Happy birthday Vans!

2016 is a good year for trainers birthdays! Back in February, I wrote about K Swiss turning fifty, and sharing its 50th year celebrations is Vans, who had a big old party on Thursday and have made a great little film to tell you all about the brand’s history much better than I can. You can watch that here.

Vans Classic Slip-Ons Illustration by En Brogue

So I thought I would celebrate by showing you some of my favourite pairs of Vans, as well as a previously unseen watercolour I did for my book, En Brogue: The Trainers Guide (above). Turns out I painted far too many shoes in yellow (see my Converse One Stars) and we went with a photo in the end for the Vans Classic Slip-Ons anyway, but it’s a shame that no-one has seen it before! So here you go.

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Vans Late Night Classic Slip-On, £52, vans.co.uk

One of the things I love about Vans is the HUGE variety of colours you can get. They don’t mess about with loads of different styles – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I say – so you can keep going back to your Slip-On or your SK8-Hi sneakers year after year. Same great fit, slightly different look. I love the classic checkerboard print on my Slip-Ons and have a couple of different pairs, including some new ones (above) that have a clashing print that’s meant to look like a late night snack. Oh yeah, another thing I love about Vans: the sense of humour!

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My Vans Classic Slip-Ons – a collaboration with Dover Street Market

The other thing that Vans must be commended for is the price: these shoes won’t break the bank but are sturdy and last ages. I interviewed my friend, and ex-pro skateboarder John Cattle, for The Times a while ago when skate shoes first got really fashionable, and he told me that they really are the ones that last the longest. Given the battering that skateboarders give their shoes, that’s praise indeed. I know you all love your Vans too – I’d love to hear about your favourite pairs! Leave comments below or tweet me with a picture to @EnBrogue.

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Vans Old Skool trainers Illustration by En Brogue