Why I Love... The Vans Old Skool

A tribute to the most versatile trainer of them all.

As first world problems go, saying that there are too many options when it comes to styles of trainers is up there with vocalizing that you’re just, like, so sick of eating lunch at Pret, or that you can’t find the time for all of your social engagements. 

Even still: The sheer volume of releases flooding the market on a daily basis can be a disorientating prospect if you’re looking to upgrade your Kick Game, but don’t know where to start.

Which retro Air Max style is in? (Air Max 98) Are dad trainers cool anymore? (Not really). Can I wear my Common Projects out of the house without being overcome by gnawing terror ay the sight of every passing puddle and misplaced takeaway box? (Stop being such a chicken).

Basically, it can be rough out there for the indecisive casual footwear consumer, which is where the Vans Old Skool comes in: a trainer for all seasons, genders, wealth-brackets, and ages. If Karl Marx were alive today he’d be wearing a pair of Old Skools right now, comrades. Probably. 

Vans’ most recognizable silhouette, the Old Skool, was first released in 1977 under the moniker “Style 36” and is today a favorite of battle-scarred skater kids and 14-year-old girls watching Snapchat videos at full volume on the bus, as well as modern style icons like ASAP Rocky and Frank Ocean; men who could build houses out of Balenciaga, if they so wished.


Some people turn their selfish, spiteful noses up at the Vans Old Skool due to their ubiquity, and it’s true: Cast your eyes down at the floor during any weekend public transport journey and you’re bound to see a healthy smattering of black and whites shuffling about.

But rather than feel affronted by their popularity, this just proves the beauty of the Old Skool, a trainer for the people that can be worn with shorts, jeans, a suit, or a sun dress (it’s 2018, bro). They’re £50, comfortable, pretty much indestructible and look better the more miles you put into them.

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In Tibet (plus lots of other countries) monks don saffron robes and shave their heads to the skull as an ancient form of materialistic renunciation, their simple uniform designed to offer no distraction in a lifelong pursuit of self-enlightenment. 

Obviously I’m not a monk (Giving up ego and nice clothes? Good one!), but the clear, simple and perennially stylish choice of the Old Skool, a trainer that’s been cool for 41 years and counting, means that,  much like a monk’s robes (stay with me here), there’s one less thing to think when getting dressed at the weekend or for work. Which means you can put more effort into thinking about what’s for lunch and how you’re going to bail on that friend you haven’t seen in two years’ birthday ‘drinks’ this Saturday. 

Plus, Frank Ocean wears them… and he’s very stylish man, isn’t he?* 

*That wasn’t a question.

This story originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Finlay Renwick
Finlay Renwick is the Digital Editorial Assistant at
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