Who is Nora Vasconcellos?
Nora Vasconcellos is an incredibly popular figure in the skate community as she exudes positive energy both on and off her board. Originally from Pembroke, Massachusetts, Nora left her home town to pursue her dreams of becoming a pro-skater. Obviously, that worked out, and then some, with Nora being the second female pro to receive her very own signature shoe. Once Nora arrived in California, it was on. By 2017, Nora was pro for Welcome skateboards and Adidas Skateboarding, even going on the win a World Championship. Basically, once Nora arrived in California, everyone there quickly knew who she was. Nothing has slowed down since then, releasing a slew of video parts for Welcome Skateboards, Adidas, Krux, OJ Wheels and Bronson Speed Co. as well as her homies’ personal project videos. All of these parts are rad, but her video parts for Welcome are extra special, the vibes, the trick selection and general editing of the parts just exude the positive energy she emits. Not only is Nora an amazing skater, but she is also a very talented artist. Her father is a freelance illustrator and you can really see that Nora has embraced art with open arms herself, with a clear and distinct style, very similar to her skating. Nora can be found often designing her own graphics for her pro-boards and previous colourways with Adidas. Additionally, outside of the skate industry, Nora has had exhibits of her art which have gained a lot of praise and attention. It really does seem as though whatever Nora throws herself into, she flourishes.
A fresh, retro-inspired aesthetic
Nora Vasconcellos has been on Adidas Skateboarding since 2016. During that time, she has had a couple of signature colourways with Adidas over the years, with the 3MC and Gazelle ADV receiving some classic Nora pastel colour treatment. Now, after being with Adidas for 6 years, Nora has been able to design her very own shoe.
The Nora by Adidas, is a cup sole skate shoe, taking design inspiration from early tennis court style trainers that Adidas have released over the years, as well as some of her favourite skate silhouettes from the archives too. Adidas themselves describe this shoe as being a shoe that has been designed with a “colourful passion for family, progression and inclusivity” in mind. With a silhouette inspired by ’80s/’90s tennis shoes, which I imagine were often worn by her parents when she was a child, I can very much see that being an inspiration for her own shoe design. Aside from the vintage aesthetic, this shoe is full of the technology we have come to expect from Adidas skate shoes. For example, the double-layer toe cap is something we have seen on previous shoes such as the Tyshawn or early Lucas Puig’s, and it has results. The durability of the double-layer toe-cap is unquestioned, giving the shoe added life and adding to the aesthetic of the shoe itself. A high-quality midsole gives the shoe added protection for your feet and helps maintain that fresh shoe feeling, even if you have been skating them for a while. Of course, as previously mentioned, these are a cup sole shoe, which straight away gives you great impact protection and durability, but often, unfortunately, trades in board feel for the benefit. However, with the Nora’s it is genuinely a challenge to notice a lack of board feel with this one, due to the fantastic midsole and relatively thin cup sole unit. These really have been designed well, with function and fashion both being taken as seriously as each other, a pretty rare feature for skate shoes even to this day.
So, we have two colourways of the Nora shoe. Firstly, we have the Core Black/White/Grey colourway. An understated black and white colourway, with a subtle off-white sole unit with a grey sole base and gold Nora detail placed to the side. A suede toe-cap around the front of the shoe, with light but durable mesh placed around the sides and rear of the shoe, making the shoe breathable and light as well as hard-wearing and functional. As well as the silhouette leaning toward vintage tennis shoe designs, you can also see inspiration from previous Adidas skate shoes. Aspects of the 2012 Lucas Puig pro-model at the front and the Matchbreak Super at the back can be noticed. For me, this really proves that Nora has been thoughtful when designing this shoe.
The next colourway is a fresh White/Shadow Navy/Gold Metallic which has white uppers complimented with navy stripes to the side of the shoe each sporting a subtle individual colour to the right of the stripe. This colourway very much encapsulates Nora’s personality, with the small accents of green, lilac and yellow sitting beside the three stripes being colours used by Nora in her artwork frequently. As well as being a more personalised Nora shoe colour-wise, this colourway is also constructed using recycled materials with 25% of the components used are at least 50% recycled. Something Nora obviously takes seriously.
This is a functional yet timeless silhouette taking inspiration from a plethora of previous shoe designs, both inside and outside of the skate industry but also still very much holds a distinct Nora vibe. A perfect combination!