What/who is @skateshoedreams?
It’s said that no matter how good you are at something, someone, somewhere is always better. Well, I’m not sure if the same applies to passion or love, but I’m not convinced anyone shares the same amount of either when it comes to Patrik Åström and skate shoes. This can be easily identified when looking at his Instagram account, @SkateShoeDreams. An account designed as an outlet for Patrik to show the world his amazing creations in Photoshop. Patrik takes skate shoe silhouettes from companies such as éS, Axion and Lakai (although it is mainly SoleTech shoes), gives them a brand-new colourway and often goes so far as to swap sole units, materials and panelling. The results are always amazing.
Here at Supereight, we have been huge fans of @SkateShoeDreams for a long time, dumbfounded at how someone this talented hasn’t had the opportunity to transform their ideas into reality. These creations have resulted in Patrik acquiring a true cult following, with people often asking Patrik when/where they can buy these rad creations from. Nothing has ever been available, until now. éS has recently collaborated with Patrik, letting him work his magic on two pairs of éS silhouettes. We have been lucky enough to pick Patrik’s brains and talk about him, his creations and how this whole collaboration has come about. Thanks Patrik!
How did it all begin?
You have been incredibly prevalent on Instagram creating your colourways. I know you have touched on this before, but what was it that made you create @SkateShoeDreams?
I’d say there were three main reasons that together resulted in the creation of @SkateShoeDreams:
- In the summer of 2019, I saw some leaked photos of the new éS Evant. Being a huge éS fan, I was of course excited for this rumored Koston 3 refresh, but when I actually saw them, I was a bit… disappointed. It wasn’t terrible, it just definitely wasn’t what I had expected. I liked the upper, but the sole didn’t make the shoe justice in my opinion. It at least needed a proper runner toe! I quickly put a Photoshop mockup together with the Sesla sole plus some other small adjustments and posted it on my personal Instagram account and the Slap magazine forums as well. People seemed to like them, and I posted a few other mockups in the following months. They were also pretty well received.
- In October of that same year, the éS Holiday ’19 catalogue became available online. It featured the incredibly beautiful Silo SC x Muckmouth in navy leather with a clear blue sole. An all-new sole. Double cup. My favourite kind of sole since the Koston 1 in 1997. I was so stoked! Finally, a new double cupsole from éS! Just a couple of days later, I heard that they had been scrapped due to them not getting enough pre-orders… I was yet again disappointed. Even more so this time. I did some colourway mockups of the Silo SC and also put that lovely double cupsole on a whole bunch of different uppers. I sent the mockups to the Muckmouth brothers, Don Brown, the Chomp On Kicks guys and a few others instead of posting them to my Instagram account because…
- …I figured neither my friends nor family were interested in seeing my weird shoe fantasies, haha! Again, people seemed to like what I had done and I felt that perhaps I should show the world what we could have and were missing out on. Thus, @SkateShoeDreams was born on October 27th, 2019.
How long have you been creating colourways for?
On and off, pretty much my whole life. Definitely not always as frequently as these past three years, but I have always loved drawing, so I drew shoes from time to time as a kid and I’ve been playing around with Photoshop in general for about 20 years. The first time I did a shoe mockup in Photoshop was probably in 2005 or something like that. Nothing serious, and if I were to guess, I most likely did the Holy Trinity of colourways: white/gum, black/gum, navy/gum, haha!
When éS came back from their three-year hiatus in 2014, I drew three shoe sketches in Illustrator as a kind of ‘Welcome back’-tribute. They were inspired by Muska, Koston and Creager, respectively.
You have done a good few Wu-Tang colourways in your time. This made me wonder, what’s your favourite Wu-Tang song?
If we’re talking strictly Wu-Tang Clan, I think I must be somewhat of a cliché and say that C.R.E.A.M definitely is one of my favourites. If we can include their solo ventures, I’ve always been a huge fan of GZA’s album ‘Liquid Swords’ and perhaps ‘Duel Of The Iron Mic’ in particular.
Thoughts on design
Why do you go for predominately SoleTech shoes?
