen
- Danny Brady
- Alex Olson
- Eric Koston
- Mike Mo and others.
What is the fateful year 2007 for the Lakai brand?
It was in 2007 that the full-length skate video Fully Flared was released. It just ripped apart the standard skateboard video template the world was seeing at the time. Cinema shooting, special effects, non-standard editing – all this gave new turns for the development of the culture of shooting films about skateboarding.
If you haven’t watched this “blockbuster” yet, then we recommend watching it.
In this video, the “golden composition” of the brand, which at that time can be said to have done something unrealistic within the framework of this video.
But after a colossal rise, a colossal fall began. This period of the brand is called Post-Fully Flared Era. What does that mean? All the stars of that time are leaving the team. Alex Olson and Anthony Pappalardo in Vans and Converse. Eric Koston in Nike SB. Lucas Puig at Adidas and so on.
The brand did not die after such departures. The company has recruited a lot of promising amateurs (AM) under its wing – Cody Chapman, Simon Bannerot, Tyler “Manchild” Pacheco, Yonnie Cruz, James Capps, Nico Hiraga and Johnny Jones. Next, a video The Flare with new team members was being prepared for the release. It could not get the same popularity as Fully Flared, but it reminded the whole world that Lakai is afloat and will float for a long time!
Lakai brand’s current team
- Mike Carroll;
- Rick Howard;
- Vincent Alvarez;
- Stevie Perez;
- Riley Hawk;
- Simon Bannerot;
- Tyler Pacheco;
- Yonnie Cruz;
- Griffin Gass;
- Jimmy Wilkins;
- Cody Chapman;
- James Capps;
- Nico Hiraga.
Lakai shoe lineup and applied technologies
From year to year, models that were produced at the dawn of the brand’s origin are transferred to the new collection. This means that the sneakers / sneakers were originally designed very well and liked the adherents (or, if you like, adherents) of the brand. It is better not to touch what works, but only to improve. What, in principle, does Lakai do today.
Sneakers with a vintage silhouette on a vulcanized sole. Model “Cambridge” (by the way, almost all models of the brand have names in honor of the cities of Great Britain) is made of a combination of suede, mesh and leather to be durable in riding, as well as well ventilated.
The CAMBRIDGE features an interesting technology for the outsole – PARA-MOUNT ™. The rubber outsole is made from dual density material for good cushioning. Signature Hex tread pattern gives you 360-degree control of your board.
The insole is made of premium DELUX-LITE ™ material with a special notch in the heel to further stabilize the rider’s foot.
A model from 2007 that is still popular today. The secret to the success of this model is simplicity:
- one-piece sock;
- basic line;
- vulcanized outsole.
Sneakers are not only for skateboarding, but also for everyday life. You can go to them to study, work and to any other place. The upper is made of canvas, which makes it easy to fit and comfortable to wear in daily use.
This model is a kind of reincarnation of Howard Select. Breathable tongue, durable suede and a mix of synthetic materials make this shoe a skateboarding go-to shoe. This shoe also features PARA-MOUNT ™ midsole technology with dual density rubber and a premium DELUX-LITE ™ insole. Signature Hex tread pattern allows you to control the skateboard on tricks of any difficulty.
The only model from the line, which the manufacturer positions as After Skate. Those. it is your shoes to come to the spot and leave it so that your feet relax 100% at the moment of rest from skiing.
The sneaker is crafted with a running shoe aesthetic and has a mesh upper. In the middle of the sole, a special foam material is installed for better support of the arch of the foot when walking. It is not recommended to ride in them.
The seamless nose of this model is ideal for skateboarding. But the silhouette of the sneaker suggests that you can not only ride in them. Special midsole provides better shock absorption. The special CO-BOUND ™ upper material is extremely durable. You won’t be able to quickly make a hole in these sneakers from your flip tricks.
The tallest sneaker in the manufacturer’s lineup with a basketball silhouette. This model was / is produced on 2 types of soles: capsol and vulcanized.
The custom XLK (Capsol) outsole lets you keep your feet dry on the worst landings. Mini pod tread technology will allow you to maximize grip on your skate’s emery.
FLACO 2 model (MID version)
Mid-rise suede sneakers for safer skateboarding. Blows to the lower leg can be caught by the elongated top of the sneaker. The outsole features PARA-MOUNT ™ technology and the DELUX-LITE ™ insole. The hexagonal tread pattern of the Hex allows the sneaker to hold a good grip on your skateboard emery for a long time.
This version of the shoe uses XLK ™ outsole technology that has proven itself very well in riders’ reviews around the world. The outsole is fully engineered to reduce weight, stabilize the heel, improve overall mobility and maximize shock absorption. The DELUX-LITE ™ insole and specially shaped sidewalls provide maximum comfort for any rider.
This shoe is specially designed for everyday skateboarding. An inner sockliner, nylon tongue straps, an all-new XLK outsole, hexagonal tread and Delux-Lite insoles – what else does a skater want? Your perfect pair of skateboarding shoes!
Lakai is the brand that pleases its customers with unusual collaborations. This allows us to make unique series of shoes and clothing, which may become collectible in the future. The Independent is a prime example of cool collaborations with other brands in the industry.
Also on our channel we talked about another interesting collaboration with the music group BLACK SABBATH. As part of this collab, a whole collection of clothes from Lakai was released.
There are several interesting collaborations on the official website of the manufacturer today, which suggests that the brand is trying to please its adherents with something for each collection:
- Lakai x David Flores;
- Lakai x Maté;
- Lakai x Larry June;
- Lakai x H33M;
- Lakai x Travis Millard.