Erik Ellington interview from the Sidewalk Skateboard Buyers Guide 2013.

Ryan Gray Ryan Gray

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How does the shoe design process start for you?
I usually come up with an idea, style, or drawing that I’m into and then from there I work with the designers. They know me pretty well so it’s an easy process to get what I’m down for.

From first sketches to the finished product reaching stores, how long does the design process for one of your pro shoes usually take?
The whole process generally takes about 18 months.

At a time where most people are trying to come out with simple, stripped back shoes, you seem to have taken a bit more of a technical looking approach with The Ellington – was that deliberate?
It was definitely deliberate. I’m tired of only seeing simple shoes, which I like, but once you see too much of the same thing it gets boring and you want a change.

In your eyes, what separates your latest shoe from the others currently available on the market?
Cup sole, Eva midsole, clean toecap construction and mid top design: I feel that there’s an actual shoe design here rather than opting for plain Jane vibe that most people seem to be on right now.

Out of all of your pro shoes from over the years, which would you say you are the most happy with and why?
My first emerica shoe, and the new Ellington: The emerica Ellington because it was the first shoe that I worked on and it felt so amazing to be asked to design a shoe that had my name attached to it, I think it was really different and fresh for the time. The new Ellington because it’s coming back to that older feel, it mixes a little of that shoe with a modern slimmer feel but still maintains that tech athletic look.

Other than ones you’ve designed yourself, what would you say are your all time favourite skate shoes?
Vans Half Cabs, Airwalk 540’s and Enigmas, emerica Marc Johnson 1’s and Supra Calis.

Penny and Boulala religiously skated in Timberland’s in the late 90’s – what’s been the most random/unconventional pair of shoes you’ve ever decided to skate in?
I’ve skated in a lot of running shoes over the years.

Can you remember the first pair of skate shoes that you ever owned? What are the main changes you’ve seen happen since buying those?
I think it was a pair of Airwalk 540’s. I think the leathers and rubber used in skate shoes have come a long way, but the design of those at the time felt cool. I guess I’d say the function and comfort would be the biggest differences.

Can you talk us through the filming of your part for The Deathwish Video? I can’t imagine juggling behind the scenes business at Deathwish, family life and responsibilities at Supra would leave you with much free time in which to film; did you have to go at your section with a strict regime in order to make it happen?
I had been saving footage for quite a while, as it’s not easy for me to film a full part because of all the things going on in my life and because skating has never come very easily for me. I just took things as they came and tried hard to get what I did. There wasn’t really a trick list or regime that I stuck to though. I was injured for the last 6 months of the video, which really bummed me out because I would have liked to have those last months of going hard for the video but you have to do the best you can do within the limitations you have to deal with.

Which one trick or piece of footage from your part are you the most stoked on?
The switch flip lip at the end of my part and the hardflip down the triple set: some days just work so well, it’s rare for me when all the pieces fall into the right place like that.

Since filming ended, how have you mainly being spending your days?
I took some time to heal and recover from the madness of the last months of organizing the video and premieres. Lately I’ve been learning how to skate again, 9 months injured is a long time.

You were on Supra’s 2013 European Tour earlier this summer – how was that for you this time around?
Since I couldn’t skate on that trip I would get really stressed just being there and not really being able to do my part. Other than that I had fun kicking it with everyone and seeing parts of Europe that I’d never been to before.

Any good Lucien Clarke stories to report?
Lucien and I always have a good time, for some reason when we’re on trips we always end up being the only two left out at night and are always lost, so it becomes a mission. The last Europe trip was crazy though, wandering and walking miles around Lyon and finally finding the hotel at 11 am when everyone was checking out. Sir Luscious Left Foot is tight, my roll dog for sure on trips.

Out of everything that has happened over the course of 2013, what have been your top five personal highlights?
Any time spent with my family, finishing the Deathwish video, being able to skate again, not drinking for 62 days and counting, and finishing building my kid’s tree-fort.

Lastly, what does 2014 have in store for you?
I don’t know, but whatever it is I’m gonna do the best I can and enjoy it.

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