THE VANS SLIP-ON | WHAT'S THE DEAL?It’s pretty clear Vans is no stranger to churning out icons, especially when you consider silhouettes in the brands' archive are huge names like the Old Skool, Authentic, Era and the Sk8-Hi. But it has to be said that even in this line-up, the Classic Slip-On is a strong contender for the most iconic, and easily the style most synonymous with the brand.
The Slip-On was the third style released by Vans, following on from earlier successes with the Era and the Old Skool. It first appeared in 1977 under the original title of style #98, by which point, the brand was already well rooted in Californian skate culture; by the end of the 1970’s Vans had 70 stores in California. Soon after its release, the Slip-On gained massive popularity with skateboarders and BMX riders.
Stripped to basics, the Slip-On is crafted from three main upper sections: the vamp, the quarter and the heel counter, which sit atop the brands signature waffle sole unit. The relatively simple design of the upper has allowed the opportunity for endless amounts of revamps in various colours, patterns and materials.
Undoubtedly the most famous Slip-On style is the checkerboard. Story has it, Paul Van Doren (the son of Vans’ founder, Steve Van Doren) noticed skaters using pens to customise the midsoles of their shoes with checkerboard patterns, taking inspiration and running with this idea, Steve developed Vans’ the now iconic Checkerboard Slip-on.
This past month alone we’ve seen plenty of new updates on this humble silhouette. Vans’ Marvel collaboration released the checkerboard adorned with a 'torn effect' design and visible Hulk feet, two platform styles released for AW18 Women’s, and fresh colourways have also landed.
Currently taking the spotlight are the women's platforms. Two styles - the checkerboard and the black canvas/white midsole- are updated with a subtle platform sole. It's an easy dip into the current chunky sneaker trend without going the whole hog and - importantly - stays true to the brand's core identity. While other brands fight a game of one-upmanship over who's releasing the bulkiest, most maximalist silhouette, the Slip-On is refreshingly simple. No Triple S Slip-On's here. *Watch this space*
I'd argue (maybe incorrectly) that in 2018 the majority of people that wear a Classic Slip-On don't skate. Why? Cause its a damn easy shoe to wear, whatever your personal style. Wearers of the Slip-on can rest happily in the fact that they’re proudly rocking an understated icon that adds to the outfit, not is the outfit.