VANS - Jackson Pilz Sk8-Hi Pro




Evan Smith has recently released his first signature shoe from DC Shoes. We caught up with the man while he was in Tokyo during the promo tour, and asked him about the shoe and his recent part in Thrasher.

Interview by VHSMAG Photo courtesy of DC Japan Special thanks: DC Japan

VHSMAG (V): So what are you here in Japan for?

Evan Smith (E): We're here for my shoe tour, and we're stopping through Japan and then going to Australia. We're just touring through shops and doing signings and demos and street skating and enjoying the Tokyo life. We've been street skating the past three days, we did a demo the second day that we got here. The demo's awesome. It was at the trade show. Then we went street skating the last three days, they boys been partying. So just a good tour all the way around.

V: You got your shoe out and I assume that your schedule is pretty crazy?

E: Definitely really crazy, but manageable, you know. I'm ready for anything at this point. I want to tour and try to market, and try to sell my shoe as best as we can.

V: What was your reaction when you found out that you’re getting a signature shoe?

E: It was really surreal, because when I was a little kid I never thought I'd be getting a pro shoe just from skateboarding. The idea of that just blew my mind completely. Now that it's going down and now that it's here, it's really, really special time for me and my family, my girlfriend, and my life. Coinciding it with DC is really, really beautiful.

V: It's a big thing.

E: Yeah, it's really cool to experience a life movement like this. Marketing something for a massive company, especially DC… it's DC shoes. One of the coolest brands in skateboarding.

V: What's the process like when you're working on your shoe? You're getting a shoe, and what happens?

E: We all got around a table and then I brought some pictures of old shoes that I thought were cool. We got to the bottom of kind of trying to make it low top and high top version of a skateable PF Flyer, which is really cool. Obviously, it's all original but the styles are classical versus futuristic. Looking back at all these amazing companies and then trying to come up with something that would compare next to them. It's like we jumped back in time a little bit and created this style, which in my opinion is kind of a ’70s style shoe. It’s an up to date version with the new technology.

V: I read this somewhere but you mentioned something about the leather or the suede that you didn't want to use, can you talk about that?

E: Yeah, DC created super suede. Which, they don't buy their super suede from a bad company. It's after the cows are processed for meat, so that humans can eat. They use their hides to make the super suede, and that's how they make good suede, good leather. I don't completely condone those actions, to my moral, to myself. I feel that if there's a way that we could change it and plant, ground leather or vegan leather ... Synthetics are kind of crazy too.
Everything sort of hurts the environment when it comes to making rubber and shoes. I think if we try our best just little by little we can come up with new ways to sell a shoe that is a little bit more environmentally savvy, which is a really nice concept. We've been doing a lot of changes on the new lines coming up and I've been researching vegan leathers to try to replace super suede. Super suede is an amazing product. I don't want to take anything away from super suede. It's the best thing when it comes to skateboarding. It lasts the longest and it's incredible. So when we do use it, we use it in small portions and then we use a rubber backed canvas around the outside. That's the idea; try to limit the use of suede so we don't use as many hides. But like I said, I don't want to take anything away from what DC's created with super suede because it's amazing, but if there is one person that would go on a different path, I wouldn't be shy to speak my mind.

V: Okay, cool. So you got your shoe out and you had that commercial. You directed it right?

E: Yeah. Me and the Element's team manager were sitting around trying to come up with a commercial idea, because I wanted to originally sell something with the shoe. Something to promote it, something to bring awareness to it, something that was outlandish. At the same time, something that brought a classic style of DC back to the forefront. Remember when The DC Video came out and there was the cameos with Rob Dyrdek and Big Black and AVE? There was a lot of personality and there was a lot of fun there. Then DC got really serious, which is awesome.
Knowing the team, Wes and CJ and T-Funk and myself, we're all a little bit more light hearted and we're always laughing and trying to find a way to have fun. Shit gets real in the streets for sure, but we're always just laughing. So I wanted to focus on the humor aspect and it was really fun because they were like, "All right, let's do it then." It was a really cool experience to come up with an idea and then try to make it happen with a video crew, lighting crew in Pacific Drive, which is Wes' local shop, so it's a bunch of friends of ours.

