Kick, Push

On a muggy Saturday morning in September, before temperatures reached 95º, a line of customers stretched from the entryway of Humidity Skate Shop more than halfway down Dumaine Street to the next corner. Sneakerheads and shoe collectors patiently awaited the release of the “Trumpet High,” a solid gold Nike Dunk silhouette reminiscent of the brass instrument New Orleans has been synonymous with for much of its existence.

The Humidity x Nike SB “Trumpet” Highs (Image via Nike)

Nearly two months later, Humidity’s owner, Phillip “Philly” Santosuosso still can’t believe the city’s reaction to his collab with Nike SB. “But at the end of the day, the amount of people that showed up on that day, on the drop, blew my mind. It was overwhelming… There’s no way in the world that I expected that or thought that that was going to happen,” he says. The shoe features a clear sole comprised of music notes, an interior of purple velvet (similar to the inside of a horn case) and is topped off with a miniature red bow tie attached to the laces, akin to the dandy neckwear worn by early 20th century jazz musicians. For a sneaker of this magnitude — and our city — these are all precarious design aesthetics, but Santosuosso is steadfast as he states, “If we’re going to do this, it needs to be over the top. It was very scary because the shoe is pretty ugly.” The painstaking creative process, which included “a lot of sleepless nights” started well over a year ago as Santosuosso and his Nike SB rep discussed “what would be cool, what would be funny, what would make sense?”

Humidity Skate Shop owner, Phillip “Philly” Santosuosso (Image via Renard Bridgewater).

Music and skateboarding have had an intrinsic link throughout the sport’s rise from counter-culture to a highly popular, multimillion dollar industry with hip-hop artists like Pharrell, Tyler the Creator, Lupe Fiasco, and New Orleans’ very own Lil’ Wayne planting their feet onto decks. With the skate shop walking distance from Jackson Square, Santosuosso decided to pay homage to the city’s jazz roots and his regular observations as a skater. “Being from here and growing up here I’ve seen — we’ve seen — kids playing on the street every day, all day, and take it for granted. So I wanted to do something that puts on for them and just represents the youth, to where it is jazz,” he says.

Renard “Slangston Hughes” Bridgewater

“I do this for the neighborhood, not for Bourbon Street.” — Big Chief Delco (The Creole Osceolas)