“Sal 23” colorway SB Dunk Low

June 18, 2014


Truth be told, I never skated the white/black sole Etnies/e’S Sal 23. I had the navy w/white sole  through fall/winter ’94/95 and the elusive red w/black sole late summer ’95 into fall of the same year.To this day, it remains my favorite skate shoe of all time.* So when e’S announced their comeback, I hoped somewhere in the back of my mind that they would, in some form or fashion, reissue some of the most beloved models like the Sal 23 and Accel. Well, they did reissue the Accel in Japan, or some shit.

However, several factors in the modern world stand in the way. First, who knows what happened to that Korean factory that fabricated all those e’S back in the ’90s. It might be a laser tag arena now. Secondly, it would probably involve paying Sal; according to the quote on this web page, he played an integral part in its design. And if there’s one thing companies (even skater-owned ones) sidestep more than anything, it’s paying people if they don’t ostensibly have to. Thirdly, it might not be fiscally wise at this juncture for e’S to manufacture faithful reissues, like Nike does with every Jordan–over and over again until the end of time, amen–and lesser-known but equally beloved shoes like the Air Tech Challenge 2–a.k.a. Agassi’s. 

So when the all-white dunks came out, I saw a blank canvas* on which to embark on a nostalgic vision quest. I would take matters into my own hands–literally. Indeed, it felt to good to sit down and work on a #physical project for hours and hours. Before that, though, I researched. Like most important decisions in my life, I first consulted the Slap messageboard. One dude recommended an Australian brand of spray paint, which I obtained, along with an assortment of caps, from a Canadian web site.

I guess Australia and Canada are still all about the five elements of #madrealhiphop.


Subsequently, I masked off the sides in order to preserve the “so icy” translucent blue sole, as seen above. After experimenting with the assortment of caps, I selected the skinniest one and carefully painted the sidewall (is that a term?). Like most attempts in life, it came out way better the second time. The dude on Slap was right–this paint is sticky as fuck and pretty much impossible to scrape off even with an x-acto knife. I might clean up the soles with some acetone and a q-tip at some point.

Applying the “23” proved even more challenging. I can’t claim “embroidery” as part of my skill set, so I had to find another tactic.  First I tried to locate “varsity’ font stencils at my local craft stores–to no avail. Then I said “fuck it” and downloaded the font to create my own stencil. Someone on instagram–I forget who, @nailzsf maybe?–told me that the digits are one inch high on the shoe, so I laser-printed a 72-point Varsity stencil. Spray-painting the numerals proved too messy, as did going over it with a paint pen, so I eventually created another one with plain ol’ computer paper, traced the outline on the shoe with a number two pencil, then carefully went over that with the finest paint pen I could find and filled in. Finally, I cannibalized some black laces from the chromeball dunk highs.

I’m not sure if I’m going to skate them or just stunt around for the summer. In any event, as you can imagine, they pair well with Light-Ass Denim.™

twitter – @carbonite1994

insta – @frozenincarbonite 


*until a skateable SB Jordan 5 comes out

**just like when I skate street, bro


2 Responses to ““Sal 23” colorway SB Dunk Low”

  1. alex dyer said

    God you’re good. Keep it up, homie.

  2. Sonny Black said

    That’s a dope looking sneaker. If you wanted to drop some dough on a “professional” custom sneaker job, the guys at JGoods do a nice job. Good work, nonetheless.

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