As the clock chimes on 2016, you’d hazard a guess that Vans would be happy with another stellar period. The kings of Californian cool celebrated a hefty milestone, played cupid with match-making collaborations and opened the gates on a deluge of classics in a multitude of treatments. Kick back as we take stock of another ‘Off the Wall’ year.
50th Year Vans-iversary!
2016 saw Vans celebrate 50 years in the game. The half-century celebration was marked by special releases of many waffle-soled classics and the release of an extra-special Pro Classic 50th Anniversary collection. Models like the Sk8-Hi, Era , Chukka and Authentic all got updated with Ultracush on the inside and Duracup up front. The collection also provided a portal to re-up the rarely seen Full Cab, the grandaddy to the chopped-down Half Cab. Taking the collection up and over the coping, the shoes arrived at Sneaker Freaker HQ housed in a sweet laser-engraved ‘mini-ramp’ box.
Taka Hayashi x Vans x Brooks Anniversary Collection
Vans shared some of their birthday shine with Brooks – the leather house, not the footwear manufacturer – who celebrated their 150th anniversary. Under the carefully curated guidance of long-time collaborator, Taka Hayashi, the pair came together to create something truly special. The collection saw a Sk8-Hi and Slip-On made up in luxe leather etched with exquisite designs. Joined by a bicycle saddle and messenger bag, the colab definitely struck a chord with fans that like to ride fast.
Offspring x Clothsurgeon x Vans Pack
Vans really chose some great collaborators this year. The Offspring x Clothsurgeon pack – another three-contributor deal – saw two silhouettes treated to a premium leather re-build. This time the Old Skool and Sk8-Hi got lavished in super soft leather with a special ‘gimping’ detail that references traditional British shoe-making. Super limited, the pieces really need to be seen in person to appreciate both the suppleness of the leather and the expert finish.
Supreme x Vans Era (Low Motion Logo)
The Box Logo and the Jazz Stripe came together three times in 2016. The first Supreme x Vans colab of the year saw the Era sport a ‘Motion Logo’ across the sneakers vulc midsole. The Motion Logo carries weight amongst Supreme loyalists, and this release definitely came as another blink-and-you’ll-miss-it situation (like most Supreme drops).
Supreme x Vans Old Skool (Iridescent)
The second Supreme x Vans colab for the year saw them turn their hands to the Old Skool. It was the model chosen by Supreme for their first sneaker collaboration, in 1996 and since then have revisited the silhouette over and over again. This drop featured a slick iridescent side stripe that gleamed with a rainbow hue. Additionally, soft bouclé fabric replaced the familiar canvas upper. The collection dropped in four colourways – royal blue, orange, off-white and black.
Supreme x Vans Checker Logo Pack
The last colab for the year saw Van’s iconic checker pattern blend with Supreme’s iconic logo to create a hybrid communal pattern. Both the Sk8-Hi Pro and the Authentic Pro got consumed by the tessellated grid across their uppers.
Titolo x SBTG x Vans ‘CADERE ET RESVRGERE’ Collection
Titolo called on renowned customiser SBTG to trick-out a collection of Old Skools and Sk8-His in his signature style. The collection, dubbed ‘CADERE ET RESVRGERE’ – Latin for ‘fall and rise’ – saw the two silhouettes hit with SBTG’s unmistakable camo print and gold combo. Although limited, the pack was a lot more accessible than trying to secure other pieces from the customiser. More of this!
The Return of the Half Cab
The snub-nosed Half Cab saw a reinvigoration this year. Although always in favour with the skate set, the somewhat bulky mid-top silhouette came to prominence through a couple of fashionable colabs. The most prominent of these partnerships being that with Russian wonder-child Gosha Rubchinskiy. Gosha made over the classic mid-top skate silhouette in a series of muted colourways; brown suede, camo, white/black and black/white. And then Maiden Noir continued the rejuvenation with a Half Cab featuring as a key component of their three-piece pack in hairy bone-white brushed-suede matched with bitumen black outsoles.
Toy Story x Vans Collaborative Collection
Probably one of the most popular (and unexpected) colabs of the year saw Toy Story franchise join forces with Vans. The pack featured three different silhouettes hit with a treatment based on a specific character from the movies. Our favourite thing is the inclusion of the ‘ANDY’ scrawled across the sole. Perfecto.