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Exclusive: Diego Nájera Talks His New adidas Skateboarding Sabalo Shoe

The latest Rider Series Diego x Sabalo is released on the 14th September.

Exclusive: Diego Nájera Talks His New adidas Skateboarding Sabalo Shoe
Posted by Matt Broadley4 min read
Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The adidas Skateboarding Rider Series is a monthly release of team designed, tested and approved skate shoes. Previously we've seen the Miles Silvas 3ST, the Jake Donnelly 3MC and most recently the Na-kel Nizza Lo and Hi. The latest release for September sees Diego Nájera return to his preferred adidas Sabalo, a shoe which has become his go-to skate shoe.

Diego opted to seriously up the colour game on this one coming in a catching Solar Red, which Diego describes as being simply inspired by the colour of his own car. Complete with a Slime Green outsole, it's look is as stark and outstanding as Diego's skateboarding. It’s a big departure from his previous toned down Sabalo in cream white, which launched the adidas silhouette and has now seen both Diego and Nora Vasconcellos give their take on the vulc soled design.

Nora tweaked the original design to create the Sabalo slip-on, which came in a fitting clear orange colourway. One of the key features to the Sabalo, aside from the unique curvature of the vulc wrap, is the construction. It's a complete one-piece toebox and upper, meaning there is no stitching to come apart and zero chance of any blowout. It's the stand-out highlight and one of the key reasons Diego loves skating in the shoe and has re-upped on the colourway.

Ahead of the release of Diego's new Rider Series Sabalo, we caught up with him whilst he was on tour in Tokyo, Japan. Read on and find out more about his design and inspiration behind his new Rider Series Sabalo.

How're things going with you? What have you been up to of late?

Things have been good my way. I've been stacked with stuff to do and have been keeping myself busy in multiple ways. Skating, filming for videos, travelling, building cars with the homies, running businesses and creating and designing pieces for upcoming projects, keeping the mind running. 

You had the first colourway of the original release of the Sabalo, did you work on the design of the shoe at all or just the colour?

I didn’t have a say in the design part of things. With the colours and materials along with all the little details, I had full control.

I know adidas like to make good use of the feedback that riders provide, is this something you enjoy involving yourself in?

Personally I’m all about giving feedback and being part of the creative side where I can provide my own ideas and mix ideas with the others in design. It’s highly enjoyable.

2. adidas Skateboarding Sabalo x Diego Najera in solar red, footwear white, solar slime green. adidas EE6127

This is your second colourway of the Sabalo, is it your favourite shoe within the adidas range? Or did you originally want another shoe for your pro colourway?

It's not only because I have colourways of the Sabalo, but personally I think it’s a great shoe and it has become my go-to skate shoe right now. I was excited to introduce the new silhouette with my colourway. I’m into all types of different sneaker styles, so whichever opportunity they gave me for a colourway I was going take it and create something good.

"I like skating shoes that have less chance of ripping or blowing out and the Sabalo does that very well"

In your opinion, what makes the Sabalo so good?

I like skating shoes that have less chance of ripping or blowing out and the Sabalo does that very well. There are no areas of the shoe where it’ll tear up sooner than I’d want it to.

The attached tongue keeps my foot snug, there's about two inches of tongue that aren’t attached to the inner part of the shoe, which I like, it stops it from slouching to the left or right and keeps it aesthetically pleasing to look at. I get really detailed when I look at sneakers, even down to the simple fact that the Sabalo has a really good shoelace length.

The new red colour is quite bold, what inspired this choice?

The inspiration behind the colour came from a couple of things. Not only inspired by colours themselves, I have a ton of ideas and colour combinations and material running through my mind constantly.

I’ve always painted and painting brings out colour combinations in many ways, I also have a classic car that is a bright red which I colour matched the sneaker with. The neon slat green simply came from how the colours bounced off each other in a statement way. It stands out when you see it, you can’t miss it! 

My first colourway was more laid back with the full clean cream. With this solar red slat green combo I switched it up to bring something completely different to my first.

Diego, switch flip in his new Sabalo colorway for adidas Skateboarding. Photo. Jake Darwen Diego Nájera, switch flip in his new Sabalo colorway for adidas Skateboarding. Photo. Jake Darwen

How have you found it running your own brand, Nothing Special? What lessons has this taught you and do you enjoy the creative control it gives to you?

So that it’s all transparent, I run Nothing Special with my homie Sean Apgar. I’ve learned a lot and will continue to learn more as I keep going. It’s taught me a lot about the business end of things which is more internal.

The creative part of things, I’ve always been into that, I had a couple of mess around companies growing up with my older brother Ruben. I will continue to create and build. Being able to think of an idea and see it through to a physical product is a good feeling.

We’ve seen you skating April boards on Instagram - does that mean what we think it does?

Everyone over at April Skateboards is family, but just keep up with me on Instagram and you will all know.

"Riding for Paul's company [Primitive] felt like a dream come true"

Was it a difficult decision to leave Primitive? I know you’ve always looked up to Paul, what would you say you learnt from him?

It’s always difficult when you leave something so meaningful. But whatever it is we want to do with our journey in life, it’s our personal decisions that mean the most. It’s all love and always will be. I’ve looked up to Paul in skateboarding since I was 10 years old, maybe even younger.

Fast forward to us meeting years later, becoming homies, to riding for his company, it felt like a dream. As we hung out more I looked up to him even more, his humbleness with so much success was a big one. He’s motivational and intelligent, I’ll be forever grateful for our friendship. Brothers for life.

Anything else coming up that we can look forward to?

The grind never stops. Any way that I can connect with others through the things I enjoy doing, be on the lookout always. Thanks to everyone who backs me and supports what I do.

1. adidas Skateboarding Sabalo x Diego Najera in solar red, footwear white, solar slime green. adidas EE6127
3. adidas Skateboarding Sabalo x Diego Najera in solar red, footwear white, solar slime green. adidas EE6127
4. adidas Skateboarding Sabalo x Diego Najera in solar red, footwear white, solar slime green. adidas EE6127
5. adidas Skateboarding Sabalo x Diego Najera in solar red, footwear white, solar slime green. adidas EE6127

The adidas Skateboarding Rider Series Diego x Sablao will be available this Saturday, 14th September right here on Parade.

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