It's difficult to pinpoint exactly when Vans, a powerhouse skate brand that's been around since 1966, became the fashion-girl sneakers of choice. The brand that thrived off the skateboarding boom of the '70s experienced yet another skate-crowd revival in the '90s, and whose checkerboard slip-ons defined an entire music genre, has never made its way out of the spotlight. But over the last decade, its classic styles have been adopted into a new community, with fashion editors, street style stars, and designers alike adding the shoes to their sneaker lineups. You're just as likely to spot a pair of pure white Old Skools littering the streets of New York as you are other classic styles. The brand has also been a heavy hitter in the collaboration space. From Supreme to Susan Alexandra to, dropping today, Sandy Liang, there have been a handful of designer collections, both commercial and made for the runway, that have further solidified the brand's It-sneaker status.
While Vans has experimented with plenty of new designs throughout the decades, it's the classic, retro silhouettes that fashion girls keep coming back to. The padded Sk8-Hi, the Old Skool, the brand's very first style now dubbed the Authentic—all styles you'll see regularly show up on your Instagram feeds. Since there's no shortage of ways to style the sneakers, we thought we'd pick out a few of the most recent iterations. Ahead, see how the fashion crowd is helping the affordable sneakers live on.
The brand's latest collab, by way of cult designer darling Sandy Liang, was a staple at this month's New York Fashion Week. Kristen Lam dressed up a pair of Old Skools from the collection with a Vans-approved checkerboard sweater and a full-length tulle skirt.
In other news, my middle school self is stoked to know that slip-ons are still thriving. I can't think about them without having to repress memories of covering them with "edgy" lyrics in Sharpie. Yusra Siddiqui does the silhouette modern-day justice by topping it off with a pair of frayed-hem jeans and a zebra-pattern top.
Hey, it's me. Vans devotee. I practically live in a rotating array of Authentics. While nothing will ever be more classic than Vans paired with denim, I prefer to style them with dresses and skirts for a casual-cool look.
Sadly, we've missed the boat on this Frida Kahlo pair, but there are still plenty of Vans designs that are reminiscent of works of art. Let the sneakers do the talking by styling a statement pair with simple basics like an oversize tee and equally baggy shorts.
When all is said and done, a pair of Sk8-His are the best sneakers to keep on hand for a casual day out. They're a no-fail option that always helps your simple ensembles look a little more put together. Just throw them on with jeans and a sweater, and you're good to go.