Who should buy the Vans Checkerboard Slip-On 

Skaters would consider copping this if they want slip-ons that are:

  • durable
  • lace-free
  • convenient to use
  • grippy

Sneakerbuffs will also trade this with other sneakers with laces if they want kicks that are:

  • affordable
  • all-rounder  
  • stylish even as they get transformed into beaters 

Vans Checkerboard Slip-On buy

Who should NOT buy it

If you want a shoe that can instantly accommodate your broad feet, check out other classics from Vans available in wide widths. Some of them are Vans Era and Vans Authentic. If you prefer the square motif, check out the Vans Checkerboard Authentic.

If you are flat-footed and need a more cushioned sole, try the Slip-On Pro and ComfyCush Slip-On

Vans Checkerboard Slip-On back

It keeps you glued to your board 

Most users have expressed how the sneaker offers superb traction and boardfeel. 

Vans Checkerboard Slip-On waffle

Gentle on the Achilles

Reviewers who have wear-tested this for a series of kickflips appreciate how the rear wall was designed. It’s made with a smooth lining that snugly wraps their heel, minimizing friction and the chances of getting heel blisters and Achilles pain. 

Vans Checkerboard Slip-On rear side

Snug around the ankle

Skaters are lured to this shoe like they were with the classic slip-on. The padded collar and tongue with elastic bands attached to the sides hug their foot comfortably. It’s also ergonomically designed as it prevents heel slippage.

Vans Checkerboard Slip-On tongue and collar

Comfy grab-and-go style

Many skateboarders and sneaker enthusiasts greatly appreciate the easy slip-on feature as it is convenient. Plus, it’s so comfy even with a thin insole.

Vans Checkerboard Slip-On slip on

Timeless checkerboard print

Several reviewers love how the sneaker looks excellent with multiple outfit styles. The checkerboard design gives out a preppy vibe when paired with jeans and a vest, laidback look with any pair of joggers, shorts, and summer dresses. Kristen Stewart, Victoria Justice, Olivia Wilde, Brooklyn Beckham, Jared Leto, Chloe Grace Moretz, Jamie King, Jennifer Lawrence, Diane Kruger, and Justin Bieber are some of the celebrities seen rocking the Vans Checkerboard Slip-On. 

Vans Checkerboard Slip-On toe

Lacks support under the arch 

Flat-footed users hoped this shoe came with good arch support. 

Vans Checkerboard Slip-On arch support

It doesn’t hurt the wallet

It’s one of the best cheap skates as the iconic Slip-On.  

Vans Checkerboard Slip-On history

When the classic Vans Slip-On (formerly known as Vans Style #98) was created in 1977, the design immediately gained popularity for its easy slip-on feature and sleek design. Steve Van Doren, the son of the founder, Paul Van Doren, during the late 1970s, observed that teenagers and skaters wearing the Vans Slip-On are using black pens to color the rubber midsole of their sneakers and draw the checkerboard pattern. Steve then took this design idea and applied it to the canvas of the silhouette. 

In 1982, the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High took over the world, and Sean Penn’s character Jeff Spicoli, a favorite by many, gave more recognition for the Checkerboard Slip-On by Vans. 

Universal Studios asked Vans to present some shoe options for the film during the movie production. Vans wasn’t keen on promoting the silhouette for the movie, but it was what Sean Penn had picked for his character’s style. As soon as the audience saw the film's preview, Vans immediately received a lot of requests for the silhouette. 

The silhouette did not just become popular because of being featured in a movie, but its iconic checkerboard pattern also has different meanings for different people. During the second wave of the Ska music, when it reigned over England, which was also known as the Two-Tone wave, racial unity was represented. The checkerboard pattern signified the shattering of the racial barriers, and it led the silhouette to be an icon for the subculture as well. 

The Vans Checkerboard Slip-On has been an all-time favorite of many and continued to expand its influence in sports, music, or the subculture and the fashion world. It is an icon created by Vans that is highly sought-after by many. 

Throughout its mainstay in the sneaker limelight, the Vans Checkerboard Slip-On had garnered a massive cult following, enabling well-known retailers like Supreme to put it on their design pedestal. As early as 2011, collaborations including Hello Kitty have been prominently surfacing the market. 

For the Hello Kitty x Vans Checkerboard Slip-On merger, the sneaker takes its white boxes and fills it with cute little faces of Hello Kitty. On the other hand, the black boxes are printed with little red ribbons that the famous cat was known to sport. Released in May of 2011, the sneaker was one of the few iterations that would spark the revamping trend of the coveted Slip-On. 

2012 sets the comeback of the Vans classic Slip-On Checkerboard silhouette under the Off The Wall shoemaker’s Vans Vault subfranchise. The pack contains three other Slip-On models in tonal colorways with the Checkerboard print marking center stage. 

Giving in to the color of the sea, Vans was at it again with their Jeff Spicoli-advertised masterpiece, tinting it in all shades of blue. In 2013, the Vans Slip-On Checkerboard featured the Dress Blue colorway, which ironically comes in a black and ochre match-up. However, the California shoe producer made up for it by introducing a canvas painted with a black and dark blue check. 

Debuting in 2014, the world-renowned florist named Thierry Boutemy collaborated with Vans and Opening Ceremony to produce a primarily checked Slip-On with the darker shades all drenched in flower power. The Thierry Boutemy collection includes three iterations of the Slip-On and one featuring the Vans Chukka model.  

Of course, a semi-austere design like the Checkerboard can be morphed to bring forth numerous iterations. These game-changing collaborations include Dover Street Market, Sneakersnstuff, Karl Lagerfeld, END Clothing, and many more upcoming retailers. These sneaker boutiques reinvent the way the classic check pattern is made from triangle shapes to Karl Lagerfeld’s iconic face logo. END Clothing’s vertigo pack twirls the upper design and gives it a new twist. 

The Vans Checkerboard Slip-On even inspired Vetements to recreate something similar, including the ever-so-popular square patterns. The French dresser’s take on the checkerboard premieres blue and black hues in a modern slip-on figure that folds the heel counter for more natural wear. 

In the long, fruitful years of Vans’ existence, the checkerboard concept had not been loyal to the Slip-On. Its brilliance was shown in numerous Vans models, including high tops and lows. These Vans sneakers had paid respects to the crowd-induced discovery flawlessly and had been continuing the flame for decades without fail. The Sk8-Hi, Authentic, and Old Skool are a few of the prominent users of the timeless check design, and fans surely know that there are more coming. 

Facts / Specs

Style: Retro
Top: Low
Inspired from: Skate
Collection: Vans Checkerboard, Vans Slip-on
Closure: Slip-on
Material: Canvas, Rubber Sole, Vulc Sole, EVA / Fabric
Season: Spring, Summer

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Author
Sheena
Sheena

Sheena is a wordsmith turned sneaker addict. Her sneaker fixation intensified as her passion for writing grew. A hands-on mom of two sweet yet spunky kids (plus three dogs and two cats), she finds solitude in leafing through shoe catalogs to find the next "it" sneaker. Scrutinizing hugely popular and underrated kicks is her favorite pastime.