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Cult Kicks: Vans Old Skool

Rap outsiders Odd Future love them, metal rebels Slayer rock them and even pop desperado Justin Bieber has been seen kicking back in a pair – the Vans Old Skool is officially the outlaw of the sneaker world.

cult kicks: vans old skool

Picture: ASOS


This basic, understated plimsoll doesn't chase hype, passing trends or elaborate marketing campaigns but, much like the classic Converse Chuck Taylor, remains a staple bestseller. 


The Old Skool (aka ‘Style 36’) was introduced in 1977, as the first Vans shoe in the ‘Side Stripe’ family, which would later include the SK8Hi and Mid Skool models. 


A tough canvas upper and suede toebox/heel atop the legendary Vans waffle vulcanised sole made it an instant hit with skateboarders from Southern California to the South Bank. With the American punk/hardcore scene early adopters, it soon gained as much of a loyal following in the sweaty dive bars and underground clubs as the skateparks. 


With simple features and endless colour variations, the Vans Old Skool is an easy everyday sneaker that looks dope with a multitude of different looks. Match them up with some straight-leg Dickies which you can either wear with roll-ups revealing several inches of socks or, if you're feeling like a real skate punk, take a pair of sharp scissors and cut the bottom of said trews in a straight line approximately 2-4" above the hem.  Alternatively, go for classic skinny jeans or slightly above-the-knee shorts for summer.