Isle: a skater-owned skateboard company, with roots in London and an international base in Los Angeles. Lakai: an American footwear company based in Torrance, California that creates shoes designed for and inspired by skateboarding.
Lakai remains one of the premier skater-owned shoe companies, with excellent products and one of the best teams of sponsored skaters in the industry. Nick Jensen, a friend and fellow co-founder of Isle Skateboards, has been sponsored by Lakai for many years.
Nick was asked to create a colourway of the Lakai Pico XLK shoe to act as his signature model: we worked together on a design that represented Nick’s London background, yet would still be interesting for non-Londoners. The initial presentation drew heavily on Nick’s years of skating at South Bank, where he cut his teeth as one of the UK’s finest skaters. We looked at the aesthetic of South Bank as a starting point – the concrete, the wooden beams, the brutalist architecture – with a nod to the River Thames in the form of an ice-gum outsole.
Lakai x Isle: initial concept
Lakai x Isle: inner sole concept (South Bank ceiling panels)
Lakai x Isle: Pico XLK design concept
In 2014, the base shoe changed to a new model that Lakai had been working on: the Griffin XLK, which utilised a new cupsole and midsole. We adjusted a few details, Tim Fowler created an identity that merged our Isle logo with Lakai’s name and the shoe went into production, finally releasing on 15th June 2015.
Lakai x Isle: Griffin XLK sketch
Lakai x Isle: Griffin XLK
The highly-respected videographer Jacob Harris filmed a promo video with Nick to launch the shoe. Both the video and the shoe itself have been very well received.