Verdict from 100+ user reviews

9 reasons to buy

  • The Vans Checkerboard SK8-Hi is found at a budget-friendly price point.
  • Many users liked the comfortable fit of this pair that is suitable for everyday wear. Wide-footed users even testified this pair’s cozy strides.
  • Its neck-breaking style has been praised by some skaters.
  • Several wearers cited the lightness of the Checkerboard SK8-Hi.
  • The majority of the users recommended this pair to their friends.
  • Many reviewers praised the high-quality materials used in this model.
  • Some skaters enjoyed the excellent board feel and ground grip of this kick that makes maneuvering easy.
  • A handful of users mentioned this shoe's ample ankle support. This provides protection against painful collisions with the board decks.
  • This sneaker is durable for several buyers. Some skaters were amazed that only minimal wear marks were observed after several skateboarding sessions.

3 reasons not to buy

  • The Vans Checkerboard SK8-Hi has poor cushioning, disclosed by some disappointed Thrashers.
  • The poor ventilation has been criticized by some wearers.
  • Quite a few revealed about this shoe's lack of arch support.

Bottom line

The Vans Checkerboard SK8-Hi presents the classic elements of the SK8-Hi dressed in eye-catching print with high-class performance. This kick has old-school yet modern elements with ample support and comfort for all-day use, on and off the board. However, some skaters complained about insufficient cushioning and ventilation. Overall, this modern-age punk is a real deal for buyers who are rooting for an affordable yet eye-catching shoe.

Tip: see the best sneakers.

Good to know

The Vans Checkerboard SK8-Hi is a unisex sneaker. It runs true to size and has a full lace-up closure for a secure fit. The high-top padded collar enhances support and flexibility.

The high-top Vans Checkerboard SK8-Hi displays a classic silhouette updated with a quirky print. The checkerboard pattern enhances the street look with the vulcanized sole and jazz stripe. Meanwhile, the suede upper gives a plush vibe and adds style.

Styling this shoe is relatively painless. Some use this with baggy jeans, skinnies, activewear, or shorts. Some sport this while the laces are loosely fastened, and the shoe tongue is tucked out while other wearers lace them tight all the way up to the ankle.

One feature that makes the Vans Checkerboard SK8-Hi stand out is the checkerboard pattern print on the canvas upper contrasted with an all-black suede heel counter, eyestay, and vamp.

In 1977, Vans introduced the Style 36 featuring leather and canvas upper with a sticky rubber outsole. Many skaters loved this sturdy design suitable for their board flips and tricks. The Style 36 was introduced around the same time Era was launched, which was specific for skateboarding.

Style 37, which is a mid-top version of the Style 36, was launched a year after because the brand wanted to provide better ankle protection to the skaters. However, the brand felt that the ankle support is still not enough. Vans launched the Style 38 or the SK8-Hi, which is the high-top version with ankle padding. This shoe was the first to introduce high-cut in the skating shoe domain.

SK8-Hi showcases well-celebrated features from its predecessor, the Old Skool. This model retained the signature waffle sole and the canvas-leather upper and the brand's logo, the jazz stripe. During the early days of Vans, shoes can be customized. People sometimes brought some fabric to the warehouse and had it turned into a sneaker. Meanwhile, some chose to doodle on the blank space of the high-top silhouette of the SK8-Hi. Many favored this model to be their canvas.

Since its inception, there were no much changes in Vans SK8-Hi construction. Vans launched various styles but did not change the classic elements. However, in the 80s, the brand altered some minor details, like a wider eyestay and smaller perforations on the vamp, to deliver a more durable skateboarding kick.

The SK8-Hi production was put to a halt sometime during its peak because it could not keep up with the high demand. From California, the brand chose to move the production to China just to keep up with the high call of the public of having their pair.

The SK8-Hi is considered more intensive compared to the Authentic and the Slip-on. Vans added stitching, materials, padding, and folding for style and durability. In the 80s, Vans was able to penetrate the music scene. Some musicians who are also skateboarders were seen sporting the SK8-Hi.

Various iterations molded from the SK8-Hi were launched in the market intended to cater to multiple kinds of consumers. One is the Checkerboard SK8-Hi which features the same fundamentals as the SK8-Hi and enhanced with eccentric checkerboard print.

  • The toecap of Vans Checkerboard SK8-Hi is reinforced to enhance the durability suitable for wear and tear use.
  • It has the signature waffle-pattern rubber outsole that delivers superb grip on and off the board.
  • It has a leather jazz stripe and branding on the tongue and heel.


How Vans Checkerboard SK8-Hi ranks compared to all other shoes
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Top 23% Vans sneakers
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The current trend of Vans Checkerboard SK8-Hi.
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Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny is a sports nut with a particular interest in football and running. He loves to watch sports as much as he loves to play. Danny was lead researcher on RunRepeat and The PFA’s report into Racial Bias in Football Commentary. His football and running research has been featured in The Guardian, BBC, New York Times and Washington Post.