Defined by California
Vans is a brand that is defined by Cali culture. Fact is that Vans has an even deeper connection with its footwear. Specifically, the Vans Old Skool sneaker is a piece of the company’s catalog that explains nearly its entire history. It’s a fitting trait for this shoe to have, seeing as how it’s probably the first sneaker everyone thinks of when the Vans name is brought up. Without even realizing it, Vans have placed a huge amount of history on the Old Skool, including its legendary logo
This sneaker’s story stretches back to 1977 when it was released as a model named „Style 36“. It was the first Vans model to sport leather panels, but also debuted the brand’s no iconic side stripe logo. Originally a random drawing by Paul Van Doren, the Vans identity as we know it today was born in the shape of this new logo.
The early success of the Old Skool was thanks in part to its build. The leather panels allowed for some serious customization, even inspiring many consumers to paint and draw on the shoes. There was an element of self-expression that buyers seemed to flock to. That emphasis on individuality would lead the Old Skool well into the early punk rock scene in the 2000s. Huge names in the angst-rock scene, such as Slayer, were partnered with Vans as the Old Skool was on many a concert stage.
This sort of cult popularity led the brand to some impressive success. Iterations of the Old Skool were in high demand and seemed to be coming out in new forms regularly. The focus of the shoe’s design remained unchanged, with the only variations being in materials. As punk rock started to wain in relevance, the Old Skool’s status as a cult icon did not.
In fact, it was only seen on more feet. This could’ve been spurred on by collaboration projects with names as big as Supreme, making the Old Skool a collector’s item. The sneaker’s status had even made it a longtime favorite of some of the biggest names in Pro Action Sports.
It may not come with hype that is quite as loud as some other names in the industry. But, the Vans Old Skool is rich in history and is a marker of cultural shifts throughout its existence.