Women's skateboarding phenom Leticia Bufoni has been climbing up a lot of podiums lately, with a win earlier this month at the fifth annual Girlzilla competition in Somerset, United Kingdom; a second place finish at the Mystic Sk8 Cup in Prague, Czech Republic over the weekend; and a silver medal in Women's Skateboard Street last month at X Games Los Angeles 2012, among others. The 19 year-old Brazilian skater has been a force in women's competition since she first started winning contests back home in 2006 and is no stranger to the podium (she's the current overall leader on the 2012 World Cup Skateboarding circuit, on track to win her third overall World Cup title in a row), but even her biggest fans have been surprised by a new detail in her success story: This year she's been skating her way to those podiums in a custom Leticia Bufoni colorway of the popular Decay vulcanized skate shoe from Osiris Shoes.
Bufoni is not the first female skateboarder to be similarly honored by a shoe sponsor -- Vans unveiled a signature Cara-Beth Burnside shoe in 1999 and was her longtime sponsor before parting ways last year -- but her Osiris shoe will be the only one of its kind on the market when it drops next year. The Bufoni shoe, which will be released as part of the Osiris Fall 2013 Back-to-School collection, is part of the company's Riders Revolt series.
"The Riders Revolt series allows our riders who don't have signature models yet to come in and personalize a shoe from our line for themselves, give it their flair and their twist, and make some extra money off the sales," says Kyle Klemetsrud, product line manager for Osiris, noting that only two Osiris team skaters -- Corey Duffel and Caswell Berry -- currently have full signature pro models in the brand's line. Other athletes featured in the 2013 Riders Revolt series will include skateboarders Jamie Palmore and Kellen James, BMX rider Ryan Nyquist, FMX rider Adam Jones, and mountain bike rider Cameron Zink.
"Leticia's been skating the Decay for a few years and wanted to keep it classy with a nice black suede," Klemetsrud says. "We did a micro-perf on the underlay panels for her to give it a little more breatheability, and on the heel we have a little 'Yeah Yeah' screen embossed in white. That's something she's always saying and that she and her mother both have tattooed on them and have a bond together with, and it reflects her positive go-for-it attitude. And then we have a custom insole graphic where we did a pirate skull-and-crossbones with a rope and anchor and a banner with her name on it, and the skull is wearing her trademark bandana that she always rocks, just to give it that extra Leticia flair. Other than that we kept it really simple: it's a black suede vulcanized shoe that any skater, male or female, would be stoked to rock. It's not a women's-specific shoe, but it is the shoe she's been skating in for the last couple of years."
Osiris co-founder Tony Magnusson first spotted Bufoni in a skatepark more than five years ago when he was putting together a grom team and gathering footage for the 2008 Osiris film "Children of the Revolution," which introduced "Osiris Youth Movement" skaters Jake Hill, Tyson Bowerbank, Allysha Bergado, and Shane Borland, among others, and featured a breakout video part for Bufoni.
"She's just been bringing it ever since," says Osiris skate team manager Cuong Ling. "She's one of the best female skaters in the world and she's out in the streets skating all the time, literally on the grind all the time, and she's earned this."
Speaking of the grind, Bufoni could not be reached for comment for this article; she's currently on tour in Europe.
"She's a real skater and she's been an important part of our team and our brand for a long time because her performance on and off the board is just as professional as can be," Ling says. "She dominates that whole women's contest circuit -- she's always in the top three and it's really good exposure for us -- but if it wasn't for her also being a real hardcore skater out on the streets she wouldn't even be on the team. She can do nollie tricks, switch tricks, 360 flips... she's out there skating ledges really well, backside Smith grinding on rails, kickflipping onto rails, skating big stair sets... she's the real deal."
Other women on the Osiris team include skateboarders Karen Jones and Annie Sullivan, and both Klemetsrud and Ling say the brand's women's line has become increasingly popular.
"I feel like our team is constantly growing, for the better, and it's great to see so much progression from the women's side," Ling says. "Going to the X Games last month and watching that women's competition was great to see because it was packed and the level of skateboarding was so high. Leticia plays a major part in our skate program and brings a lot of interest to our team and our brand, and I'm really stoked to have her involved."