The New DC JS-1 Skate Shoe By John Shanahan

Over the past few years, DC Shoes has been curating a heavy east-coast-based team in the US. With Josh Kalis, Jahmir Brown, Kevin Bilyeu and John Shanahan all being on the team, skating and filming together with Brian Panebianco (DC mega-fan/videographer and Sabotage creator) it’s not hard to see how these guys have been a huge influence on the global skate scene. I know that sounds like a massive claim, but it is true. Especially John Shanahan, he has been a huge driving force behind the ’90s revival that’s been popping off over the past few years.

Who is John Shanahan?

Since joining DGK in 2016, John Shanahan has been one of the most individually stylish dudes out there. Curiously, you can watch his style develop into what it is today by just watching some video parts of his on YouTube.

The earliest footage of John I could find after a quick Google search is an edit released in 2011. Named ‘BOSS’, this edit shows John shredding around Bethlehem Plaza in Pennsylvania dressed like most skaters you would see around that time.

His skating is still dope, no question, but this was definitely before he was delving deep into the world of fashion. In fact, in a Thrasher interview from 2018, John says it wasn’t until he was working at Woodward (a few years before the interview took place) that he started buying vintage DC silhouettes. Funnily enough, at the time it wasn’t an out-and-out fashion choice, it was mainly due to his feet hurting while pushing around all day. Stating:

“I always had the same trick selection and all of that but I started dressing a bit differently after this one summer at Woodward. I was skating every single day, working there and my feet were killing me from pushing on the ground. I felt every little thing. I was so over that. I remembered that DC was the best brand for old, puffy shoes so I was, like, fuck it. I’m going to buy some right now. I started looking on the Internet and at that point I felt like people weren’t buying them yet so there was a bunch of really sick shoes.”

Defining his style

Around the same time, John found himself heading to thrift shops with his friend, Matt. The very same Matt that filmed his ‘BOSS’ part in 2011. As John gradually learnt the ways of the thrift, he started helping Matt with his Instagram account, Vintage Sponsor, a now popular Instagram shop full of rad vintage items found by Matt and John. This is all around the time John was introduced to the DGK team. His skate career was about to blow up and by this time his aesthetic had truly found its feet. Baggy pants and vintage puffy DCs often alongside one-off pieces of clothing made and designed by John himself, by hand.

John was very much ahead of the curve when it came down to this style of baggy ’90s nostalgia and was one of the main drivers of its gradual world-domination of the skateboard style. It wasn’t until around 2018 that John could stop trying to find old puffy DCs for sale, and just skate what DC was actually creating. By this time DC could see where skate-fashion was heading and started bringing back old silhouettes and producing styles like the Williams OG and Legacy OG. I’m sure all it took was for DC to look at how much worn-vintage silhouettes such as the Lynx were selling for during this time to consider dipping their toes back into the chunky shoe market. Solidifying the decision to commit to this must have been fairly easy once they realised how much attention John and Brian Panebianco received when posting these vintage finds on their Instagram stories. Again, this just goes to show how influential John has been in skate fashion over the past few years.

The DC JS-1 a closer look

After a good few seasons of John Shanahan colourways with DC, it only makes sense for them to eventually give him his very own pro shoe. Not only, as previously said, has he been a huge driving force behind the revival of DC’s heritage collection, but you know for a fact that he is going to put a lot of thought and effort into how his shoe turns out. So, let’s see what he did!

DC Shoes JS-1 By John Shanahan
DC Shoes JS-1 By John Shanahan

The JS-1 is an amalgamation of design features from past DC silhouettes combined with John’s personal touches throughout. The first thing a DC nerd will notice is the Clocker sole unit, which is also similar to the Legacy OG sole. A bulky and protective sole unit reminiscent of the classic OG shoes from back in the day, but now given the modern treatment of DC’s Super Rubber pill pattern and EVA strobel board. Then you have smaller features surrounding the shoe such as the classic DC Ghillie shoe lace system inspired by not only OG shoes from back in the day but also the Kalis Lite. This ghillie lace system is something that not only looks great but also functions as lace protection. The tongue strap screams OG DC too, with models such as the Avatar and Howard 2 both having very similar features when they were first released. In fact, there is a Howard 2 colourway that is basically exactly the same as the first colourway of the JS-1.

DC Shoes Howard 2 Magazine Spread 1998

All of the throwback features combined with modern technology create a very individual shoe. At the end of the day, you may be able to make a shoe that looks the part, but as this shoe is 20 years younger than most of the shoes that inspire it, it may be worth bringing it up to modern standards. An injected heel stabilizer, premium leathers or suede and a sock liner with an EVA heel cradle, as well as the Super Rubber and strobel board mentioned earlier, tick all the modern technology boxes with ease. Creating a shoe with a heritage aesthetic but with modern performance is no easy feat, but they really have hit the ball out of the park with this one.

DC Shoes JS-1 By John Shanahan
DC Shoes JS-1 By John Shanahan

I adore the fact that this shoe may not have been created if it wasn’t for John’s sore feet at Woodward and his friend Matt getting him into thrifting, which obviously then led to John going head-first into fashion and sewing his bespoke items of clothing. It was basically a recipe made in heaven, leading John and all of us lucky lot to this point. John’s taken all of what he has learnt and been inspired by, and thrown it all into the design of this shoe and that’s exactly what makes it so special. It’s filled with a genuine passion for skating and the heritage it represents!

Pro skate shoes that have been mainly designed by the skater themself can often flop pretty hard, but when it comes down to someone like John Shanahan, we are all in safe hands. Unless maybe you are a shoe designer of course. Here at Supereight, we hope this shoe is made for a very long time as it very much deserves to be. Congrats John!

2 thoughts on “The New DC JS-1 Skate Shoe By John Shanahan”

  1. I love the style of this shoe.. but the one thing thats stopping me from getting this for my guy is that he wouldn’t care for that scrap across it .. I know in the skating world this could be very beneficial but for those DC lovers in general…style is everything and comfort of course …nice shoe though!! Great work !

    • Hey, thanks for the comment! This shoe is a belter for skating and from a style point of view too, agreed. The good thing about the strap actually is it is detachable! You get the best of both worlds!

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