By Valentina Diaz
V. Diaz, a journalist and passionate skateboarder is a full-time writer for SHIT®️ Magazine.
When we think about the most iconic skateboarding brands we quickly see names like DC, DVS, Emerica, Circa, Etnies, Axion and Vans. These are all brands that helped skateboarding develop to excel without the need of external influences. At one time skateboarding was so urban, trendy and popular that everyone wanted to be a skater but just a few could do it.
The dream of being a professional skateboarder has been built with the help of the industry for example by giving us the perfect shoes to skate. If both sides get to achieve their dreams everyone will benefit, and that's how it went. The brands have really been developing their technology through widespread experimenting that first took off in the 90s and early the '00s.
They Dreamed of Having a Brand to Turn it Into a Company
DC's story started at the end of the 80s and beginning 90s. A skater named Damon Way and a snowboarder, Ken Block, met at the Community College in San Marcos. Both were dreaming about building a brand dedicated to extreme sports, this pushed them to get together on their first brand called Eight-ball.
At that point, Ken was interested in screen printing, so his family supported him and gave him a loan of 10,000 dollars. Unfortunately, the trademark name they chose belonged to someone else and they had to change it and started again in 1993 with "Droors Clothing."
The idea began to solidify, but both wanted more than a clothing brand and commenced into footwear as well. Then they renamed the brand with the initials and it turned into DC Shoes. The name was a long discussion due to the known publishing company, DC Comics, so they reset their logo (DCSHOECOUSA) and innovated to differ from that brand.
Before their success, DC Shoes had to produce their shoes with Vans, then Etnies followed by an alliance with a Korean Manufacturer, the Samil Tong Sang Company. In less than a decade the sales increased exponentially which allowed them to build an incredible pro skateboarder crew to travel around and show to the world what DC and skateboarding was all about.
Likewise, there were a lot of shoe models from pro skateboarders and artists. The brand was well received in the music industry and skateboarding was respected by musicians in bands like Cypress Hill, Beastie Boys, Linkin Park, Blink 182 and more.
There were sports exposures everywhere, for example, the time on the Great Wall of China when Danny Way jumped over it. Appearances during the most relevant skateboarding contests like the X-Games, lots of films and video parts and so much fun.
Over a period of many years this brand took a stance on the top, being one of the biggest skateboarding brands in history. Besides supporting skate it has been promoting other extreme sports like snowboarding, surfing, BMX and Motocross. Although the brand was sold to Quiksilver in 2004 and belongs to it to this day, DC Shoes has definitely made professional skateboarding history.
Nowadays, DC has not only been working on shoes, but it also includes apparel, it offers accessories for all extreme sports, snowboard decks and boots and many other DC signature products. The brand has expanded all around the world and what it has done until now is worth recognition.
The first DC team was Rudy Johnson, Rick Howard, Mike Carrol, Colin Mckay, Josh Kalis, Cane Gayle, Moses Itkonen, Rob Dyrdek, Scott Johnston, Keith Hufnagel, Carl Shipman and Danny Way. That team gave DC an identity of what skateboarding should be if there is a group of professionals skating for the brand.
The brand has also had professional skateboarders like Madars Apse, Evan Smith, Mikey Taylor, Chris Cole, Tiago Lemos, even Nyjah Huston, skaters from all around the world. It's had crews in Snowboarding, Motocross, Surf and BMX too.
DC Shoes has an endless line of shoe editions, a release strategy that has helped the brand grow. Due to all the skateboarder needs, they never stop creating and developing footwear to practice a hard sport like skateboarding. It helped skateboarding get known and respected, so much so, that the brand turned into a lifestyle for anyone also outside of sports.
Rob Dyrdek Collection (1995)
Rob was some of the first pro skateboarders to work with the brand. In '95, DC launched a pro skate shoe with Dyrdek and their story began, for more than 15 years the brand Rob has grown together. Dyrdek has participated in footwear development by giving feedback and trying each new pair of shoes.
In 2015, the brand celebrated fifteen years of the RD1 Mid and made a limited edition to remind the style and express their gratitude to Dyrdek's loyalty. If we look back again, he's shared almost his entire skate career with DC Shoes, so there was a lot to be grateful for both to the brand and to Rob.
Heritage Collection, Josh Kalis (1998)
This collection is really special and was designed by Sung Choi. It was introduced in 1998 and has three kinds of shoes that were called "The Lynx." Josh was recording his video part "Sixth Sense" at Transworld and those shoes got to be known because of it.
"My first DC ad was with The Lynx, I rocked it so much in so many different videos that people started thinking that The Lynx was my pro shoe," Kalis said to DC in 2018, when the brand launched a limited edition to celebrate this iconic footwear. There were other shoes promoted like the Boxer Limited edition with Carl Shipman, the PLUG model with Mike Carrol and more.
In the beginning of the 2000s the brand changed a lot, and the first decade was full of events for the brand, like being bought by Quiksilver in 2004. Despite a tough financial situation at Quiksilver culminating in a bankrupcty in 2015, DC remained with its equipment, stores and professional riders all intact.
DC Cole Lite 1,2 And 3 (2014)
The known Chris Cole had his own collection at DC Shoes with the DC Cole Lite that was introduced in 3 editions. Each one highlighted Chris's style of skating. The first one was wider than the second one and the tongue changed too giving it a narrower style.
The third one looked casual and the style was sophisticated. Most important here was that a skater like Chris Cole could offer guaranteed footwear to skate, with enough technology to be durable, resistant, besides the DC style to skate.
Today the brand has a lot of shoes specifically for skate, you find the DC X Manolo Kalis and the OG version; the DC X FTP Lynx OG, the X Skate Jawn Lynx OG, the DC X Monkey Time, the Women's Legacy Lite, the DCBA, DC X Rokit, Butter Goods, the XLarge and the Love Park and many more.
We appreciate this brand for all the things that it's had to go through while keeping its head high, the shoes, identity, how it adapted to different crises and if we look back, we can see there's been a lot of hard work, passion for skate and dedication to keep taking DC to the next level.