Posts Tagged ‘Mr T’

D3 The Movie

September 19, 2021

A good tale richly told is an oat for the soul. By now, the story of the Osiris D3 2001 is a tale knowed by many, and familiar to millions more. A rapid rise, debauched excess, noise, tragedy, riches, confusion, an all-too-public fall and, yes, a long road back to redemption. It is a story uniquely American in the telling, and it may be the story of us all.

Take not its name in vain. A vision out of time, gaping lace holes and a tongue a-puff, soles as flat and broad as a hippopotamus’ hoof. From there, things grow murky. This was all right around the turn of the century. Onetime Evol filmer and noted Robotech fan Brian Reid co-founded Osiris shoes and put on his onetime roommate David Mayhew, amongst others, developing a series of professional-use and “crazy layered” shoes intended for the commercial market. While Osiris dodged murderous factory managers in South Korea and jealous h8ers stateside, the original D3 hit stores in 1999.

In skateshops, on Limp Biscuit stages and at random ‘raves,’ the D3 stood tall, shouldering aside rivals with its burly physique and raw grip. And yet behind the scenes, discord and vitriol soon fermented. Bad feelings over allegedly purloined D3 royalties preceded David Mayhew’s exit from the big Storm tour bus; in the years since, barbs and sideways comments over design and inspiration credit for a shoe that is widely regarded as a prime example of early 2000s excess, for years a kind of subcultural albatross heralding minifigure hats, toilet-brush goatees and metallic turntables, slowly spinning into infinity.

Did the phenomenon manifest entirely from the vision of A-Team Member David Mayhew? The wizened hand of Osiris footwear architect Brian Reid? The truth may remain unknowed, and few cared until money came back into the picture via the recent puffed-out tech shoe revival, with a sort of vindication for David Mayhew via A$AP Rocky’s UnderArmour-produced D3 clone that landed the former Maple pro on the GQ web page. A potent stew of sneaker-centric content farms, the D3’s rich narrative and that ever-seductive intoxicant, righteous anger, touched off a series of think pieces and jousting interviews. From there, the D3 media war escalated with a Vice magazine mini-documentary, in which Brian Reid and David Mayhew further traded claims and shots.

This week brought a new chapter, as David Mayhew sat for a 3.5 hour Nine Club panel discussion covering the D3 design process. “In my mind I was like, ‘I want something buck wild,’ he relates. “I saw this hiking boot, had the vision, called Brian and tried to explain it over the phone… he came up with the bottom, and the back… it obviously became a hot kind of button issue, but at the end of the day I don’t care what people believe, I can put my head on my pillow.”

Obviously a feature-length film is the only logical next step in this decadeslong war over the monstrous footwear’s legacy. And yet the media arms race so far has overlooked the D3’s real and decisive role in skateboarding culture. Beyond the double-kick deck, urethane wheel and cut-off jean hem, few products have proven as pivotal as the D3. The excess it represented served as a sort of conceptual rock bottom for the overengineered puffy tongue era, setting the stage for the resulting simple-shoe renaissance that followed in the mid-2000s — and no company capitalized better on this shift than Nike Inc. and its classic Dunk silhouette, widely aped by competitors who subsequently fell over themselves in a rush to commoditize minimalist shoe models. Rather than munch popcorn as David Mayhew and Brian Reid stake competing claims for the D3’s dubious stylistic attributes and still-seeping cash flows, they perhaps should be recognized as authors of a cautionary tale that remains relevant as ever, as shoes again gather puff and reach deeper into the ever-confuzzled consumer’s wallet.

Will ‘D3 The Movie’ fully capture the D3’s corrective role in the ever-mutating skate shoe continuum, or is the longer runtime of an exclusive streaming series justified in this case? Or is this ‘Max Max’ type beef that can only be resolved in the ‘Thunderdome’? Can it be true that the original concept for the D3 included packaging each pair with a miniature set of oars to justify a price premium recognizing the shoe’s capacity to serve as scale-appropriate liveboats for common household pets including gerbils, hamsters, mice and even juvenile guinea pigs?