Well, I’ve been an éS nerd since I was a little kid. I remember a friend of mine getting a pair of black Accel’s in 1996, when we were 9 years old. It was love at first sight! The year after that, my dear mother got me a pair of the black/gum Koston 1. From then on, I’ve barely worn anything other than SoleTech shoes.
They have overall great designs, they’re skater owned and operated, they’re dedicated to environmental and animal issues, they plant trees, they give shoes to the homeless… Also, they could’ve decided to just ignore me or even tell me to stop posting my edits. But no, they’ve been following, commenting, sharing, liking and showing their support pretty much since day one. They’re simply all-around awesome guys!
Sure, there are other companies with some amazing designs too – but I value the things mentioned above a lot.
Have you ever designed board graphics?
Yes, a few times! Just for fun though, never anything serious. I like to mess about in Illustrator, so that’s mainly where I have created some graphics. I have also hand-painted a couple of my own old boards, to repurpose as wall hangers.
When you are creating your colourways, does function ever come into mind, or do you focus purely on aesthetics?
I definitely have function in mind. I’m a fan of lace protection, so it’s not rare that I make that modification on my creations. I also like both the look and function of tongue and heel pull loops/tabs. My slight obsession with double cupsoles is based not only on looks, but also the weight savings. I try to have materials in mind as well, like I prefer suede toes and I avoid using too much mesh in high wear areas etc. I do love mesh for its breathability and looks though!
Ever created a totally original silhouette?
Well, that depends on what ‘totally original’ means! I’ve done Kelly Hart and Tom Asta “pro models” and I participated in Savale’s design contest with a shoe. All three of those are kind of original, but if you know your stuff you can definitely see where I got the inspiration. But hey, ‘good artists copy; great artists steal’, right? Haha!
Is there a shoe that you can’t make look better?
My inner voice right now: “Just say ‘No.’ and move on!” Haha!
Seriously though, there’s always room for improvement, but for example the éS K1, éS Muska, DVS Keenan Milton and the Emerica MJ1 are all in my opinion very close to perfect.
That being said, I’m absolutely not one of those “every reissue has to be exactly like the originals!!!”-guys. If one can make something better, why not do it? Compared to back then, materials are better, production methods are better, technology is better… It’d be foolish not to embrace that, even if it means that the end result isn’t an exact carbon copy of the original from 25 years ago.
I’ve often compared shoes to cars. I love cars! The lines, the shapes, the sounds, the act of driving… Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that my ideal car looks like an old car on the outside but drives like a new car and has all the creature comforts we want nowadays.
Same thing with shoes. A shoe in classic mid/late-90’s design with modern comfort, tech and fit? Sign me up!
The @SkateShoeDreams x éS Footwear Collaboration
éS have known of you for a long time, how come it has taken this recent collab so long to come to fruition? I see them get mentioned in the comments of pretty much every single post you throw up haha.
I actually don’t think it took very long!
I mean, I’m just some guy from northern Sweden, photoshopping shoes for fun. For them to even consider doing a collab with me at all is mind-blowing. Anyway, in the end of April 2021, just about 18 months after I started @SkateShoeDreams, they hit me up via DM on Instagram and asked if I would be interested in doing a collab with them for the Holiday ’22 season. They’re planning things quite far in advance and I have been biting my tongue to keep quiet for the past year and a half!
Did it take long to sort this collab out?
No, not at all! When they first hit me up, I was told that they were going to have a meeting regarding the Holiday ’22 season a mere two weeks later and needed to have some mockups made before then. I got to work and whipped up 13 different models in 5 different colourways each. Out of those 13, they picked out 4 models and two colourways – black/grey/lime and grey/blue/white.
I then did 5 different alternatives of each colourway for each of the 4 different models. When we decided on doing the Evant x Tribo and the Quattro, we had 7 samples made – 3 of the Quattro and 4 of the Evant x Tribo. I received one shoe (Yes, one shoe. Not one pair.) of each and was asked which two I liked most. They agreed with my choice, and it was a done deal!
