Vans’ 50th anniversary arrived with 2016, and it was always going to be a good one. The brand fittingly revisited the original colourways of the most storied shoes it has ever produced, of which there are a fair few! We’ve seen Christian Hosoi’s Double Checkerboard Sk8-Hi, Tony Alva and Stacey Peralta’s Authentic and Era, Duke Kahanamoku’s Hawaiian Floral Authentic and more so far, and with this final delivery Vans has continued moving forward on it’s timeline to showcase another four of it’s most iconic styles ever. Cue the arrival of the ’89 Full Cab Pro, ’92 Old Skool Pro, ’93 Chukka Pro, and ’00 Rowley Pro!
It makes sense to start with the earliest shoe in the latest delivery – the Full-Cab Pro. Steve Caballero was a skating legend back in the ’70s and ’80s long before signature skate shoes were even a thing. He earned his first with Vans in 1989, which saw the Full-Cab Pro come to fruition, and it was adopted by a new generation of skateboarders who revolutionised street skating forever. Many cut down the Full-Cab to create the Half-Cab, which later became the next Caballero signature shoe, and easily his most famous one. So, while the Full-Cab may not have been the Vans signature shoe that really cracked the skateboarding market, it played an instrumental role in the development of the Half-Cab. For that reason, it’s significance cannot be denied, and it will always hold an important place in Vans’ archives. It has returned in its clean original Burgundy/Grey/Black colourway.
Next up we have a shoe from 1992 – the Old Skool Pro. The shoe was first iconically adopted by Ray Barbee, a man that has gone on to become a legend in skating folklore thanks to his buttery smooth, effortless style that set him apart from the rest of the Powell Peralta crew in the “Public Domain” and “Ban This” videos. He successfully modernised street skateboarding and marked a massive shift as more people moved from backyard ramps to the pavements, and he did it all whilst wearing the Vans Old Skool Pro. It has returned in an OG colourway to commemorate the legend who left a mark on skateboarding that can be still felt today, and will no doubt be felt for many years to come.
Now for one of Vans’ most versatile silhouettes ever – the ’93 Chukka Pro. John Cardiel is a man that has already gone down in skating history, unanimously known as one of the best to ever hit the streets. His energy and enthusiasm, combined with his ability to skate just about anything you can think of, was virtually unheard of when he was at his peak, and for that reason he’s cited as an inspiration by many a skater nowadays. The Chukka Pro was his favoured model, and it has been given a nostalgia-inducing Brown/Black colourway to commemorate a man who was far ahead of his time.
The last shoe in this final delivery (cue tears) is the Rowley Pro. When first introduced the shoe placed a significant emphasis on grip and boardfeel, due to Geoff’s heavy involvement in the design process and his philosophy that it is easier to skate when you are confident in the tools you are using. The shoes graced some incredible skate videos in their time and matched the skating zeitgeist of bulky DC and Etnies shoes perfectly, whilst being slim enough to remain stylish and timeless. The original triple black colourway graces the shoe, with bold red Vans branding, to create the most minimal shoe we’ve seen over the three deliveries this year.
So, that marks the end of the Vans 50th Anniversary collection. It’s certainly been one hell of a year, with Vans producing it’s most iconic shoes ever in sentimental original colourways, some of which haven’t been seen for decades. Roll on the 75th anniversary!