Around this time last year it seemed one in every five girls sported a pair of Stan Smiths. In the preceding year you couldn’t walk three steps without spotting Nike Frees. New Balance kicks shined too. Vans, however, slipped under the “It” moniker of the other fashion-canonized sneakers, and as of yet they haven’t had their trending moment.
That’s not to say they haven’t been interpreted: Céline revamped the classic slip-on with pony hair and plaid. Eytys, a Swedish label, makes lace-ups reminiscent of the California skate shoe. Givenchy crafted a leather version of the checkerboard slip-on, and while J.Crew sells a Vans-collaboration, the actual brand hasn’t had a proper resurgence of its own.
Maybe that’s because Vans never went anywhere to merit the need for a comeback. When Phoebe Philo stepped out to take her bow in a pair of Air Max 90s, she fed right into our 90s nostalgia — Remember those shoes? — and we craved their return in that moment. Vans, however, have long remained a solid staple; they’re comfortable, cheap, durable, easy to wear. And so low-key they’ve been cruising under the radar.
But now that the 1970s are back in full swing (just look at pre-fall), I’m making a case for the originals on behalf of my West Coast roots.
Go for the classic low-top:
Or if high tops are more of your thing, try:
You know a sneaker’s chill when there’s an option for those who hate tying their shoes:
And if you feel short in sneakers, try adding lifts. Voila. DIY Golden Goose.
Like the Z-Boys who popularized them, Vans are quiet contenders and true competitors. Ride or die, always fly.