I think all in all it took about 4 months before we had everything settled. After that, there was a lot of waiting and some planning of the marketing campaign. I had a lot of fun photoshopping famous people holding and wearing “my” shoes!
You recently posted a video of each shoe, showing a variation of coloured panels and some alternative complete colourways. Were they potential alternatives to the colourways you decided on?
Both yes and no, but not really, haha! Leighton, the art director at éS, asked if I could do a couple of reels for promotional purposes. I had never done a video in Photoshop before, but I thought ‘hey, how hard can it be?’ I put 8 new colourways of each shoe together – I think a couple of those 8 might have been included in the 65 initial mockups I did – but none of them were done on purpose, so to speak. And probably not in the exact same variation either.
How much control did you get over the design process?
Quite a lot, in my opinion. I remember one of the first e-mails with the design team at éS where they basically told me “Go crazy. Just do your thing.” when I asked if there was something particular they were looking for.
There is such a lack of job opportunities within skateboarding, especially when it comes to design. Did you ever expect SkateShoeDreams to result in your designs breaking through that barrier and becoming available on sale to the public?
No, never. Of course, I had a sliver of hope somewhere far away in the back of my head, but I couldn’t imagine it ever actually happening, haha!
Would you do anything differently if the opportunity came up again?
The opportunity of another collab you mean? No, I don’t think so… Well, apart from picking other colourways, mashups or perhaps even doing an all-new design. Otherwise, I don’t think I’d change anything. It has been a true pleasure working with the guys at éS/SoleTech and I hope I get to do it again someday.
Skate shoe design
I know you have mentioned Franck Boistel (Sole Tech’s first official shoe designer) in the past, but is there anyone else that has inspired your footwear design?
Haha, yeah, Franck is the benchmark for sure! The work he did for SoleTech is in my opinion peak footwear design. To be completely honest, I’m not too familiar with the footwear designer world, but Alexander Wise and Josh Su are two others who have worked at SoleTech and both have done some great stuff. I just kind of try to create what I like and not think too much about what others have done.
Do you think there is much innovation left to be squeezed out of skate shoes nowadays?
Yes, absolutely! Maybe not just skate shoes per se, but I’m sure there are a lot of things that can be done with materials, construction and production. I won’t claim to be some kind of expert engineer or scientist and I’m not going to pretend I actually know what I’m talking about, but there are plenty of smart people out there, so if you’re reading this and you know about stuff like this – feel free to hit me up for some discussion. I love learning new things!
Anyway, just a few examples and ideas, from the top of my head:
- Lighter and more wear-resistant materials.
- More and better synthetic animal-friendly alternatives to suede, nubuck and leather.
- Stitching, thread, seam welds, glue, foam, footbeds, insoles, lacing, lasts, linings… the technology of constructing shoes constantly moves forward and I’m betting it will for a long time.
- More environmentally friendly production methods – both when it comes to the materials and the shoes themselves.
Say you have just started your own skate shoe company. Naturally, as you are designing the shoes, everyone wants to be on the team. Who are you picking?
Haha! Oh wow. I must be honest here and say that while my love for skateboarding has endured for 30 years now, my interest in ‘The Industry’ and who rides for what brand, who said this, who did that etc., has not. In other words, I don’t really keep up with many of today’s pros. I would definitely want a team of good role models though, as well as good skateboarders. If you are reading this and thinking that this fits your description, hit me up and I’ll put you on the waiting list, haha!
Do you have a favourite shoe ad?
Can’t say that I have one all-time favourite ad, but a few etched in my mind are:
- Eric Koston’s switch nose grind – éS Koston 1 in navy/gum.
- Rick Howard’s fakie crook – DC Howard in black/red.
- Ronnie Creager’s kickflip over fence – éS Creager in white/royal.
- Keenan Milton’s switch varial flip – DVS Keenan in grey.
- Chad Muska’s bs boardslide – éS Muska in white/light grey. (Had this on my wall for a long time as a kid)
How have you not got a job in shoe design yet haha?
The most likely reason is that I haven’t tried to get one, haha!
