In this series, Ivan Belcic invites sneaker-lovers from the metal world at large to share some favorites from their collections, pairing them with metal albums that fit just right.


"15-year-old Rick would be stoked…"

If you got into sneakers via athletics, it was most likely due to either basketball or skateboarding. But between the two, there’s no contest when it comes to putting your kicks through the wringer: nothing shreds sneakers as brutally and in as little time as skating them. For a sport so intrinsically linked to its footwear, there are at least as many iconic sneakers that were recruited into skateboarding as there are sneakers that were expressly designed for it.

The Jordan 1 is perhaps the quintessential representation of this idea. It skated well, skaters embraced it, and it’s as integral now to the history of skateboarding sneakers as it is to basketball. And it’s why Nike reimagined the Dunk — a basketball sneaker similar to the Jordan 1 — as a skateboarding shoe with the launch of their Nike SB division. Early collabs with Supreme, Zoo York, and Chocolate helped cement the SB Dunk’s legitimacy as a viable option for skaters hesitant about big-brand involvement in the sport and subculture.

Whether you embrace the surging and persistent popularity of skateboarding sneakers in the wider sneaker world or decry it, the subculture and the sneakers that go with it have come a long way as a now-mainstream institution. These days, Nike SB Dunks have long since transcended their skateboarding origins into one of the most fervently hyped sneakers out there. (And as someone who’s been wearing them since the mid-2000s, I have divided feelings on their newfound popularity and resulting scarcity, but that’s for another conversation.)

For Rick Owen, bassist in melodic death metal band Video Nasties, skateboarding was a gateway towards not only sneakers, but heavy music as well. “Listening to Korn and Limp Bizkit, and then hearing bands like The Misfits, Bad Brains, and Slayer on skate videos really took it to the next level for me,” he reminisces. And from that point, Owen was hooked: ”It was a case of always craving something faster and heavier from that point on.”

Regarding skateboarding and sneakers, Owen sees himself as having charted a different trajectory than many of his sneaker-loving Liverpudlian peers. “Everyone always comments when they see how many pairs I own, ‘Oh, it must be a Liverpool thing,’ and I tend to agree,” he explains. “Usually though, for scousers, it’s through a love of football and terrace fashion, but for me, it was skateboarding.”

The signature shoe has become as prevalent in skateboarding as in basketball, and it was quite the potent draw for the young Owen. “Looking up to skaters like Geoff Rowley, Tony Trujillo, and The Gonz growing up who all had their own signature shoes, it was mind-blowing. I was like ‘Fuck, I want those shoes... and I want my own signature pair while I’m at it.’ A Vans [and] Video Nasties collaboration would be something else.”

Video Nasties recently dropped their horror-drenched debut full-length Dominion with APF Records, and based on the potency of these songs, perhaps Owen’s dream isn’t so far away. His words follow below on five sneakers that define his collection, and five incendiary albums to go along with them.

-- Ivan Belcic



Nike Air Max 95 Carhartt WIP Camo

My first pick would have to be the 2018 Nike Air Max 95 x Carhartt WIP collab. I have a huge soft spot for collaborations as it is, but this one combines my two favorite brands: Nike and Carhartt WIP. Known as 110s in Liverpool due to its original sale price, the 95 is probably Nike’s most aggressive-looking shoe in the Air Max series, and paired with the WIP digital camo, you would be pressed to find a harder combo. Scouse as fuck.

There’s only one album that can match this shoe’s aggression for me: Power Trip’s Nightmare Logic. From the first drop in “Soul Sacrifice” right through to “Crucifixation,” it’s unrelenting, and it’s been a firm favorite of mine since its release in 2017.


Nike Air Max 1 OG Blue

This version of the AM1 was released in 2017 for the 30th anniversary. It was my first pair of AM1s and the start of an unhealthy obsession with the shoe. A super clean, simple design and colorway make it the perfect summer pair and my go-to for special occasions.

I picked them up about the same time I discovered Higher Power from Leeds. Their debut album Soul Structure was all I listened to that year. A blend of 1990s alt-rock and modern hardcore that’s perfect for summer, and I have fond memories of hazy days in the sun when I hear anything from it.


Vans x The North Face Sk8-Hi MTE

I’ve been wearing Vans OS and Sk8-Hi for 20 years now. They were the first pair of skate shoes I owned growing up, and I would wear them until they were falling to pieces (and still do). Now I always have two or three pairs on rotation, as they make the perfect tour companions. This one is a collab Vans did a couple of years back with outdoor brand The North Face. The shoe combines the classic Sk8-Hi design with the durability and weatherproof materials of TNF.

The album I’m picking to go with this shoe is Days of the White Owl by The Nerve Agents. When I think of the Vans Old School, I think back to my days of skating, and bands like The Nerve Agents really shaped my style on and off the board. I don’t even own a skateboard these days, but this album is always a fond reminder of bombing hills and eating shit.


Nike Air Force 1 x Gore-Tex

This one is a recent addition to my collection and another hard-as-fuck shoe. The Gore-Tex makes it super rugged and ideal for any weather. Usually I’ll steer clear of the Air Force 1, but the all-black with orange detail had me sold.

I’m going to go with Unhallowed by The Black Dahlia Murder for this shoe. Purely for the fact that I bought my first pair of AF1s while on a trip to London to see them for the first time. I think it was around 2006, maybe? I know Miasma had just been released, and I hadn’t listened to anything but that for weeks. I remember going back to Unhallowed on the journey down there and it blowing my mind all over again. Even today, it’s always on rotation.


Nike Air Max 1 Custom iD

Saving the best for last here. A Nike iD AM1, based on my white whale sneaker: the Powerwall BRS from 2005. They’re a little brighter than the original, but when these options became available, I had to take the dive. Yet another perfect summer pair inspired by the bright running shoes of Blue Ribbon Sports. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to add the real deal to my collection, but they carry a hefty price tag whenever they do appear.

One of my first white whale moments within heavier music came when I was in college with Bane’s Give Blood. I was given a blank CD with an album on by a band called Anatomy of a Ghost, but for some reason, it had a track on it from Give Blood at the end. I had no idea who it was at the time, but it blew my mind, and I couldn’t get enough of it. It took me weeks to track down the full album, and I still remember the excitement when the CD finally arrived in the post. That sense of achievement when you find a record (or a pair of trainers) you’ve been after for ages is something you don’t get often these days, unfortunately.


Dominion released March 13th via APF Records.


Check out the prior installments of Metal Shoebox:


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