In the seventh grade, girls could trade in their ugly barf-colored plaid jumpers for equally ugly plaid skirts. Boys could trade up our K-6 pants for corduroys. And then there were the shoes.
We weren’t allowed to wear athletic shoes in grades K-6. Why? Perhaps only Sister Bernadine knew. But if junior high was a rite of passage, Vans were our savior. The Era, Old Skool, #sk8hi, and – of course – the Classic Slip-Ons.
As a kid growing up in San Diego in the late 70s and 80s, skateboarding was everywhere. My brother hit the streets with his Gordon & Smith Pine Design board, and real-time legends like Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta were eVANSgelists for our generation. The neighborhood kids all had ‘em. And yet I slunk around in my Buster Browns :(
One by one, my classmates started showing up to school with those now-iconic brown gum-colored Vans (yes, they still had to be brown) with their signature rubber waffle soles.
I remember the day I finally convinced my mom to buy me a pair … only to discover that my high arches and oddly-shaped feet didn’t fit in the shoe that I was sure would change my life.
I was crushed. And the pair of no-name puke brown running shoes I came away as a replacement didn’t help. And yet I lived.
So you can imagine how stoked I am to have a pair of my mobiles spinning in this Vans Vault window display in NYC. In the coming days, they’ll swap out those placeholder shoes with a new line that will match the colors/patterns in the mobiles.
What was your favorite (or least favorite) article of clothing as a kid?