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The low-top Vans Checkerboard Slip-On Pro is a unisex shoe. The UltraCush sole coupled with elastic bands on the sides of the shoe creates a snug fit. With the same added cushioning element, the feet can enjoy a smooth, supported ride. Its design which slims in thickness towards the forefoot is beneficial for skaters as it gives them closer to the board contact.
The alternating square pattern printed on the canvas upper of the Vans Checkerboard Slip-On Pro instantly connotes classic style which immediately grabs the attention of the skate-loving population. What pulls this model up from the earlier versions of Vans slip-on is the construction of its forefoot upper that does not crease quickly since it’s packed with supportive rubber underlays.
Its upper gets an added touch of antiquity with the use of an off-white toned canvas. Its eye-catching print that speaks so much of the 1980s era blends naturally well with graphic tees and washed denim, plain shirt, and slim-fitting zipper pants, or sweatshirt and cropped pants for a relaxed style. Wearers may want to take its form to a higher level as Frank Ocean did, by boldly fusing it with a dark, tailored-fitting suit and tapered pants for dressy occasions.
Skateboarders and sneaker enthusiasts who needed optimum support and cushioning will appreciate the improved features of the Vans Checkerboard Slip-On Pro as much as they loved the classic Checkerboard Slip-On. Its simple, conveniently built structure is packed with sufficient amount of technology. The forefoot region is fortified that shields the feet from the abrasiveness of skateboards. Its engineered sockliner offers ample cushioning that prevents the feet from enduring discomforts on each foot strike. Plus, such padding also allows skaters excellent boardfeel. Under the shoe is the trademark high-abrasion rubber outsole in a waffle pattern which is designed to provide durability and stability.
Almost every month, numerous modified, rebranded, or new styles of sneakers hit the market to satiate the differing tastes of consumers, but the timeless look and easy-to-style rubber-soled slip-on seem to attract a cult of followers perennially.
One brand that has been nailing it in this category is Vans with its much-loved Classic Slip-On sneaker. This laceless silhouette first appeared in the House of Vans in Anaheim, California back in 1977 and immediately became a bestselling shoe in Vans’ roster.
The plain canvas upper of this easy-to-wear footwear received its checkerboard design in 1982, an idea pitched in by Steve Van Doren, son of one of the co-founders of the Van Doren Rubber Company, Paul Van Doren. Steve was inspired by the sight of young skaters sketching black square patterns on the sidewalls of their canvas slip-on kicks.
Such creativity was indelibly integrated into the subsequent releases of the Classic Slip-On which was well received by skateboarders and surfers who were the initial market for such style.
Sean Penn’s movie the Fast Times at Ridgemont High further cemented the popularity of the Vans slip-on when his character Jeff Spicoli was seen a couple of times in the film sporting the Checkerboard Slip-On. Vans’ involvement in such 1982 film production was through Sean’s recommendation.
Sean, who grew up as a surfer and skater in Sta. Monica, California, told the producers that it would be apt for his character, the stoned surfer Spicoli, to wear a Vans shoe. Sean’s idea got a green light, and so Vans sent Universal Pictures some sneakers to be worn by Spicoli, which included the redesigned Checkerboard Slip-On. Not only did the blockbuster film raked massive profit reaching $27 million, so did Vans that earned more than twice from the previous year, with total revenue reaching $45 million. Thanks to Spicoli’s character which was Vans' ticket to winning international attention.
Today, more than three decades since, the Checkerboard Slip-On continues to be an iconic skate shoe and a staple in streetwear fashion worldwide. In response to the needs of skaters, Vans found ways to reinforce this slip-on into a more skate-centric silhouette with its introduction of the Pro Classic range.
Under such category, Vans’ forerunners which included the Vans Authentic, Era, Old Skool, SK8-Hi, and Slip-On were remodeled adding extra support and cushioning where those are needed. One specific example is the Vans Checkerboard Slip-On Pro, a redesigned version of the Classic Slip-On. It bears the trademark black and white square motif and tech features such as the UltraCush HD sockliner and the Duracap rubber toe reinforcement.
- The UltraCush HD sockliner grants a smooth and cushioned ride as it protects the feet against sudden blows and impact.
- The Duracap feature is placed underneath the canvas upper at high wear areas specifically on the entire forefoot region.
- Actress Kristen Stewart was wearing a pair of Vans Checkerboard Slip-On when she indelibly marked her celebrity status on the Hollywood walk of fame, cementing the Vans waffle sole pattern on the ground.
- American singer-songwriter Frank Ocean was spotted clad in Vans Checkerboard Slip-On paired with a suit at the White House State Dinner.