I’ve never had any formal education in footwear design or any other design for that matter. It’s all self-taught. Up until around the start of @SkateShoeDreams, I had barely shown anyone my mockups and designs… I guess I thought no one would be interested. I’m still not completely convinced anyone actually is, haha! I feel like some caveman compared to actual footwear designers… “Me like shape and colour. Look pretty together. Me happy! Must show others!”
Which shoe brands do you think have the best range of colourways?
The SoleTech trio (shocker!) all usually have mostly good stuff, from clean simple colourways to some more colourful ones. All shoe brands do need my help though of course, haha!
You seem to only focus on core shoe companies such as SoleTech, Axion and Lakai when creating your designs. Is there any specific reason for this?
Yes. I want to support skateboarding, skateboard culture, skateboarders and people doing good things for skateboarding… Not some huge corporation.
You are clearly a massive fan of Muska and his infamous shoe on éS, were you not tempted by his silhouettes on Supra?
I remember being pissed as a kid when Muska left éS for Circa, haha! I was never really into his shoes on Circa and when he started Supra, it was all about vulc soles and Skytops – not exactly my cup of tea. I liked the Supra Ellington though! I did a mashup of the Muska 2000 and Ellington a while back – the Supra ‘Chadrik Muskington 2000’!
Who would be your favourite pro to design a shoe for?
Either one of the Hart or Asta pro models I mocked up would be amazing to see in real life. Other than those, I think Tj Rogers and I could create something cool together. I like his style and, as a bonus, he seems to be a really great guy!
What are the requirements for the perfect skate shoe?
The following is naturally my own personal opinion, but here goes:
- Cupsole with good flex and grip, preferably double cup.
- Lace protection of some kind.
- Breathability. My feet get hot very easily!
- Clean, simple design but not too plain. Got to have some details to make them pop!
- Mid amount of puff. I like the look and it protects my feet.
- Tongue straps. I don’t like tightly laced shoes, but I do want them to stay on my feet!
- Comfort & lightness. Ideally, I kind of don’t want to feel that I’m wearing shoes at all if that makes sense?
Have you got any big no-no’s when it comes to shoe design? Anything that is an instant turn-off for a shoe?
I really dislike white soles, haha! They get dirty quickly, and often it seems like lazy design to me. You’ve got this beautifully colour-coordinated upper and then you just slap an all-white sole on it and call it a day? Okay if it is a predominantly or completely white upper, but come on… put some effort to it!
Whenever a company drops a new season of shoes, there is obviously a limited amount of colourways per silhouette. If you were to hypothetically release 5 colourways of a single shoe, would you mainly focus on staple colours such as Black, Navy or White? Or would creativity be key?
I’m afraid this answer might be seen as very boring and predictable, but I’d go for the Holy Trinity – black/gum, navy/gum and white/gum, plus two more colourful and creative colourways. The colourful alternatives are way too many to list here, but one could just browse through my Instagram to get an idea of what they could be.
Throughout the decades, there has been a wide range of styles of skate shoe silhouettes. Can you think of your favourites from the ’90s, ’00s, ’10s and the ’20s so far?
Ooof, that’s a tough question! Okay, let’s see… Five of my favourites from each decade, in no order:
- éS Koston 1
- éS Muska
- Emerica MJ 1
- Axion Kicks
- DVS Keenan 1
- éS Koston 3
- éS Koston 5
- éS Rodrigo TX 1
- éS Crown
- Emerica Ellington 1
- Emerica Westgate
- éS Silo
- éS Sesla
- Supra Ellington
- Etnies Helix
- éS One Nine 7
- éS Quattro
- éS Stylus mid
- Etnies Estrella
- Axion Genesis
Finally, have you got any plans for the future?
I try not to plan too much, I just go with the flow. I’m going to keep doing what I do and have fun.
I definitely hope I get to do some more collabs sometime soon, but if not, that’s cool too.
A lifelong dream has come true, and I am incredibly happy about that. As I type this, I have a box-fresh pair of the éS x Skate Shoe Dreams Quattro on my desk beside me and I can hardly fathom that it isn’t just another dream.