V: T-Funk says “It's got a soul (sole) of it's own” and he’s talking about the Impact-I sole. How is it different from other soles?

E: Well, it is a revolutionary technology and it's patent by DC. Due to the fact that usually people don't use their shaping on the bottom of the sole... Usually it's like triangles or more like a griddy style thing, like the classic Vans. With this new technology, it's just inverted cones, which is a way to spread impact. That's the new idea of a vulcanized sole, is when you're landing right on your heel, it spreads it out to all of these other cone like circles that absorb the impact.

DC SHOES: The Evan Smith Signature Shoe with IMPACT-I Technology

V: Okay, that's cool. You also had that amazing Thrasher part.

E: Yeah, worked with Chris Ray and Jimmy and a couple of guys at Element to try to make some footage together for that. I think that was a combination of footage from the last two years that we've been going on tours and trips and different locations.

V: Is there anything you keep in mind when you're working on a part? Like what goes in and what goes out?

E: Yeah, as far as tricks go, you don't want to do all the same tricks. So when you're filmed for a part you just kind of spread yourself out and try to get different aspects of the things that you like to skate. With this last Thrasher part, like I said two years we were just traveling all over. A couple of those trips were just me and my friends with our camera. It wouldn't even be a DC trip. Some of them would be Element trips, some of them would be DC trips, it's just a combination of the lifestyle of skateboarding, which is really cool. Because if you see at the end in the credits, there's a list of filmers, a huge list of filmers. Which is fun, we got to film and meet a lot of awesome people that I call my friends.

Thrasher: Evan Smith’s “Time Trap” Part

V: So you've directed your commercial, you played your guitar for previous parts. I see a lot of creativity there. Where is that come from? Does that come from growing up at a music venue?

E: Definitely, when I was 15 I left Orlando and moved up there to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was surrounded by crazy artists. Artists of canvas and as well as music, visual, mental, and physical. I've seen some crazy things go down in that venue. There's poetry being read and comedy and sit down acts and weddings. Real life, it's a room so it's used in many purposes. Through all of that I've just noticed the vibe of things and I just became sensitive to the vibes. I think that was a fun aspect of me when it comes to being creative. I got to bring that to the shoe and bring that to DC and bring that to my other sponsors. They're all super cool companies. They give me the opportunity... I love to give them ideas and bounce off their ideas. It's really cool to be involved in designing and even marketing. It's really nice.

V: What's the venue called?

E: Mr. Small's Theater.
V:You still live there?

E: Yeah, I still live there.

V: What keeps you there? Do you need to spend time in the west coast for skating as well?

E: Well, I'm kind of becoming bi-coastal because of traveling. My girlfriend from Australia just got her visa as an actress, so she'll be living in LA. She's going to be working on some films in the States. So I'm going to be a little bit more bi-coastal than I've ever been. It’s going to be a really exciting time, because I'll be near the industry as well as still be flying back to Pittsburgh and spending time with her in LA where the weather is perfect all the time. So, it's a nice transition.

V: Is there any project lined up in the future?

E: Yeah, we have a bunch of product stuff in the works. New concepts for the shoe, new commercial ideas. We have loads of new content. Releasing a couple of videos, more this year. We're going to release the VX part, and Element's been making a full-length video. So I'm going to put out a part with Element, and then me and my friend did a cross country trip. I've been making an edit and I'm going to do a photo book with that and try to do a limited release of maybe 500 copies of the photo book that I make with Element. Just coming up with marketing ideas and perpetuating and moving forward.


Evan Smith

Originally from Orlando Florida, currently resides in Pittsburg Pennsylvania. From creative technical tricks to hammers, the man is a true all-rounder. His recent work includes commercial for his shoe and Thrasher’s Time Trap part.


  • S.U.R – S.U.R -SurrelUnionRules
  • NB Numeric: New Balance