The All-Time Greatest Vans Old Skools: Part 2
From Supreme’s first-ever Vans collaboration in 1996 to nonnative’s 2018 overhaul and Blends’ second-ever ‘Bones’ drop, Part One of our Vans Old Skool retrospective highlighted a bunch of the best Old Skools to ever hit shelves.
However, there are way too many dope versions of the iconic skate silhouette to cram into a single-parter. Thus, we’re back with part two of our Old Skool highlights as we showcase 11 more of the best-ever Old Skools to ever see the light of day. Whether it be WTAPS’s military-inspired makeovers or Mindseeker’s over-the-top ‘Fire and Lightning’ pack, there’s a little something for everyone here, no matter if you prefer your Old Skools clean and classic, or a little more out-there.
Enjoy the second and final part of our Vans Old Skool best-ever retrospective below.
WTAPS x Vans Vault OG Old Skool LX (2018)WTAPS x Vans Vault OG Old Skool LX (2018)
Though not nearly as bold as their old crossbones-covered drops, or even the 2018 colab’s accompanying flame-decorated Sk8-His, last year’s Old Skools from WTAPS are in a league of their own when it comes to understated style. The drop perfectly brought the Japanese brand’s military inspiration to the low-top skate classic, dressing the shoe in clean olive green and navy colourways with heavy-duty canvas and suede construction, white leather side stripes, and matching rubber midsole wraps.
David Bowie x Vans Old Skool (2019)David Bowie x Vans Old Skool (2019)
This year’s tribute to the Thin White Duke is chock full of incredible nods to the late artist, but Vans’ David Bowie–inspired Old Skool was easily our favourite creation from the drop. A nod to 1973’s beloved Ziggy Stardust follow-up, Aladdin Sane, the kicks were a clear nod to the glam rock album’s iconic cover art, and were highlighted by the unmistakable red and blue lightning bolt.
NASA x Vans Old Skool ‘Space Voyager’ Pack (2018)NASA x Vans Old Skool ‘Space Voyager’ Pack (2018)
NASA-inspired drops are nothing new, but 2018’s ‘Space Voyager’ release from Vans was undoubtedly amongst the cream of the crop. Released to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the American government agency’s efforts in space exploration, the drop included rugged takes on both the Sk8-Hi and Old Skool as nods to NASA’s space suits and shuttles. We were particularly keen on the Old Skools, which featured clean branding cues, along with American flag patches.
END. x Vans Old Skool ‘Vertigo’ (2018)END. x Vans Old Skool ‘Vertigo’ (2018)
The classic black and white checkerboard motif will always be associated with Vans, and we’re always up for a new spin on the old standby. For their ‘Vertigo’ collaboration in 2018, UK-based END. put a woozy spin on the look, juxtaposing the trippy jacquard woven upper with premium pigskin and matching black and white accents throughout.
BILLY’S x Vans Old Skool Slip (2018)BILLY’S x Vans Old Skool Slip (2018)
Like END., Japan’s BILLY’S also opted for a unique spin on a classic Vans look when they dropped their own Old Skools in 2018. Decked out in black and white checkered canvas alongside black suede, the commemorative kicks – released in honour of the one-year anniversary of the BILLY’S Sapporo store – added an elastic band to the vamp, allowing wearers to rock the design either with or without laces.
C2H4 x Pros x Vans Old Skool ‘Re-Blue Project’ (2016)C2H4 x Pros x Vans Old Skool ‘Re-Blue Project’ (2016)
Los Angeles–based C2H4 introduced gorgeous one-of-a-kind Old Skools and Authentics with 2016’s ‘Re-Blue Project’. The revamped kicks were meticulously deconstructed and then pieced back together using patchwork of denim scraps, ensuring that each and every pair was unique. Details like missing eyelets, bead-tipped leather laces, and hand-painted midsole wraps only added to the appeal.
SSZ x Vans Old Skool (2018)SSZ x Vans Old Skool (2018)
BEAMS buyer and SSZ director Tadayuki Kato took Vans customisation to a new level in 2018 with his inside-out rendition of the Old Skool. Not only did he flip things around to create an understated branding-free upper, but he even added a second inside-out tongue to the mix that could be worn as a protective shroud over the lacing. Last but not least? Translucent rubber outsoles and midsole wraps that appeared sans stripes.
Deluxe x Vans Old Skool Zip Pack (2015)Deluxe x Vans Old Skool Zip Pack (2015)
Japan’s Deluxe created some of the cleanest Old Skools ever when they took on the silhouette as the canvas for their 2015 collaboration. Marked by monochromatic black and white colourways, the kicks were further highlighted by the addition of a tonal zipper along the lateral side of the eyestay for easy on-off.
Born Free x Blends x Vans Vault OG Old Skool LX (2016)Born Free x Blends x Vans Vault OG Old Skool LX (2016)
SoCal’s Blends may be best known for their ‘Bones’ Vans colabs, but 2016’s Old Skools deserve a little shine, too. Released in honour of the annual Born Free motorcycle show, the drop put a patriotic spin on the timeless black and white Old Skool by flanking the white side stripe with a little bit of red and blue. Custom graphic insoles and waxed cotton laces were also added to the mix, not to mention translucent outsoles showcasing Vans’ iconic black and white checkerboard motif.
Mindseeker x Vans Old Skool ‘Fire and Lightning’ Pack (2018)Mindseeker x Vans Old Skool ‘Fire and Lightning’ Pack (2018)
Japan’s Mindseeker linked up with Vans for an electrified colab in 2017, before one-upping themselves with a two-part drop in 2018. The resulting ‘Fire and Lightning’ pack was exactly what it sounded like: a drop featuring over-the-top flame and lightning bolt motifs. The prints weren’t the only flair, though, and Mindseeker further upped the ante with everything from oversized Vans tongue branding and embroidered Mindseeker logos to custom insoles and sets of checker-covered laces.
size? x Vans Old Skool ‘Factory Floor’ (2018),size? x Vans Old Skool ‘Factory Floor’ (2018)
Vans and size? have linked up for a couple of different ‘Factory Floor’ drops, and 2018’s are easily some of the best Old Skools ever. Perfectly illustrating the theme, the kicks combined a bevy of leftover scraps into a colourful, pattern-filled, multi-material collage that quickly became one of the most coveted Vans releases of all time.