In the streetwear department, Vans has become a well-known brand for comfort and style and there was not long until the Vans collabs have appeared on the market . From their classic slip-ons to authentic skateboarding shoes, the brand has managed to maintain a global reputation for simple yet durable and fashionable footwear. The almost 50-year-old company is also known for its readiness to customize kicks, a practice which has evolved into a full-fledged fleet of Vans Special Edition shoes.
Vans footwear lovers consist of a high proportion of members of the younger generation, who are also attracted to a number of cool stuff, such as comics, adventure movies and rebellious music. As such, it is only natural that many of their special edition shoes would lean towards the characters that their target audiences gravitate to. Let’s look at some of the best Vans Collabs of all time and what makes them special:
Vans Marvel Comics Collection
From comic paperbacks to the big screen, the clan, which is regarded as Earth’s mightiest heroes, is loved all over. So, when the iconic superheroes were paired with one of the coolest brands of footwear in February 2013, the resulting shoe line became an instant hit. The line debuted with the likenesses of Spider-man and Iron Man emblazoned on the sneaker uppers and soon followed with Captain America, the mighty Hulk and Thor.
The Vans Marvel special edition came out in the popular Slip-on, Era and Sk8-Hi shoes, providing customers with quite a variety to choose from, made more so by the range of colors. A month after their initial release, the brand added even more variety by reissuing the Era and Slip-on with group collages of the Marvel pack on the front and back panels of the shoes. With so many fans behind the Marvel's superheroes there is no question why these are some of the all time favorite Vans Special Edition shoes.
Iron Maiden & Vans Special Edition
Iconic kicks meet acclaimed heavy metal band in this trendy collab between Vans and Iron Maiden. Launched in 2012 in honor of the group’s revered Number of the Beast Album, which was first done in 1982, this collection represents the fifth time the two brands have worked together to give heavy metal lovers a piece of history they can cherish. The latest mashup, which is available in classic Slip-ons and Sk8-Hi shoes, feature devilishly cool graphics off the album cover, and the Iron Maiden signature on the heels and outsole, making it a one of a kind Vans Special edition collection..
The Vans Iron Maiden Special Edition has carried on the success of previous collaborations between the two. In fact, they have benefitted greatly from the hype started by the first two collections, which were based off the Iron Maiden’s Killers and Piece of Mind albums, both released in 2007. The Powerslave and Trooper album lines, both done in 2008, kept fans on their toes and established the Van’s/Iron Maiden combo as a legit line of special edition shoes for music lovers and skaters alike.
Vans ASPCA Collection
Although dogs are reputed to be man’s best friend, cool shoes are not too far behind. And, with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) having been the guardian angels for dogs, cats and other animals everywhere, it made perfect sense for Vans to collaborate with the do-good group for a line of shoes to celebrate their contribution…and make some more cool-looking kicks in the process. The line was launched in 2014 and has been supported by many animal lovers, many of whom were already loyal Vans customers.
Available in the go-to classic, Vans Authentic, Slip-on for kids, and Sk8-His, the Vans ASPCA Special Edition have something for everyone. They are covered in adorable, high graphic collaged prints of dogs and cats and feature custom-colored orange sockliners to represent the color of the prevention of animal abuse. The looks are completed with ASPCA logos adding to Vans signature branding touches.
Designed exclusively for kids and the young at heart, this Vans Special Edition line has something for everyone. Featuring many of your favorite iconic childhood characters, including Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Goofy and Donald Duck, the line is brimming with color and lively prints. The collaboration, which came about in 2015, is quite timely and significant, representing Disney’s 60th anniversary and with Vans just one year shy of 50 years. The two also have strong Southern California roots. Also, the duo worked together in previous years with Vans creating a few private-label shoes for Disney, which were brought back as a highly-limited edition in 2013.
Vans Authentic, Slip-ons and high top skaters all get dolled up in the characters in the collection which has had several updates in the short space of time. Prints of Mickey and crew are splashed all across each pair and are further branded with Disney and Vans logos on the insoles. Classic Vans rubber outsoles complete the design details.
Vans Star Wars
The Star Wars movie franchise has been one of the most successful in history. Vans footwear has been a favorite for people from all walks of life for almost 50 years. Combining such swagger into several eye-popping kicks can only be described as magical, which is why these special edition Vans have become so famous. The Force is definitely awake in the Vans Star Wars collection, comprising Vans Classics and premium Vault by Vans Authentic, Slip-on and Sk8-Hi shoes.
Representing the Dark Side, two colorways show off characters aligned to Boba Fett and Stormtrooper. Darth Vader features prominently in the prints, as does Yoda, in addition to poster artwork from several Star Wars instalments, including Episode IV: A New Hope from 1977. The aloha and bandana prints have been singled out as favorites as the shoes grow in popularity ahead of the next Star Wars movie due in late 2015. Premiering in mid-2014, the line has already seen several updates, with a special custom edition in late 2015, showcasing two exclusive Darth Vader and Yoda Collage patterns. Fans of both brands are actually able to custom design their very own pair, adding to the hype.
The Beatles are known for their impact on pop music and culture over the decades, since they came to prominence. However, the Vans Special Edition line dedicated to the band, which was launched in honor of the group in early 2014, depicts the group in animated form, representing their involvement in the Yellow Submarine project. Their album of the same name, which came out just two years after Vans sold their first shoe, remains one of their top recordings, so it was considered highly appropriate that the line should have a Yellow Submarine concept.
Available in Vans classic Slip-on, Era and the Sk8-Hi reissue, the shoes are highly graphical with artwork from the production it was named for. The Sk8-Hi gets the portrait treatment, allowing fans to get their favorite Beatle, while the Slip-on shows off the Sea of Monsters. The Era and Authentic Vans are also bathed in color with a garden-like print and text reading “All you need is love” splashed all over. Vans signature design uppers and rubber outsoles complete the look.
Following up on Vans successful collab with other rock bands, the Kiss & Vans Special Edition shoes were launched. With the iconic Sk8-Hi launching in 1978, the same year that Kiss members released their solo albums, the silhouette was chosen as the Vans of choice for the initial collection. Each pair features individual Kiss members sporting their signature on-stage makeup. The mostly black colorways utilize canvas and suede uppers atop Vans vulcanized rubber outsoles with black pin stripes.
In 2009, the line was updated with the Vans Kiss Pack, made up of a Vans Classic Slip-on and Sk8-His. The line, which is just as graphical, represented artwork from the band’s “Rock and Roll Over” project.
Vans The Simpsons
To highlight the very first The Simpsons movie, Vans teamed up with one of the most popular TV shoes in history to release a special set of kicks. Featuring characters, Bart, Homer and the rest of the Springfield gang, the shoes were promptly sold out within a short time after their release in July 2007.
The collection comprised art impressions from 12 of the country’s finest artists and saw the likeness of The Simpsons characters gracing the uppers of Vans high tops and Slip-ons. Vans trademark outsole construction and comfort insoles add to the shoes swagger.
Vans’ work with some of rock music’s finest is also evident in their special edition Slayer sneakers. Their work with the acclaimed rock band stretches as far back as 2004, with updates in 2009, 2012 and early 2015. Among the line’s most sought-after designs is the Slayer Sk8-Hi with its eye-catching silhouette. Made to Slayer’s specifications, the shoes have the eagle Slayer logo splashed across the heels and upper, as well as red spatters, and Vans trademark black pinstripe.
Skulls and other Slayer artwork complete this Vans special edition line of sneakers, which have been in high demand ever since the first release. They are also available in Vans Classic Slip-ons.