Lakai x Isle – Nick Jensen Perspective

Lakai shoes recently dropped the Griffin XLK, taking one of their best-selling shoe styles and switching the vulcanised outsole for their trademark XLK sole unit. The result is a shoe that is a genuine progression over the original giving all the board feel that fans of the Griffin love but with increased impact protection and durability.

To mark the launch of the Griffin XLK, Lakai have come together with UK skateboard brand Isle Skateboards to release a limit collab, we caught up with Isle’s part owner and creative force Nick Jensen to get his thoughts on the shoe and how it came to be.

– Hi Nick, how’s it going? What have you been up to lately? Keeping busy, right?

Yeah, I have been busy doing lots of fun creative projects and filming for the up-and-coming Isle video.  

– Isle seems to be gathering some decent momentum in the UK, can you tell us about what it is like to build a brand up from nothing? Stressful, fun, all the above?

I  enjoy making Isle grow… Split 3 ways with me, Paul Shier and Chris Aylen, we have struck a good balance and healthy division of labour. I must also thank our distributors, especially Wesley Morgan at Rock Solid and Josh Stuart at Theories.. It’s becoming a great extended family. And I look forward to the future.  

– How important is the Isle team to that process?

The team is the most important! It the best aspect of any skateboard company as far as I am concerned. Everyone has input, were all really good friends and look out for one another, it makes me really proud to be a part of that.

– Is it tough working with on Isle considering Shier is 5437 miles away sunning himself in Southern California? 

Ha ha. I think it’s part of what makes Isle what it is. Paul is keeping it real internationally and we pretty much email every day. A lot of the time we just talk about skating and general life shit, that’s what’s important, just communicating regularly and pushing Isle from all sides.

– So, you guys just dropped a recent Isle x Lakai collab, tell us how that came about?

I asked Kelly Bird a few months back if he was keen, and he was.. I had wanted to make a colourway for a while and it felt like connecting this to Isle was really appropriate, so yeah I am really proud to have this out. 

– What made you go with the Griffin XLK for the collab?

I was aware that Lakai was making the Griffin on a new XLK sole and with a slightly shallower profile, it seemed like the right model for me and so we took it from there. It’s REALLY good to skate in. 

– It’s a fairly clean and basic shoe, how much input did you have regarding the colourway/design logo placement etc.?

I always want to skate simple shoes, so rather than try and create something too out there I focused on details that I really like about skate shoes. Subtle material and colour changes between the leather and the suede for example. I also went for a classic renaissance inspired insole pattern. 

– Tell us what the shoe is like to skate, how does it differ from the Griffin on the vulc sole? Tell us about the XLK technology.

I  struggle to skate vulc shoes. I think I must have quite sensitive feet and so the Lakai XLK sole works very nicely. I find the shoe really supportive and flexible, which is really good for putting them on and going straight out skating.

– Do you have any new projects in the works you can tell us about?

Were doing lots of exciting things. You will have to wait and see. 

– Do you have a release date yet for Vase?  

Not long now! 

– Thanks a lot Nick.


You can check out the Lakai x Isle edit here…

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