Last week, a shoe with explosive reds and yellows inspired by the iconic Louisiana tradition of the crawfish boil hit the shelves of local skate store Rukus Board Shop.
The designer of the fresh pair of kicks is an employee of Rukus and University student, 19-year-old general business sophomore Hunter Hulin.
Hulin received no profit from his design other than the pride of his work.
“What we’ve gotten is better than any amount of money they could have given us,” Hulin said. “Just the recognition for the shop and for the state [is enough].”
Hulin said he started working on the design last April after approaching the store’s Nike representative. He said the representative essentially gave him a blank outline of a shoe.
The shoe itself is a Nike Dunk Low, which is a benchmark for Nike SB, the company’s skateboarding brand, which was founded in 2002.
Hulin said Nike occasionally accepts designs from skate shops, but the process of producing an original design is nearly impossible because designers have to find out what steps needs to be taken. Nike encouraged him to design the shoe but also told him not to get discouraged.
Hulin said the submissions of shoe ideas are common around the country, and the odds of Nike picking up the project were slim to none.
“I knew I had big shoes to fill and that it had to be something amazing,” Hulin said. “It really had to be something special.”
He said the Rukus employees talked for years about what kind of shoe they would design if given the chance, and the crawfish theme was always in the top tier.
Hulin said inspiration sparked one night after he had been mulling over many ideas in his head. He used colored pencils and newspaper clippings to piece the project together.
“I literally took some newspaper and traced around the mid-panel and cut it out because I’m not good with Photoshop or anything like that,” Hulin said.
The shoe’s newspaper mid-panel, right behind the Nike symbol, is arguably what makes the shoe so original and what Hulin thinks stood out to Nike the most.
While the shoe is highly coveted, Hulin said the limited edition specialty packaging is also sought after.
The box displays crawfish on a newspaper-covered table with corn sprinkled among the mud bugs. Inside the box is the pair of shoes packaged in what looks like a small crawfish sack, and newspaper replaces the normal white tissue paper stuffing the sneaker box.
Store owner Ronnie Saurage said there were only 500 of these special edition boxes, and they all sold out within an hour and a half after being released.
Nike has released seafood inspired shoes in the past, including shrimp and lobster designs. But this certainly the first time a shoe has been a specific representation of Louisiana culture and fashion.
The shoes will be available worldwide on Nike’s website on Saturday.