11 users: 4.6 / 5
Base model: Vans Bold NI
Top: Low
Inspired from: Skate
Collection: Vans Checkerboard

Verdict from 6.7 hours of research from the internet

6 reasons to buy

  • Vans Checkerboard Bold NI (New Issue) sneakers have a clean, vintage styling that many users liked.
  • These are supremely comfy kicks, according to plenty of testers. 
  • Vans Bold NI Checkerboard shoes have soft but sturdy suede uppers that a few buyers appreciated.
  • Some purchasers were so pleased with their kicks from Vans’ low-top lineup that they mentioned buying another pair in a different color.
  • A handful of reviewers commended the UltraCush Lite insoles for its excellent cushioning.
  • A small number of individuals gave Vans Checkerboard Bold NI trainers a high rating for being exceptional kicks overall.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Some Vans Checkerboard Bold NI reviewers wished for more color choices for these sneakers.
  • The shoes can get dirty easily, a few people noted.

Bottom line

The retro vibe is strong with these kicks. The reimagined archival sneakers come with a clean styling very reminiscent of the iconic Old Skools. However, the vintage design is where the similarities end. Checkerboard Bold NIs may look old school, but they’re modern through and through.

The shoes feature contemporary comfort care of the UltraCush Lite insoles, updated T-toe design, and upgraded materials. The shoes are sturdily built, and the vulcanized soles give off a highly flexible feel.


User reviews:

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Vans Checkerboard Bold NIs are designed for women and men. Shoe sizes range from 3.5 to 13 in men’s and 5 to 14.5 for women. Fortunately, Vans Checkerboard Bold NIs are true-to-size on feet so converting should be easy.

The lace-up closure in a five-pair eyelet lacing system helps the user adjust the fit according to his/her liking, while the UltraCush Lite insoles and padded collars give them a comfortable fit.

When Vans brought back the Bold NI shoes, it threw in the upgraded materials while retaining the vintage flavor. The shoes’ facade is kept clean and straightforward, just like the classic kicks of old. 

The uppers are made of soft suede with T-toe overlays in the same color as the dominant colorway of the shoes which can either be red or black. A checkerboard pattern can be seen on the collars to the sides of the uppers. Plain white midsoles finish off the minimalist look.

These are best paired with ultra-casual clothing such as jeans, shorts, and tees, although in some cases, may look good when dressed up somewhat with chinos and a blazer. 

Distinct updates to the retro design gave these sneakers enhanced comfort geared for this generation’s audience. This time, the shoes are outfitted with a lightweight foam technology as their foundation.  UltraCush Lite tech reduces the shoes’ weight while providing improved comfort throughout the day. The CMEVA (Compression Molded Ethyl Vinyl Acetate)-based insoles are also anatomically-molded to the user’s feet for a responsive cushioning.

When it comes to skate shoes, Vans is one of a few brands with huge name recall. The skateboarding company has long been a favorite of amateurs and pros alike and has a long, storied history attached to the skating culture.

Since its founding in 1966, the company has launched popular skate models one after another. Several of these have been given the ‘icon’ status, while others enjoyed their popularity for a brief time before fading to obscurity. One such example of the latter is the Bold NI model, which was unearthed from deep inside the Vans archive and re-released in late 2018 for the company’s New Issues program. 

The New Issues program reimagines vintage styles with modern updates. Bold New Issue shoes featured plain tonal uppers only contrasted by the brand’s iconic sidestripe in white. The tongues had their labels removed for a sleeker and more minimalist look. The T-toe shape was also revised as well as the foxing tape, and tonal stitching was worked in.

An iteration of these kicks was also launched. Called Checkerboard Bold NIs, checkerboard patterns replaced the tonal uppers of Bold NI shoes, leaving only the tongues, heels, T-toe overlays, and the iconic Sidestripe untouched. The rest of the features of Bold NI shoes remained intact in the checkerboard version. 

  • The UltraCush Lite insoles of Vans Checkerboard Bold NI sneakers are removable.
  • Vans’ signature waffle outsoles are used. 
  • These shoes retail for $65.

Size and fit

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Large (29%)
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Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny McLoughlin is a researcher for RunRepeat covering football, sneakers and running. After graduating with a degree in computer science from The University of Strathclyde, Danny makes sure never to miss a game of his beloved Glasgow Rangers or the Scotland national football team. He has been featured in prestigious publications such as The Washington Post, The Irish Times, Footwear News and the like.