Skater-inspired fashion has had an impact on everyone on the planet on some level. The ubiquitous board shorts, all-over-print tees, Vans, Airwalk Shoes, Sketchers, duck bill caps, baggy-ass-pants, spray painted on jeans, pleated vision street wear skull print pants – with a shred of effort you could probably add something to the list.
When a brand such as Tony Ferguson’s RONE comes along you can’t help but take notice. The man lives a life that would make most 40-somethings envious. Just tap his name into the all-knowing Google-sphere and out pops videos of backside-kickflip-180s over gnarly gaps and smooth manual flip-in-flip-outs. He has a street skating style that earned him a spot on the most prolific teams in skateboarding history (Plan B and Girl Skateboards).
“I have learned a lot from skateboarding, in business and in life,” says Tony Ferguson. “But the biggest take away from skateboarding is it teaches you determination and drive, it teaches you to never give up, that you have to fail in order to succeed in anything.”
What might from the outside appear to be a charmed life, Tony has “organically” transitioned from a notable professional skateboarding career into one of the most talented luxury shoe creatives around. “I think fashion and footwear has always been intertwined,” he says. “Growing up, your outfit and shoes were part of your kit and almost as important as your skateboard setup. I have always been interested in fashion so it was a pretty natural transition.”
After a decade at New York-based Alife footwear embroiled in the soul of the footwear industry, Tony is now completely focused on RONE. This past August saw the Autumn/Winter 2015 collection launch, which has captured the hearts of luxury brand retailers such as Colette in Pari, United Arrows in Japan, and a major fashion agency in Milan.
Hold the flagship “Eighty Six” shoe in hand you can’t help but notice how solid it feels, the attention to detail and the baby bottom smooth leather. “Eighty Six represents the first year I started skateboarding and is inspired by my first skate shoes,” says Tony. “And the ‘Ninety Three’ takes inspiration from a silhouette that came out the year we started Girl Skateboards, and pays homage to that era.”
The price tag ($720 and up) is as hefty as the shoe itself, but you’d expect that given the brand’s top-notch construction and attention to detail. Make no mistake: this is a luxury shoe, not a skateboarding shoe. “The idea is to take influence from skate shoe silhouettes and make them in the highest level of footwear craftsmanship,” says Tony. “We are sourcing the best leather tanneries in Europe and using Old World handmade techniques, like Goodyear welt construction, natural cork mid soles, and pigment-free calf liners with replaceable Vibram outsole, which is reminiscent of luxury mens dress shoes.”
We don’t recommend hitting Hasting Bowl with these shoes. Instead, cherish them as you would a second skin, and steer clear of any sprays or polishes. Take heed knowing you can extend the life of a pair by having the souls replaced should the need arise. As Tony himself puts it, this is a shoe for “someone who enjoys and appreciates the finer things and understands quality.” He mulls it over for a few more seconds before adding that RONE is for “a more cultured, sophisticated individual that either comes from skateboarding or appreciate that skate aesthetic.” RONE shoes are created to weather the sands of time. Just don’t blame us if the shoe ages more gracefully than you.
RONE is available exclusively in Vancouver at HAVEN. We recommend you run, don’t walk, to try on a pair.
Photos: Allison Kuhl