Less than one percent of Nike’s endorsed athletes have received a signature shoe. Of that select group of athletes to receive a signature shoe, Paul Rodriguez is the first skater to join the ranks of the elite few who can claim a run of 10 Nike shoes. This summer, both Kevin Durant and Paul Rodriguez join those rarified ranks. While Durant recently celebrated in truly triumphant fashion (claiming his first title while wearing the KD10), Rodriguez has quietly maintained a dominant position as one of the world’s most accomplished skateboarders.
Designed to be both sophisticated and high performing, the Nike SB Paul Rodriguez Ten has a refined upper that allows for easy wear on and off board — perfect for Rodriguez’s lifestyle.
Here, Rodriguez shares some of the achievements, lessons and memories that have highlighted his time as a Nike athlete thus far. (Coincidentally, there are 10.)
He’ll never forget his first release party
“I don't know if I was even old enough to get into the venue. It was just such a great experience.”
Travel has shaped some of his best Nike moments
“The Pan-American tour we do in South America — through Peru, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Rio, Argentina — is so much fun. The whole squad, everybody does demos. The crowds are humongous – full arenas are packed, screaming your name. It's an adrenalin rush.”
Meeting fellow Nike signature athletes always feels surreal
“Nike was doing a big demo in China at the Festival of Sport. The skateboarders and basketball players were in the same green room between demos. I was playing video games with Kyrie Irving. I was so star struck, like, ‘I’m really hanging out with these guys right now? This is crazy!’”
Some colorways are so good they can’t be skated
“The original J Rods, which was my first shoe collab with Jordan Brand. I had the Jumpman on the tongue and the elephant print. Those I just save.”
Winning isn’t everything, but it’s still sweet
“Any time I have been fortunate enough to win a Street League, it was a huge moment. Those things are really hard to come by. In skateboarding, sometimes you know, it's like taboo – you're not supposed to, like, try to win. It's not cool. But man, I'm in a lineup with some of the best skateboarders. When you get a win, you have to savor it. I’m just thankful I've been able to do it a few times so that I can validate to myself it wasn't an accident.”
A lot can be learned from Nike, Inc. Chairman and CEO Mark Parker
“He's the CEO of one of the biggest corporations in the world. Watching how he carries himself and conducts himself with the rest of the company, he's just so humble and down to earth. I would imagine it might be hard to stay that way. It seems like a teamwork type of thing to me. And I feel in business that's important, especially when you're creating a brand. “
Being a veteran is something he relishes
“Now I'm the veteran and I'm seeing people come in — for instance, the generation of Luan Oliveira, Shane O’Neill and Ishod Wair and other guys — I watched them come in from the same position I was in, as the new kid who people are talking about. Nike brings them into the fold, and now I'm watching them. Now they're full-blown superstars.”
He’s sure of his place in the sneaker design process
“You can't rush into it and expect magic to happen immediately. It's a creative process, and there are some errors and sometimes the stars align. I know that I'm not a talented shoe designer. I just like to be there to make sure it functions and can skate well.”
There’s something subtly special about his latest signature shoe
“It’s just a classic, good skate shoe. It's not trying too hard. It's not careless either.”
Being linked with the likes of LeBron, Kobe and KD as members of an elite 10-signature club is an incredible feeling
“They're all right man; they're chill. But really, it's insane to hear that list. Being in the 10 club with these guys, I don’t know what to make of it yet. I don’t know what to make of the whole situation; I’m just grateful, thankful. So KD and I are basically going at the same time? That’s rad. It doesn’t feel real. It’s just skateboarding. It’s my passion. It’s the thing I love the most, but then you think of the other people on that list and they’re super humans.”
The Nike SB Paul Rodriguez Ten is available July 1 on nike.com and at select retailers in the following colorways: White/Pure Platinum, Black/White and Dark Team Red/Black Sail.
In addition, Nike SB created the Nike SB Paul Rodriguez Ten “Special Edition” to highlight hallmark design elements from Rodriguez’s past pro models. The Special Edition is limited to 10 pairs in each of two colorways, Velvet Brown and Redwood.