On Your Feet: Nike Stefan Janoski Flyknit

Janoski cork insoles on their side

On Your Feet is all about that new shoe feeling- from the first time you open the box until they’re worn into the ground. Sometimes we’ll sift through the constant Air Jordan releases to bring you the gems other people will leave on the shelves, and sometimes we’ll slide on reclaimed leather loafers from Prague, but we’ll always focus on comfortable shoes with appealing and creative aesthetic. So lace up your new kicks and stand on the precipice of adventure, where will we go together?

There’s already a lot to like about the Nike SB Stefan Janoski, from the lightweight Nike Zoom air unit to the cork insole. It’s nothing but a skate shoe at heart, drawing inspiration from lightweight boat shoes to give the rider a close board feel. The lifestyle rendition of the popular low-top is a welcome addition for anyone who is a fan of simple, comfortable sneakers.

Stefan Janoski is a prime example of the sheer passion and creativity of the skate community. He began skateboarding when he was 13 years old, and even at a young age was a force behind the burgeoning scene in Vacaville, Calif. In the years since, he’s made a name for himself by making smooth lines and difficult switch tricks appear effortless. In addition, he’s able to use the time afforded him by skating to create art, music, and even held a show to display his cast bronze sculptures. Despite Nike’s ideas for his signature shoe, Janoski took creative control and emphasized that he wanted a lightweight shoe, with as little padding and extra tech as possible. The idea was to maximize the rider’s ability to feel the board and the ground, and Janoski and Nike have succeeded admirably.

stefan nike sb side view

This version of the Nike SB Stefan Janoski is considered a EXP PQS release, which is Nike code for shoes designed for lifestyle wear (EXP is for expansion of the performance product line) that were announced just a couple of weeks before they found their way to shelves in a limited release (QS stands for quickstrike). The flyknit upper probably can’t take too much damage from the grip tape on a skateboard before it falls apart, but the advantages that come with it are noticeable.

The Janoski is fitted with a Nike Zoom unit, a part of the Nike Air line that features smaller heel and forefoot pods that are designed to be responsive and lightweight. This is especially important when you’re trying to keep a board under your feet, so you can feel the edges and keep traction where you need it most. The tightly-knit fibers help the pods spring back into shape after pressure or a quick push. A cork insole is a classy touch that’s unique to the more premium models of the Janoski SB, and is comfortable and utilitarian.

heels on the stefan janoski flyknit

Where previous iterations of the Nike SB Stefan Janoski have been fitted with patterned canvas and suede uppers, this release instead opts for Nike’s Flyknit material. This lightweight and unique material has been finding its way onto a number of classic Nike silhouettes, from Air Maxes to the new Kobe 9 and everything in between. It’s crazy lightweight, breathable, and comfortable, as well as being woven from a single strand, so it generates a lot less weight than more traditional materials. Besides the technical aspects of the Flyknit upper, it’s also very stylish, and allows for intriguing color combinations.

There are still sizes available from the folks at RISE, who were kind enough to let us use their product images.