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MADE FOR SKATE

Ollies, Airs and High Tops As the 1980s approached at breakneck speed, pool skating at skate parks all over the world was progressing to unseen heights. Quite literally, with pioneers going well above the lip with new and in- creasingly higher variations of airs, aided by the traction and speed afforded by urethane wheels. On behalf of the shoes, the extensive shock of landing on concrete from aerials demanded extra support. “It made quality and durability the most important factors,” said Tony Hawk, who was turning heads as a gifted rookie at the time. “Low-tops didn‘t cut it anymore, and some thinner footwear was more dangerous than functional.” In search for the ultimate ankle support and protection, skaters branched out into wearing non-skate shoes like Nike basketball shoes for added resilience and padding. At the same time, all skate shoe manufacturers began adding high tops to their line-ups while experimenting with new padding. The most groundbreaking maneu- ver of that era was the Ollie air, named after its inventor, 15-year- old Alan “Ollie” Gelfand from Florida, who in 1978 learned how to “pop” no handed airs above the lip by hitting his tail on the way up. The Ollie not only dazzled outsiders – “Look, dad – no hands!” – but emerged as the new benchmark for separating the men from the boys. The only way was up.

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