How can you not write vulcanized death grip when talking about Vans? Yep, we are talking about the stripe, “the original since ’66”. Nobody is shy on opinions these days and Vans gets interesting feedback. I never run into anybody who feels kinda-sorta-wishy-washy about them. They seem to draw a line in allegiances. Honestly, it’s like the whole Nike SB thing: loved or hated. Personally, I fall into the really, really, really like them category. If Vans were a hot chick I’d have hooked up with her way more than a few times in my bitchin’ camaro back in the 80’s. Then the chick left us. Skate shoes got all super duper tech and puffy like moon boots. Lucky for you and me there was and epic comeback in the late 99 early 2000 of vulcanized shoes by Vans in the form of the first Geoff Rowley shoe. Thus, the theoretical hot chick had returned.
This vulcanized moment of clarity opened up many eyes in the industry that: maybe, just maybe people desire the simplicity of function over bells and whistles. Vans continues to mine that idea system today. A quick aside Vans does make some solid technical skate shoes. The No Skool and the No Skool 2 are excellent updates of classic Vans. However they factor in a bit more padding and cushioning to meet the needs of street skaters.
But, nothing beats the classics. Case in point the Vans Mid Skate. What you end up with here is the middle brother to the style 36 (old School) and the skate high shoes. Mostly it’s long overdue. Nothing too restrictive is to be found in this shoe and but with a supportive twist up around the ankle. Best of all the Mid Skate fully embraces the Vans sole days of way back when. I can talk about how good the shoe looks but it’s beauty, like it’s function lies in its’ simplicity. You already know this even before you put it on your feet. Everything is familiar form the sole, to the suede to the foxing: it all works as expected. A range of color ways should get skaters and sneaker heads into this shoe with no trouble at all.
Another fresh take on the Vans classic is the new Johnny Layton shoe. Yes, Johnny “I throw tuck knees at Culver City” Layton. Along with his new signature clothing line Vans set Johnny up with a new pro shoe. While the classics are always a great standby this slightly more burley version of the classic has the right blend of durability and grip to skate out of the box. J-Lay is apparently quite the classic rock fan hence we get a nice vintage slight to the graphics with tie dye and the what not. I wonder if he can lend me a copy of anything by Hendrix because my vinyl collection is dying.
There you go … a few classic old, updated and brand new all over again shoes for you to skate in this spring. Hopefully, the theoretical hot chick doesn’t leave town for a long long time.