Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Nike shoe that honors Skatepark of Tampa still available online


Of the thousands of shoes Nike has created over the years only one honored a skate park. • Just one pair. • Ever. • It's called the "Moat," so named for the retention ditch surrounding none other than the Skatepark of Tampa. • But finding them these days isn't easy. • Only 100 pairs were made when the shoe was released a year ago. Back then, they went for $400 and sold out in an hour. • Today, you might be able to nab them on eBay. A guy in California was trying to sell a pair recently for $100. A blog post mentioned a pair were for sale at a small shop in New York. And Flight Club Los Angeles, a shoe seller with stores in New York, has limited sizes for sale online for up to $170. • But the story of why one of the nation's most recognizable names in sports gear noticed a little skate park in Tampa is as rich as ever.

The "Moat" shoe was developed to celebrate the Skatepark of Tampa's 15th anniversary.

But back in 1993 when the facility was created, it seemed unlikely that the warehouse skate park would make it through the year. By then, the wave of popularity skateboarding had carved out in the 1980s was waning, and skateboarders grinding rails and kick-flipping down stairs were looked at as criminals defacing public property.

Professional skateboarder Brian Schaefer was 22 and wanted a cool place to hang out. So he made one by opening the Skatepark of Tampa. Sixteen years later, the glass double doors out front still are open and covered in stickers.

"When we started, we lived here," Schaefer said. "I had no idea that it would turn into a real job so to speak. It is as real as it comes."

Schaefer now employs 24 people. The brick and mortar store has expanded to include an online shop, at, and expanded to include another warehouse.

Over the years, the influential skate shop established some of the sport's biggest and most popular tournaments including the Tampa Pro and Damn Am contests.

It was during one of the contests where the legend of the moat emerged during the first "moat race" where spectators swam the mucky retention pond that surrounds the skate park in hopes of winning skateboard merchandise.

• • •

Nick Halkias works for Nike SB and collaborated with Barak Wiser from the SPoT to design the shoe in about six months. The colors and imagery on the Moat — more formally called the Nike "Dunk Mid SB" — were inspired by a large turtle that used to live in the moat. The shoe has a turtle print and coating that looks like the floating muck in the retention pond. It also features the SPoT's red and black theme colors and a turtle shell around the ankle with yellow and green turtle shell art.

Called a "hype shoe," the Moat was a limited edition, quick release shoe with a unique story that could help sell it. Nike has created other "hype" shoes with musical artists De La Soul and Dinosaur Jr.

"It is a real honor to do something fun like that for the brand and for everyone who works there (at the SPoT)," Halkias said. "It is a piece of our culture in the industry. Skatepark of Tampa started at a time when skateboarding was considered dead."

The 21st century saw the rise again in skateboarding's popularity. ESPN's X-Games and the first Tony Hawk video games both featured the sport.

Then came Nike.

The company famous for its basketball shoes and a "Just do it" attitude was looked at with wanton eyes when it entered the skateboarding arena.

Nike blitzed skate magazines and television with advertisements featuring tennis players and other athletes hopping fences to use sports facilities. The ads asked, "What if we treated all athletes like we treat skateboarders?"

The campaign was funny, but did little to move shoes, so the company retooled, bringing in well-known skateboarders to help. It also forged partnerships with skate shops and other businesses, such as the Skatepark of Tampa.

A few years ago the SPoT was looking for a sponsor for its Tampa Pro contest. Schaefer said they wanted to make the contest bigger and needed a major sponsor to get involved. Eventually, they inked a deal with Nike SB and a couple of years later the shoemaker created the Moat.

These days many skateboarders nationwide are shod in a pair of Nike SB shoes, a popularity that company officials attribute largely to its partnership with the SPoT and others like it. They are the most popular line of shoes at the SPoT, Schaefer said.

Jared Leone can be reached at (813) 269-5314 or [email protected]

Nike shoe that honors Skatepark of Tampa still available online 05/04/09 [Last modified: Monday, May 4, 2009 12:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Kriseman calls on national Democrats in final push for St. Pete mayor's race


    Days before the Aug. 29 mayoral primary, Mayor Rick Kriseman snagged a rarely-given endorsement from former president Barack Obama, backing that may have helped push the mayor to a narrow victory over Rick Baker.

  2. Police: Clearwater man attempted to rob Largo Speedway with knife


    LARGO — A Clearwater man is facing multiple charges after police say he tried to rob a Speedway store with a knife early Tuesday morning.

    Geoffrey Davis, 31, faces a charge of armed robbery after Largo police said he attempted to steal items from a Speedway at 2698 Roosevelt Blvd. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  3. From the food editor: Shout out to my husband, the world's least picky eater, with this bowl of pappardelle


    Oh, hello, end of October. When the heck did you get here?

    Pappardelle with Cream Sauce and Mint. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
  4. Bucs: Quick and easy fixes for what ails Tampa Bay?


    The Bucs are 2-4 and have lost five straight road games, so there's plenty to fix. What's the quickest and easiest fix for coach Dirk Koetter and Tampa Bay? The Times' Bucs coverage team weighs in:


    Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, seen during the first half, had a heck of a day calling plays, Tom Jones writes. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. New Orleans celebrity chef John Besh steps down after sexual harassment allegations


    Celebrity chef John Besh became a symbol of the rebirth of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina leveled the city. Now he faces a storm of his own. On Monday, Besh stepped down from the restaurant group he founded and co-owns after more than two dozen women alleged his company fostered a culture of sexual abuse.

    Chef John Besh attends the Supper to benefit the Global Fund to fight AIDS in New York in May 2015. Besh is stepping down from the restaurant group that bears his name after a newspaper reported that 25 current or former employees of the business said they were victims of sexual harassment. [Brad Barket | Invision/AP, File]