We’ve seen some pretty wild Vans sneakers in our time but these thrashed Vans Vault skate shoes take the cake. Not only do they look heavily pre-worn (down the dirty laces!), but they come covered in chunks of black duct tape. Forget about pre-distressed — these things come pre-cooked.
And don’t think that the extra beating makes these things cheaper: set to release in Japan via Vans retailer BILLY’S on July 19, Vans’ duct-taped shoes will cost upwards of $130 apiece, though that admittedly keeps in line with Vans Vault pricing.
Vans Vault is Vans’ soon-to-be retired premium line and the elevated detailing is still present here and there on these sneakers, though it takes a big ol’ back seat to the duct tape and deeply detailed distressing.
This, uh, duct tape pack is comprised of three classic Vans sneaker styles: a checkerboard Vans Vault Slip-On and Vault Half-Cab in black and white.
Both Vans shoes sport canvas and leather uppers — the Half-Cabs even sport crocodile leather for extra flair — and you can see that, as usual for Vault sneakers, all of these shoes boast premium details like beefed-up piping and thicker soles.
Well, you could see that, if you’re able to wrench your eyes away from the swathes of duct tape that cover each sneaker.
This is the exact kinda detailing that got high-end sneaker brand Golden Goose some deserved pushback a few years ago but there are a couple things working in Vans’ favor here.
First off, Vans ain’t a luxury brand, at least for now — Vault is Vans’ top-tier imprint, sure, but its sneakers only cost a slight bit more than mainline Vans shoes (Vans’ Slip-On is typically priced around $60; Vault versions start around $85).
Secondly, in Vans’ defense, the duct tape is a direct reference to skate culture.
The benefits here include savings (no need to buy new shoes!) and the heightened board-feel inherent to a pair of broken-in shoes.
Now, what the duct tape is doing for these pre-lived in Vans Vault sneakers, I can’t say. I guess it’s an aesthetic thing but just seems weird to wear new shoes that look lived-in to this degree. Whatever the equivalent of stolen valor is for skaters, these shoes are probably it.
At least Vans is still making shoes for people to actually skate in, too.