How One Renegade Pro Skater Changed Shoe Design Forever

Don’t you dare limit Chad Muska. Not even for a second. Don’t pigeonhole him or give him a job title or try to put him in a box. Because he’ll smash out of that box, then stomp on it, then burn it down and do kickflips over the charred remains. That’s how he rolls.

“I wake up, I think, and I create, every day,” Muska says, when asked to give his work some parameters.

“What do you create?” I ask.

“I create…” He pauses for a moment, deciding whether to give that simple declarative statement any boundaries. After a second, he opts against it. “I create.”

This special brand of boundless ideation is serving Muska well. From his days as your favorite avatar on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater to his design of a skate shoe with freaking airbags, the man has dreamed big and then smashed those dreams out of the park.

He’s a game changer, and when he changes the game he does it with style. No wonder, Skin Phillips, editor of Transworld Mag calls him a “charisma supernova.”

On the string of Muska successes — and the man has many, from your skate shoe stash pocket in the 90s to his recent art show in LA — you can’t ignore the celebrity-beloved Skytop. It’s a shoe that went from no heat to insane buzz, seemingly overnight. One day, sales people were fighting to get them in stores and a few weeks later those same stores couldn’t keep them on shelves. From Jay-Z to Heidi Klum, people saw Muska’s vision and fucking dug it.

“I just… I couldn’t believe it,” Muska says of the Skytop phenomenon. “It was insane.”

It’s easy to buy into that line of thinking, to pretend that this astronomical success was some strange alchemy, but be wary: When you’re dealing with a creator of this caliber nothing is by accident. Because when Muska creates, the whole world takes notice.